How to be happy with a minimalist closet

I fell in love with a quote that I saw in Vogue magazine about a woman who described herself as being  “quite precious” about her closet.

“Quite precious?”

I was intrigued. 

It meant that she only had a precious few things in her closet.

Don’t you love that? Imagine having just a few “precious” things that you love, with loads of air space between hangars, and only a small handful of folded sweaters and accessories on the shelves.

Imagine clean, open space in your closet, and imagine that you can effortlessly get dressed with what you have.

My closet was causing me to feel stressed

I wanted my own precious closet because mine was causing me stress.  In the past my closet had been minimalist and orderly, but I had let it get away from me, as closets can do when you’re not paying attention. 

I had fallen into the trap of buying clothes on sale even if I didn’t love them, and I kept them out of guilt, even if I never took them off the hanger. 

I hated this. Walking into my closet and seeing a jumble of clothes that I didn’t love or wear actually did cause my stress level to rise. I don’t like having  a lot of clothes because I don’t like the confusion and stress of having to choose from too many tops, pants, sweaters and shoes. 

But still, I felt stuck because I didn’t really know which items actually looked good on me.  

So I reached for help.  One sign of mental health by the way, is seeking help when you need it.  Otherwise, you can procrastinate for years –  and procrastination is a huge cause of stress.

I reached for help and it saved me money

I decided to do a Google search for “style consultant” in my area.  

I called the consultant and explained that I wanted a minimalist closet.  I told her I didn’t want a bunch of clothes, and that I wanted to be able to easily pick out something to wear when I wanted it.  I said I wanted to smile when I looked at my closet, and I wanted to really love everything I owned. I told her I did not want a lot of clothes and that it was about my peace of mind more than money.  Too many clothes means too many choices and too much confusion.  

Before my consultant came over, we spoke on the phone for close to an hour and she gave me some homework.  Some of the homework involved her guiding me about how to think about clothing, and what I really wanted to wear.  

I did a quick run-through of the clothes I didn’t wear (most of them) and folded them up on a bench, ready for her to help me make decisions.

I was happy to learn that my instincts were right with 99% of the clothes in my pile. I just needed someone like my stylist to help me realize why the clothes in the pile should go. Some of them were just plain wrong for my body, or looked too worn, or were simply out of style. 

You’ll have to spend money to hire a professional stylist but if you’re stuck like I was, it can actually save you a lot of money in the long run. If you’re like me, and you add up all of the time and money you’ve spent buying clothes because they were on sale, or buying a latest fad outfit, or clothes that simply don’t make you feel fabulous in them – then hiring a stylist is very worth the money. 

There is a lot more that a stylist can do for you than just help you simplify your closet.  For one, you’ll probably be surprised that some or many of the clothes you’ve been buying for yourself aren’t the best look for you. We all get into ruts, and it’s good to have a trained, fresh eye take a look and see possibilities that you don’t see. That’s been true for me.

My stylist also reminded me not to rely on the advice of salespeople because most of them work on commission, so their job is to sell you clothes from their store – and that may or may not be best for you. This is yet another reason why you can save a lot of money by hiring an independent stylist who can educate you about what’s best for you, where to shop, and how to shop, including how and where to shop online. You only need to hire the person once or a few times to get your own understanding. Or you might want to hire your stylist yearly just to make sure you’re on track. Whatever way you do it – if you find a stylist who clicks with you – it’s worth it. 

What you wear is a reflection of your self-esteem

My stylist told me that our clothing is a reflection of our self-esteem, because you can tell when a person likes her or himself by the way they dress.

This doesn’t mean you need to become a style slave. It simply means that you dress neatly in clothes that flatter you – whether you’re casual or dressy. If you have just two pairs of jeans and a few tops, then let those few things fit you perfectly and look fabulous.

My stylist said, “Simplifying your wardrobe doesn’t mean you can’t have interesting elements that make you happy and that make you look forward to getting dressed every day.”

She studied my body type, understood my lifestyle and was able to give me style notes on what sorts of tops, pants, coats and accessories would look great on me so that I could quit wasting time buying the wrong clothes.

Here are a few general pointers from her that apply to everyone:

  1. Take the time to learn about what cuts flatter your body.  If you can, hire a stylist even for half a day to help you, and you’ll have made a wise investment. You’ll no longer waste time and money on the wrong clothes.  
  2. No matter what your body type, clothes should skim your body and an outfit should not be clingy or baggy. 
  3. Pay attention to detail.  With solid or neutral-toned tops, make sure there is detailing such as ruching, seaming, darts, sleeve detail or other embellishments.  Seaming and darting give shape to jackets, tops, dresses and coats. When you have this kind of “structure,” it creates the shape you want your body to present.
  4. Buy a perfect bra.  The right bra can make you look so much better in your clothing and give you increased comfort and good posture.  A bra fitting will insure that you are wearing the correct bra size, and also getting the support that you need.  Get bra fittings from a professional but remember, bra sales people also work on commission, so make sure  that you have truly found the right size, fit and manufacturer for your body.
  5. Balance your wardrobe.  A balanced wardrobe incorporates patterns, solids, neutrals, colors, textures, embellishments and accessories.  These varied elements allow you to mix and match throughout your wardrobe.  Following this ideal, you’ll need fewer clothing pieces.

My stylist said, “When you wear clothing that is flattering to your body, you learn to love your body and view it in a different way that enhances your life.  Every day, you can reinforce your own positive image.”

Buying the best clothing that really makes you look terrific is worth the money in the long run.  Imagine having just a few beautiful items that fit you perfectly, make you feel happy, and are timeless.  These items may cost more up front, but take it from me, this kind of shopping will save you money and stress in the long run,, and you’ll be on your way to a minimalist closet that works.

To find your own stylist, do a Google search for “style consultant,” or “personal stylist and your city.”

1 comment

  1. Sometimes worth it, yes, to have someone help plan a simple custom wardrobe with you… It can be done completely on-line too which is a lot less expensive through a Simple Wardrobe E-Planning Session… 🙂

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