So you might think that as a fashion designer I would be encouraging you to buy as many pieces of clothing as you can and stuff your closet (and your roommate’s or spouse’s closet) to the brim. But this is not the case – not by a long shot. The reality is, I want you to find the right pieces of clothing. I have been struggling myself to thoroughly curate my wardrobe to the pieces that i wear all the time and love. And when you have these right pieces of clothing, I think you’ll see that less really is more. You can do more when you focus less on your daily, repetitive decisions, which increases your productivity. Ready to clean out that closet and start seeing the improvements? Try these 5 tips for narrowing down your wardrobe and upping your productivity.
1. Separate sentiment from function. We all have those items in our closet: the items that mean something to us, but that doesn’t mean we actually wear them. The shirt we bought on vacation that reminds us of that one special meal by the beach – but that we just don’t have reason to wear again. Or the sweater we cherish because it reminds us of some really good evenings snuggling at home during the winter (but that was 3 winters ago). Go through your closet and set aside the things you love – but don’t love to wear. It is OK to let them go. Doing so will make room for the pieces in your wardrobe that help you succeed every day.
2. Consider your statement. The reality is that for many people, life is just so busy that noticing what others are wearing every day is not a high priority. If you have to choose between the two, would you rather that people noticed you because you wore a new trendy outfit each week or because you contributed something valuable? Don’t rely on your clothes to define you, but instead define your life and let your closet work for you.
3. Ask yourself: What do I need to wear? Often our closets are overflowing with things we don’t need to wear. This makes us waste our time in the morning, trying to figure out what to wear. If your workplace has a casual dress code and you need to be moving, why are you keeping all of those formal shirts that wrinkle with each breath? They also steal your time for wardrobe maintenance, requiring special laundry care.
4. Give yourself 5 special items. I’m not asking you to ditch your favorites and only wear the same pants and plain shirt for the rest of the year. Let yourself pick 5 special items you might not need, or that might be sentimental (but not practical). Scarves, bright tees, patterned leggings for the gym – pick your favorites and don’t feel guilty about them again.
5. Make sure your wardrobe works for you. Beyond those 5 favorite items that might not be very practical, select items to keep that are of quality construction (replacing items takes time and money). Also make sure that there is some commonality – such as a solid tee that works with your summer culottes just as well as it works with your dress pants and blazer. Strong staples will save you time in the morning because you no longer have to constantly thumb through the items, all the while wishing that just something would work.
Take a cue from our current President – Barrack Obama. He has to get things done all the time, and he acknowledges that worrying about his wardrobe just isn’t on the To-Do list.
“You need to focus your decision-making energy. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.” ~ President Obama
He isn’t the only influential one who prefers to let the clothing be simple and focus on the real priorities. Mark Zuckerberg, the man behind Facebook, says that:
“I really want to clear my life so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community. I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life, so that way I can dedicate all of my energy towards just building the best products and services.” ~ Mark Zuckerberg
These men didn’t become successful because they spent valuable time every morning staring at their closets, hoping a clever outfit would suddenly appear. When you have the right pieces in your closet, you don’t need to overflow your wardrobe. Less is more – especially when the pieces you have are of quality, well-designed, and work for you.