I have always loved shopping for new clothes. Sometimes my family would make a day out of it- we would shop a little, get lunch, shop some more, stop for coffee and then head home. It was always fun- spending time together and going home with some new outfits that made you feel great.
And then there were the times that you would go shopping, or buy clothes online, and they didn’t make you feel great. The style was “just okay”, or the clothes didn’t fit right, or even worse you bought something you loved but after the first time washing it it no longer looked like the same piece of clothing. These are parts of the shopping experience that I have come to dread- where shopping becomes tedious and frustrating.
Recently the term “capsule wardrobe” has become quite popular, along with the minimalism movement, which made me (as well as many other people) reconsider my own wardrobe. How many pieces of clothing did I really need? And why in the world did I keep buying cheap pieces of clothing that only lasted one season, if that?
After watching a few videos on simplifying your wardrobe, as well as reading Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I went to work. I chose the method of pulling all of my clothes out of the dresser and closet, and laying them on the living room floor. And boy, did I have way more clothes than I thought. I then went through each piece of clothing considering the following:
1. Did I love it?
2. Did it make me feel great when I wore it?
3. Could I wear it with multiple outfits?
4. Did it serve a purpose?
After following these steps I was able to get rid of about one third of my wardrobe (counting accessories and shoes). I wasn’t able to get rid of as much as I was hoping to right away, but I’ve learned to accept that this is a process that will take a while. After successfully donating what items I could, my next step was to think about how to curb my shopping habits. The point of all of this was in fact to simplify my life, and to keep it simple. Not to use this as an excuse to go and buy new clothes to fill my closet with.
The first rule that I put in place (or have tried my best to put in place) was waiting 30 days to purchase any piece of clothing that I was currently interested in. Although this can be tough, I have had multiple experiences where I think I really need something but then after a week or so I forget about it. It obviously wasn’t necessary, or that important to me. Next, I’ve been trying to avoid going shopping just to fill the time. Instead, I have made more time for things that I enjoy- such as writing or spending time with family and friends. And finally, when I do need to buy a piece of clothing, I look for quality products that I love. Shopping at stores such as L.L. Bean who have great return/exchange policies is also something that I am trying to take advantage of. I want to feel great in my clothes, and be able to wear them for more than just a season.
Yes, this whole process can be tedious and time consuming. I am constantly re-evaluating my wardrobe and taking things to Goodwill, however I have found that I am happier with a smaller selection of clothes that I love than I was with a larger selection of clothes that were “just okay”. All in all, I would say that simplifying my wardrobe has had way more pros than cons: it takes me less time to pick out an outfit, packing for trips is easier, and I am spending less on clothing all around. These things that used to bring stress and frustration into my life, are now becoming easy and enjoyable.