A friend just texted me asking for some tips on purging clothes, I thought I would share with you my thoughts on the subject.
As a woman who loves fashion and has worked in retail, this is a subject that I certainly have some opinions on! Downsizing a wardrobe is something that some thought and care should be put into. It may be an old fashioned idea, but putting some real thought and care into your wardrobe before you hit the mall is preventative maintenance for needing to purge later! However, before we get to shopping habits, let’s think through your closet.
Bottom line is, if you don’t love it, if it doesn’t fit well, or if you don’t have some express need for it, don’t own it. You should love everything in your wardrobe and if you don’t love it, there better be a really good reason why have it.
I used to have a lot of clothes. I was known among family and friends for having an extensive wardrobe. I worked in retail and loved fashion (still do), so what do you expect? The interesting thing is that as I have downsized significantly, I have gained a new appreciation for the items that I have and have completely forgotten about the ones I gave away. I appreciate and love my clothes so much more now than when I had an excessive amount. Now I don’t want to give you a list of how many pairs of jeans or how many dresses you should have because I don’t think there is a magic number and it varies depending on your lifestyle. However, utilizing the simple rules I have outlined above (and a few more tips below) will significantly cut down your wardrobe to a size that is manageable and right for your lifestyle. You will never hate what you are wearing because there is nothing that looks bad or doesn’t fit in your wardrobe to begin with!
Some “don’ts” to consider. Don’t keep items simply because they were gifts. Don’t keep clothes that are too big or too small for you. (i.e. don’t live in the past or in the potential future; the past is gone and the future is not certain.)
What to do with all the clothes you are now getting rid of? Please donate! You can try selling if you like, but for the most part, clothing is something we didn’t buy thinking we would make money off of and honestly there are so many people out there that would kill for you cast offs, so why not just give them away? Let it go! Sometimes it can be so rewarding! I gave my high school graduation dress away to someone who loved it and was excited to wear it to an upcoming graduation of their own. I was happy to bless her with the dress as honestly it was only collecting dust which is a serious waste! There are organizations such as Gowns for Grads that formal wear can be given to that will certainly make a difference in some young woman’s life!
Curate your wardrobe. Now that your closet is purged and you love what you have left, it is time to think about how you shop going forward so that you don’t simply get in the same trouble you were in.
- Think long term and think quality. Again if you don’t love it or it doesn’t fit quite right, don’t buy it! If you buy something that you think “will do” then you will simply end up wasting more time at the mall (which you probably drove to, spending extra gas) searching for something else. Always buy quality and don’t be afraid to spend a little extra on your clothes. Buy local or at least from your own continent if possible (I realize this is difficult, but it is ideal as you then know a little more about the working conditions and wages of the people that made the garment). If you do this, they will wash better and fit properly longer. Though you may initially spend more dollars per item, in the end you will end up spending less money because you are buying fewer items and less often…because you love what you have!
- Buy timeless. This may sound like a hard thing to do, but following fashion there is one thing I have learned. They are simply taking from each era between 1910 and 1990 and trying to put a new spin on it. So find items that you love that could fit into a couple of your favorite eras and you will hit the mark! Classics like a good quality white button up go a long way when you think about it that way! If you buy cheap trend clothes, you are only going to lose out as you will be turning them to rags in a matter of months either because they fell apart or because you are tired of them already (which means you probably didn’t really love the look to begin with).
Note: Feel free to apply these same principles to furniture and “decor” items that you may want to purchase. Buy good quality and items that you love and you won’t feel the need to switch up in only a matter of years.
If you want to actually go minimalist but still have room for creativity in your wardrobe, just make sure almost everything matches so you have a lot of different combinations. For example, a trick I learned in retail is that if you have only 12 items of clothing, 1 coat, 1 dress, 1 pair of jeans, 4 shirts, 1 blazer, 2 skirts, and 2 pairs of dress pants, you would easily have over a months’ worth of combinations without ever wearing the exact same outfit twice. Most of you probably have more than 12 items of clothing in your closet but still wear the same outfit more than once in a month! I personally just buy things in one of about 3-4 basic colours (black, navy, brown or white) and only add in the odd shot of colour which usually goes with any of the basics. No need to stress or worry about what to wear every day as the time spent searching through an unthoughtful wardrobe is time better spent on other things!
Stay tuned for creative ideas on storing your clothes in small spaces!
“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.” – Gianni Versace
“It’s a new era in fashion – there are no rules. It’s all about the individual and personal style, wearing high-end, low-end, classic labels, and up-and-coming designers all together.” – Alexander McQueen
“One is never over-dressed or underdressed with a little black dress.” – Karl Lagerfeld
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” – Jesus