If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume two things.
- You value simplicity.
- You value having a thoughtful wardrobe that helps you look and feel your best.
Architect Le Corbusier said, “Simplicity is a choice, a discrimination, a crystallization. Its object is purity.”
To effectively simplify our wardrobes (or anything in life), we have to specifically choose what we want. And that means not choosing everything else.
With that in mind, let’s get right into the six steps to choosing a simple summer wardrobe.
1. Write your style statement. Decide on two words that best express your personal style. Check out my recent post on this at https://thesimpleswan.com/2023/05/10/write-your-own-style-statement/. By the way, I think it’s perfectly logical for our style to evolve. My style statement is simple + significant.
2. Choose a uniform. An everyday uniform will consistently express your style, reduce decision fatigue, save money and keep your closet, mind and life less cluttered. Think of Anna Wintour’s floral dresses, Mark Zuckerberg’s gray T-shirts and Mr. Rogers’ cardigan sweaters. Decide how many versions of your uniform you need. My summer uniform is a simple dress, and I would like about a dozen. (That may sound like a lot or a little to you, but that number worked for me the past few summers.)
3. Clarify your clothing preferences. Next, get crystal clear about what you like to wear. Carol Tuttle of Dressing Your Truth recommends considering these five elements: color, fabric, pattern, texture and design lines.
4. Make a checklist. Define your preferences for each of the five elements. The more specific you can get, the less likely you’ll waste time and money on things that aren’t quite right for you. I’ll share the checklist for my summer dresses so you get the idea.
√ Color: black + cool, deep colors
√ Fabric: comfortable + cool + easy-care
√ Pattern: solids + elegant, modern prints
√ Texture: soft + smooth + slightly stretchy
√ Design Lines: clean lines + fit & flare + tasteful sleeves, neckline & length
5. Curate your wardrobe. To curate means to select and organize a collection. Go through what you already own to see what matches your checklist. If you need to purchase anything, do so with your checklist and budget firmly in place. Think of your checklist as requirements and refuse to compromise. When you find something that works, consider buying it in multiples.
6. Store everything else. Remove everything from your closet that isn’t part of your carefully-curated summer wardrobe. Only keep out specialty items like exercise clothes, swimsuits and sun hats. Store everything else in another closet, under the bed or in dresser drawers. This step will make your closet (and your life) feel simple and serene.
And that’s it. Stop shopping, browsing, clicking, comparing and questioning. Resist the urge to buy something new for a one-off event. Wherever summer takes you, you’re going in your own simple style. §
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