10 Item Wardrobe – Getting Started
Last month I took the plunge and got started with my 10 Item Wardrobe. Many of you have expressed interest in this subject so I will be devoting the month of February to my findings.
The topics I will explore are: how to get started, customizing your very own 10 Item Wardrobe, observations on my month long experiment, thoughts on how to maintain your 10 Item Wardrobe and going forward.
Today I will discuss how I got started and how you can too. If you are interested in creating your own capsule wardrobe I highly recommend doing this experiment with me in real time! And as always I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on your experience.
As a side note, this series of posts is not just for ladies. Men, too, can benefit from a 10 Item Wardrobe and the philosophy of quality over quantity. Next week I will be posting an article by guest writer Mr. Chris Cox, from Easy and Elegant Life with ideas for a gentleman’s 10 Item Wardrobe.
So let’s get started.
Definition of a 10 Item Wardrobe
The 10 Item Wardrobe should not be taken so literally as to inspire panic. Remember, the French are not the sort to beat themselves up over a regime- certainly not over diet or exercise and definitely not over their wardrobe. So do what works for you. The point of the 10 Item Wardrobe is to ultimately free yourself from a jam packed closet full of ill fitting, underused or poor quality clothing. Your ultimate goal is to create a wardrobe that you love- where every item of clothing speaks to who you are. Also to create a space for your clothes to breathe- where there is no clutter.
Your wardrobe should roughly consist of 10 items (give or take- probably give), but those 10 items do not include outerwear (coats, jackets, blazers), accessories (scarves, gloves, hats, wraps), shoes and what I call under shirts- mainly t shirts, tank tops or chemises that you wear as layers or underneath a sweater or blazer. (I found it necessary to have several of these to avoid having to do laundry every other day and to prolong the wear on things like cashmere sweaters).
Also the 10 item wardrobe is assessed each season and items are interchanged accordingly. For example, if you do this experiment in the summer, you will not have 3 cashmere sweaters as part of your 10 items. Those can go in storage and in turn you can usher in 3 summer dresses to replace the sweaters (or whatever suits your lifestyle).
Clear out the wardrobe clutter
Before you finalize your 10 items, clear the clutter from your closet. It is very important to physically clean out your wardrobe and only have your 10 items (plus extras discussed above) hanging. It is very easy to think you’ll just wear your 10 items during the month but still keep your 50+ items jammed in the wardrobe ‘just in case’ or out of sheer laziness or lack of anywhere else to put your clothes. But the physical act of taking all of your excess clothing and getting rid of it or storing it elsewhere is very powerful and prevents you from ‘cheating’.
During the process of clearing my closet clutter I took the plunge and got rid of 70% of my wardrobe. This, for me, was a tremendous accomplishment. Giving my clothes away was so much easier this time and I attribute this to the physical act of taking it all out and assessing. When my excess clothing was all thrown on my bed and one by one I assessed each garment, I asked myself a few key questions that helped me to let go.
Wardrobe Assessment Questions:
“Do I still like this?”- in so many instances I was holding on to something because I paid a lot of money for it- not because I actually still liked it.
“Do I ever wear this?”- I had so many clothes that I simply did not wear- some I hadn’t worn in over two years! - and inherently I knew I never would wear again, but for some reason I couldn’t let go.
“Does it still fit/ look good on me?”- I did have a baby 6 months ago, my body shape has changed slightly and some of my pre-baby clothes simply do not fit.
“Does this article of clothing still speak of who I am?”- This is a very powerful question and in most instances the answer was a resounding NO. I was holding on to blouses and skirts that I purchased in my early 20s (I even found a few babydoll dresses- yikes!). A lot has changed since then. I am a wife, a young mother- I’m now 30 years old and my tastes are more refined and sophisticated. Those clothes were not right for the new me.
Getting rid of your excess clothing is definitely a process and I realize you might not be ready to purge everything the first time around. That is OK. I suggest taking out your entire wardrobe, asking yourself those questions and weeding out the items you know you no longer want. If you still have a lot of excess may I suggest storing the rest in space bags or a container in another room, or in your garage? Just keep them out of your sight. You might find you go for an entire year without thinking about them at all, in which case you know, you could probably do with out them.
Next week’s post: Customizing your 10 Item Wardrobe and pictures of my own capsule wardrobe for Spring.
I hope you’ll stay tuned!
My own wardrobe, with its 10 Items and a few extras (such as dressing gowns, etc.) is pictured above.