W is for Wardrobe
One of the best fashion books I've read is The Pocket Stylist by Kendall Farr.
She divides her book by body type, so once you've determined your body type, you can focus your reading.
And her advice is practical. She covers every little place where clothes may crimp, pucker, pull, or otherwise create unattractive looking situations on your body.
Reading this book changed how I bought clothes for years. I used her advice to acquire mix and match pieces that fit well.
In the past year or two, I've gone much more practical with my wardrobe which consists mainly of cargo pants and easy tees nowadays. I do live in Tucson, a casual laid-back town.
Even with my super casual wardrobe, though, I find myself staring at clothes wondering, "When did I wear this last?" How did I fill my half of the closet?
I've implemented five strategies to help me pare down my wardrobe:
1. The hanger test...
Begin by facing all of your hangers in one direction.
When you return your washed clothes that you actually wore to the closet, turn the hanger the other way to indicate that this piece has been used.
Over the next month, watch how many hangers turn to the opposite direction because you wear those clothes. And see how many hangers stay in the original position.
The hanger test should give you insights into clothes that you don't wear. I know that I have a few outfits I never wear, but I keep them for those special occasions. I have two different black dresses that I almost never wear, but I keep them on standby.
2. Cull your wardrobe at least once a year...
Go through every piece of clothing you own.
Closets, dressers, storage boxes, wherever you have clothes stored, pull everything out and see how much you own.
Be merciless in your decision making process:
- Do you remember the last time you wore this piece?
- Do you have the space realistically to store all of those items?
- How many items serve the same purpose?
- Do you see any wear and tear that's beyond repair?
- Do you see items you can't remember buying or receiving?
- Would this item serve someone else better if you donated it?
Consider which pieces you keep, which you sell, and which you donate.
Even clothes that are tattered may be donated to be recycled. Just put those pieces in a separate container so Goodwill or the Salvation Army know that the pieces are worn.
3. Institute a new fashion policy: When a new piece comes in, an old piece must go.
I have one drawer of easy tees. Many of them have fun Harry Potter messages or Star Wars logos. I love my library t-shirts! But I allow myself one drawer of easy tees. Right now, that drawer is three-quarters full.
I cull my wardrobe every year, so every year I do eliminate a few t-shirts. However, if that drawer does fill, I won't buy another t-shirt until I get rid of one.
While this policy may not be for everyone, it does keep my wardrobe within the confines of my manageable storage space. I don't have storage boxes of clothes under my bed or lining my closet shelves.
4. Organize your clothes logically for you.
I like to hang my clothes primarily by purpose. The clothes I rarely use go to the back of the closet. I have a few outfits for date nights that come next. My everyday work clothes are in the middle. And up front are my weekend clothes.
Within each purpose group, I hang by color. I mix long-sleeve and short-sleeve, which makes some people cringe.
In the dresser I have, I try to keep each drawer segregated for a purpose. One drawer for t-shirts. Another drawer for tank tops. A drawer for pjs. You get the point.
None of these drawers are full, which I like. I can actually see what I own and find what I want to wear.
Just find a system that works for you and how you like to find your clothes.
5. Maintain your system.
Whatever wardrobe system you create, stick to it. Be the person you folds clothes and puts them away in their proper place.
You took the time to cull your wardrobe and organize each piece. Keep that system going so you can continue to easily find what you want.
The private high school I attended required uniforms. At first I thought the restrictions would bother me. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself not caring about my wardrobe because it was easy.
I had the pieces I needed. They mixed and matched. I didn't need to think about my outfit in the morning. I really could focus on learning in school. What a concept.
I see people trying out capsule wardrobes and I think about my high school capsule wardrobe. When I look at what I wear every day now, I know I'm emulating that same spirit.
The clothes I have now are much more casual, but my everyday clothes mix and match easily. I don't have to waste time overthinking choices. I can focus on aspects of my life that matter to me.