Last week, we got Gina started on a big closet clean-out; she’s hoping to edit her wardrobe down to only the pieces she really and truly wears. Which, of course, means getting rid of a few things. Or a lot of things, possibly. Let’s talk about how Gina can decide what to keep and what to give up.
(Read about Gina’s first steps here. And then get started on your own closet.)
Once Gina has identified her core wardrobe (the go-to pieces she automatically reaches for), she should make a real effort to start wearing the pieces in her closet that she’s been overlooking. Her goal is to figure out how to make those pieces work with her basics — or to figure out why they just don’t work.
This is the point where it’s important that Gina think carefully about what she wants her clothes to do for her. It’s all well and good to look at a sweater or dress or pair of pants and think how lovely they are — if you’re not wearing those pieces, then they’re a waste of space in your closet, even if they’re absolutely beautiful. Pieces with an emotional attachment — the sweater you wore on your first date with your husband, or the dress you wore for the baby’s christening — can be packed in acid-free tissue and stored. Pieces that you like in theory but can’t make work in practice need to go — that motorcycle jacket that doesn’t fit right through the arms, the slinky black dress that makes you feel naked, the platform pumps that make your feet hurt. If you’re absolutely not wearing them, there’s no reason to keep them, no matter how beautiful they are.
Still agonizing about getting rid of those pieces? Think carefully about why you are so attached to them. Have you always wanted to be the type of girl who tossed a motorcycle jacket on over her silk dress? Try it! If you can’t make it work, then the jacket needs to go. Instead of focusing on making someone else’s style work for you, focus on finding your own style. It’s easier to get dressed when your not constantly revising your look. I promise.
So how many pieces are enough? There’s not a specific number; it depends on your lifestyle. I do lots of laundry, so I can get by with fewer everyday pieces, like shorts and khakis — if you’re a once-a-week launderer, you may need more options to get through the week. I’m also not opposed to repeating outfits — if I liked it well enough to wear it once, I’m happy to wear it again. And honestly, people never say, “Oh, you’re wearing that again.” No, they say, “Oh I’ve always loved that dress!” Promise.