Simplify (Part V): Fashion is easy when...
You turn off your alarm and roll out of bed. After a quick shower to help you wake up and tame the bed head, you swing open your closet door and look at the rows and mountains of clothes. Everything is there before you and yet it's impossible to find something to wear. You try on a few different outfits but nothing seems to work so you finally pick one and head to work feeling uneasy about your wardrobe and wondering if people are silently judging you.
Simplifying your wardrobe has its many perks, not the least of which is the ability to pull out a stylish, put-together look with little effort every day.
Here are a few other ways in which a simple closet can improve your lifestyle:
Less decision fatigue
As the day wears on and we make more and more decisions, we slowly draw on our mental reserves for decision making. Depending on how much decision fatigue you have racked up over the course of the day, by the time you're settling in to watch your favorite TV show, your decision to not eat that bag of chips in the kitchen is seeming like a pretty lame idea. Believe it or not, the emotional stamina it takes to make decisions and be confident in your choices is limited.
Starting your day off by choosing between hundreds of clothing combinations is a perfect way to wear yourself out mentally before you even get to work. By simplifying the number of options you are faced with - or better yet, having a variety of options that all work well together - you are able to enjoy the routine of your day with confidence in your wardrobe.
As you pare down your wardrobe, you'll suddenly begin to see all of that closet space that you thought you remembered loving when you bought the house a few years ago. Having fewer things automatically opens up your space which, consequently, frees up your mind.
From getting dressed in the morning to packing for vacation, you'll find it immensely easier and more timely as you have fewer and better options to choose from.
Consistent, pulled-together look
The good thing about paring down your wardrobe is that everything that remains is only that which you love. Those few items that you enjoy wearing that make a personal statement and tell the world who you are - that's what you get to choose from every day. Only the best. Nothing more.
If every outfit is made up of pieces of clothing that are only the best of your style, you'll begin noticing that you dress well more often than not, by default. Especially if you are intentional about acquiring clothing that sticks with the style and color pallet of your wardrobe, every piece is versatile and interchangeable with every other piece allowing you to get creative with your combinations but maintain a well-put-together feel to the outfit.
As with most new and difficult things, getting started is the hard part. As I was sifting through my clothes trying to find some that I could pitch, I found old t-shirts from concerts and camps that sparked a flood of joyous memories. I found a jacket that my friend gave me. I found a t-shirt that matched one of my friends'. We attach sentiment and memory to our clothing which makes it difficult to give away.
There's high-quality, name-brand clothing that (even though you don't wear it) you paid premium price for - surely you couldn't give that away? Oh, and what about those really cute shoes in your closet that leave horrible blisters on your heel? Or the pants that don't fit any more? Or the shirt with the stain on it that you've been meaning to get taken out? Or the jacket that you were going to get hemmed? What about all of those things?
The truth is, there are a million reasons why we hang on to our clothing and they make it difficult to get rid of. But if we're honest with ourselves, there's maybe only 20% of our closets that we actually wear. The other 80% is just... there. So, I get it. Simplifying your wardrobe is hard. But here are a few good places to start:
1. With the proof
Whether it's because it's too small, too big, too worn, too out of fashion, too stained, or too embarrassing, if you're hoarding clothes that you haven't worn in the last three months, you probably just need to get rid of them. This is the easiest place to start because you have proof that you won't wear them again - you don't wear them now.
2. With a trial run
If eliminating a good portion of your wardrobe is scary, why don't you just begin with something simpler? A trial run, of sorts. It's called Project 333 and has been embraced by thousands of people around the world. To participate you must wear a wardrobe made up of only 33 items for 3 months. If, at the end of the three months, you aren't satisfied with the results, you are welcomed to revert back to your full wardrobe.
3. With an experiment
Put all of your clothes into a box like you're packing it to move. As you wear clothes, take them out and hang them back in the closet. At the end of three months, donate, sell or throw away any clothes that remain in the boxes.
To reiterate the philosophy of simplification, you're removing unimportant and valueless excess so that the meaningful can thrive and take priority. Why should it be any different in your closet? No one is asking you to have ten of the same outfit like Monk. Just find those clothes that you really love and don't waste your time trying to make a fashionable outfit out of the rest. Paring down your wardrobe can actually be enjoyable! Building the perfect collection of clothing that can be mixed and matched, is full of nothing but your favorite pieces, is fashionable and is true to your style? Challenge accepted.