3 Reasons for a Smaller Wardrobe
Happy day, dear reader!
Hope you are having a fabulous day! Previously, I wrote about the math of a capsule wardrobe, and how you don’t need a lot of clothes to have a lot of options. I found I can get about 500 outfits out of the 39 pieces in my winter capsule. (That’s far more than I need for a Georgia winter!)
I’m no minimalist, nor am I suggesting that you throw out your clothes; that would be wasteful! But so is buying clothing you don’t wear… I advocate for planning a wardrobe, and shopping mindfully, not just heading to the mall because you need something to do on a rainy Saturday.
I realize that some people need LOTS of options to be happy. Others need fewer. That’s just part of personality. If you are an options person, and lots of choice makes you happy, great! But for those interested in simplifying (A common New Year’s resolution, if ever there was one!), here are three reasons I find a smaller wardrobe works better for me.
Less Stuff = Less Choice = Less Morning Stress
Now that I am not chasing littles out the door in the morning and running off to a “real job,” mornings are a bit less hectic. (Note: A bit. I may not have a “real job” but I still work 40+ hours a week, just not in five 8 hour days.) Many of us are not at our best first thing in the morning, especially when we feel rushed. If you simply can’t imagine laying (or hanging) out your outfit the night before, Fewer Clothes = Fewer A.M. Choices = Less A.M. Stress. In The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz lays out how choice is both necessary to our well being and sense of control, and conversely, how too much choice is crippling. It’s all in how we handle those choices. For many people (including yours truly!), eliminating unnecessary choices results in a much higher level of happiness, and less stress. It’s not necessary to go to dramatic and wear the same outfit daily, a la Steve Jobs. It is possible to find your sartorial happy place that balances variety with simplicity. It just takes some mindfulness. (Or some help from a Wardrobe Stylist!)
Less Stuff = More Wear = Better Value
When I go into a client’s closet, I can usually tell what pieces they wear regularly, and what rarely sees the light of day. Clue: It’s not just the dust on the shoulders… Those pieces relegated to the back of the closet probably aren’t earning their keep. Nor are the ones piled under others on a hanger. You know… The shirts you have doubled up, or the jeans underneath the two pair you always grab.
We don’t wear what we can’t see, or access easily. So those pieces in the back and on the bottom aren’t being worn. Let go of them, and keep the pieces you actually wear. Get good use from them before they reach their expiration date. How many times have you purged your closet and disposed of “perfectly good” clothes that no longer appeal to you? Maybe you’ve gone off that style or color, or maybe it’s in great shape but just looks dated, or maybe it fit ten pounds ago. Think of it as inventory. Keep less, wear it more often, and get your money’s worth out of each and every piece!
Less Stuff = Less to Remember = More Time
What’s Already in Your Closet?
Has this ever happened to you? You go to the store, and spend some time looking at trousers or jeans. You find a pair! Woo hoo! When you get them home and hang them up, you find an almost identical item already hanging there. Sometimes more than one! (You can replace trousers or jeans with white blouses, red sweaters, black pumps, cute sneakers… You get my drift!) Where did those extras come from? Hint: Not the wardrobe fairies! Save yourself the time shopping and returning! If the new one is an intentional replacement for an worn piece that is past its prime, awesome! Get rid of the old one and rock the new. Please don’t save the new one for “good”!
When you forget that you have three (or 12 like Linda) pair of black pants in your closet, that’s a problem. What? How could multiples be a problem? Simple. Which will you wear? Your favorite. When we have duplicates (unless you are a dedicated uniform dresser), we tend to grab our favorite, and leave the others hanging. Maybe the pockets are better for your phone, or the fabric is just a little softer, or the length is just right for your most comfortable shoes. The others wait patiently for you to decide on them, but it never happens. You are splitting your wears, and not getting your money’s worth out of the ones you don’t wear (More on this below.) So why buy more?
PS: I don’t count similar trousers hemmed for different heel heights as splitting your wears, because when you grab those heels, you need that longer inseam! But if you never wear those heels because they are uncomfortable… Get rid of the heels, and the trousers hemmed for them.
Less Clothing = More Time + More Money
Once you’ve spent the money on yesterday’s oh-so-cute shirt, that money is gone. If you aren’t wearing it, there’s no reason to keep it. The Sunk Cost Fallacy crowds more closets than you can imagine. Leaving an unsuitable top, trouser, or pair of shoes in our wardrobe because we “spent good money on it” doesn’t bring us any value. Those pieces are taking up physical, mental, and emotional real estate, and time. Each time you paw through clothes you don’t wear, to get to the ones you do, you are wasting time. Two minutes daily may not seem like a big deal, but in a year, what could you do with that extra 12 hours? That’s the better part of a waking day!
Open your closet. How much money do you have hanging in your closet unworn? I have seen closets with (literally) thousands of dollars of unworn clothes. Unless buying a really trendy item that you will tire of in a few months, buy better and buy less. For example, I don’t spend a lot of money on white tee shirts. Our summers are so hot, sticky and sweaty, that a tee (no matter how expensive) rarely makes it past one summer season. If I am going to throw it away after 4 months, I can’t see dropping $100 on a tee. I know people happy to do so, but my budget and values just can’t make that drop.
So, how about you? Are you happier with lots of choices that bring you joy? Or are you more content with fewer options? A good way to know is: How do you feel about living out of a suitcase? When you are on vacation, is it easier to get dressed? (limits person) Or do you find that what you want is never there. If only I had packed… (options person) Have you ever tried limiting you wardrobe, or tried a capsule wardrobe for a season? Let me know in the comments below; I love to hear from you!