It finally hit me last night as I struggled for the seemingly thousandth time to wedge a new dress into my closet between dozens of tightly-spaced hangers: I HAVE to clean out my wardrobe!
The consequences of my over-packed closet have extended far beyond just the frustration of having to muscle my way in to introduce a new or freshly-laundered piece. Because of my bulging closet, I often have that feeling of having nothing to wear because I can’t even see what I own. As a consequence, I keep reverting to the same tired old outfit combos because it’s just easier, or buying new things so I don’t have to sort through the piles of old. More importantly, having too much stuff creates this subtle backdrop of stress and overwhelm in my life that never seems to abate. If I clean out my closet, I might actually be able to cleanse my spirit!
If you’ve shopped or been following Love Your Body, you know that my intention is to bring you a beautifully-curated collection of comfortable, high-quality, multi-functional pieces that will bring inspiration and ease to your life. You don’t need to have a lot, and what you have should serve you well. Frankly, it’s time for me to follow my own advice and create a closet that reflects this philosophy!
I’ve obsessively read about the “5-piece French wardrobe,” because of my interest in minimizing. But, you know what? It has never quite worked for me! I have a very individual sense of style that doesn’t conform to the more formulaic approach of the 5-piece French wardrobe. In my case, for instance, tailored trousers have no realistic role in my life, whereas joggers are an essential foundational piece. My goal for myself has been to achieve the same objective of paring down, but to do so in a way that is guided by my unique personality and lifestyle needs.
So, starting out on my great mission to pare down my wardrobe, here are the four guiding questions I will use to evaluate each piece or look throughout the process:
Is it outstanding quality?
Do I feel fabulous in it? (Does it both look AND feel good?)
Does it express who I truly am?
Is it functional for the life I actually lead?
I have also identified the key foundational pieces that I want hanging in my closet: those items that regularly complete an outfit or that an outfit is built upon. My problem at present is that I own dozens of each type of foundational piece. The goal: hone in on my favorite 1-3 of each item and ditch the rest. My key foundational pieces include:
A dark blazer that looks great with denim or joggers
A fitted, cropped denim jacket
A leather (or vegan leather) bomber
Cardigans for layering
Joggers that can be dressed up or down
Black leggings that I can wear from down dog to date night
Skinny jeans in black and indigo
The perfect white tee-shirt
Black strappy layering tanks
Off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, sweaters and tees
A black pencil skirt- one for warm, one for cold weather
A jumpsuit that can be dressed up or down
An above-knee dress that can be worn as a mini or tunic
Pashminas for layering
The perfect everyday fall coat
A heavy everyday winter coat
A coat for dressier occasions
A spring jacket
Good-quality yoga bras, tops and pants
Easy tanks for layering for yoga or the gym
Flat ankle boots
High-heel ankle booties
Flat tall boots
High-heel tall boots
Fashion sneakers—both low- and high-top
Flip flops for the pool/beach
High-heel or wedge sandals
One of the takeaways that I LOVE from the 5-piece French wardrobe is the idea that we can bring in a few pieces every season that add spice to the foundation. These are items that we may only keep for a season or two because they’re aligned with the trends of the time or are so distinct that we tire of them after 6 months. The key is to have only a few, not a closet-full of these add-ons. Right now, for instance, I have a show-stopping sequined blouse from Velvet by Graham and Spencer that I adore when worn casually with jeans. Is it necessary? Not at all. Will I wear it next fall? Not so sure. Does it make me smile at present? Absolutely!
As tedious as it sounds, I firmly believe the most effective way to cleanse your closet it to begin by taking everything out. Take a moment to inhale the freedom and peace of the beautiful space that now stands before you. How will you choose to consciously decorate it? Now, with intention and inspiration, carefully select, if you will, the actors who will star in your production. Then, graciously thank the other contenders for showing up and bid them adieu as they find their way to another home.
The kids are at school, my husband has left for work, and I’m taking a personal day for what may turn out to be the most revolutionary thing I’ve done in years for myself. Who says that we in the fashion industry are not exactly in the business of saving lives? Given the profound, potentially life-altering, time-saving, consciousness-lifting impact of a perfected closet, I beg to differ!