The lessons I learnt when I cleaned out my closet. My key tips for shopping smart and accumulating less.
MY CLOSET EXPLODED AND HERE IS WHY
Over the past week, I have seriously culled back my wardrobe. I went through each rack and shelf and did that whole “does it bring me joy?” thing. And thank goodness I did too. We live in a small, what I calculate to be less than 70sq meter apartment, which can feel dominated with clothing.
It was weighing me down that I hadn’t dealt with the situation since we moved last. I am VERY fortunate to often be sent sample pieces from designers that I love. It is exciting to work with these brands and share their pieces with you all because, as you no doubt realise, I friggin love fashion! However, I will admit that probably 80% of the time these don’t actually fit me. Generally, these items end up being worn for the blog (because I do love the designs) and then find there way into the closet not to be touched again.
This is how easily things pile up. And I want to reiterate how lucky I consider myself to be to find myself in this situation. I shop less now and invest more in items I truly love. Rather than regularly buying something new, I wait and save up for a piece that will be worn regularly over a few years. But this took me some time to learn.
Back to my closet. I went through section by section, tried things on and began to cull. Soon I had a monstrous pile. Dividing these up I filled four garbage bags to drop off to donation bins and put aside newer pieces to sell. Of these, I have so far listed 70 pieces for sale on Carousell, which you can check out here if you want to shop my wardrobe.
WHAT I REALISED IN CLEANING OUT MY CLOSET
The following are the key takeaways I realised when I culled my closet.
Develop your own style and create a ‘uniform’ out of it.
If you know what you feel great in, wearing that most of the time makes perfect sense. Creating a self-imposed uniform will allow you to dress quickly with little thought.
For me, it is jeans, a tee or button down silk shirt and blazer or leather moto jacket. This takes me through most days and most occasions. In summer I switch this up to a wrap dress and boots or Converse sneakers. 90% of the time, that is my uniform. Though I talk occasionally about taking a risk, this is more to break out and experiment once you have your personal style down.
Quick Tips on how to develop your own personal style:
Need help working out your own personal style? Try laying out your favourite things to wear that fit well and make you look good. Now Pinterest search for those items. Search using a term at the end like “denim skirt street style” or “denim skirt outfit idea”. Then re-pin any outfit ideas that you gravitate towards into an album. Once you do this with your favourite pieces and have an album, go through and write down anything that you would like to add as your wish-list to have with you when you shop.
For example, right now, I just did this and have “black Converse sneakers” and “navy silk midi skirt” on my list. Next time I shop, these are what I will look out for. Though I may have found cool one-off outfit ideas like a pair of on-trend boots, I weigh up how often I will wear them and instead stick to the items I saw myself getting the most use out of. This leads me to my next point.
Don’t buy into trends.
I had some things in my closet I’d bought which seemed like a good idea while I was in the store, the loud music pumping, images of models styled up in the latest looks glaring down at me. Only to take the piece home and realise I wasn’t really going to wear it. Goodbye hard-earned dollars and wardrobe space. :(
Know your colours.
In addition to my self-imposed uniform, these days I have a set palette of colours I love, wear all the time and that harmonise with my accessories and the other pieces in my closet. Shopping within your own palette allows you to put on blinders to other items. For example, I love lilac and emerald but don’t wear either, so despite their being everywhere at the moment, I skip them and shop for my own colours.
If it doesn’t fit, don’t buy it.
If something is the wrong size or cut, it will inevitably make me feel uncomfortable. Practicality is key for me. While I can argue that I will get something altered to fit, 90% of the time I don’t get around to it.
Sales can be a trap.
Just because it is on sale, you don’t have to buy it. This is a lesson I took a while to learn and have to remind myself of often. It is how I have wound up with beautiful designer pieces that are too big for me or completely the wrong colour.
The occasional piece that you never wear is a waste.
A few years ago I uncharacteristically said yes when invited to attend a ball as media with a days notice. I think I was in it for the free meal, but panicked and went out to Zimmermann and bought a dress for the occasion. I wore it, ate the dinner and left not long after. I’d attended on my own and didn’t want to dance with relative strangers. The dress went back into the garment bag and has never been touched since. WHAT A WASTE!! If you need an occasional dress, loan one, or have a few that you rotate on hand in your closet. Don’t just go out and buy one for a one-off occasion. Save your $$!
Don’t hoard the same items.
This one is a tough one. I have about ten white shirts for example that are all slightly different but I end up using three of them regularly. Having too many choices of the same pieces is kind of a waste. Three is a good amount to have to choose from. Three slightly different variations of the staples you wear as a self-imposed uniform are enough.
THE FINAL WORD
This outfit I am wearing pictured is a good example of solid wardrobe choices for me. The Army jacket I bought about ten years ago at a vintage surplus stall. My silk cami top I got in 2016 and have worn non-stop since. This Aje leather mini skirt (which I also bought in tan) is a classic leather mini skirt that I will be using as a staple piece for years to come. Finally, all of my accessories are things that reflect my take on staples that are a little bit elevated and rock and roll but wearable enough for every day. I have worn this exact look several times, prompting my pal Ashleigh to request I shoot it for Inspiring Wit. I believe her exact words were “Please shoot this look for your blog or else I will copy it and shoot it myself” haha.
I’d love to know what you do with your clothes when you are finished with them!!
Do you give to charity? Friends? Sell online or at a market? Regret buying so much in the first place? (It can’t just be me!) Or do you like to keep everything? Looking forward to reading your tips for decluttering your closets below.
VINTAGE ARMY JACKET (SIMILAR HERE),
GRANA SILK CAMI (SIMILAR HERE),
AJE LEATHER MINI SKIRT,
TOGA PULLA BOOTS,
PROENZA SCHOULER PS11 BAG,
MURKANI JEWELLERY HOOP EARRINGS (SIMILAR HERE).