Reduce Your Wardrobe

In January, I shared my intention for spending in 2014. I have decided that maybe my goal was a little too lofty when it comes to clothing purchases. I’ve contemplated whether I feel this way because I haven’t really developed a good working wardrobe or because I want to buy more things. It’s probably a little of both. I think limiting myself has been extremely helpful. The items that I have purchased this year have been things that I can dress up or down and ones that should last me for years to come. I’ve also discarded a lot of pieces that I don’t wear. My ultimate goal is to build a working wardrobe. So, I’m abandoning the six item limit and instead working towards creating a versatile capsule wardrobe. As my wardrobe has shrunk, I’ve actually begun to feel like I have more to wear; it’s easier to add variety when you have pieces that all work together. Want to reduce your wardrobe? These three tips have helped me.

What Are Your Needs?

Do you work in a professional environment where you’re required to wear a suit? Do you find yourself doing a lot of manual labor? I actually find myself needing a little bit of everything. I work from home several days a week, but I also still have my toe in the legal environment and occasionally find myself needing to dress the part. For my purposes, I need to have items suitable for: Weddings, Funerals, Church, Professional, Work Casual, Workout, and DIY/Gardening. The more overlap I can find, the better my wardrobe works.

Find Your Style (not Someone Else’s)

I’ve always been drawn to those lists proclaiming to tell you the “10 Items Every Woman Must Have in Her Closet.” But the truth is, we are each individuals and while those lists sometimes offer a good guideline, I just don’t think they work for everyone. For example, I don’t know how many white button-up shirts I have purchased over the years because I’m supposed to have one, but I NEVER wear them. Many women can get by with one dress, but dresses are a staple for me. Weather permitting, I would wear them 90% of the time. Look at the clothes you own and wear frequently. Why do you wear each piece? Comfort? Color? Make note of the colors you look good in (you know the ones, you get the most compliments when wearing those colors). Buy clothes in that color palette and stay away from the others. After making a mental note to stop buying pastels, I’ve found that I wear more of the clothes I own.

Quality versus Quantity

My frame of mind when it came to shopping for clothes used to be to buy as much as I could for as little money as possible. Some of those pieces have served me well; I do own a few things from Target that I’ve worn for years. But more often than not, when I buy something because of the price, I don’t wear it very often. Even if the initial cost is low, if you only wear a $15 dress once, it’s much more expensive than the $150 bag that you carry every day for three years.

My current closet is the smallest closet I’ve ever had, and about a quarter of the size of the closet I had growing up. When I first moved into my house I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it work. Now I think about residents-past and how that closet probably housed the clothes of two people, not just one. I’ve ruminated on what an ideal number of pieces might be and have decided that I would just like to create a working wardrobe that fits on one side of the closet. What is your ideal number of clothing?

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