considered living: criteria for an essential wardrobe


Imagine waking up in the morning to get dressed, you open the doors to your closet, and you feel calm and serene because:

You love every item of clothing in your wardrobe.

You have many outfits to choose from,

but you don’t have too much.

You have something to wear for every occasion.

You are satisfied in the quality of your clothes.

Everything fits well

and you feel chic and comfortable in every outfit you own.

These are the ideals of an essential wardrobe.  I’m certainly not fully there, but since editing/reducing my wardrobe I’ve noticed my morning stress level has significantly decreased.   I’m no longer panicked about what to wear and running late in the mornings.  Now I can start my day feeling relaxed and ready to face what lies ahead.

Creating an essential wardrobe requires one to be more thoughtful and selective.  To make it in, an essential wardrobe piece should meet the following 6 criteria:

  1. It must fit and be comfortable.  It must fit you comfortably while standing, sitting, bending over, after a big meal, and after several washes.
  2. You can imagine wearing it on a weekly basis.  Is this something you will gravitate to?  Does this fit in with the clothes you already love to wear?
  3. It must reflect who you are.  Are you being genuine and authentically you while wearing this?  Once I bought several long-sleeved collared shirts when I was starting a new job, believing that I needed to look ‘professional’, but I was never one to wear these types of shirts and didn’t feel like myself in them, and guess what, I never wore them and wasted a lot of money (boo!).  The same can be said for “sexy” clothes.  We might have the desire to appear “sexy” but would you actually feel comfortable in that skin tight body-con dress?  Will your close friends and loved ones feel that this outfit reflects who you are or will it be painfully obvious that you are trying to be someone you’re not?  For some girls, this is reflective and by all means, have fun with it!
  4. It must be good quality. This does not have to be expensive!  But you often get what you pay for.  Once I bought H&M jeans because they looked cute and were a great deal at $15, but they were paper thin and the minute I got them home, the belt loop ripped off and tore a big hole down the front.  So, gravitate toward strong natural fabrics with good seams.
  5. It must be versatile.  Can this be worn with at least a 1/3 of the outfits in your wardrobe?  Does its appearance let you get away with wearing it over and over again?  Keep loud graphic prints to a minimum, it’s much easier to pull off wearing the same black tee every week than wearing that tie-dye shirt with rhine stones.
  6. It must not be redundant. It’s okay to have many versions of the same thing if that thing is something you wear nearly everyday, ie. I own 5 black shirts but this is okay because I wear head to toe black at least 3 days out of the week.  When it comes to most things though, one should be enough, ie. one little black dress, one pair of chinos, one pair of tennis shoes, and so on.

If you’re rolling your eyes at these rules, just remember sometimes we have to become neurotic about little things now in order to reduce the sum total stress of getting dressed for years to come.  This might add a year to your life, who knows!

[image credit: joinery]

One thought on “considered living: criteria for an essential wardrobe

  1. Great take-always in this post! I loved reading your insights. These are all so true. Capsule wardrobes would benefit everyone if they really sat down and analyzed their closet and needs. Wonderful post!! Thanks for sharing! I’m excited to read more!

    Liked by 1 person

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