This is a great motivator for getting started with simplifying your wardrobe!
First published July 22, 2014.
About 5 years ago, I got fed up with my overflowing closet and not ever being able to find something to wear. My massive amount of clothing was out of hand and I decided to make a change. I knew I needed to simplify my wardrobe and cultivate a more long-lasting, rather than a highly trendy, style. I needed a more streamlined wardrobe so getting dressed wasn’t so frustrating.
I started with researching, reading, and becoming inspired by the ideas and methods of others, trying to figure out how to simplify my wardrobe in a way that works for me. I want to share my streamlined wardrobe journey with you, what helped me get started, and the best practices I’ve learned along the way.
Streamlined Wardrobe Inspiration
Here are a few resources that inspired me. These articles helped me get started with streamlining my own wardrobe by giving me a starting place for setting my own boundaries.
This is the article that really got me going. Ruth of Living Well Spending Less scaled down her closet to only 40 hangers in an attempt to bring order and organization to her closet.
Ruth does have clothing items in drawers and on shelves that do not count toward that 40 and she changes her wardrobe out with other pieces. So she is not limited to 40 clothing items total; that is just what she keeps on hangers in her closet.
What hooked me about this idea is the organization it brings to her closet. Seeing an organized space brings me calm. Searching for things, sifting and sorting through piles, all of that makes me crazy. And it is so frustrating to find something and think “I forgot I had this!” because it didn’t have a proper home (or it wasn’t in its proper home).
This is a wardrobe challenge that asks participants to use a wardrobe of only 33 items for 3 months. That is 33 items total – clothing, accessories, shoes, outerwear. Everything.
Project 333 allows some freebies (clothing and accessory items that do not have to count toward your 33): your wedding ring or other jewelry that you never take off, undergarments, sleepwear, loungewear that you don’t leave the house in, and workout clothing which can only be worn to work out in.
This is a real challenge when you think about it; especially if you have a few different “modes” you have to dress for (i.e. work mode, mom mode, going-out mode, etc.) You change out your wardrobe every 3 months, which coincides with the seasons nicely.
I think the most intriguing thing about this challenge is that it is just that – a challenge. It pushes me to really change the way I think about my style and wardrobe. The Project 333 website is full of wonderful tips on getting started and keeping with it.
I came across this concept while searching the web for earth-friendly fashion ideas. The mission of Slow Fashioned is to
“Educate, inspire, and influence change in the fashion industry by encouraging consumers to slow down and make more conscious consumption decisions.”
This website is more about inspiration than instruction. The other two will give you some tactical advice, and this one will help you feel great about the journey.
My Streamlined Wardrobe Best Practices
As I update this post, five years after originally publishing it, I realize this little section could actually be an entire blog post on it’s own. So I’ll add that to my to-do list, because there’s so much I want to share!!
But for now, here’s the quick version.
Limiting the Number of Hangers in My Closet
The reason this works for me is that it makes me much more cognizant of my purchases and consumption. I can’t tell you how many solid color tank-tops I used to own just because when they are on sale I figure I might as well get a few since they can be worn in so many ways. But do I really need a closetful? Nope.
And only allowing myself a certain number of clothing items in my closet suddenly makes closet space prime real estate that I’m not going to give to just any piece of clothing.
Learning to Style My Clothing
Going beyond just matching things that ‘go together’, I’ve really worked on learning to style clothing in different ways to maximize the number of outfits I can make. Honing this skill can be a game changer! For a few ideas, check out my ‘One Piece May Ways‘ posts.
Giving Myself Rules
I have two main rules I use to decide whether or not I will buy a clothing item. I’m not saying you have to follow these. You should decide what rules make sense for you!
- It has to be comfortable to wear.
- I have to be able to style it into a minimum of 4 distinctly different outfits.
I keep a running list of gaps in my wardrobe so that when I’m shopping I know exactly what to look for. This helps me refrain from impulse shopping and purchasing things that are too similar to something I already own.
As this process evolves, I will share with you my lessons and tips. I hope this inspires you to have a more simplified and consciously built wardrobe that highlights and makes you feel great about your own personal style.
Related posts readers also enjoy:
- What Using a Minimalist Wardrobe has Taught Me About Buying Clothes.
- Five Reasons You Hate Your Wardrobe
- How to Dress for Special Occasions When You Use a Capsule Wardrobe
- 10 Ways to Make Your Clothes Last Longer