Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Does wardrobing make sense for you?
Wardrobing is a system of acquiring clothes in a few basic colors - usually 2 or 3 - so that all pieces work well together in a well-defined and consistent style. The purpose of wardrobing is to create multiple outfits from a rather limited number of items. To achieve successful wardrobing, you'll have to pull out all of the items in your clothes closet and drawers, go through an editing process, and only put back pieces in your main colors. When you master the art of wardrobing, you will have enough outfits to feel comfortable and look good in any season of the year. As an extra bonus, your clothes drawers and closets will be almost miraculously decluttered.

My experience with wardrobing
I'll describe my experience with wardrobing to illustrate how you can achieve these goals. (Since I live in an area that doesn’t have a lot of cold weather, wardrobe editing has been somewhat easier for me than it may be for you.)

I picked 3 basic colors: black (true black and charcoal gray), blue (blue jean blue and medium-blue) and white. Most of my clothes are in solid colors, and the few that I have in prints include one or more basic colors. By careful editing, I've seen that every piece coordinates well with all the others. A few beige and pastel tops and shirts still appear in my wardrobe because I’ve yet to find their replacement in black, blue or white.

So, here is my wardrobe strategy. My wardrobe is made up of 40 garments. When I get something new, I simply pass on a similar item to family, friends or a charitable organization. With those 40 items, I now have a useful wardrobe for myself as a homemaker in my retirement years. I feel fairly sure that my wardrobe is correctly edited. Whether or not it represents a minimum number of pieces on a relative scale, either from a worldwide or an ecological viewpoint, is another question. (And, I don't want to think about that - at least not right now). Anyway, the 40 items don't yet constitute a capsule-wardrobe and are probably still more than I need. So, I may decide to further edited my clothes sometime in the future.

You may be interested in how I acquired this wardrobe, so I'll tell you a bit more about it. I bought many of my clothes in thrift shops. Other pieces came from discount stores. The more expensive clothes (black suit, little black dress, and leather jackets) were purchased on sale in department stores 10 or more years ago. Since these better clothes have classic tailoring, they have never gone out of style - at least not by my standards. At any rate, I stopped going to department stores about that time because I thought - still think - that we have to fight mindless consumerism in all the ways we can. Besides, for the past five years, I haven't even had enough money for downtown or mall department stores.

Other benefits
And there are some added benefits of having an edited wardrobe. There’s no need for clothes clutter anywhere since everything fits in: 2 big drawers, ½ of a not-so-big, regular bedroom closet, and one suitcase (for lesser-used pieces). Accessories, like scarves, caps, gloves, sleep wear, bathing suit, yoga clothes, etc., all fit in another big drawer. And, as to upkeep economy, only the 2 suits, the dress pants, the jackets, and the little black dress need dry-cleaning. Thankfully, the better clothes are only worn on rare occasions and seldom need cleaning. Absolutely everything else in my wardrobe goes in the regular home wash.


My shoes are also edited. I have 6 pairs of black shoes: medium-heel for dress; nice flats; tennis shoes; cold-weather, low-heel slip-ons; low-heel sandals for warm weather; and rubber sandals for around the house and in the gym shower room.

The whole wardrobe package
Pairs of slacks - 4
- Nice black, lined; black, all-season; blue, all-season; blue jeans
Capri-length pants - 2
- Black; blue-patterned
Blue jean shorts - 1
Just under the knee-length skirts - 2
- Black, all season
- Blue denim
Sleeveless tops - 6
- 3 white
- 3 solid-colored (pastel shades)
Sleeved tops - 6
- 3 white
- 2 blue
- Nice patterned blouse in black and beige
Sleeved, blue denim shirts - 3
- Simple, long-sleeved
- Simple, ¾ sleeved
- Short-sleeved, embroidered
Nice suits (4 pieces)
- Blue suit, jacket and skirt
- Black suit, jacket and skirt (black lined slacks also go with the jacket)
Black leather jackets - 2
- Nice mid-thigh-length, winter
- Sporty hip-length
Dresses - 2
- Nice sleeveless, little black dress
- 3/4 sleeve black dress, all season
Nice light-weight, multicolored jacket 1
Cardigans - 2
- Black
- Beige
Pullovers for cold weather - 3
- Fleecy pink (also makes great sleepwear in the winter)
- Gray knitted
- Gray sweat shirt
Light-weight, black sports pants and jacket (2 pieces)
Total 40 pieces

Have you done something like this?
If any of you, my readers, have had similar, or somewhat different, challenges with wardrobe editing, I would like to hear about your successes (or failures).

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