Happy day, reader dear!
Does your wardrobe feel out of control? Does the sheer amount of clothing you own overwhelm you? Do you wish your closet would burn down and you could start fresh. Do you struggle with letting clothing go? Do you wonder what you should keep and what should stay? Maybe you have decided to live more mindfully and intentionally. And want to know how your closet plays into that. Then you’re in the right place!
If you are new to Closet Play Image, Welcome! And if you are returning, Welcome back! It’s lovely to see you again! I’m Liz, an Image, Wardrobe, and Color Consultant. Think of me as a style coach or personal trainer for your style AND a mindful dressing evangelist. Getting a client’s style and wardrobe in the best shape of his/her/ze life is my bread and butter! Watching a client see herself (Most of my clients are she, but NOT all!) differently, stand taller, and walk more confidently is my WHY.
I had a fun To Keep or Not to Keep call with a lovely woman the other day, who said Yes! to all the questions above. Since she’s not alone, I thought it was time to drop here the tips I shared with her. If you’re not yet ready for a Wardrobe Audit because it feels too overwhelming, or you feel so far behind that even the starting blocks are too far, then this is your post! If you are wondering what the smaller wardrobe hoopla is all about, this might be your answer…
1. Start a Buying (and Shopping) Fast
To stop the boat from sinking, you have to stop the water from coming in! It’s time for a shopping moratorium. NOT forever! Just a set time frame. I suggest one month. Give yourself the gift of a full month of not buying anything new for your wardrobe. (It really is a gift! I promise.) Mark Can-Shop-Again day on your calendar. (You might even find you want to extend it once you get there!)
In the meantime, shop your wardrobe! Try new ways to combine the pieces you already own. (There are LOTS of tips and outfit recipes here on the blog!) If you are like most of us, you won’t end up naked if you stop buying for a month.
Minimize temptation! Unsubscribe from store email notifications. Throw catalogs right into the recycle bin. Don’t browse on-line. Limit your social media time if that’s where you find yourself tempted. I know there will be ads below this post, and I am sorry about that… The light bill doesn’t pay itself! Get accountable: Tell someone else you are fasting from buying. Ask them to help you stay honest. When I did my year-long shopping fasts, I asked Mr. CP to come with me when I needed to go somewhere tempting.
If you discover something you need during your shopping fast month, jot it down on a Wish List. For more ways a Wish List can help improve your style, read this! Once shopping day comes again, examine the items on your wish list… Here’s one checklist. And for those further along in the style journey, another.
2. Take Inventory without Judgement
I know. This part is scary, but I promise that it will help you stick to your fast. And make clear that you won’t run out of clothes in the next month. I’m not asking you to pull everything out of your closet. This is simply a basic inventory. Do it on your phone if that makes you happy. I grab paper and a clipboard. Just start counting. By category. If shirts are the first thing you see when you open your closet, write down shirt, go through the hangars, and tally. When you get to skirts, trousers, dresses, or any other category, do the same. If you feel the need to break down shirts into sleeve length, you can, but don’t get so caught up in getting this perfect that you don’t inventory. (Yes. I might know something about that…) If you miss pieces in the laundry, don’t sweat it. Add them later if you remember. This isn’t about perfection!
Taking inventory is relatively easy. Here’s the hard part: NO judgement! Push away the negative self talk about how much that item cost, or how much you’ve spent, not worn, or what doesn’t fit. Let that go. (Cue Frozen.) Yes, it will be hard. We say things to ourselves that we’d never say out loud to another. Imagine this is someone else’s closet. Your only job is to count, not judge. Don’t worry about tallying underwear. I do suggest inventorying your PT gear and loungewear. Data is powerful. Gather it.
Bonus Points: Do the math! If you’ve read one of my Capsule Wardrobe Math posts, you’ll know that it doesn’t take a lot of clothing to make a lot of outfits. (Here’s Summer.) (Here’s Winter.) Try the math. Calculate how many outfits you can make with what you already own. Write that number down on a sticky note you attach to your credit card. Or to the cash in your wallet. Look at it on that white-knuckle day when you want that cute new top you just saw at Target. Or that email from Loft. But you’re not getting those emails any more, right? 😉
3. Find Out How Much You Need
(& What You DO Wear!)
When you open your closet, where’s the first place you look? That is where you are going to put your Working Wardrobe. I don’t mean work clothes. Your Working Wardrobe are the pieces you actually wear. Don’t panic! You don’t have any thinking to do here. This spot in your closet will be the place you put the clothes you ACTUALLY wear for the month of your shopping fast. This exercise gives you the chance to observe what you really wear from day to day… Not the might-wear’s, or the could-wears, or the someday-I’ll-wear’s. This is the I-WORE-IT section of your closet.
Push open some space on your rod. Or grab a rolling rack. If there’s no room, take any clothes that are out-of-season, or do not fit you right now, and get them out of your way. Those shouldn’t be taking up your valuable closet real estate anyway!
If you feel brave, extend your fast for another month, and keep adding to the Working Wardrobe section of your closet. Three months is even better! Remember, it’s not about suffering; it’s about learning about what your own that is working for you, and what isn’t! Data, people. Data.
What’s next? Well, join me a month from now for another post to find out!
Is your wardrobe all better now? No. Have you taken concrete steps to get it there? YES? You could have someone come in and remove everything that doesn’t work, and leave you with 35 perfectly coordinated pieces that take you everywhere you need to go. But would it stick? Or would more keep creeping in? The point of living with the discomfort and gathering the data is to give you the information you need to make the right choices for YOUR wardrobe. Because yours shouldn’t look like anyone else’s! So how about you? Are you happy with your wardrobe? Do you have your own personal custom boutique? Or a rummage sale? Which do you want? Let me know in the comments below… I do so love to hear from you!