My Observations on the 10 Item Wardrobe
The following are my thoughts and observations on the experience of the 10 Item Wardrobe:
Opening my closet in the morning makes me happy. Not only is it wonderful to see my items hanging so luxuriously in their own space (not jam packed next to each other) but it makes me inordinately happy to not wonder what to wear for the day. There are so few options, the choice only takes me a minute to figure out. Also, having a clutter-free closet boosts my mood. (It must be the feng shui of it all).
My desire to shop has not been strong. I did not expect this reaction in the slightest. I thought that after the first week with my 10 item wardrobe I would be begging for someone to take me to Nordstrom’s. Not so. There is something marvelous about having so little hanging in my closet- I am not in a rush to drop a lot of money and fill it up with clutter anytime soon. I know the urge to shop will return, but when it does I am hoping that I will peruse the shops with a very discerning eye and not over-purchase.
When I do go shopping I note that shopping is freeing. I normally never leave a shopping trip without purchasing something. I am interested in more expensive, quality pieces. I am more comfortable with window shopping for research purposes and not purchasing. I know that the next purchase I make will be a high quality choice and that I need to take my time to find what that is.
Acknowledging when an article of clothing is past its prime becomes easier. Last week I spotted a woman, who was wearing leggings, bend over and hug an acquaintance. She was in a room full of people and when she bent over she revealed three rather large holes in her leggings that exposed her backside! Clearly this is a woman who could benefit from analyzing her wardrobe. If she did so, she might have realized that her leggings were past their prime and could have avoided such an embarrassing situation. This poor woman’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ has scared me into analyzing my own wardrobe. For example, I noticed that one of my favorite ‘extra’ shirts, a grey t from Splendid, was starting to look a bit sad. After one too many washings, it hung on my body in a very unflattering shape and just looked a little worse for wear. I believe the pre-10-Item-Wardrobe-me would have ignored the fact and stored it away just because it was kind of expensive (for a t shirt), but the post-10-Item-Wardrobe-me recognized that for my little grey t, retirement was imminent- and I got rid of it!
The ability to mix and match your clothing and create many possibilities is of the utmost importance. You should be able to pair almost everything together in your 10 Item Wardrobe- this is the only way to stave off boredom, eventually grow to loathe your clothing and utter those familiar words “I have nothing to wear!”
If you choose your 10 Item Wardrobe carefully, you literally force yourself to only use the best things you have and over time you become accustomed to it and can trick yourself out of ‘saving your best for later’.
To preserve your nice clothing while doing housework or other chores, wear an apron around the house. This was Madame Chic’s secret to keeping her clothes looking fresh while simultaneously taking on a lot of housework and cooking.
Getting behind in doing the laundry or dropping off the dry cleaning is not really an option- which can be a problem if you’re having a hectic week. I had a week where I got very behind with household chores (laundry included) and was ‘running on empty’ with regards to my wardrobe. I had to pull some items from my reserves to get by. Also- dropping off dry cleaning must be coordinated so that all of your dry cleaning is not out at the same time. If you do not have the laundry/ dry cleaning routine under control, adding more than 10 core items (20, for example) is probably the best solution.
If your fashion budget is on the lower end, avoid over-spending on the core items of your wardrobe. Purchase the best that you can afford (which I will explain in greater detail in a future post entitled: Quality Wardrobe- How Much to Spend) but you do not need to make all of your 10 items ‘investment pieces’. Save the big splurges for the following items: coats, shoes, sunglasses, handbags, cocktail dresses, jeans, watches and jewelry. These items will last you a long time so quality is of the utmost importance. Also if the above mentioned items are quality, they can really dress up a moderately priced outfit and make it look quite expensive.
If you are still feeling resistance towards the 10 Item Wardrobe but are curious about its benefits, try it out the next time you go on vacation. Scale your packing towards the length of your trip. For example, if you are going away for a long weekend, only bring 2 or 3 outfits. If you are going away 2 weeks, try packing your own 10 item wardrobe. You will experience the same benefit of doing the challenge in your own home and will have much less luggage to tote around (always a good thing).
With regards to maintaining and going forward you should adapt over time for what is right for you. If you are doing the experiment to the letter and are only using your 10 core items and you are having a wardrobe revelation carry on! If you find that you need to add more pieces into your capsule wardrobe to make it really work for you, then that is OK too. The exercise is extreme and even though Madame Chic and her family truly employed the 10 Item Wardrobe- it might not be right for you. Hopefully, going forward, you will take the best that this challenge has to offer by becoming more discerning towards the clothing you bring into your wardrobe. You will look at your wardrobe like you look at your home and not allow clutter into it. And ultimately, you will get one step closer to defining your true style.
I would love to hear your thoughts and observations on the 10 Item Wardrobe...
I recently visited the Getty Villa in Malibu and took some astonishing photos of ancient Greek and Roman antiquities, which I will be sharing with you in the weeks to come. The Marbury Hall Zeus is pictured above, dating back to 1-100 A.D.
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