You are simply fabulous, so shouldn’t your wardrobe reflect that fact? One of my favorite authors, Shira Gill (Minimalista) says it best, “Once you curate your closet to reflect who you are and where you want to go, you’ll show up in the world as a more present, intentional, and confident version of yourself. No more leaving the house hoping you don’t run into anyone you know.”
Rock your Personal Style
Pull out your favorite outfits and jot down what your like about them. What shape or silhouette does it create on you? What colors are you drawn to again and again? Are the pieces simple or full of texture?
- Take pictures of your favorite outfits.
- Choose a base color and a few accent colors that can easily mix and match to create many versatile outfits.
- To keep it simple, chose neutrals for most of your core wardrobe pieces.
- Use shoes and accessories to elevate or dress down an outfit.
- Find three or four catalogs or stores that feature your personal style and shop at those stores.
- Invest in pieces that are well constructed, fit and flatter your current body, and are made of high-quality fabrics.
- Choose timeless (90%) over trendy (10%) and build your wardrobe intentionally.
Let that Shit Go
Just like most people, there have been times when my closet and dresser drawers have been overflowing. When you’re ready, I want you to get two garbage bags – one for recycling and one for donations. Here are the items I want to you to say goodbye when you are ready:
- Items that don’t fit you.
- Items you think you might wear someday.
- Items that don’t make you look and feel fantastic.
- Items you are keeping, but never wear because they are were expensive.
- Shoes that are uncomfortable or you can’t walk in them without looking like a baby deer.
- Turn all your hangers backwards and when you wear it, place it back in your closet with the hanger facing the correct way. After six months, if you find hangers that are still faced the wrong direction, consider donating the item.
- Donate clothing that doesn’t fit you. You are gorgeous just the way you are today, so say goodbye to items that you can’t wear right now.
- How many jeans, t-shirts, pants, blouses, sweaters, and shoes do you really wear? Consider the size of your closet and dresser when deciding the number of each category you should keep.
- Focus on one category at time, instead of trying to go through all your clothing at once.
- Keep pieces that have the best fit, flatter, and make sense for your current lifestyle.
It’s important to keep old clothes and shoes from ending up in the land fill. Did you know that almost 60% of all clothing produced is disposed of within a year of production and it ends in a landfill? You can bring any brand of clothing or textile to H & M for recycling. Here is a great article that provides lots of options for unwanted clothes, including selling, donating and recycling them.
Curate your Wardrobe
I have bought more than my fair share of cheap clothing that I ended up donating or throwing away. Chances are your wardrobe consists of many fast-fashion missteps or poorly made pieces, but no worries, you now have the tools to avoid these items in the future. Invest in new pieces slowly and intentionally. Buy pieces that are better quality, well-constructed, and timeless staples that will stand the test of time.
- Consider your climate, career, and lifestyle when determining how many pieces of each category you should have in your wardrobe.
- Recycle ratty, old underwear, bras, slips, and socks.
- Invest in shallow drawer dividers to stay organized.
- Invest in breathable cotton garment bags to keep seasonal and formal wear free of dust.
- Donate well-intentioned gifts that you will never wear.
- If you wouldn’t answer the door in it, recycle or donate it.
- You do not need that many t-shirts!
A capsule wardrobe is just a pared down or mini wardrobe made up of versatile mix-and-match pieces that you wear daily. Typically, a capsule collection is composed of a combination of items you already own and love to wear, as well as new, high-quality items that you can integrate roughly once a season. Try not to get hung up on the number or each piece, let the size of your closet and lifestyle guide you. Here’s what you need to do to create a capsule wardrobe:
- Start by pulling out your favorite items and outfits from your closet to help you clarify your personal style. Take note of the items you pulled, including colors, fabrics, silhouettes, craftsmanship, and so on.
- Choose a silhouette that flatter your body and feel the best.
- Build a wardrobe that makes sense for your lifestyle, career, and climate.
- Many capsule wardrobe influencers choose a number between thirty and forty pieces, including shoes but excluding pajamas, socks, underwear, and workout gear. A good trick here is to space out your hangers to see what fits nicely in your space with plenty of breathing room in between each hanger.
