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.

IMG_1351
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.

IMG_1352

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?

 

Image-1-2
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!

 

 

 

Advertisements

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.

IMG_7702

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.

IMG_7846

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.

IMG_7833

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.

_101171681

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.

_101714615

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.

_12903402

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.

_102071704

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.

Striped Shirt 2

Broad 2

Stripes for End of Summer

Striped ShirtStriped Shirt 3

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!

 

4 Tips on How to Buy Final Sale Items

Final Sale 3Final Sale 2

Blouse, DVF (not available anymore, but similar hereicon) | Jeans, Current Elliot (old), similar here| Booties, Rag & Bone Margot
icon | Tote, Madewell Medium Transport Tote| Sunglasses, Ray Ban Aviators
icon

One of my cardinal rules of shopping is to never buy final sale items. ¬† I’ve learned this the hard way after buying several “deals” and then ended up ¬†giving away to friends (XS Splendid sweatshirt, I’m looking at you) or donating them (too many to count). ¬† Very, very occasionally I will break my own rule. ¬†The blouse above by DVF is one example of a final sale purchase – it was 90% off at the recent Outnet x Purseblog sale ($27 down from $268), and I was thrilled with it when I finally received it. ¬†Wanted to share my tips on what makes a good final sale.

  1. Be Familiar With the Brand Sizing РBrands all fit slightly differently.  In order to know the size you should buy, you need to know if a brand runs small/large for the item you are buying.  I own two dresses from DVF, and know that the brand runs small.  Knowing that, I sized up, and the shirt fits perfectly.  Once I bought a Trina Turk dress I already owned in a different color РI knew for sure it would fit!
  2. ¬†Make Sure It’s on Steep Discount – I generally won’t look at anything on final sale unless it’s 70% off or more. ¬†You are taking a risk that something won’t work out, and you should be compensated for that risk with a steep discount. ¬†In this case, 90% off felt like a great deal!
  3. Make Sure It’s An Item On Your Planned Purchase List¬†— Sometimes I’m tempted to buy things just because they are such a good deal. ¬†But buying things I don’t need just makes my closet more cluttered. ¬†In this case, I was in the market for a button down white shirt. ¬†In fact, I had already considered buying this exact blouse, but decided not to because the original price wasn’t in my budget. ¬†So, I was thrilled when this popped up in the sale.
  4. Be Okay With Losing All Your Money – Ultimately a final sale is a gamble. ¬†And just like gambling, you should be okay with losing all your money at the end of the day. ¬†For this blouse, I was okay with losing $27 at the end of the day. ¬†There was another dress I was eyeing that was $68, and I wasn’t okay with losing that much money, so I walked away from it.

Do you have any favorite final sale tips?  Please share!