For a while now I’ve been on a desperate mission to de-clutter everything in my life. I think this comes from a bit of a love affair with minimalism, starting to understand the things I find to be truly valuable, and really getting embedded in my personal style.
I’ve been stripping my bookshelves, downsizing my yarn stash and being brutal with under-bed storage, but the thing that’s taken the biggest hit is my wardrobe.
I’ve never been particularly interested in the whole capsule wardrobe thing. There seemed to be rules around it, and while I’m a stickler for the rules with a lot of things in life, my personal style is not one of them. I prefer to be wholeheartedly, passionately and unapologetically myself when it comes to what I wear.
But lately I’ve been on a style evolution. I think it has a lot to do with getting older, growing up and finding my stride with who I am for the long haul, and the threads of my early twenties just don’t cut it anymore. I’d find myself in that awful sink-hole every morning, staring at a rail full of clothes that I just didn’t want to pick up. Whether they were too bold, too old or just too cold for the current weather I’m not sure, but one thing was certain – they didn’t make me feel good. And what use are clothes that don’t do that?
After three wardrobe edits, an eBay session and multiple charity shop drops, I still wasn’t satisfied. I started to do something I never thought I would, and found my eyes lingering on capsule wardrobe edits on Pinterest. 36 pieces. Seasonal splits. Closet essentials. I couldn’t get on board with those things, but I still couldn’t get enough. I think it was the simplicity of it. The ease.
So I did something that felt quite drastic at the time. I took every single thing out of my wardrobe and divided it into three piles. I love this and I’d buy it if I saw it now. I like this, but for some reason don’t wear it often. I just don’t actually like it.
Pile number three went straight to the charity shop, and pile number one went straight back in the wardrobe. Pile number two was given a little more attention. I tried each item on, asking myself what I liked and didn’t, and why I didn’t wear it. If it was because it was a seasonal item, or I didn’t have quite the right thing to wear with it, I held on. If not, I bagged it up and tucked it at the back of my wardrobe out of sight. A couple of months down the line and I haven’t given it another thought, so it’s out with the lot of it.
Looking at my wardrobe after this was kind of wonderful. There was barely anything left, but it felt so good. I was probably left with the only clothes that I’d actually been wearing, but it was so refreshing to see them there, not fighting for space with tonnes of items I’d fallen out of love with.
And one thing was drastically clear. I’m not a fan of colour.
Looking at my wardrobe now, I have just a handful of items of colour, and three of those are blue denim. The rest tend to be more occasional wear, that don’t sit with my daily essentials but that I know I’ll want when it comes to Christmas party season or the next wedding invite rolls around. Other than that, everything else is black, white or grey, and I’ve never felt better.
Getting dressed every morning is a breeze. I know that any item I pick up will be something I like, that makes me feel good and that will go with everything else in my wardrobe. I cannot tell you how much stress this process has eliminated!
One of the most freeing realisations I had during my wardrobe overhaul was learning to say no to things that aren’t comfortable. It was something Madeleine Olivia touched on in one of her videos, and the thought really struck a chord with me. Why am I wearing clothes that make me feel uncomfortable, just because they look good or it’s the ‘done’ thing to do? Since then I’ve given up underwired bras and spend my time in M&S cotton bralettes, which are honestly so comfortable. I’ve also ditched my favourite vintage Levi’s shorts and Wrangler jeans, because really, who wants to be living with a constant wedgie? It seems so obvious once you get there, but I definitely needed a hand to guide me along the way!
Now, I’m so excited about the changing season. I’m getting back into my favourite jumpers, and will be knitting up a new cardigan to fill the gap that’s missing. What’s even better though, is that almost everything I was wearing this summer is versatile enough to see me through winter, too. Vests will become base layers to keep out the cold, while skirts and dresses will be worn with tights, jumpers and chunky boots.
It sounds kind of superficial to be talking so much about clothes, but, honestly, the difference this process has made in my life is unfathomable. Now, my wardrobe is no longer a source of stress, and instead helps me to be the calmest, most authentic, version of myself, and I couldn’t ask for more than that.