Here are a few capsule examples to get you started:
- Casual Capsule: 10 blouses/sweaters + 3 jeans/pants + 10 pairs of shoes = 30 items total
- Practical Capsule: 10 blouses/sweaters + 3 jeans + 3 pants + 3 dresses + 4 jackets + 7 pairs of shoes = 30 items total
- Professional Capsule: 10 blouses/sweaters + 5 work pants/trousers + 5 dresses + 3 blazers + 1 trench coat + 1 jacket + 5 pairs of shoes = 30 items total
- Summer Capsule: 10 blouses/tanks + 5 light pans + 3 shorts + 3 dresses + 2 swimsuit coverups + 1 light jacket + 6 pairs of shoes/sandals = 30 items total
- Winter Capsule: 10 blouses/warm sweaters + 5 warm pants/jeans + 2 winter dresses + 3 jackets + 1 heavy coat + 3 pairs of rain/snow boots + 6 pairs of shoes = 30 items total
- If you require a separate wardrobe for your personal and work life, consider creating a mini capsule for each. You can also create a mini capsule by season if you live in a area with seasonal climate changes.
- Make sure the items you choose feel versatile enough to pair with multiple outfits.
- Curating a capsule takes time, so don’t rush the process. Focus on subtracting items from your wardrobe that don’t fit, flatter, or reflect your true style, and adding items that you’ll wear, use, and love for years to come.
- Constraining your options will help you to identify the color(s), style, and silhouette that helps you look and feel your best.
- Gather all your formal clothes and think about what you actually love to wear and feel good in when it’s dress up time. Keep those items and donate or recycle the rest.
- Store your seasonal items in two bins labeled “Winter” and “Summer” on a high shelf out of the way.
- Group your shoes and boots by category: all athletic shoes together, boots together, sandals together, and heels together. Keep the ones that are versatile, stylish, and will make you feel confident. Let go of them if they hurt your feet, you can’t walk like a normal human in them, you have multiples in the same style/color, and are dirty or broken.
- Jewelry is for wearing, so simply assess each piece to make sure it makes sense for your current lifestyle and aligns with your personal style. If you won’t wear it and it is expensive, give it to a family member or friend who loves it.
As you know, I am a big fan of Shira Gill (Minimalista), who says “Getting dressed with ease every morning helps you show up in world as a more present, intentional, and confident version of yourself. When our closets are set up like a well-curated boutique, we start each day with the message that we matter and that our own self-care matters.” The tips I have outlined today will help you curate a closet that ensures you always look your best.
- Group items by type and usage.
- Keep your everyday wardrobe essentials visible for easy access and formal, seasonal, and occasional items in the back or harder-to-reach areas of your space.
- Organize items by style-e.g., sleeveless together, short sleeves together, and long sleeves together-and color within each category.
- Keep delicate sweaters folded neatly on a shelf instead of hanging them.
- Invest in uniform hangers of the same style and color.
- Use matching bins and baskets.
- Use shelf dividers if your closet doesn’t have cubbies.
- Use hooks for bags, robes, hats, etc.
- Sell, repair/repurpose, swap, donate, or recycle items you are removing from your wardrobe.
- To keep you closet looking great, spend five minutes every day tidying your closet.
- Keep a dirty laundry bin in your closet.
- Use matching labeled bins or baskets for dry-cleaning, repairs and donations.
- Practice the one-in, one-out rule. If you buy something, commit to donating a similar item.
Practicing good shopping habits will not only be the key to maintaining your streamlined closet, but they also will help you save precious time, money, and energy. Here are ways you can be mindful, strategic, and intentional when shopping:
- Pay attention when you feel the urge to shop impulsively. Are you bored or numbing out? Are you reacting to clever marketing or societal pressures?
- Double check your closet or outfit pictures to make sure the item will fit into your personal style.
- Only shop with a list to prevent cluttering up your closet or home with impulse buys. Only buy items that fill specific wardrobe gaps.
- Commit to acquiring items that will last and avoid fast-fashion trends. Remember the 90% timeless and 10% trendy rule.
- Consider quality, craftsmanship, fabric, and fit when shopping. Is it versatile? Comfortable? Do you like how it feels? Are the materials natural (cotton, wool, silk) or synthetic (acrylic, polyester, rayon)? Is it easy to care for? Does it need alterations? Is it built to last with sturdy seams?
- Make sure your big-ticket items can be paired easily with your existing wardrobe and can be worn for many seasons to come.
- Be selective and patient so you can invest in pieces that meet all of your criteria.
- Join Livia Firth’s #30wears movement on Instagram, which challenges consumers to get at least thirty wears out of each item in their closet.
- Respect the physical limits of your space.
- Treat your belongings with respect with regular laundering, dry-cleaning, steaming, de-pilling, and de-linting items that need it.
- Buying less is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your “fashion footprint.” Commit to buying less and getting more use out of the things you already own.
Are you ready to get started? Let me know how you do and share pictures of your finished closet in the comments. Please like and share this post with your friends and family. Be sure to subscribe below to make sure you receive all future interior design tips and tricks!