Getting dressed is one of those things, you have to do it everyday. You can easily spend a lot of time and energy making decisions about what to wear or at the other extreme you can wear the same thing everyday (for example the late Steve Jobs was known for his black turtleneck and jeans combination).
Decision fatigue can arise from making a lot of decisions and it can lead to make poorer decisions, especially later in the day. So, if you make a lot of decisions early on in the day it might compromise the choices you make later on and that’s where having a wardrobe plans comes in.
These days I do two things that really help me a lot
- Hide things that are out of season
- Maintain a capsule wardrobe
Some people when they hear the word minimalism imagine white walls and very few items. To be honest, my home doesn’t quite look like that but I do find it helpful to keep things I don’t need out of sight. So my clothes that are out of season are kept under the bed in drawers, my bags (and electronics) are in boxes and necklaces are in a jewellery box.
There’s plenty of ideas about how to form a capsule wardrobe. I personally aim for 30+ pieces of clothing and try not to have too many shoes, bags, scarfs and necklaces (with limited success!). In later posts I’ll share the actual items in my capsule.
Each season I think about what I’m likely to do in the next 3 months (work, family time, hobby time etc) and gather some ideas about what sort of clothes I’ll need for these activities. I also like to browse blogs and Pinterest for ideas. For me, the next step is to pull out all of my clothes on the bed and find items which are appropriate for the upcoming season.
From there I choose just over 30 items to wear for the upcoming season. Typically I pick about 20 items for work first. These include:
- basic pants (4-6 depending on the season)
- pencil skirts (2 or 3)
- tops (about 10, which by-and-large go with all of the pants and skirts)
- dresses (up to 4, typically only in spring and summer)
Next up is weekend and hobby wear. This varies a lot by season, with shorts and tops in summer and woollen tops, jeans and jackets in the winter. I usually aim for 10 pieces here, but in the summer I make a separate capsule for casual wear as there’s no overlap with my work clothes, our summers are so long, and I often take a summer vacation. Regardless of the season I have a couple of nicer tops for wearing to coffees/brunches/movie night etc.
The last group is outside of the 30+ pieces and it covers active wear for walks and bike rides. I usually aim for a few pairs of pants and 5 tops so that I can go for a walk each day after work as well as head out on the weekend.
Finally those work and casual items are placed in the wardrobe, on display and ready to be worn. The aim is to be able to see my whole wardrobe at a glance, making those early morning decisions easy.
In the first few weeks if I find I need a couple of extra pieces then I just grab them out and add them, like this year when we had a warm autumn I added a pair of shorts and maxi dress to my wardrobe in the first few weeks.
The advantage of having just 30+ pieces is that come time to get ready in the morning you have a small handful of items to pick from. Say it’s a work day, then my decisions usually go something like this:
- Am I ok with wearing the top that’s on the top of the pile? (Note: I put my clean laundry on the bottom of the pile). If not, find a suitable top
- Which pants or skirt should I wear with this top
- Put on shoes (all my outfits go with black shoes so I simply rotate through my options)
- Consider other things (jacket, bag or scarf etc) if I have the time or the weather demands it
On the weekend I usually reach for jeans or denim shorts and a t-shirt. Simple clothes that mean I’m ready to run errands, go out taking photos or do some baking. If I’m meeting friends I’ll opt for one of the nicer tops and if I’m going for a bike ride or walk I’ll wear for my exercise clothes.
In the event I have a special occasion (say a wedding) I head to my special occasion wardrobe which has a full length dress, two cocktails dresses, a black jacket and a pair of black heels. I find this handful of items gets me through the few special occasions I am invited to each year.