How I Simplified My Wardrobe in Three (Mostly Easy) Steps

Photo Credit: Vanessa Beletic

I started this blog last year with the goal of defining my style, simplifying my wardrobe, and living a fuller life. ¬†I’m happy to say that I feel like I have the hang of the first two, and am well on my way to the third (although that’s probably a journey, not a destination!).

Not everyone’s experience is the same, but I wanted to share what worked for me. ¬†It took nearly a year of experimentation and lots of mistakes along the way. ¬†I started with the book, Curated Closet by Anushka Rees (see posts here – Part I, Part II, Part III), and while the first part on defining my style was great, the part on editing my wardrobe was just too complex to be helpful (there was actually a flow chart!).

1. Define a Very Specific Life Goal –

This is one that I missed when I first started out РI went straight to the wardrobe, because that was the obvious thing to do.  What I found was that without something to work towards, it was hard to cut back on my wardrobe.  It felt like something I was sacrificing, and let me tell you, my brain did NOT like it.  BUT, when I able to define what I was working towards, it felt like an accomplishment.  My specific life goal was to be able to take a few months off from working to spend on starting a new business and spending more quality time with my 5-year old Рno item of clothing can compare to that.  (Looking at you, Alexander Wang Gabi boots Рwhich I found on sale and reluctantly returned last week).

2. Set the Number of Items of Clothing Per Month You can Buy –

I tracked my clothing for all of 2017, and it turns out I was buying one item per week on average – shocking, I know. ¬† My goal this year was to bring that number down to two items per month, for a total of 24 per year. ¬†I made a chart in my planner, and every item I purchased took up one of 24 slots. ¬†That really made me compare items to each other and only select ones that would take up one of my 24 for the whole year. ¬†It also made me think about what I needed (new suit) vs wanted (fanny pack, don’t judge, I didn’t get one!). ¬†For many of you, this number may be too high, but for me, it was a 50% reduction in my clothing items, which felt achievable. ¬†I didn’t want to set too low of a goal only to fail and feel frustrated.

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Changing you mind is okay!

3. Review each item against The Trifecta Questions –

The Three Trifecta Questions:

  1. Do I Love It?
  2. Will I Wear it 30 Times?
  3. Is It a Good Value?

I found many more complicated evaluations (some that required a flow chart & diagram!), but they didn’t work for me because they were too complex to remember. ¬†These three simple questions were really easy, didn’t require higher order math, and actually filtered out 90% of my possible purchases. ¬†I wrote every item down in my planner and checked off each question. ¬†For the Love It and Good Value question, it’s really up to you – you are the only one that knows. ¬†Don’t overthink it – I think my gut feel on these two questions was always right.

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The surprising one was the third one – I chose 30 times due to the #30wears movement. ¬†Having tracked my wardrobe for all of 2017, let me tell you it is HARD to wear something 30 times in a year. ¬†For me, only 22 items made the cut (see below – mostly bags, shoes, and jeans) but most of my wardrobe (the other 234 items) didn’t. ¬†Think about it, you have to wear an item at least once a week for 30 weeks to hit this number (funny how math works) and that doesn’t take into account seasons. ¬†For those of you with four defined seasons, assuming that clothes are different for each season, you’d have to wear each item 2x per week per season. ¬†How many items of clothing do you have that you wear 2x per week, every single week?

 

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My 22 items that I wore over 30 times last year – I guess I like black bags!

A few questions that came up for me along the way:

  1. What items are included in the 24 limit?  I included all clothing, shoes, and handbags, since those are the items I tracked in 2017 and wanted to reduce.  I excluded accessories such as jewelry and sunglasses.  I also excluded functional clothing, like snow boots for our Iceland trip, undergarments and pajamas.  If you want to have more restrictions, by all means go ahead.
  2. Can you “pre-buy” clothing? ¬†For me, yes, since I do like to buy clothing off season. ¬†(Like swimsuits in September) ¬†Having to write it down in one of my 24 slots makes me accountable, no matter when I buy something. ¬†However, I don’t actually wear the item until the month that it’s slotted for.
  3. Do you need to define your style first? If you feel like you need to better define your style, yes please do that as well. ¬†That can help you answer the “do I love it” question a little more strategically. ¬†I have a post on creating a mood board here.

