A Wardrobe Manifesto

I have now spent a month living in my limited wardrobe. Whether these present constraints remain a short-term experiment or become a permanent lifestyle choice, I’ve discovered that I do prefer having fewer things in my closet. I like knowing what I have and having what I like (as opposed to what I think I should like). In order to maintain some of this newly carved out space in my closet and my life, I have laid out some goals for building and maintaining my wardrobe:

I want to enjoy wearing my clothes as much as I enjoy buying them.

  • This is the primary thing I want to consider when shopping.
  • Most of my favorite clothes were not impulse purchases. Either I pondered the item for days or weeks before finally buying, or I looked for a specific type of item (i.e., a striped dress) for months before finally finding a deal and purchasing one.

I want to curate, not accumulate.

  • My wardrobe is an ongoing design project that requires regular editing. I want my additions to be thoughtfully and intentionally made with regard to my style, shape, lifestyle, and budget, and I will keep the total number of items limited with a “one in, one out” policy.
  • If a new item isn’t worthy of replacing something already in my closet, it probably doesn’t belong in my wardrobe.

I want my purchases to be long-term commitments rather than flings.

  • I want to buy the best quality I can afford and wear things for many years.
  • I will try things on, try them out at home with things I already own, return things that don’t work, and have things altered in a timely manner if necessary.
  • I would like to build a savings reserve so I’ll be able to replace or repair something when it wears out.
  • If I want to experiment with a trend, I can “rent it” (i.e., buy it secondhand for not much money and donate it back after a season).

I can’t buy off unpleasant emotions.

  • I recognize that feelings of sadness, grief, insecurity, powerlessness, or anger do not disappear when I throw money around. I am only buying myself a temporary distraction.
  • I want to choose other ways of dealing with my feelings, preferably ones that don’t leave me with souvenirs. Do I really want a closet full of clothing that commemorates my bad days?

Fear has no place in my wardrobe.

I don’t have to buy something because I’m afraid . . .

  • that I’ll miss a great deal
  • that I need it to look stylish
  • that I’m missing out on a trend or that my look is dated

I don’t have to keep something because I’m afraid . . .

  • that I wasted money
  • that I’ll need or want it after it’s gone
  • that I’ll hurt someone’s feelings (this one is especially difficult for me)

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What about you? Do you have rules for what comes into your closet or your home? Or do you find the idea of “rules” restrictive (as I do)? In that case, what sort of guidelines direct your shopping?

And if you are rules-averse but still interested in trying a minimalist wardrobe experiment, here’s a great article from Courtney Carver of Project 333.

 

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2 comments

  1. styleuniverseeverything

    Good set of rules. I try to stick by them myself, but I shop as a hobby when I spend time with my sister, so I know how difficult it can be!

    As for editing my collection, I find it so difficult because I’ll think I’ll need or want it in the future, as you mention. Such a struggle and my main downfall! I wish you the best of luck.

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