How to Simplify Your Wardrobe in 3 Easy Steps

An overstuffed closet and a mountain-sized pile of discarded clothing options after each round of getting ready may indicate that your fashion philosophy values quantity over quality. Create a cohesive collection of streamlined wearable looks and kick the chaos and castoffs out of your closet with a simple capsule wardrobe in three easy steps:

cleaning-out-your-closet

Step 1: Out With the Old

Like many of life’s challenges, this situation is going to get worse before it gets better. However, if you clear a couple hours of your schedule and stay committed, the end result will be a closet you can love again. To get a true view of what you need, love, and wear, you need to start with an honest of assessment of what you’re currently working with and why you have it.

Take everything clothes-related out of your closet and pile it up somewhere unavoidable… now there’s your assurance that this project gets finished today. (Seriously, don’t skip that part. It’s important.) Try on each piece and ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does this fit?

2. Do I feel confident when wearing this?

3. Have I worn it in the past six months?

If the answer to any of the above is no, it’s time to honor that item with new opportunity by donating it. The only exception is if a much-loved quality piece can be tailored; if so, drop it off within the week.

Snap a quick full-length mirror selfie for any outfits you feel unsure about—the camera is your most honest friend. Once you have separated the trash from the treasure, analyze what you have left. Your “keep” pile holds clues to your personal style. Why do these items appeal to you? What do they have in common? A successful capsule wardrobe will keep you comfortably and happily clothed. If your everyday style has an easy casual vibe, a closet of fussy fashionista frocks won’t solve your problem; you’ll just go from not having anything to wear to not having anything you want to wear. Be true to your real self.

neutral-capsule-closet

Step 2: In With the New

Take a look at what you already own and set aside essential foundation pieces. These are items that every wardrobe needs, like a little black dress, a white button-up shirt, a pencil skirt, nice jeans, quality leggings, black pants and a few fitted tees. Anything missing from the essentials should take priority on the shopping list; these key pieces become the uniform for life and are worth the investment. Buy the basics in neutral colors like black, white, khaki or gray. These items are the core of your capsule collection and become the backdrop for most outfits.

adding-color-to-capsule-wardrobe

Step 3: Freshen Up

Now take a new look at the clothes you have left—is there an underlying color theme? Pick out a few pieces where you feel drawn to the color or pattern and create your personal style palette. Buy accent items and accessories that coordinate with your capsule collection colors to maximize your ability to mix and match, and easily update your wardrobe seasonally by swapping out colors or clothing types.

If you’re adopting the capsule wardrobe approach for its simple minimalism, aim to have approximately 30 pieces. If you’re just trying to simplify your morning routine, don’t overwhelm yourself with options, but don’t obsess over item numbers or perfecting your collection, either. Just like your personal sense of style, your capsule collection will evolve as you do.

The ultimate goal is to create a mix-and-match recipe of your ideal outfit for every occasion, which is easy when the closet is full of coordinating favorites. The most essential part of creating a capsule collection isn’t in perfecting the numbers—it’s in making sure you feel fashionable and fantastic wearing each and every piece!

Ashley McCann writes for eBay about mindful living as a Floridian mother of two. She makes affordable and sustainable fashion possible by buying and selling her clothes online

80 comments

Jan S
Sara S4 months ago

tyfs

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Tara W
Tara Wabout a year ago

Easier said than done.

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Donna L
Donna Labout a year ago

Thanks for sharing!

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

thanks

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Olivia Dawson
Olivia Dawson3 years ago

Embracing the 33 item wardrobe has simplified my life, and the process of going through my stuff and working out what looks good with what (and reorganising my wardrobe & draws so I can see everything) actually leaves me wearing more variety than before.

I think Simple not Plain unfancy are much more helpful than this list though - the key is identifying your needs and style

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Fi T.
Past Member 3 years ago

Treasure what we have

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ana s.
Ana Sofia3 years ago

gotta try it!!

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Diane Wayne
Past Member 3 years ago

I don't think you should get rid of something because you haven't worn it in 6 months. Winter coats and classic pieces deserve longer.

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Gloria picchetti
Gloria picchetti3 years ago

In Chicago you need lots of sweaters.

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