That’s it! ¬†Hope this is helpful for some of you – it’s really helped me. ¬†I’ll follow up with more posts about which items I got each month and how I felt about them. Also, things are actually going so well that I am considering a total ban on clothing for the rest of the year (gulp!). ¬†Will let you know if that happens!

 

 

 

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Black Friday Sales Reccos

I don’t want to feed into the Black Friday sales frenzy, but I did want to post a few items that I personally own and can recommend that are on sale. ¬†Quite a few are from Nordstrom, as I love their return policy. ¬†I’ll often sit on a purchase and then decide a few months later that it wasn’t right for me (just returned an unworn faux leather jacket from the Anniversary Sale in July). ¬†Enjoy!

Marc Fisher Zala¬†– The most comfortable pair of pumps I’ve ever owned, even further discounted. ¬†Also available in pretty rose gold on sale. ¬†See my full review here. ¬†Runs TTS.

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BlankNYC Sude Moto Jacket¬†(Black Suede)¬†– I have this in Grey (see below) and it is soft, high quality and makes any outfit immediately more stylish. ¬†Sleeves are tad long, but not egregiously so. ¬†At this price, it’s a steal. Runs TTS, I have the Small.

Sam Edelman Chelsea Boot (Putty & Black) РI own these in 3 different colors, including the Putty which is one sale.  (See putty below, and cognac in the picture after).  Extremely comfortable bootie, can walk all day in these.  Runs TTS.

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AG The Stilt Crop ¬†(15 Years Boundless) – I own these in black (see below), and they are amazing – really lightweight denim that is good year round. ¬†I would have kept these if I didn’t already own another very similar pair. ¬†This one runs small (which is odd for AG), go one size up.

Made well Medium Transport Tote (several colors) РPerfect casual tote that can hold notebooks, tablets and small laptops.  The English Saddle color is my favorite.  The quality is fantastic РI literally spilled a smoothie all over the inside, and just rinsed it out. See full post here.

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Vince Bias Cut Satin Dress¬†– When I tried this on, I literally let out an involuntary “oh my god”. ¬†It’s that good. ¬†At 5’2″, it’s a maxi dress on me, but the cut and thickness of the silk make it immensely flattering. ¬†It’s like I lost my baby belly instantly. ¬†Great if you want to try the silk slip trend in an age-appropriate way. ¬†Runs TTS, I got a Small.

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Bobeau Fleece Wrapicon (several colors) – I’m wearing this right now as I type. ¬†Very lightweight, yet warm layer. ¬†It has been my go-to for flights where it can get chilly, but I don’t want to carry on something bulky. ¬†Does pill over time, so I just bought restocked with a new one and bought one for my mom. ¬†Runs TTS, I have the Petite Small.

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Vince Warren Sneakericon (White) – I have these in Black Suede, and just purchased the White Leather. ¬†They are fantastic and the 1″ platform helps with height. ¬†They rarely go on sale (I’ve been stalking the white for 6 months). ¬†There are a ton of photos of Jessica Alba wearing these if you do a search. Runs 1/2 size small.

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Rails Hunter Plaid Shirt¬†(several colors) – I’ve been wanting a Rails shirt for awhile and finally pulled the trigger. They are soft, drapey and fit perfectly. ¬†I found this TTS – if you want an oversized fit go up one size.

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Madewell Central Shirt (several colors)  РI love this shirt so much I own it in 2 colors.  The Benton Stripe (see below) one is on double sale, as are a few other colors.  All the rest are on the Black Friday sale. See full post here and here.  Runs large, size down.

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Most Worn Items for September & October

September and October were pretty similar temperature-wise and clothing-wise, so am combining those two months for this round-up. ¬†I’ve been tracking my clothing religiously (it’s actually kind of addicting!) on the StyleBook app, which has made it easy to see what I wear most. ¬†It’s been pretty interesting, with a few surprises here and there. ¬† ¬†If you want to see previous months, August is here and July is here.

I’m excited that for these two months, everything that was most worn were some items that were more recent. ¬†Excited because I think my purchases are getting better in terms of how much I love.

