Closet Clean Out: A Very Loose Guide
Way back in the day, fetus-blogger Kathryn wrote a post all about capsule wardrobes. Reminisce (and cringe) with me with very little content and lots of Polyvore screenshots!
At current, I am reflecting back to how poorly I followed my own advice, continuing to shop and thrift and reorder Amazon Prime Basics Felt Hangers (these are wonderful and cheap but there is no reason I should have enough clothes to fill 150 of them). Having spent the Spring Quarter and Summer abroad, albeit with severe excess baggage charges, I have decided to refresh on my essential clothing items. Sending out a quick inspiration shoutout to the two suitcases I spent six months with and a deep closet purge upon my return to Chicago.
My methodology to make this post more applicable to people (and easier to follow for myself, because as we know, Kathryn does not tend to follow her own advice in this realm) with three broad categories, more specific categories of clothing items in each, and then some real life examples from my own mess of a closet. Pick and choose as your own style dictates!
The Bare Necessities
After much thought and a grueling decision process, I have paired down my black bottoms category to no more than two shorts and a well-fitting skirt (or three - shh). If you can’t catch the sarcasm in that, I share it as evidence of the dangerous habit I have of collecting many iterations of the same thing.
The Bare Necessities broad category begins with the need to first assess what items you constantly grab for (these are your safe items!) and then sort through any duplicates. While the title may be a bit misleading, these items do not need to be just simple basics, but simply your most worn pieces. Together, they should form a basis for the wardrobe, seamlessly pulling together any outfit and demanding an immediate replacement should they eventually grow stained and/or thread-bare.
For myself, these few items immediately go in any suitcase for travels and have appeared numerous times on my Instagram because TBH they’re all I wear.
Layer, Layer, Layer
Now is the time to build off those favorite items, fill in gaps in the basic items, and get creative with layered pairings. Granted, this is a weather permitting category, but as someone who is always cold, I tend to layer daily.
Another category of clothing I have personally needed to seriously pare down has been vests (weirdly specific, I know, I know), but I have still kept my collection fairly heavy for how easily they make basic looks a little extra special. Due to this vest obsession, I have realized that I tend to gravitate to pieces that need (or could have) something underneath them (overalls, slip dresses, vests, and jackets). Having a broad array of items like this creates exponentially more combinations of outfits from simply layering anything from a striped long sleeve t-shirt to a flouncy blouse underneath.
Whatever your poison, may it be scarves, vests, or other accessories, challenge yourself to mix up your layering and outfit combining skills and try them out with a new basic and in a new way.
Some classic combos that I frequent are these babies:
The final broad category my scrambled mind assumes I unconsciously had in mind in my own clean out is the round up of statement pieces. Think of your sentimental things or something in a bold pattern you can’t wear twice in a week. While I tend to dress very monochrome and wear a lot of simple pieces layered, I applaud and have tried myself to collect more weird items and try to wear them more regularly.
The jacket category immediately comes to mind in my own closet, as I tend to collect fun and bold jackets that often demand a monochrome outfit underneath (no rules to this though!). If you’re not ready to jump full in with neon paisley or whatever it may be, I also have a couple boldly patterned t-shirts I tend to layer with and some fun pants too.
For myself, this category encompasses much of my DIY’s and patterned items, and here are some of my (hopefully) helpful examples.
Denim Jacket - all sentimental due to my DIY’ing of my name embroidered across the back and a medley of patches
Fuzzy Furry Jacket - sewed it myself (with lining wowza!) so it shall stay with me for ages
Paisley Bolero Jacket - bought at a Parisian thrift store and reminds me of studying abroad
Colorful Striped Turtlenecks - from literally Forever21 but are super soft and loud, often paired with all black everything else because colorful things scare me
Bright Blue Backpack - from a design museum in Eindhoven, its too bright to ever match with an outfit but I like that bold appeal
Bright Red Block Heels - very much like the backpack but more involved in the outfit for a little pizzazz at your toes
Hopefully, this loose guide brings you some closet organization inspiration and/or back-to-school clean out motivation!
All images via respective links, further formatted and edited by Kathryn Hicks.