There’s something about coming into a new year that inspires nearly everyone on my social media channels to grab new planners and vow to be more “on top of things” in the new year. This year, I’m jumping onto this bandwagon – though it may have more to do with that “Lessons from Madame Chic” book I mentioned at the end of last year than the actual changing of the calendar.
One of the key chapters in the book is about quality over quantity when it comes to clothing. Now, let’s start by saying that the author does expressly say that you should buy the best quality of clothing you can afford and at no point does she claim you need to bankrupt yourself buying Prada in order to start your closet reorganization. She stresses quality, fit (the goal dress from 15 years ago can probably go) and keeping only things that are in good condition (or can and will be repaired).
The basic idea in the book is that the French family she lived with worked with 10 quality, core basic items in their wardrobe. They mixed and matched those items with other items in their closet in order to make them work for different occasions. When I first read that, I guiltily looked into my closet and immediately thought that this was a ridiculous concept that I could never embrace (naturally followed by the defeatist position of “clearly my closet will never be organized.”) But then I read on and realized that it’s 10 items per season. Those items don’t include things like t-shirts/tanks, sleeping wear, cocktail dresses/occasional dresses, event-wear, etc. Much better – though still daunting.
Then I started thinking about what I really wear each day. Do I really wear more than those 10 basics in a given month, or do I wear/wash/repeat the same things anyway? That’s trickier. On an average day, my clothing is California casual, and it doesn’t vary much. But when I’m working outside the home, or doing extra work, it can vary quite a bit. I’m not willing to toss the suits that fit just because it’s unlikely I’ll wear them very often. Plus, I don’t have the money to replace them should the need for them arise.
Luckily, the author does suggest that if you can’t be quite that ruthless, and are unwilling to always dress for success instead of the beach, then find a number of core items that works for you (while still embracing the ideas of fit/quality/good condition) and donate the rest. In other words, if your number is 26 core items, don’t stress.
So, I’ve started the purging of the closet in my first attempt at reorganization in 2015. I’ve already got one big bag of clothing that either doesn’t fit or hasn’t been worn in years. I have no doubt that when I really get down to it, there will be several more bags to go. Which does seem ridiculous given how much I got rid of when we moved, but there you have it. My freelance lifestyle has already put a stop to the impulse buying of clothing, so I don’t really have the low quality in high quantities problem. But I have vowed to make sure that when I do go to buy in the new year, I will focus on things that are well-made rather than made for my current mood.
How about you? Could you get your wardrobe down to the core 10 (or core 26)?