Most Worn Overall – Tumi Calais Backpack
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I saw another woman wearing this while boarding a plane and was hooked – it looked so sleek and fashionable for a backpack. ¬†It took me a year before purchasing it because of the price, but I am so glad I did. ¬†The main thing is how practical it is – the heaviest laptops and files feel like nothing when you put this on your back. ¬†There are numerous pockets that keep me organized and I don’t feel self-conscious bringing it to work. ¬†In fact, I wear this nearly everyday to work now which is why it has skyrocketed to the most worn item.

Times Worn in September/October – 29

Times Worn in 2017 – 76

Cost Per Wear $4.27

Most Worn Shoe – PLAY x Converse
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This is one of those items that took me a little to warm up to…when I finally figured it out (and bought the right socks to go with them), these became my go-to shoe. ¬†They are super comfortable (more padded than normal Chucks), fit in with my current obsession with all things white, ¬†and have just a little bit of edge with the little heart guy. ¬†Just love.

Times Worn in September & October – 18

Times Worn in 2017 – 31

Cost Per Wear – $4.03

Most Worn Clothing – Madewell Central Shirt
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I don’t know why it took me so long to buy a collared white shirt. ¬†I think because they always seemed so fussy and formal. ¬†Not this one – the oversize fit and cotton fabric make it easy to dress up or down, and it never feels fussy. ¬†It was perfect in the scorching hot weather we had in September and October, which is why it basically on non-stop repeat. ¬† Make sure to size down – I am normally a small, but wear and XS in this shirt (and it’s still nice and oversized). ¬†I own this shirt in white and stripes, and my second most worn clothing item was the striped one. ¬†See the white on me here, and the stripes on me here.

Times Worn in September & October – 11

Times Worn in 2017 – 12

Cost Per Wear – $6.25

What I’ve Learned:¬†

  1. Paying full price can be worth it РI bought all of these items at full price, which is something I almost never do.  But the cost per wear on them have become really reasonable, since I wear them so often.
  2. Basics are key – Too often I’ll buy something trendy and then wear it a few times before I don’t feel comfortable wearing it anymore (I’m looking at you, off cold shoulder tops!). ¬†Sticking with basics, in a slightly updated cut or with a little twist, is really the way to go.

Hope this was helpful for your style journey – thanks for reading!

Marc Fisher Pumps for Date Night

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Blouse, Joie (old) | Denim Jacket, Kut from the Kloth Helena| Jeans, J Brand (old) | Pumps, Marc Fisher Zala (on sale!) | Bag, Chanel | Sunglasses, Ray-Ban Aviators

I love the look of pumps, but rarely wear them, because my narrow heels mean that pumps never stay on my feet. ¬†These white Marc Fisher Zala pumps are the rare exception – it was a Cinderella moment, where I put them on and they. just. fit. ¬† With a block heel, these are easily my most comfortable pumps, which is why I put them on for a casual date night to Holbox recently. ¬†(Highly recommend for any seafood lovers in Los Angeles. ¬†Don’t be fooled by the photos – the food looked very high end, but it was located in a very casual food court, where flip-flops and shorts would have been acceptable).

With a hopeful spirit, I immediately purchased the black leather pair and black suede pair, but unfortunately, the sizing on each color is a little different (sniff!).  The black suede runs small and the black leather runs a little large.  Both went back.  But for now, I still have the perfect pair of white pumps.

Stripes for End of Summer

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Shirt, Madewell Central Shirt XS (sold out, but fall version here)
icon| Jeans, J Brand| Sandals, (on sale) Marc Fisher Adalyn
| Sunglasses, Ann Taylor Butterfly Sunglasses| Purse, Gucci Soho Disco

Summer weather in Los Angeles usually extends to the beginning of October, so I’m trying to get a few last wears of my summer clothes. ¬†This Central shirt from Madewell has been one of my favorite purchases, so much so that I have it both the white and the blue striped. ¬†It’s great because I can dress it down or up, and its perfect for the last of the 80 degree days. ¬†Size down for sure, I’m wearing the XS and it’s still nice and oversized. ¬†These white jeans are the only pair I have that are not see-through, and don’t require hemming for petites. ¬†Finally, these sandals are also so fun – they give me 4 inches of height (bringing me to 5’6″!) and yet are really comfortable since they have a 2″ platform. ¬†Thanks for reading!

