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Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Less is More Project: Week 26 - Wardrobe dilemmas

Halfway point!

Last week, we went over the basic items one must own in order to fulfill all material (and some non-material) needs. 

This week, we will focus more specifically on the contents of your wardrobe.

If you spend long minutes deciding what to wear each morning, or worse, feel like none of your clothes really fits you all that well, you might benefit from a complete wardrobe overhaul.

And for that, why not use the traveler's wisdom? Traveling wardrobe tips might apply to regular wardrobe more than we think.

Rules your clothes should follow

The clothes you own, just like the clothes you would take on a trip, should be...

Clothes that fit. That sounds simple enough, but is there any wardrobe out there that does NOT contain "clothes that used to fit" or "clothes that will - hopefully - fit again one day"? You wouldn't put clothes that don't fit  in your suitcase; don't keep them at home either.

Clothes that make you feel wonderful, both in terms of comfort and look. Anything else can be discarded. Really. You know those pieces that immediately transform you in a a) younger b) slimmer c) more radiant self as soon as you put them on? Those are the types of clothes you want to buy, and keep. If it does not awaken the fantastic in you, let it go. 

Clothes that are versatile and multipurpose, i.e. that you can "mix and match" in many different ways. At home or on the road, time and space are precious. Don't waste them by keeping pieces of clothing that only fit with one thing or can only be worn in one occasion.

Clothes that are efficient. Another great tip to save on space is to choose fabrics that provide the most warmth per weight and thickness. Merino wool is one of my favorites.

Clothes that are low-maintenance. Even people who actually enjoy ironing (I am one of those freaks) have other, more interesting things to do. When you travel especially, you want fabrics that will look good after being squished (or rolled) in a suitcase, and that will also dry quickly after a wash.

Clothes that offer the most bang for your buck. Sometimes, it's worth buying quality clothing: it might cost more, but it will last longer, and the fit, feel and look will make you want to wear it more often than any "cheap" item. This is not to say that good clothing has to be expensive (plus, you could always buy second-hand), but quality often is worth it. If you buy quality, you don't need a bigger budget: you'll buy better... and you'll buy LESS.

In addition to those guidelines, may I recommend that when you travel, you avoid whites and dark reds? (I am not talking about wine here.) The first gets stained too easily, the second will ruin everything else when you do a load of laundry. Stick to "medium" colors such as beige, light brown, grey, khaki. They match with everything. Adorn them with a splash of color, and you are good to go.

What about accessories?

Your accessories should follow the same rules as your clothes: few, versatile, good quality pieces will go a long way. This applies to bags, shoes, jewelry, etc. Let's admit it, we all have a handful of favorites when it comes to accessories. Everything else can find a better life in someone else's home. Donate it.

It's all in the numbers

Discarding many items will follow logically from a mindful approach to your wardrobe. This should not be scary. It should be exciting! I
f there was ever a time to adopt the trendy concept of "capsule wardrobe", it's now! Whether you do it gradually or cold turkey, I can promise you will fully enjoy the benefits. At home, you will love having a small number of great options. On the road, additional benefits will include taking only one small suitcase. As a seasoned traveller, I have perfected the art of fitting all my belongings in a carry-on, which allows me to walk right past the luggage carousel in airports. I love it! On my latest trip, a 2½ weeks vacation that included both city and wilderness activities, I took a total of 20 items of clothing (which includes outerwear and sleepwear but excludes underwear).

What clothing dilemmas do you face? What clothing resolutions are you ready to make?

Your turn to share about your struggles and victories of the week! What did you resist? Did you donate or get rid of anything? Did you face any challenge? Please comment below! And...

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  1. Clothes you need. Clothes you don't need. I sweat so much between work and workouts that I need two shirts a day -- everyday.

    This week I put a bid in on the work space next to my fitness studio -- for me to live in. There is no shower which will mean sink baths 7 days per week. How minimalist is that..? On the heels of the first part of my comment, things could get stinky. Looking into a solar shower for the roof! Less is more!!!

  2. Being older and "lumpier", I do not believe that I own clothes that make me feel "gorgeous" or even thinner than my own eyes. It is usually the opposite. But how I hate ironing! Here also we are eons from each other.

  3. ahh I so so so still need help with the VERSATILITY one.
    Ive held on (so far) to a few pieces I LOVE but which are NOT versatile at all.

  4. LOL My clothing dilemma is that I barely have enough to get from one end of the week to the other and most of it is old and raggedy. I'm on a mission to lose some weight and buy some new outfits. I'll try to keep the rules in mind when it happens.

  5. ... Hello Julie .... we are half way through winter here in Australia.... and very soon I will be taking the least used of my winter clothes and donating them to a charity shop. I have done this at the end of the last 2 seasons and it seemed to work well for me.... I wear the same kind of clothes for Spring and Autumn.. so they are mid-season to me .. so in myeyes we only have 3 seasons of clothes to worry about... feels easier to cope that way...
    I love this post and have saved it to re-read as needed... xxxx
    Hugs... Barb xxx

    1. I also go through the family's clothes between seasons, to make sure we only keep what we need, and only shop for what's missing. Thanks for commenting!