There's been so much meta-discussion on the forum lately, and I've just been eating it all up! I'm a details person, so I love seeing how closet size/wardrobe management/purging/etc. works for everyone else. I thought I'd share how I created a large closet that's full of clothes I love & that makes it easy to get dressed, in case it's useful to anyone. Keeping in mind individual differences, of course, and that I am far from an expert.
About 3 years ago, I felt inspired by reading about smaller closets on blogs like The Vivienne Files and while lurking on the forum to weed out the clothes I wasn't wearing. Around about that time, I also started doing more reading on how to figure out your best colours and came to the conclusion that muted, cooler colours (soft summer in the 12 season system) worked best on me. This helped a lot in my closet slimming: I got rid of anything that wasn't a good colour on me. After that, I tried on everything that was left, and figured out the kinds of details that made me wear one piece all the time while another languished in the closet.
I wrote all of these details (and more) down for future shopping reference. I also realised that I was happy playing with colour and fabric and pattern variations instead of silhouettes, so I committed to only buying slim trousers, full knee-length skirts, loose mid thigh shorts, and knee-length fit-and-flare dresses. I did allow myself to buy a variety of style of tops though, as long as they had a rounder neckline.
- Figure out your favourite ‘silhouettes’ and the common characteristics that your current favourite clothing items have in common.
- Make a list of this information, in whatever format helps you most, for shopping.
- Pick 2 neutrals that you like mixing & that will work with your preferred colours and (over time as your budget/ability to find the items allows) acquire each of your favourite items in each neutral.
- Go crazy with your favourite colours and patterns, as long as the silhouette/style is essentially the same, knowing you’ll have something to wear it with.
- If you’re of a large closet persuasion, add more neutrals and/or colours as inclination takes you.
I'm far from being an expert yet, though! While I got picky about colour and silhouette three years ago, I neglected to get picky about fit. Whoops! So that's my focus for this year. If you remember that from the beginning, you'll obviously save yourself wardrobe mistakes. That being said, my wardrobe is in a great place now, with just some tweaking necessary, and it makes me very happy.
I haven't gotten into anything philosophical, as this post was already running too long, but I'm happy do another post another time on that, from a large wardrobe, secondhand-preferring, small budget perspective, if anyone's interested.
ETA: After RachyLou asked, I thought it'd make sense to add illustrations: here are my two closets, as I arrange them for spring & summer (you can see the fall/winter set up here)! Not the best photos, but you get the idea. The shelf one holds more than just clothes, of course. I fold & stack all of my trousers and knitwear; tees, camis, & undies all get folded and stored vertically in the shoe boxes. Other boxes house socks, tights, scarves, and belts. And my shoes all live on the floor of that one but didn't fit in the shot. That leaves dresses, woven blouses (and a couple thicker, standalone knits), skirts, and indoor jackets in the hanging closet, which also houses my bags and jewelry on its lone shelf. In the corners, hidden behind the doors, I keep my out of season stuff (still folded or hung), so this is everything but the coats. Oh & I folded up & stored my wool skirts in an empty vintage suitcase I use as an end table, once I realised it was empty storage space just sitting there! That way my lighter weight skirts have space to breathe. The hook on the shelf-closet holds whatever bag I'm currently using (except my pewter one that you see on the shelf in the other closet, as it doesn't seem to like being hung more than necessary) & also lets me hang up my outfit up inside out at night to air out (I prefer to minimise laundry). The apparent black hole in the lower right of the hanging closet is my blazers/indoor jackets: I'm not sure why they didn't show up better.
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