 

Most Worn Items in August

I can’t believe another month has flown by! ¬†Time to do my monthly round-up of most worn items, that I track on the Stylebook App (highly recommend, not sponsored in anyway). ¬† For Most Worn in July, see here.

Most Worn Overall – Madewell Medium Transport Tote
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Again, my most worn piece this past month was a bag. ¬†For August, my newer Madewell Transport Tote was the winner. ¬†I’ve never had a cognac/brown bag before, believe it or not, since most my wardrobe is black, blue or white. ¬†But the cognac color was a great pop of neutral color that went with almost everything. ¬†The size of this bag is perfect – large enough to hold a work file or notebook, but small enough that I can carry it around without feeling like my bag is too big. ¬†It’s a casual bag, but I felt comfortable carrying it to work as well. ¬†And it is remarkably sturdy – I spilled a whole protein shake in the bag (not my best morning), and it not only held in all the liquid, but I was able to rinse the inside out and it looks great. ¬†See it on me here ,¬†here and here.

Times Worn in August: 20

Times Worn in 2017:  31

Cost per Wear: $5.64

Most Worn Shoe: Birkenstock Gizeh Sandal
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This sandal was the winner again, two months in a row. ¬†What can I say, they are comfy as sneakers and stylish enough to go with most outfits. ¬†I didn’t wear these to work (my casual style can only go so far!), but pretty much lived in these outside of work. ¬†See them on me here.

Times Worn in August: 11

Times Worn in 2017: 47

Cost per Wear: $1.38

Most Worn Clothing (Tie): Splendid Striped T-Shirt and Articles of Society Jean Shorts 

With the heat wave this summer in Los Angeles, I quickly realized that I didn’t have enough shorts or T-shirts. ¬† I didn’t want to spend a lot on either, since they tend to get washed and worn a lot, so picked these items up on sale. ¬†They both have been staples for the summer, and since the price was low originally, the cost per wear has been great. ¬†See the shirt on me here.¬†The shorts are no longer available, but similar on super sale $15, here.
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Striped T-Shirt:

Times Worn in August: 4

Times Worn in 2017: 9

Cost Per Wear: $3.33

Jean Shorts:

Times Worn in July: 4

Times Worn in 2017: 8

Cost Per Wear: $3.75

Key Lesson: Lower Initial Prices result in Lower CPW (Cost Per Wear)

This seems like a no-brainer, but in the past, I’ve justified higher priced items by thinking I’d wear them so much that the CPW would be low. ¬†In tracking my wardrobe, it’s just not true. ¬†If something started with a low price, the CPW’s are much lower….the higher priced items never get low, no matter how much I wear them. ¬†Both the T-shirt and the shorts above are on my lowest CPW list, and I haven’t worn them that much.

This doesn’t mean I should rush out and buy things on sale, but it also means that I really should pause when I think “investment” clothing. ¬†I see a lot of articles on “Clothing items that you should invest in in” and to be honest, I don’t think they make a lot of sense. ¬†Stocks are an investment, not clothing!

 

Day to Night Outfit

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Blazer, Peace of Cloth (old), similar on sale here
icon| Jumpsuit, Maeve (old), similar on sale here or here| Shoes, Jimmy Choo (old), similar here, budget-friendly version here| Bag, Balenciaga City
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Hubby and I went out on Monday night (gasp!) to a special United Mileage Plus cardholders event at the Griffith Observatory.  It was windy and chilly (for LA in September), but so much fun as they opened just for our group.  We loved geeking out to the Planetarium movie and all the exhibits, and the views of course were spectacular.  (You can barely see it, but that is the Hollywood sign in the background of the first photo).

I had sent this blazer to ThredUp, since I didn’t quite know how to style it. ¬†The fit is a little boxy, and I never reached for it. ¬†Luckily, ThredUp didn’t want it and sent it back and I rescued it, as boxy blazers are back in for the fall . ¬†The color and fit makes it somewhat casual and I can dress it up or down. ¬†I tried a black blazer with the red jumpsuit, and all of a sudden I looked more formal, more serious, and older (not what I was going for, and definitely not fitting in with my Effortless California Polish style). ¬†Definitely keeping this one!