Alright, its time to be real. How many times do we open our closets and feel as though we have nothing to wear? According to multiple studies, (and personal experience) most of us wear 20% of our closet 80% of the time. Therefore, our closets are cluttered up with clothes that either don't fit, are damaged, or we are choosing not to wear for one reason or another.
Last Summer I came across one of my favorite books, Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I learned while living in Paris. The Author, Jennifer Scott, shares her experience living abroad in Paris for a semester. One of the first things she noticed from this experience was how tiny their closets were. She found that everyone she encountered had a wardrobe of around 10 pieces. TEN. It was shocking! The Parisians are some of the most fashionable people in the world, but how could that be possible with such tiny closets? The world may never know.
(Sidenote: Jennifer's newest book, Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic, is out! Jennifer was kind enough to send me a copy to review before it was released. Check out her book,here! It's AMAZING.)
Now, lets just be honest. I don't think I'm quite ready to take the plunge and try to live with ten items for a season. Lucky for us, most people that have a capsule wardrobe have about 30-40 pieces in their wardrobe per season. So if you're new to the concept of a capsule wardrobe, here are a few facts (because I really like lists):
- A capsule wardrobe consists of 30-40 pieces that will last you an entire season.
- The items include: tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, outerwear
- What isn't included: pajamas, undergarments, workout clothes, special occasion outfits, and jewelry. Some include accessories, some don't. It's up to you (I typically include purses and scarves in my 30-40 items).
- The goal is not to shop for the entirety of the season. (3 months) That way, you aren't cluttering your wardrobe back up. (makes sense)
- A capsule wardrobe is a way to curate a wardrobe full of the pieces that you love, and eliminate the excess. Live with less.
The idea of a capsule wardrobe can be intimidating at first, but it is SO do-able! I have had capsule wardrobes for an entire year, and my wardrobe has never been more versatile. I find it so much easier to get dressed, put outfits together, and I am always wearing clothes that I love.
(Click here to view my post on living with a capsule wardrobe for an entire year.)
So you think you might be ready to take the plunge? Here are my tips for paring down and creating a wardrobe that you love.
1. Be Ruthless
It all begins with the initial purge. You first want to pull everything out of your closet. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. This will give you an idea at just how many clothes you've been hoarding… I mean storing away. :) If you keep your clothes for all 4 seasons stored in your closet, first, separate your clothes by seasons. Remember, it's typically 30-40 items per season if you live in a climate that actually experiences the four seasons.
Next, you must BE RUTHLESS when deciding what to keep, sell, throw away, and donate. You need to pick up each individual piece and ask yourself some questions:
Does it fit? Do I like it? Does it make me feel good about myself? Is it damaged? Does it go with the rest of my clothes in my closet? Does it fit my style? Have I worn it in the past 3 months?
If you said no to any of the above questions, it's probably time to say goodbye. If you're on the fence about an item, I suggest packing it up and storing it away for 3 months. Once the three months are up and you haven't missed it, out it goes. I guarantee you, if you're on the fence, you'll forget about it and not miss it at all.
2. Determine a Color Palette & Style
My biggest problem before defining a style and color pallete for my wardrobe was that I had a closet crammed with clothes that didn't go together. With such a tiny wardrobe, it is important to figure out your style, and what color palette you want to follow. Get rid of any/all clothes that don't fit your new color palette and style. My biggest tip for developing your signature style and color palette- PINTEREST.
Create a 'Style' board on Pinterest and spend some time searching for and pinning outfits that you love. Then, look for repeat items. For example, I noticed when scrolling through my Pinterest board that I had pinned a lot of polka dots, stripes, scarves- and figured out my favorite style was classic/feminine. This was SUPER helpful when creating a wardrobe full of clothes that go together, because being able to mix and match is crucial to having a versatile wardrobe.
Take a peek at my 'Style' board by clicking here.
3. Take Your Lifestyle Into Account:
Obviously, if you're a stay-at-home-mom, you probably don't need a closet full of business clothes. You probably want mostly comfy/casual clothes in your wardrobe (lucky). When I began student teaching full time, I found that my college student wardrobe just wasn't going to cut it anymore. There was no way I was going to get a job wearing jeans and t-shirts everyday. So, I made a very specific shopping list (only 6 items, but it completely changed my wardrobe) and added in pieces that would suit my new lifestyle. You could have the most stylish and on-trend wardrobe in the world, but if it doesn't fit your lifestyle, it's a waste and you will find that you never have anything to wear.
4. Assess Your New Wardrobe:
Assess what's left in your closet- it should now be filled with clothes that you love and will wear all the time. The clothes should follow a specific color palette and style, and you should be able to start picking out outfits that you love. If you find that there are gaps in your wardrobe, like maybe you are in need of a new pair of skinny jeans, begin to make a list. Now, don't go crazy! Remember your wardrobe should be between 30-40 pieces. Make a specific list of the items you need, and ONLY shop for those items. Even if you pass a cute new pair of sandals that are one sale, resist! I promise, having a smaller wardrobe is so much better than having a huge one.
Less truly is more.