I have to admit that my clothing has the brazen tendency to expand to closets in other rooms of the house. Jackets shamelessly jettison the supplies in my office cupboard, while dresses defiantly dominate my little son’s top hanging space – he can’t reach up there anyway! So it’s no surprise that very high up on my wish list is a walk-in closet for all my clothing to dwell audaciously together with room to still do a cartwheel. (Me, not my clothing…if I could actually do a cartwheel. Never mind that.) We all know that it’s pretty easy for our closets to get into a disorganised, haphazard state (nothing to do with us, everything to do with the wardrobe pixies.) And we know it’s irrational to hang onto that first pair of Diesel jeans you ever owned despite the fact that you really can’t rock them any more (15 years and 2 children later.) So as we traverse the seasonal shift, I think it’s an excellent time of year to create a new wardrobe strategy.
Lately, I’ve been aggressively pruning my wardrobe and donating loved but unworn items left, right and centre. It’s a liberating feeling and it most definitely allows you to see the wood for the wardrobe trees when faced with that confounding question of what shall I wear today??! My wardrobe MO has generally been when I buy something new, I get rid of something older to keep the balance. It works pretty well too. Then, dear readers, I came across this article which really separates the men from the boys when it comes to paring down a wardrobe to just several carefully selected items. Now, I’ll be quite frank. I’m not so sure I could actually do this, but I love the concept and thought it well worth sharing. Let me tell you about it…
Could you reduce your wardrobe to just 10 pieces? The idea may seem draconian but it also seems totally doable. Just imagine the feeling of liberation when you peer in your closet and that eternal question is easily answered? The 10 piece only strategy advises, in a nutshell, that you define the season’s wardrobe as minimally as possible; choose your most loved items; and then create interchangeable outfits inspired from a reoccurring theme you notice, perhaps prints, stripes, or shades of blue. The reality is that we inevitably wear certain items most often anyway, so why clutter up the closet with pieces that have clearly outstayed their welcome and are long past their Best Before date? So I experimented with this concept in my own wardrobe and these are my step by steps to a seasonally defined closet…
Step 1 Closet tête-à-tête – look at your closet and take out every piece that you really love. If you hesitate over an item, it’s not true love. Place the items on your bed and separate into categories; pants, shirts, skirts etc.
Step 2 Assess – by seeing the clothing you really love on its own, you will probably notice a theme emerging. Are there loads of stripes? Maybe a lot of black? Is pattern and print prevailing? Or maybe denim is dominant? This quarantined assessment gives you insight into your favourite styles without the clamour of the rest of your clothing.
Step 3 Create Looks – using just these favourite items, create a variety of outfits and lay out as many ensembles as possible. Allow the pieces to cross over from formal to casual to create versatility. Take a photo of each look, and on mornings when there’s a lack of inspiration or just the usual rush, you’ll have a quick reference on your phone.
Step 4 – Edit & Add – is there any piece that’s not working with most of the outfits? Take it out. Is there something perhaps missing? Do another quick assessment of your closet and add it in. Make sure that the items you have chosen are hole-, stain- and rip-free. If you’re going minimal, make sure all your clothing is presentable otherwise you might end up resembling the local village vagabond.
Step 5 Vacuum Pack or Give it the Sack – now, this is my favourite liberating step. Remove everything else from your closet and separate into keep or donate piles. Put the keep items into vacuum-sealed bags and store, and bag up the donate items for your local charity. Don’t over-think this too much. Most of us have far too many pieces of clothing we never wear and never will. Rather, give them to those who are not as fortunate and enjoy the space their absence will create in your closet.
Step 6 Give it a Week – try out all these clever combinations you’ve created for a week and see how it goes. Is something essential missing? Retrieve it from your storage bags and add it into the mix. I think you might be surprised by and rather enjoy the freedom of a minimal wardrobe.
SO this season I’m really into navy, black and grey. I experimented with this palette with some favourite pieces from my wardrobe. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not sure I’ll stick to such a pared down wardrobe, but I really am embracing the concept of less is more and keeping my closet in command.*
How about you? Are you a closet magpie desperate for breathing space? Why not give this exercise a try and let me know how it goes!
*PS I still would really love a walk-in closet though!
all photography Megan Smith