02/01 Style / Tips

Good Read: The Curated Closet + Wardrobe Minimalism

I picked up this book since I’m currently in this stage of ok, I spent a long time purging my closet of what I don’t love or no longer fits or was just janky and old and now that I have the cleanest slate for my wardrobe I’ve ever had I don’t want to screw this up again.  I was looking for advice on how to build and maintain a wardrobe where every single piece is worn and thoroughly loved, where I’d never feel the frustration of thinking I didn’t have anything to wear, and while I found all of this in The Curated Closet, what I loved most was the reaffirming message on minimalism and why it’s a very good and not impossible thing.

My first taste of following a more minimalist lifestyle was when I decluttered my closet a little over a year ago, so this topic is one I feel a lot for.  It’s a good place to start a detox since clothing tends to have less sentimental attachments, but also cleaning out your closet makes significant improvements on daily life immediately.  Letting go of things that are holding us back is a powerfully freeing experience, one that made me want to transfer what I learned into every other area of my life, which is very much still and always a work in progress but so far the benefits are confirming this is so what I want.

Minimalism might turn people off because it can seem like it’s about getting rid of everything, but The Curated Closet says it so perfectly: “It isn’t about owning or doing as little as possible.  It’s about owning and doing the right things, things that add value to your life.”  It’s about being highly mindful and aware of the decisions you make.  It’s choosing quality and function over excess.  It’s knowing what’s most important and essential to you, what you like, what you want to do, and how you want to do it.  This applies to everything.  It doesn’t just affect the things we buy, but also how we spend our time and who we choose to be around.  That’s to say that anyone can benefit from minimalism, and while the discussion in this book focuses on the closet, the tools and guides can really work towards anything (*nudge* perhaps the home next?)

SO THIS BOOK.  Rather than being a list of what to buy, it’s a very thorough step by step guide to help you clearly define your style and needs to effectively build a wardrobe that’s functional and personalized to your life.  A really cool thing about it is that it has assignments and writing prompts throughout in order to figure this out, like putting together a mood board (want to see mine??  Turns out I’ve had one all along on Pinterest HERE) and writing summaries breaking down the elements of what you like and what’s lacking from your current wardrobe.

I’ve forever fantasized about being able to blindly take anything out of the closet and effortlessly put together a bangin outfit, but what I never fully acknowledged is that getting to that point takes a lot of time and experimentation (and yup maybe even strategic writing exercises), which I’ve also never put good effort into doing.  Rather if I saw something cute and liked it I just got it without thinking about how it would fit into my life or current wardrobe, or even if it was comfortable.  From experience I know for a fact this is the road to impulse buys, regretful purchases, and having too many duplicates.  Hi cardigans, I have way too many of you.

It is clearer than ever then that the most budget conscious thing to do is to know exactly what I’m looking for and hold out for those perfect pieces I’ll love and wear often, not chase sales and settle for mediocre or ill-fitting things thinking discounted prices would justify even a couple of wears.  This in general has been one of the biggest mind shifts for me since seeking minimalism, and the closet is a solid example of where I’ve practiced this and seen that it’s so much more worth it this way to seek versatile pieces that are timeless to my style.

The book touches a lot on this conscious decision making with so many actionable tips on how to shop, where to spend vs. where to save, outfit formulas, styling, assessing garment quality, how to build a capsule wardrobe, selecting a color palette, even how to determine clothing quantity considering your laundry cycle.  There’s a crazy good amount of practical and detailed information that I plan on flipping through regularly for reference as I keep trucking through this stage of rebuilding my wardrobe.

Last I left off with the writing assignments was the lifestyle analysis, identifying where the gaps in my current wardrobe are based on what I need for daily activities, and a really big part of this for me personally is the major lifestyle change I went through when I left my previous job.  Maybe it isn’t coincidence that my closet purge began around this time, too!

My previous job left me with a closet composed mostly of corporate business wear, things I now found stuffy, uncomfortable, and mostly nothing I would choose to wear outside of work.  I didn’t put a ton of thought into these items and wore whatever I could tolerate that was in line with the dress code, but now that I don’t have as much of a need for that a closet overhaul felt necessary.

So where is my closet lacking?  Work from home clothes.  PJ’s and sweats won’t cut it.  There was even a small section in the book dedicated specifically to this need, about how it’s a good and productive idea to invest in clothing that’s both comfortable and put together but to also have dressier outfits for meetings or events that will take me outside the home.  These are the biggest holes in my closet, ones I hope to fill using my main takeaways from the book:

1| Take your time to experiment and don’t get everything all at once
2| Have a plan and strategy for style, quantity, and budgeting
3| Choose fewer and better quality pieces

The Curated Closet has been one of the most helpful resources I’ve read and is worth checking out if you want to get very serious about your wardrobe.  Though detailed, I don’t think reading it alone is enough for thorough change without doing at least some of the exercises.  The writing prompts and activities really drive the points and make them more likely to follow through with.  Even going into it already having a pretty good idea of my style, it still opened my eyes to details and concepts I hadn’t considered.

Are you feeling any frustrations with your closet, or are you working on a closet detox/overhaul?  Any goals with your wardrobe?

22 comments on “Good Read: The Curated Closet + Wardrobe Minimalism”

  1. I am actually doing the same thing as well. Years of having a non functioning wardrobe has finally worn me down!
    Whilst waiting for this book to be released in Australia, I am reading a book by Australian author Wendy Mak about building a capsule wardrobe and how to create 1000 outfits from 30 pieces.

    Fingers crossed we both get what we want.

    1. I feel ya, I don’t think I’ve ever had a fully functioning wardrobe.
      That book sounds like a natural next read for me. Thanks for the tip!

    1. I identified myself as a hoarder most of my life. Somehow my closet purge was the one thing that turned that around. Feeling the magic once was enough!

  2. Perfect post! I was debating over getting this book in the New Year, but eventually decided against it. Now, after reading this post I’m heading straight to Amazon to order it! Seems like such a great read, especially since one of my goals this year is to be more minimalist & intentional with my wardrobe. xx

    http://www.shakespeareandsparkle.com/

    1. I had a moment too of doubting if I should get it but I really found it so helpful. Hope you do too, and good luck with your closet mission!

  3. Getting dressed is the first thing I do in the day, and if it starts out as a battle, my day will not get any better. I followed a similar process a while back and I have to agree it is amazing. I have saved a ton of money not buying eye candy purchases, that are poor quality and don’t last one wash.
    If I am not organised from the night before, I can still pull an outfit together in a few seconds and feel great. Good luck with the journey, because you may be just organising your closet, but you will gain so much more from the process.

    1. Yes, just from the decluttering alone life has improved so much, and noticing that I was only wearing the same handful of things made sense that I really needed to let go of everything else that was weighing me down and stressing me out in the mornings. So good to hear you’ve achieved a functional wardrobe you’re happy with. I will join you soon :)

  4. Interesting read, your blog post. We’ve been minimalizing since moving into our new home last summer. It’s so free-ing! Easy to clean and care for. We opted for less stuffed closets as well- it’s amazing how many clothing pieces ( mine AND hubby’s) that we left at the old house. Now….to get rid of them all! Sounds like a great book, thanks for the suggestion!

    1. The cleaning YES, anything that can make cleaning less of a pain is worth it, ha! Funny how initially counterintuitive it was to think that having more is limiting, but the freedom of having less is so undeniably real.

  5. Just got this on my kindle a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been using it to try and plan for an upcoming career change and move to a totally new climate. Glad to see the book is working for others!!

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