October 5, 2016

Redirection: Closet Basics & a Closet Cleanout


In my last "Redirection" post, I discussed a growing interest in minimalism, particularly concerning clothing. I acknowledged that I didn't want to adopt the popular "capsule wardrobe" approach, because it feels too restrictive and isn't very practical for a student who has a variety of situations to dress for. At the same time, however, my new approach to clothing shopping has made me rethink my approach to daily styling:

There are a few "goals" that I want to achieve when it comes to style:
  • I want to dress in a way that actually reflects my style/what I like, without buying am entirely new wardrobe
  • I don't want to waste time standing in front of my closet, wondering what I'm going to wear
  • I want to have a complete set of "closet basics": clothes that serve as neutral canvases for all different looks, and can be worn in a variety of situations/seasons
  • I want to de-clutter my closet, and only have clothing that I actually wear
So how am I going to achieve these goals? I've started to do the following:
  • I've created individual Pinterest boards for specific clothing types/pieces to help me gain inspiration for outfits. Most boards are practical; I always assess the image to see if I'd actually be able to recreate the looks, and if the image itself (the background, especially) is deceiving me (will I actually wear that outfit, because I don't think I'll be hiking a fjord anytime soon). There's no harm in having an "impractical" board, but I've realized that it's necessary to have practical ones too. One example of a new board is my "plain tee" board -- I have a few single-colored, basic t shirts in my closet; though I often wear them as workout shirts, I'd love to branch out and find other ways to wear them. Pinterest takes away the burden of having to be overly creative; I've found several ways (that I like) to wear plain tees already! No need to buy a new closet when you can approach the one you already have with new inspiration.
  • I've created a thoroughly, thought-out list of closet "wishlist" items. These items sit on the list for a while, partly because I am excruciatingly picky about clothing, and find it nearly impossible to find exactly what I want, but also partly because I need time to think about how those pieces would function in my closet. The time to think makes me reflect on outfit ideas, the specifics of the desired piece (the fit, structure, type of fabric, details, etc.).
  • I've been gradually taking pieces that I haven't worn in ages out of my closet. I'm a sentimental person, so it's tough to get rid of things, but what I've found helpful is taking those "on the fence" pieces and putting them in a bag. A few months later, I'll come back to the bag and look through the pieces (if I haven't already taken them out); I'll use that test of time as a way to decide whether or not it's time to give them away or try selling them at Plato's closet.
  • I have a small box designated for truly sentimental pieces: so I can't get rid of everything, and sometimes there's good reason. But I've also been thinking of my closet as "precious real estate"; decluttering, by removing those pieces and safe-keeping them elsewhere, eliminates the agony of giving a sentimental piece away and the distraction of having an impractical piece in your closet. 
  • I've realized that there is no standard set of "closet basics". I've heard from so many people that "you need to have a great pair of jeans, a plain white t shirt, nude heels, black heels...". Think again though - your closet should still be personalized; what someone else considers to be a basic might not be a basic/staple for you. One example would be nude heels: they're gorgeous, but I can barely walk in them, and I hardly have opportunities to wear them. An analogous piece that would be a closet basic for me, on the other hand, are nude chunky boots, like these.
  • I've begun creating "uniforms": simple equations for comfortable and occasion-appropriate outfits that I love. This eliminates some time wasted, wondering what I'm going to win. A favorite of mine is: a soft, comfortable skater dress +  high tops + necklace + jacket + bag. These uniforms are general enough to offer room for creativity and styling; I can switch up the look by wearing a structured, olive jacket or by wearing a soft, cream cardigan. At the same time, they're still slightly streamlined, so they can be pretty time efficient too.
That's what I've got so far! This is all still full of trial and error, but these steps have definitely helped me work towards achieving those aforementioned goals :) 

xoxo, han





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