I decided to curate my wardrobe because I wanted to simplify my life. So far so good. Now that my wardrobe is pared down, I have been concentrating on creating outfits, or looks. I’ve recently begun writing down the outfits that I feel really confident in because if I’m in a time pinch I like having the ability to pull something out quickly but not look like I threw just anything on. I hate the ambivalence of “Oh- what am I going to wear?” I don’t like the thought of pulling out a shirt that I love only to realize that I have no bottom that looks good with it. So here’s the rule- every piece of clothing you own should pair well with at least one other thing in your wardrobe.
I use a color palette for my clothes. 90% of my wardrobe is black, 5% grey, 5 % a mix of white, pink (varying shades), olive green and burgundy. There is never going to be a day in the winter where I’m not wearing something black. All my winter bags are black. Almost all of my winter shoes are black. I feel cool, chic and elegant in black, so it is what I use as my base. I’m going to suggest you have a base color. It doesn’t have to be 90% of your wardrobe, but I would aim for 50%. It’s just simpler.
So how do I switch up my wardrobe? I admit, the formula is sort of like a uniform: Today I am going to write, then I am meeting up with a friend at a museum, then I am going to attempt to run errands, then I am meeting my husband for date night (this is a maybe because we’re supposed to go to a place with a winterized rooftop and as it’s a tad brisk in the northeast, I don’t know if they will be able to adequately heat it) But the point of giving you my itinerary is to say that I want to wear the same outfit all day- so I’m going with black slacks, grey long sleeve t shirt and burg/black/grey poncho sweater thing. For day I’m wearing black sneakers, but I’m switching to booties for dinner. I will also switch from small earrings to larger ones, and switch wrist candy – oversized watch for day, silver cuff for night.
Now- we can start with the black slacks and grey t shirt, but I can switch up the look by adding a blazer, or a cardigan, or a scarf, or a bold necklace….see “wear” I’m going? Two basic pieces, a top and a bottom can turn into a variety of different looks and feels just by switching up what you pair with it. Sneaker, flats or heels? Chunky jewelry vs delicate? Big satchel or small clutch?
So maybe you don’t need a whole bunch of clothes. Maybe you just need some pieces that you love, and a few accessories that you adore and define who you are….or who you want to be at that moment. And then you really don’t have to worry about what you’re going to wear ever again…
Here’s a primer on my winter accessories:
4 scarves (these are not my winter scarves, but jaunty little things I wear around my neck) that add flair
3 long necklaces (silver, grey beads and clear beads)
3 chokers (silver boho, grey stones, funky silver)
(I have a few “normal” length necklaces, but they don’t really mesh well with my winter clothes, so I rarely pull them out)
Earrings- I have 9 pairs of earrings, 3 simple studs and 6 varying sizes and styles ranging from funky to evening
Bracelets- I have really small wrists and this is a problem because many bracelets are just too large- I must stick to tight cuffs or ones with clasps. I can’t wear bangles because they slide off. So I have 3 cuff bracelets, 2 leather wrap bracelets and two chain bracelets.
Watches- watches are my vice, though I admit that I never set the time on them- I just like the way they look.
Rings- other than my wedding rings I do not own any others. My fingers are really small and wearing rings makes me look like I’m a child wearing adult jewelry.
FYI- none of my jewelry is “real” – it is all costume. I don’t like spending a lot of money on jewelry- it’s not my thing. But every piece of costume that I have I love. They make me feel good and help me pull together my look.
Some of you are thinking that this sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. I have a much easier time getting dressed now than I did when I had twice as many clothes. I also feel more put together, which is making me feel more confident, which just makes me feel better.
I’ve been working on my style for a year, and on my closet for a few months. It’s taken me a little bit of time to figure out the rhythm, but I’m finally getting in step. I know that this is not for everyone- judging by home shows, people still have a lot of clothes. But simplifying my wardrobe has been great for me. As with anything- it all comes down to what works for you.
With a little luck there will be pictures tomorrow…