3 steps to create a modern wardrobe


Everyone needs clothes that make them feel confident.

How to create a modern wardrobe Part 2

Have you made the decision to start a wardrobe capsule, but don’t know where to begin? If you read Part I of this blog series, you should already know what type of wardrobe capsule you are planning to create, and how many items you’d like to include. Keep reading for a simple 1-2-3 step guide for building a personalized, mini-collection that will take the stress out of deciding what to wear everyday.

Step 1: Start with a Clean Slate

Place every article of clothing from your closet on your bed. This may seem like a drastic first step, but it’s a necessary one. Similar to KonMari method of decluttering, this step will help you prioritize your belongings before you start cherry-picking your starter wardrobe capsule. Don’t worry about pajamas, intimates, and work-out clothes for now, just pull out tops, sweaters, skirts, pants, jeans, and dresses. For simplicity in sorting (and to avoid a huge heap of tangled hangers), consider stacking similar clothing items in piles. For example, create a stack of folded jeans, a stack of short sleeve tops, a stack of skirts, and so on.

The next task is to sort through the piles and trim away pieces that don’t make your heart flutter, don’t fit, or are damaged. Grab four large boxes and label them: Love It, One Day, Donate, and Trash. For the first go-round of sorting, try to rely on your initial gut reaction. When you pick up a piece that you simply adore place it in the “Love It” box. Hint: these pieces are easy to spot because you’ve likely worn them in the past 30 days. It helps to remind yourself why you like the item so much. This may sound silly, but recapping why you love the clothes you wear most often will make the less-than-perfect pieces stand out like a sore thumb.

When you pick up a piece that might have been purchased on impulse, or for a specific event, place it in the “One Day” bin. “One Day” can mean that you simply only wore it once, or that it’s a relic from past “days” that will never be repeated. Include memorabilia and items that you just aren’t ready to part with for whatever reason. These pieces won’t be leaving for good, they will just be stored away for a while.

The “Donate” box is the catch-all, and the “Trash” bin is self-explanatory. If you find yourself struggling to let some pieces go, try setting your standards a bit higher. Ask some yourself questions, like: Would I purchase the item again today, regardless of the price? If it’s a piece that was purchased for a vacation, weigh out whether or not you would be going on a similar trip in the next 12 months (or ever). Also consider how difficult it would be to replace the item if needed.

Once all the bins are filled, and your bed is empty, take the “Donate” box and load it into the car. Take out the “Trash” bin. You will want to get them out of sight (and out of mind) as quickly as possible. Pull out your “Love It” and “One Day” bins and be sure you are satisfied with their contents. Try on items if needed. Don’t hold on to anything that requires you to gain or loose weight. Lastly, put the “One Day” bin in storage.

Step 2: Begin Building

First, remind yourself of the purpose for creating a mini-wardrobe. Then, make a list of your routine activities (such as work, church, date nights, etc) and how often you participate in each activity. Keep the list close and reference it as you begin to choose your wardrobe capsule items.

Lay out the “Love It” items on your bed and start by picking out the pieces that you wear most often (and can imagine wearing for the next 3 months). Then, add in any basics that may be missing. These pieces might include dark denim jeans, a little black dress, a midi dress, solid dress pants, a cape cardigan sweater, or other similar “building blocks” that are useful in creating multiple outfits. Take note of the amount of items you have acquired, and be sure you are covering your bases to fit your lifestyle needs. Review your final items and put everything back in your closet.

Step 3: Try It and Tweak It

As you embark on this experiment, don’t forget that mistakes are allowed. Try your wardrobe capsule for a week or two at first, then tweak it as needed. Overall, you want the wardrobe to compliment your lifestyle and make dressing easier, not create more stress. Give yourself permission to add or subtract from the total number of items. If you’re feeling stuck after a couple weeks, search on Pinterest for new mix-and-match combinations to keep things feeling fresh.

Congratulations! You’ve created a streamlined wardrobe system that is customized to your personal lifestyle. Wardrobe capsules might not be the right fit for every woman, but they’re worth a shot if you have been looking for a way to simplify your life.

Kristin Hauch-Melton

Kristin Hauch-Melton is a writer and communications consultant. She earned a degree in Communications and Business from University of North Florida, serves on the board for the Fayette Chamber of Commerce and lives in Peachtree City with her husband, horse, and dog.