3 Steps to a Minimal Closet

minimal closet

I know not everyone agrees with me, but I do love the process of decluttering a closet. Clearing out a wardrobe is fun for me. But at the same time, I don't want to be wasteful, stuck in a cycle of buying and discarding. So I believe there's another step involved - the declutter is not the end game. There has to be a follow up that involves intentional wardrobe planning and purchasing of new items. Otherwise we end up right back where we started.

That's where I'm at now. I had to declutter my closet heavily over the last few months as I lost weight and nothing fit anymore. Essentially starting from scratch with new clothing! So before I went out and found anything new to wear, I had to get clear on what I was looking for and why. If I'm going to go through the effort of finding a piece and the price of acquiring it, I'm damn well going to make sure it's the perfect addition.

If you also need to simplify your closet, hopefully these three steps can guide you on your way. Your wardrobe doesn't have to be as minimalist as mine for this system to work. It's simply a way to make clothes shopping easier for you and ensure that ever item that comes in is something you love, rather than a filler piece that will be decluttered in a few months.

Step 1 - Define Your Style 

It's easier than you think to define! And if you don't know what it is and what it isn't, how will you know what pieces fit in and make you feel great? So just start by finding the words that describe your personal style.

Start with three to five words to define how you want to feel in your clothes. Confident, comfortable, professional, powerful, relaxed, cheerful, approachable, tough? There's so many options. Then, add a few words that you want your style to reflect, as in the genre. Chic, classic, romantic, bohemian, minimalist, grunge? Some words that define my style and how I want to feel in my clothes: elegant, confident, feminine, bright, romantic, relaxed.

Once you have your words, use Pinterest to create a board of your favorite looks. Look at what they have in common. Bright colors? Sparkle? Straight lines, lots of sweaters, jeans and sneakers? Notice what the details are that you're drawn to in each outfit. If it's not a specific piece, maybe it's a lot of a certain fabric, like lace, or print, like florals. 

And of course, if your current closet doesn't match your Pinterest one, it's time to declutter and make a wish list of new pieces.

Step 2 - Create a Uniform

Uniforms, or templates, make getting dressed so much easier. I know this for a fact since I struggled at nothing more my freshman year of college than getting dressed! I had spent the last 7 years in uniform, and I had no idea what to do with real clothes. And laundry, but that's a different post. A uniform now doesn't mean a plaid skirt and a white polo top though (it can if that's your style though, no judgment), it just means a few key pieces that you mix and match, making the whole process easier.

The first key point here is finding your colors. There are a ton of free resources online to find your ideal palette based on your skin tone, hair color, and eye color. Wearing your ideal colors, especially near your face, makes your features pop and generally makes you look healthier and more vibrant. For example, I'm a light spring. I look best in warm, spring time colors. Think coral, yellow, violet, mint, ocean blue, even orange. Muted, dark, dusty colors are not my friend - mauve, rose, black, all make me look washed out and overpower me.

To really streamline, narrow down to just a few of the colors from your palette, such as three neutral colors and three pops of color. You can use any colors from your palette and they will all go together, making clothing pairing decisions a breeze. 

Personally, I have not made that limit. I only wear dresses so since I don't have to match pieces together, it doesn't matter if I have a rainbow of colors in my closet. I do, however, make sure each dress is in a color or colors from my palette, and choose neutral shoes and purses to go with everything.

In addition to picking the color, it's important to also pick the style. It doesn't have to be all dresses like me, but I encourage you to research hemlines and necklines that flatter your figure. It's rarely skinny jeans, but you do you. If you know turtlenecks and miniskirts flatter your figure, make that your go to uniform in fall and winter. Maybe it's boot cut pants and a fitted button up, or an a-line skirt and tank top. Lots of ways to go! If you're not sure, there's also a ton of resources online that can help you determine your shape and the cuts and fabrics that flatter it.

Once you have the basic uniform down, you can finish the outfit with jackets, shoes, and accessories that make each outfit uniquely you, like big hoop earrings, a scarf, long necklaces, or a stack of bangles. Maybe even a signature piece you add to every outfit.

Step 3 - Invest in Anchor Pieces

Lastly, you want to invest in the anchor pieces. Not every item in your closet would be considered an anchor piece, so it's important to determine what they would be for you - that's where you want to spend a little more time and money to find the right item, and then build the rest of your closet around these key items. Anchor pieces have three things in common:
  1. Classic. Anchor pieces are timeless, flattering shapes. Not trends like bell bottoms. A-line skirts, trench coats, cashmere v-neck sweaters, nude heels, all timeless for a reason. These pieces transition from season to season. Some you can even wear all year long.
  2. Versatile. These are the items that you can wear to multiple occasions, from meetings to a wedding. They're just the right amount of formal that they can work for all scenarios. They're also the pieces that can be worn a multitude of ways or with many different pieces in your wardrobe, like a white button down.
  3. High Use. To get the most for your money, your anchor pieces are the high use ones - boots, coats, purses, jeans, etc. Spend the money here for quality - you wear these so many times and if you spend $30 and they fall apart after a month, you're throwing money away. When you invest in quality materials and craftsmanship, things like Chelsea boots and leather jackets can last you a lifetime (with the right upkeep!)

It really can be that simple - style, uniform, anchor pieces. With this system in place, I'll be able to easily narrow down my options for the new items coming into my closet. Which means I won't need to declutter again (until an item wears out past repair), as every item will be a well-thought out, perfect addition. Stay tuned for a post on my updated wardrobe! I'll share all about my style, anchor pieces, and what I picked out to complete my closet. 

Have you defined your style or uniform? What's your color palette?

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