One thing that can hang us up when trying to create a simple, cohesive wardrobe is buying for someone else’s life, or the life we wish we had. No matter how gorgeous a garment is, how well it fits, how it makes you feel, if it doesn’t fit your life, it’s going to languish in your closet. We might immediately think of those glamorous items we’ve all succumbed (or nearly) to. The silk shantung jacket, those 4″ d’Orsay heels, velvet palazzo pants. If you have the kind of “damn the torpedos” style bravado to wear these types of items for every day, more power to you. I am not one of those people.
But the clothing/lifestyle mismatches aren’t always so glaring. Perhaps you hate to iron but find yourself with a collection of white cotton shirts or linen trousers. You have small children or grandchildren to care for regularly and a closet full of dry-clean-only pieces. You travel frequently but almost everything you own is bulky or heavy or wrinkles easily. You live in a warm climate but have a weakness for cashmere. Etc.
In the course of trying to simplify my own wardrobe, I’ve honed in on what’s “workable” for my life as it is right now and sticking to that helps prevent costly wardrobe mistakes.
Business. As the vast majority of the time I spend outside the home is spent at the office, my clothing has to be adaptable to a Business Casual environment. I’ll admit that my situation allows for a more liberal interpretation of BC which includes denim (neat and non-distressed), sweaters and boots (my top three clothing loves). On days that I know I’ll have meetings, I’ll be sure to include a jacket.
Travel. I keep an eye toward pieces that will travel well. Lightweight, washable knits with just a bit of structure are Wardrobe Gold to me. I don’t maintain a separate travel wardrobe; most of what I pack are my every day clothes.
Comfort and Climate. I won’t wear anything that binds or needs constant adjusting. If it digs in, itches, or annoys me in any way, out it goes (or never makes it “in” to begin with). With our moderate temperatures, I find that lightweight layers work best for the majority of the year. And as much as I love the look of a beautiful wool winter coat, they’re of no use to me.
Coordinates. Yes, this means a lot of neutrals in solids and simple designs. I adhere mostly to a long-over-lean silhouette, which means that most of my tops go with most of my bottoms.
The majority of items in my closet right now tick most if not all of those boxes. If it sounds like a dreary style existence, it really isn’t. It works for my life and allows me to get dressed for 99% of occasions without a lot of angst. I still occasionally drool over those fairy tale pieces, but keep my style mantra “simple chic” in mind and it helps me to stay focused. And there are always accessories to add glamour or fun or edge….
What are your lifestyle priorities for clothing? Do you find yourself constantly drawn to clothing that doesn’t work for your life? Or have you found your own style mantra that keeps you on track?