I recently wrote about Consumption and the Driving Need for MORE so it feels appropriate to talk a little about moving towards a mindset of less in your wardrobe. I know I have stood in front of my clothes in the mornings feeling like I had nothing to wear. It turns out that a well thought out, simplified wardrobe makes it easier to get dressed. Less truly is more with your wardrobe.
1 – 30 Wears or More
We’ve talked a little about the #30Wears campaign that Livia Firth of Eco-Age started – this idea of not purchasing an item unless you can see yourself wearing it 30 times or more. In addition to holding onto items for a longer period of time and reinventing how you see them, this slows down the buying process. No longer will I purchase a dress for that one-time event! I often think about how versatile an item is and how many different ways it can be styled for the wide range of circumstances in my life. If an item of clothing can be styled in a way that goes from playing on the playground with my son to a board meeting, I am comfortable adding it to my closet.
2 – Replacing Items vs Adding Items
It’s been helpful for me to only purchase items that are replacing items that are at the end of their lifespan. Unless your body changes, you move to a new climate with new clothing requirements, or you switch to a new job that requires different office attire, accumulating more does not complete your wardrobe, it complicates it.
3 – Purchase Classic Styles
When you purchase something that is ‘on trend’, you set yourself up for falling out of love with the piece when the trend passes. Purchasing items that have classic styling or colors are easier to style differently as trends come and go. We showed this a little when we styled the classic little black dress 10 different ways that was purchased in the early 2000s. As I have been on this ethical fashion journey I have found myself purchasing simpler, more classic items. I love the creative challenge of figuring out new ways to wear classic items!
4 – Don’t Hold On to Items
We all have that piece of clothing in our closet that we loved when we were in high school or that we wore to a special event that we just can’t give away. It no longer fits or is appropriate for our life stage but we continue to keep it ‘just in case’. It is time to let those items go – recycle them, donate them to a non-profit that will give it new life, or give it to a friend – they are doing you no good sitting in your closet taking up space.
5 – Evaluate and Modify Your Wardrobe
Spend some time away from your closet and write up what your perfect closet would contain. For me, this could look something like this:
- 5 t-shirts – including 1 stripped tee, 1 polka dot tee, 1 colored tee, 2 basic tees
- 2 button up shirts – chambray as one
- 5 skirts – 1 midi, 1 maxi, 1 pencil, 1 a-line, 1 casual
- 5 dresses – 1 shirt dress, 1 maxi, 1 shift dress, 1 a-line dress, 1 fancy dress
- 2 tunics
- 2 pairs of jeans – 1 boot cut, 1 skinny
- 2 pairs of work pants
- 2 pairs of leggings
- 2 sets of work-out clothes
- 2 sets of swim gear
- 3 pairs of shorts (TX is hot y’all)
- 3 cardigans
- 5 pieces of outerwear
- handmade items like my hand knit shawls, scarves, sweaters, gloves or hats – no limit because this is my stress-relieving hobby and I carefully consider how the handmade item will integrate into my wardrobe 🙂
Then take your list and go back to your wardrobe and see if you can make it happen with your favorite pieces of clothing. Get rid of the pieces that you are iffy about. Make a smaller closet with only pieces that you absolutely love. We love the idea of a capsule wardrobe even though it’s not something we practice in our own lives – the principles are still practical!