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6 Steps Toward a Simple Wardrobe

If you’re interested in downsizing your closet, consider incorporating some of my wardrobe rules into your life…

1. Is it comfortable?

Clothes must be comfortable. Life is too short to spend time in tight clothes or things you think are “fashionable” but hate wearing.

Clothes that I didn’t like ended up hanging in my closet for months. Why not give them to someone who will actually wear them?

2. One in, one out.

Every time I purchase something new, one item is donated to the thrift store.

3. Be wary of jobs that require new clothes.

Any job that requires a whole new wardrobe is not my style. I don’t mind dressing up, but I refuse to spend a lot of money on new clothes.

4. Less is more.

Owning a limited amount of clothes means I don’t fret over what to wear. Prior to downsizing, I spent an incredible amount of time trying to decide what to wear and changing in and out of uncomfortable outfits. Having a few, comfortable, high quality items in my closet makes life a lot easier.

5. Purchase high quality items.

I do my best to buy high quality items from the local thrift store. I want items that are timeless and actually last for more than a few months. In the past, I shopped at WalMart and Target but found out quickly that my money was being wasted. The clothes wore down quickly and both companies have a bad track record when it comes to sweatshop labor.

6. Create your own style.

I’m not worried about the latest styles. I don’t pour over fashion magazines. Generally, I buy what I like and feel good about it. I just try to listen to my instinct, not shop on impulse, and save up for expensive items.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Shanyne December 9, 2009, 5:45 am

    Love the One In – One Out rule!! I don’t like shoes or clothes really… Unfortunately my corporate gig requires that I wear “grown-up” clothes that I find uncomfortable & confining 🙁 I wish I could out one “grown-up” item for each comfy thing I buy!! 🙂

    • Tammy December 9, 2009, 11:12 am

      @Shanyne – Bummer! It’s too bad you can’t out one of your “grown-up” items. ):

      Do you think your boss would let you diverge from the formal dress code? Thanks for reading the blog!

      • Kathleen D Parker December 15, 2009, 10:24 am

        I have found ways to be formal and comfortable. My shoes are always flat , preferably with a soft rubber sole, my skirts and pants always have an elastic waist, my shirts and tops are cotton ( preferable with a bit of poly, so no ironing or shrinking ) Love dresses with a higher waistline, pretty comfortable sweaters, and my final rule…, no pantyhose, ever. Knee hi’s maybe, but prefer high trouser socks. ( My skirt lengths are always fairly long ) Pretty jewelry, classic bags, I can go anywhere. ( except maybe the White House, then maybe I could wear a sari. )

  • Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell December 9, 2009, 5:51 am

    Great post, Tammy! I think we’re working on the same mental wave this week. Stay tuned for my Friday post! 🙂

  • James NomadRip December 9, 2009, 7:20 am

    I need to pare mine down even further. I tend to acquire t-shirts all the time for various reasons (I’ve won 6 now on Twitter this year). We donate all of our clothes, and either buy very high quality (jackets, boots) or thrift store.

    I was going to go buy a new pair of shorts or two this summer. Went to Goodwill and got 6 pairs for $20. It just makes no sense to buy new when so much good stuff is already there for next to nothing. People donate clothes in perfect shape all the time.

    • Tammy December 9, 2009, 11:17 am

      @James – 6 shirts on twitter? Dang that’s impressive. I need to go through a few of my older shirts. My mother-in law just gave me some of her “older” clothes. They were cute and free – A most excellent combination.

      It’s amazing what I find at our local thrift and/or consignment stores. People donate so many new items. I’d rather save the money and buy from Good Will too. 🙂

      • James NomadRip December 9, 2009, 12:31 pm

        Oh and I meant to say that I like to wear things out completely. I acquire them faster than I wear them out, though.

        My sister just opened a vintage clothing store in Tacoma. It’s amazing how much stuff she finds. I’m just finishing up a story about that for the blog.

    • Lazy Mom December 17, 2010, 10:45 am

      James- I totally agree. I either spend a decent amount of money on shoes and coats and some classic items, or I buy shirts for $2 a piece at the thrift store. When I go “shopping” with friends (quotes, because usually they’re the only ones spending any money) I am just appalled how much money people spend on clothes, when I can buy the exact same thing for next to nothing.

      • James Schipper December 17, 2010, 12:29 pm

        Yes I agree on being appalled. I grew up around Los Angeles, where shopping is done with near religious fervor. I’m glad I got the “disgusted with that” gene. I have gotten even worse about it as I’ve pared down my things further.

  • JR Moreau December 9, 2009, 10:23 am

    I love your attitude on this! I hate trying to keep up with the Jones’ and people who really are always trying to be fashionable. I don’t want to feel guilty for dressing and living simply, you know?

    • Tammy December 9, 2009, 11:06 am

      Thanks JR! I think you can still be fashionable by being yourself. That’s where all the cool trends begin, right? 🙂

      • JR Moreau December 9, 2009, 11:08 am

        @Tammy, I feel pretty confident in my appearance no matter how “fashionable” i am. It’s more in how I view myself I think.

        Great message!

        I wanna hear more about your thoughts on tiny houses and simple living. I think I’d agree with you on these things

        • Tammy December 9, 2009, 11:23 am

          @JR – Well that’s good to hear. 🙂

          Check out my Portfolio page for more info on tiny homes / simple living. Also, The Small Living Journal is back and I have a lot of fun articles over there…

          Take care and thank you for reading RowdyKittens.

  • Chris O'Byrne December 9, 2009, 8:19 pm

    Over the last year I’ve started hiking a lot and have bought some decent clothing at REI. I have realized that 1) these clothes are of high quality and are going to last a long time, 2) they look good, 3) my wardrobe could easily consist of a just a few of these items. I have been slowly wearing out my older t-shirts and jeans and will eventually have a minimal wardrobe of my own design.

    What is it about this minimal lifestyle that just grabs us?

  • Janet Birgeles December 13, 2009, 5:21 am

    Unfortunately I have a horrid relationship with clothes. Ironically I hate shopping for clothes but have more than anyone can believe. I too, love jeans, sweats etc. ie: comfortable clothes. I live in them and sleep in them. However I have a critical family. Also my sister owes boutiques. Soooo whenever I’m with them I have to look as good as I can, being overweight, so I don’t embarrass. Recently my sister went into my attic and relieved me of 10 bags of ‘different size’ clothes which “you will never wear again”. I could not do it. Paradoxically once I buy something I can’t get rid of it. Having help helps. The suggestion of tagging is an interesting one except I probably would end up with an empty closet. Which would make me feel insecure. So there you have it. It really is a head game. Less is more for sure. Loved your article. Thanks.

  • InspirationFromYou December 22, 2010, 8:46 am

    I am 100% at comfort.. the sad thing is.. I HATE skinny jeans, and now, it’s practically the only kinds of jeans I find at the local GAP and Kohl’s. The “regular” jeans can cost up to $50-60 and I have been hesitant to ask my mother to buy them for me because of the price.

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