This year, I’ve decided to be more intentional when it comes to my closet. When getting dressed in the morning, stop and really look at what you already have. Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? It suggests that we only wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time!! Which means that you have a lot of items hanging in your closet taking up space.
Sorting through your closet on a regular basis is a good way of determining what your 20% is and where to make some changes.
How to figure out your 20%
A great way to know what are your go-to items is to turn the hanger the other way when you go to hang something back up. Another tip I heard from Hilary Rushford at Dean Street Society is to put a record (I used a piece of cardstock) in your drawer and every time you wear something you put is under the record. These are two visual ways to help you keep track.
At the end of last year I took these tips and organized my closet.
Now, I’m no stranger to sorting and cleaning out my closet!! In fact it’s something that I tend to do every 3-4 months.
This year, I’m trying something new. I’m actually going to be more intentional when it comes to shopping. I’m going to do this by following these 3 steps:
- Figuring out what my needs are vs. my wants
- Not needlessly following every new trend
- Experimenting by mixing and matching the stuff that I already own.
A guide to making mindful fashion purchases
So how can you be more mindful when it comes to making fashion purchases??
Take care of what you already own
Read the care tags on your clothes and clean your items accordingly. I take it a step further and I only ever use cold water when I’m washing my clothes. I also hang most of my clothes to dry because there is nothing worse than accidentally shrinking something!!
Clothes that are ripped or torn, see if they are mendable. I’m decent with a needle and thread so if it’s on a seam I can fix it. Anything a little more delicate and you should take it to an expert. The same goes for shoes, are there signs of wear and tear? Can they be fixed? I have a great pair of wedge knee-high boots that I took in to be resoled. The shoemaker actually put on a better sole than what it originally came with.
Buy less and choose well
There’s a saying: “you get what you pay for” and sometimes that means if you buy something cheap, you get something that’s cheap quality. Before buying something check the quality and craftsmanship of the item. If something looks cheap, even though you might be saving some money you probably won’t end up wearing it because it doesn’t feel good on. So then you aren’t really saving any money.
There are lots of place with good quality items at prices that won’t make you go broke fast so this isn’t a push to only shop at the most expensive places. It’s more about making sure that each individual piece is made well no matter the price. Sometimes cheaper materials can feel itchy and scratchy and if it’s uncomfortable on you probably won’t wear it.
Figure out the cost per wear
I’ve mentioned this before but cost per wear is a great way to figure out if something is worth buying. You can spend a lot on one item and wear it over and over again reducing the cost per wear. You can also pay very little for something else and only wear it once or twice making the investment piece actually a smarter decision in the long run.
Let’s say I buy a pair of shoes from Nine West for $150, and I wear them 50 times. Then there cost per wear is $3. Now let’s say you find a pair of cute shoes on clearance for $40 and you only wear them twice because they pinch your feet and give you blisters (true story). For these shoes the CPW is $20 making the more expensive pair the better choice. I ended up having to donate those shoes because there is nothing cute about bleeding feet!!
Shop your closet
Go through your closet and take an accurate assessment of what is already in there. Anything that needs to be fix or repaired? Do it in the next couple weeks otherwise you probably never will. No longer fits? Either too big or too small hanging onto it will probably just get you down. If it’s something that you love and it’s only off by a size hang onto it for a few more months and then revisit it.
Really looking at your closet will also show you the gaps. When I went through my closet a few years ago I couldn’t believe how how many similar black tops I had!! Nobody needs as many as I had in my closet.
Shopping your closet can also be a great way to fall back in love with older items. When we get stuck in a fashion rut we tend to grab the same pieces over and over again and always wear them the same way. Looking at your closet with fresh eyes and a beginner’s mind might mean you see things a little differently. Try experimenting with what is in there and wear it in new ways. You just might be pleasantly surprised with what you come up with!
Does it fit with your life?
Over time, our lifestyle changes and so do our style wants and needs. In one of my first jobs I was able to wear track pants to work which I definitely can’t do now. Of course it was also during the Juicy Couture tracksuit days but still. If you work in an office than you might need more work friendly clothes. Knowing what your lifestyle is like can help inform what stays and what goes.
In mindfulness we teach about accepting the reality of what is. This also relates to what items we buy. I’m no longer in my 20s hitting the nightclubs every weekend. These days I want clothes that I can wear to go out at night but that I can also wear to work. Pieces that can go straight from the office to happy hour are exactly what I am looking for. Your life and your needs will be different. Knowing what your lifestyle is really like can help you decide whether or not to click buy.
Figure out your personal style
Personal style is something that can definitely shift with time but there are certain things that will still stay consistent. I’ve never been one for baring my midriff so if/when I wear a crop top I want one that hangs a little lower. Or I wear it with something with a higher waistband. This fits in with my style and helps to guide me when shopping.
There have been shifts though. I used to only wear solid colours and very little prints. When I did wear either it was only on one half and the other half was black or white. These days I am known more for wearing lots of colour. I also mix prints all the time which is something I never did before. With a change in my style came a change in my shopping.
Being more mindful when shopping means less buyers remorse. It means that you know what you actually need and you can stick with it. One of my goals this year is to shop less and so far this year I haven’t bought anything new. Sure, it’s only the 10th of February but it still counts. 🙂
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