About 6 months ago, I took the time and courage to finally de-clutter my wardrobe and get rid off of everything that I wasn’t using. One of the reasons to go into this crazy de-clutter was that I had lost 7 kilos (a bit over 15 pounds) and many clothes didn’t fit me anymore. The other reason was we were moving to another country and I wanted to reduce and minimalize the size of my wardrobe that I was going to bring with me.
But before start de-cluttering, I’ve taken some time to assert my own style and be more confident about what I wear and how do I feel about it. I keep on my bedside table a book that I’m always reading and there are tones of information about style and confidence when dressing up, “The Little Black Book of Style” by Nina Garcia.
If you are trying to figure it out your style and create a more streamlined wardrobe, I highly recommend this book, because you will learn the basics to create an essential wardrobe with loads of style without having to keep tones of clothes in your closet. The book tells you how to be confident and feel good about yourself and your body. Every one of us that loves fashion has a ‘Style Icon’ in mind that inspires us. I love Audrey Hepburn style because she is the most classic of all. Emma Watson is young but knows how to dress up beautifully and elegant all the time, and Sarah Jessica Parker, a petite woman like me that dress up perfect for her body time. They all inspire me when comes to fashion and style together.
In this book, Nina Garcia describes that a ‘Style Icon’ knows how to edit her wardrobe and invest in “the bones” which is the essential pieces for any wardrobe. She also knows how to buy with drama without being a ‘fashion victim’ and knows the importance of shoes and the power of accessories because those are the pieces that will make your whole outfit come together. A style is not about money because you don’t need to spend a fortune on clothes to be a style icon. And last but not least, mixing it up and being imperfect is key to give you the confidence to create your own style without following the herd.
I’m not a very big fan of following trends. I always prefer to stick with the classic that lasts forever and saves you money too. You don’t have to buy new clothes every season just because a new trend came out. But once in a while if a trend piece is good enough and could be a good addition to your wardrobe style, I guess will not make any harm, right?
Well, last summer, when we were still in the UK, we wanted to take our daughter to a day at the beach. I didn’t have any summer/beach dress in my wardrobe, so I went to a popular shop and bought this summer jersey dress with the cold shoulder trend. The moment I’ve bought it, the moment I’ve regretted, but I was glad that was a very inexpensive dress and didn’t cost much. After I’ve worn it at the beach, I only wore it a few more times at home as a loungewear, then went to my donate pile.
Now, this cold shoulder trend is everywhere. Isn’t this supposed to be just a summer trend? Since you have your shoulders bare? But no, it continued into fall and winter collection and it’s seams that will continue for some time yet. To be honest, I hate them, because every time I look through an online shop looking for a beautiful top to buy the only thing I see is this army of cold shoulders tops. Are they never going away?
So, anyway, when I finally asserted my style and knew what pieces of clothes I wanted, was much easier to eliminate the excess and create a wardrobe with pieces that are my style and complement my way of living.
Here is the step by step how I did it.
1. What is your style?
Once more I suggest you read the book ‘The Little Black Book of Style’ by Nina Garcia if you haven’t done yet. It will really help you to figure it out your style. A style is when your clothes make you feel confident about yourself and don’t follow any trend. I found out that style is very personal, doesn’t follow any rules and you can use in any season. If you have a Breton top, you can use during summer, winter, fall or spring because its simple and elegant, the same goes to a crisp white shirt that can be used anytime, anywhere, and mix and match with practically anything in your wardrobe. It never falls out of fashion, because it’s not fashion but a classic piece of cloth that had endured many decades already.
2. Create a journal for your fashion style
Keep a journal or sketchbook with notes about styles that you like, types and shapes of clothes that are flattering to your body shape, colours and fabrics that appeal to you. This notebook was a great idea for me because it really helped me to find my own style. Another great idea is to create a fashion board vision on Pinterest. If you already have a fashion board on Pinterest, create another board with only the pictures that really catches your attention and you can see yourself wearing it. Choose pictures that have colours or fabrics that you like, styles that you would love to wear and outfits that you are dying to try on. This board will be the basis for your style.
Now is time for the purge. Remove all clothes from your wardrobe/closet/rack and try on every piece in front of a full-length mirror and be very critical about how does it fit and look on you. Does it fit perfect for your body shape and lifestyle? Do you love it? Can you wear it with at least 3 other pieces in your wardrobe? If you answered yes to all the questions, then you should keep. Otherwise, I believe it’s a piece to throw on the donate/sell pile. I know how hard sometimes is to get rid off of clothes for whatever the reason.
I had in my closet a dress that I’ve worn in the New Year’s Eve of 2011 just before I’ve got pregnant. At that time I was weighing 56 Kg, so I’ve kept the dress with the hope that someday I was going to lose weight and be able to use it again. After 6 years I’ve finally managed to lose the weight, but when I’ve tried the dress on, it didn’t look good, it fitted but it wasn’t my style anymore. Why on earth did I’ve kept that dress for 6 years if I didn’t even like the dress that much? Just to prove to myself that one day I would be able to fit in it again? Sometimes we get attached to things that are not even important anymore.
So, please don’t get too sentimental, because it’s not worth it. Clothes are replaceable and you can buy a new one and even better than the one you had before. The woman body changes a lot and we have to be able to adapt to those changes during our lifetime. Clothes that have fitted you perfect before, might not fit you perfect now anymore. After pregnancy, the body changes a lot and even when you get to your before pregnancy weight, you still might not have the same measurements on your bust, waist and hips.
4. Make a shopping list
After you’ve decluttered, now is time to fill the gaps in your wardrobe. Make a list of all clothes that you will need to buy according to your style. Start with ‘the bones’ ones. These are the pieces that are very essential to any wardrobe, like a classic trench coat, a pair of black heels, jeans that fit you perfect and so on. Go back to the book and find out which pieces you don’t have and you will need to buy, list them in order of preference/importance. Don’t feel obliged to have every piece of clothing that is listed in the book. Buy what fits your lifestyle.
Add everything to the list, from clothes to shoes, accessories, jewellery, bags, hats and even underwear and activewear. I have a spread page on my bullet journal with the list of everything that I wish to buy. I have a section just for underwear, that I’ve called intimates, these are the ones that you have to replace constantly, so they are always going to be part of my list. But other items like snow boots, if you buy a good quality one that will last for a few years, you won’t need to have it again in your next year list and so on. Every year you will have to update your list with the items that you will migrate from the previous year, that you didn’t buy yet, plus new items that you might need to add to your new list.
Editing your wardrobe will be a constant work that will require your attention, so you don’t end up with a cluttered closet again or with pieces of clothing that you are not using anymore.
A good way to keep your closet streamlined is to have a clear-out at least twice a year. End of winter and before spring is a good time to go through your fall and winter clothes, if there is any item that you haven’t used once on the last season, send it to a charity or donate. If you haven’t used now, you probably won’t be using next fall/winter season. Do this purge again at the end of summer with your spring/summer wardrobe. With this routine every year you will be able to keep a closet that will always work for you without unnecessary items that will be on your way every morning.