Creating a Wardrobe & Why Closet Essentials Are Important

Fashion in all its wonder can be daunting at times. Trends come swirling in and out of our lives so quickly we don’t have time to blink. For a long time I stressed myself out over keeping up, and I spent way to much time and money on things I didn’t need. But since I have started studying fashion, I’ve finally found a way to balance fashion to suit my lifestyle. Closet maintenance can seem tricky, but with a few good guidelines can be easy and fun.

closet essentialscloset essentials

A good wardrobe will allow for better time management so we don’t spend an hour looking at a stuffed closet thinking we have nothing to wear. Less time doing laundry and caring for clothes, less shopping for things that will never be worn, leading to more money for things that matter, contentment and happiness.

Closet essentials are the building blocks to a great wardrobe. Essentials are the pieces worth splurging on, they will go with everything and if good quality, can last forever. These pieces also work for men, swap out the dress and pencil skirt for a suit, heels for brown oxfords and flats for sneakers.

Essentials are not to be confused with a capsule wardrobe. Capsule wardrobes were developed in the 70s by Susie Faux. It is 30 to 40 versatile pieces that represent time and energy for what matters to you. I like to use the capsule wardrobe as a reference, tweaking it to build on what I already have, not limiting myself to x amount of items. Others like to have multiple capsules i.e. one for work, one for casual. Ignoring it is fine too, it really just depends how you want to approach it.

So the question is how do we create a wardrobe? The first thing to do is assess what is already in our closets. To start, empty out your closet entirely. It sounds intimidating, but I promise it’s not. Then sort each item into 4 piles:

  • Love it-It fits your lifestyle and you feel comfortable and confident when wearing it.
  • Maybe- These items are the ones you don’t wear but paid a lot. Whether because the color is off, doesn’t quite fit right, or needs to be fixed. These can be stored in a separate box if you aren’t ready to get rid them yet. Getting rid of the visual clutter can take the pressure off, but if you realize there was something you could use, it isn’t gone. If it isn’t worn in a year, it can be donated.
  • No-Anything you can’t stand or never ever wear. Donate, have a clothes swap, or sell. It seems weird to let go at first, but you won’t regret the extra space for sensible new things you’ll actually enjoy.
  • Seasonal- The staples that you love can be rotated in when they are needed.

The love it pile should show what pieces work best for you and what your style is. From here, a shopping hiatus might be good. Living with what you have for a while can better show what your style is and what you need. If you don’t have staples you can invest in those. When you need to go shopping, make a list of those things you need, but don’t forget to give yourself room to experiment and indulge by allowing for nonbasic or trending pieces per season. (I.e swimsuits, sandals and sundresses in the summer, a sweater or new gloves in winter.) Remember that just because something is trendy doesn’t mean it has to be bought, but if you like it don’t feel bad about making a purchase.

Continue to edit as needed. Evaluate at least every season, but as often as you’d like. If you need pieces for work, travel or special occasions, get them! Our wardrobes are an expression of who we are and investing in that should not be frustrating or difficult. Fashion should make us feel good, end of story.

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