3 Easy Ways to Streamline Your Wardrobe

By Chanel Dror
monochromatic wardrobe

We’ve all been there: a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear. Sure, we have that handful of staple pieces that we couldn’t possibly live without, but the rest of our wardrobes can go untouched for weeks, months, or even years. I personally found myself in a dire state of closet disrepair a few months ago, around the same time that I stumbled upon the super stylish blog, Un-Fancy. With her 37-piece wardrobe, Caroline inspired me and many others by proving that when it comes to fashion, less is definitely more. Lucky for us, Caroline is joining us today to share her tried and tested tips for building out a wardrobe that’s versatile, stylish and budget-friendly, giving you the peace of mind and freedom to focus on what really matters. Without further ado, take it away Caroline!

First, change the way you clean out your closet.

Usually, when it’s time to purge, we rifle through our clothes while they are still hung in our closet. But there’s a much better way — one that will actually help you find your style, and give you clarity…

Cleaning out your closet.

Step 1: The secret to cleaning out your closet is to completely empty your closet. I know, it sounds like a ton of work, but it works. Take absolutely everything out of your closet and lay it out on your bed.

Cleaning out your closet.

Step 2: Sort each item into one of these four piles:

Love it and would wear it right now – It fits. It’s right for your lifestyle. You feel comfortable and confident wearing it. Put it back in your closet.

Maybe – This is for items that don’t fit quite right. The color might be a little off, or it has sentimental value, or you’re keeping it because you paid a lot for it but don’t wear it. Put all this stuff in a box and store it in the garage. You can always go get stuff out of it, but you probably won’t. If it’s still in the box at the end of your season, it’s time to say goodbye.

Nope – Self explanatory. Donate, swap with a friend, or sell it to fund new purchases.

Seasonal – Wool coat in summer? Probably don’t need it handy, but you’d never get rid of a staple like that. If it’s not in season, but you love it, put it in a nice under-the-bed box and store it. You’ll definitely use it when the appropriate season rolls around.

Cleaning out your closet.

Step 3: Assess what’s left in your closet –  your love it clothes. Your true style should be practically screaming at you. How do you feel about it? Need to supplement? Make a plan, and shop. Need to downsize? Put a few more items in your maybe box.

Now that you’ve simplified your closet, it’s keeping it simple that’s tricky. Here are some easy ways to keep your closet uncluttered…

Keeping your closet simple.

Step 1: Play with your hair and makeup instead.

If you want to play with your style, instead of going shopping, why not try teaching  yourself a new hairstyle or new makeup technique? Satisfy that same need to feel new and improved by learning how to do a perfectly Pinterest-worthy messy braid.

Keeping your closet simple.

Step 2: Hit unsubscribe.

I can’t tell you how many times an email would convince me that I needed to go hit up that sale right this second. So I decided to unsubscribe from all the clothing email lists I was on. Yes, I missed news about fun sales. But I stopped caring. Contentment just felt better.

Keeping your closet simple.

Step 3: Try a capsule wardrobe.

Ever buy some fun new clothes, but end up wearing your old favorites anyway? Me too. Ever feel like you have nothing to wear, even when your closet is filled with clothes? Me too! I started wondering why I was spending money on and keeping a closet stuffed with mediocre clothes I didn’t love/wear.

So I tried out this capsule wardrobe idea I’d been hearing about. It’s basically a mini wardrobe made up of versatile pieces you completely love. There are a million different ways to try a capsule wardrobe, but here’s what I do: I limit my wardrobe to 37 pieces — tops, bottoms, shoes, and outerwear — and I dress with only these 37 pieces for 3 months. No shopping allowed.

Keeping your closet simple.

Step 4: Use the rule of 3.

Typically, when I start planning a wardrobe, I start with shoes since they make the biggest impact on an outfit. I like having about 9 pairs — for example, 3 pairs of flats, 3 pairs of heels, and 3 pairs of boots. For each of these sets, I include one classic pair, one fun statement pair, and one pair that falls between the two.

I like having 9 bottoms too – for example, 3 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of shorts, and 3 skirts. Again, in these sets, I include a classic option, and statement piece, one option that falls between the two.

Then, I like having 15 tops. I bet you can guess where this is going. I’ll use the “Rule of Three” rule here too — for example: 3 sweaters, 3 tee shirts, 3 button up shirts, 3 tank tops, and 3 vests. All broken up into basics, statements, and in-betweens.

And finally, when it’s time to shop, shop smart. 

Step 1: Ask yourself the right question.

When I’m trying to make a smart decision in the dressing room, I ask myself, “Would I reach for this over my chambray shirt?” I could wear chambray every single day, so if I couldn’t envision myself choosing this new top over my trusty staple, then I knew I’d never wear it – back on the rack it went. This little trick goes a long way in preventing shoppers remorse.

Try it for yourself: “Would I reach for this over my [insert favorite comparable piece of clothing here]?”

How to shop smart.

Step 2: Identify where you’d wear it.

You know the old shopping advice, “If you love it, get it”? I can’t tell you how many bad purchases I made following that advice. Loving it doesn’t mean it’ll fit into your lifestyle. And loving it in a dressing room doesn’t mean you’ll love it at a restaurant.

So get specific. Think of places, events, and times of the day. If you can’t envision yourself wearing it to your regular spots around town, put it back on the rack.

How to shop smart.

Step 3: Gather your pieces in an amazon wishlist before you buy.

Not only does this help you budget, but it helps determine if your pieces will work together as a whole. Here’s how I do it: About halfway through a season, I start window shopping for the next season. When I find pieces I think I want, I add them to my Amazon Wishlist with the universal button. When it’s time to start the next season, I make edits based on my budget and then purchase what’s left on the list.