Do you dream of the day when you can go to your closet and be ready for wherever you’re headed in under ten minutes? Picture it and know that you can get there. Read on for some tips on how you can build a simple wardrobe full of items you love.
Why does a simple wardrobe make sense?
Having a closet full of things that make you feel fabulous, comfortable, and confident is life-changing. You save time when you can put together an outfit quickly. And when you don’t have to try on ten pieces of clothing to be ready, it works wonders on your confidence too.
And listen, a simple wardrobe doesn’t mean boring. It doesn’t mean you can’t wear bold prints or statement pieces. It just means exactly that: simple, structured, and uncomplicated.
How to create a simple wardrobe on a budget
Often, when you’re trying to downsize your wardrobe, your first inclination is to take everything you own and sort them into piles. You’ll probably decide to donate or sell a few items. But then you’ll get overwhelmed and put everything back in to be dealt with sometime in the future.
The overwhelm sets in because you don’t have a starting point. So, here are some helpful steps you can take to start building a simple wardrobe that works for you.
Start with what you love
Before you sort through your clothes, think about the pieces you like to wear together -- your style uniform. For example, are you a tee shirt and jeans kind of gal? Or do you prefer pencil skirts and blazers?
As you consider your go-to style, think about the colors and fabrics you like. Also, consider what clothes you actually wear every day. Sometimes what you wear, what you love, and what you think you need may not be appropriate for your everyday life. Armed with these points of consideration, identify the style you wear a lot and feel fabulous in.
Do a wardrobe audit
Now, it’s time to go through your wardrobe. Make decisions on what to donate, sell, or keep from your go-to style. And be honest about why you’d want to keep a particular item. Is it because you feel great in it? Or is it because it was expensive and you haven’t worn it enough to justify the price?
If there are pieces that are difficult for you to let go of just yet. Consider putting them aside. Give yourself a timeline to revisit it. Mark the date in your calendar so you won’t forget.
Of course, it’s better if you can get rid of items in one go. But that’s the great thing about creating a simple wardrobe. The process has to work for you. Otherwise, if you force yourself to let go of pieces before you’re ready, then you might be tempted to go buy the same style again to replace it.
Understand your style
After you’ve trimmed down your wardrobe, try to make do with what you have for a while. And use that time to understand your style. Reassess your closet’s functionality.
Do you have the clothes you need for your day-to-day life? Are the clothes you wear practical for your daily activities? And from here, you can build a simple wardrobe with clothing that you can wear consistently and comfortably.
Create rules for your simple wardrobe
Before you start buying pieces to add to your closet, create some rules for yourself. Base the rules on style, colors, and fabrics you like. And take a cue from the items you’ve gotten rid of from your closet.
You can set rules like:
- Avoid dry-clean only clothes
- No polyester or synthetic fabrics
- No brown or beige colors (this is one of my personal rules)
Also, know that you can admire styles without owning them. From my own experience, I love the idea of statement pieces and leather pants. I owned some, but I never knew what to do with them. So, I settled on admiring them from other people.
Borrow instead of buying
It can be easy to rationalize buying items that don't fit in your simple wardrobe by saying you’re saving them for special events. But if you consider your budget and cost per wear, it’s not really practical. And with many ways to borrow or rent, it’s become fairly easy to find pieces for special occasions without buying them.
Online clothing rental sites like Rent The Runway have a lot of formal wear that you can rent for a fraction of the retail price. And your local bridal shops most probably have some items for rent as well.
Pay attention to fabrics
Some fabrics like cotton or linen can withstand a lot of wear. And they’re easy to care for. Silk and cashmere are more expensive and need more care. So, in building your simple wardrobe, define what’s important to you and include that guide your purchases.
For instance, if you want more wear out of your clothes, go for linen or cotton clothing. At the same time, know that silk and cashmere are dry-clean only.
Define what you consider investment pieces
Investment pieces vary from one person to another because it depends mostly on need. Someone might consider blazers, skirts, and trousers as investment pieces because of their job. And another might feel the same for jeans, shoes, and coats.
But sometimes, we deceive ourselves when we start labeling everything as an investment piece to justify the cost. For investment pieces, consider the longevity of the item, the cost per wear, and versatility.
Choose versatile items
The best way to build a simple wardrobe on a budget is to have multiple versatile items. Also, keep in mind that you can put together endless outfits with a few great basics. And a packed closet doesn’t always mean style.
So, if you can find pieces that are simple, comfortable, and flattering, that’s all you need for a stylish wardrobe.
Always shop with a list
Shopping, for the most part, is fun, but it can also be overwhelming. And if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you might end up buying items you don’t need. So before you go shopping, whether in-store or online, make sure you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for.
For instance, are you looking for more structured tops to wear to work? How many do you need? Stick to your list, and if you can’t find something you like during that shopping trip, you can try again next time. This practice prevents you from spending money on things just because they were on sale.
Consider buying pre-owned
Another great way to build your simple wardrobe on a budget is to buy pre-owned items. This is my favorite way to shop for high-end brands I love without paying full price! If you’re not comfortable wearing second-hand items, look there anyway. Most of the time, there are unworn items (still with tags on!) selling for way less than their original price.
And with sites like Poshmark and ThredUp, it’s never been easier to buy pre-owned items. Facebook Marketplace is also a good place to check. Even in your community, I’m sure you’ll find consignment shops and thrift stores.
Get to know a good tailor
We have different sizes and shapes. And although we’re seeing more brands come out with a wider range of sizes, it still doesn’t mean everything you’ll buy off the rack will fit you perfectly. Hence, a good tailor is a great find.
When you shop for clothes, understand what a tailor can and can’t do. It’s also important to know how much it will cost and factor that in the price of the item. A good rule of thumb is to buy clothes that fit the biggest or widest part of your body.
For instance, if you have wide shoulders and narrow hips, shop for tops that fit your shoulders and have it taken in the waist area. That’s an easy fix. But avoid clothes that fit your waist but not your shoulders since that’s a pricey fix.
Build a simple wardrobe that works for you
A simple wardrobe can give you more time to enjoy your mornings. It also helps you spend less on clothes. Wouldn’t it be life-changing if you wore everything in your closet? And you feel fabulous and comfortable in them as well? You’d be saying, “Look out world ‘coz here I come!”
Remember to always budget for items and not go into debt when switching up your wardrobe. Learn how to create a customized budget with our completely free budgeting course!