When my mother passed away, I was responsible for going through her wardrobe and sorting out her items. I remember looking into the large wardrobe tightly compacted together with clothing garments (most of which I had never seen her in) and feeling completely overwhelmed. I stood amazed at the contents, and didn’t know where to begin.
Many of us have a wardrobe like this at some point in our lives. We buy items that we may wear once, that then sit unused for months or years on end due to some reason. Maybe it doesn’t feel comfortable or look as flattering as what we thought it did in the store. It’s a lot of money wasted, and it clutters our minds.
That day I donated about 10 large sized bags full of my mother’s clothes. And then I went home and cut back my own wardrobe by about 80%. And I haven’t looked back.
I thought about what look suits me personally and how I’d like to feel. And educated myself on the capsule wardrobe. Whilst it might be the ‘in thing’ to do, it’s a smart way to dress and simplifies getting ready in the morning. I can be ready in 10 minutes flat - which helps immensely when you’re a mother of two.
A capsule wardrobe is basically a small number of clothing pieces that can mix and match with one another easily. The idea is to find clothes that fit you well and become your personal uniform. And which focuses on quality. They don’t have to be expensive designer pieces, but garments made with quality materials that sit well on the body and won’t fall apart easily.
The benefit of having a wardrobe like this is that it reduces the frustration of figuring out what to wear. Less choice allows us to make decisions more easily. It can save money. It can improve confidence as gradually you become more sure of your style and own it. And it teaches us to respect the items we have.
I’ve also found that over time I’ve discovered certain brands which suit me, so when I do need to head to the shops to get a new piece I know exactly where to go and can buy a piece quickly and easily.
So how do you simplify your wardrobe?
Go through your wardrobe and remove any items which no longer fit, that are beyond repair, or that you haven’t worn in a year
Donate, give away or throw them out
Display the remaining items neatly in your wardrobe - in order or pants together, tees together, dresses together etc.
Have a think about a style you like, the pieces which flatter your body, and the colours which suit your complexion
Gradually build your wardrobe around that look & colour palette, keeping minimalism in mind
Edit your wardrobe every six months or so
The trick I find is to choose classic pieces, and a colour palette that works well together - that allows you to mix and match the garments in your wardrobe easily.
Personally I’m inspired by French and Danish fashion. And I stick to a fairly neutral colour palette, with a few stripes and prints here and there. I wear a lot of linen since our Australian summer is rather humid and linen is a natural fabric which breaths. Most days I wear a pair of pants with a loose linen shirt and pair of quality flats. Or a simple stretchy dress in a flattering cut. It allows me to move about with the kids, yet look stylish enough to meet a friend or client.
The other thing I’ve noticed in cutting back my wardrobe is that packing for a weekend away becomes much easier. You just need a few basics and one pair of shoes and you’re ready to go.
Simplifying your wardrobe can make everyday life much calmer. When we eliminate the unnecessary from our lives it can be freeing. And allow us to think more clearly.