Branding touches every single place in our lives, with or without us noticing it.
One of the biggest places that each of us experiences daily branding is in our own closets. I hear this so often - a whole bunch of people having a love-hate relationship with their clothes, feeling overwhelmed by their bursting closet, left with nothing to wear!
I realized about three years ago that I was this person. The previous 10 years were a feast of shopping excursions, one after the next, buying cheap apparel wherever I could find it! I reveled in the deals – maximizing my dollar and getting outfits that I thought expressed who I was inside.
At one point, I boasted about not having to do laundry for a month because I had so many clothes. And yet, I still searched for the pieces that would complete me, while creating heaps of laundry to be done. Honestly, it felt a little out of control. I was annoyed at not having the “right” things to wear, never feeling like I had enough.
I started researching the solutions.
Did the Container Store carry the appropriate storage to change my life? Could the bookshelves from IKEA contain my vast clothing collection? Adding big furniture pieces and sorting bins didn’t seem to help. And starting over wasn’t practical or affordable for me either!
Project: Closet Branding
When I get an idea, I head right on over to Pinterest. That is my go-to search engine.
I was intrigued by the idea of a capsule wardrobe, which contain basic mix and match pieces that help you to create an expanded wardrobe by re-imagining those items in different ways.
I ran into Project 333.com – an entire blog based on minimizing your closets and spending that time, energy, and effort towards maximizing your life. She wore 33 pieces for 3 months at a time. A seriously hard edit, keeping only those things that are your favorite while still feeling like you have enough.
It was time for my hard edit to begin.
I realized that I have some of the basics covered already but in-between those pieces were things that I never wore, or when I did, felt awful in them. They had no business being in my current rotation and had to go.
I emptied my entire closet onto my bed. It was a HUGE pile of madness! (Disclaimer: make sure you have devoted about 2-3 hours to this process before you begin. It takes time!)
My bare closet looked so CLEAN!
I got out my 40 fancy velvet hangers purchased the previous day in anticipation, a great investment for this big event! I also bought three Rubbermaid totes for the no’s, yes’s, and maybe’s. I was ruthless because I had the mindset that I didn’t have to throw anything away if I didn’t want to.
I put the simple basics back into my closet; a few pairs of pants, simple t-shirts, a chambray shirt. I kept in mind that I only had 40 hangers and that helped me to narrow my selections down.
I felt assured because the clothes that didn't make the current cut were going into the spare closet just down the hall. I did end up giving away a few bags to Goodwill, but kept all of the "maybe" pile. I made a list of things that I needed to pick up to round out my current wardrobe. And for the next three months, when I did shop, it was specific and purposeful.
And the result was amazing! Every day I gave myself permission to only wear my favorite things! And I’m still doing that to this day.
Here are a few gems I’ve learned from building a capsule wardrobe and creating YOUR personally branded closet:
Get rid of anything that you don’t care about.
If it doesn’t make you feel good, it’s not for you!
Figure out what colors look best and curate your closet palette around them.
Wear your favorite things every day!
Choose classics and you'll have something to wear for every occasion!
Tucked away in the bottom of my closet, are two small tubs of next season’s choices. I’ll pick a lazy Sunday to carefully put away the outgoing season’s wears and hang up my next collection. It’s like being reacquainted with your favorites; the long knit skirts, the perfect tank tops, and the sundresses.
Nordstrom (top), Banana Republic (middle), and Boden (bottom) are my top
shopping choices for my forever favorites!
Curating my outfits for the upcoming season has become a special event for me. I turn on some music, pour a glass of wine, and start the process. I’m flexible about the exact number of pieces I keep hanging at a time, winter’s layers seemingly taking up more than the lighter summer wardrobe.
I love not having to devote so much thought and energy to my closet each day. I’ve heard of famous people doing the same “energy edit” when it comes to curbing decision making fatigue; Steve Jobs, President Obama, even Albert Einstein minimized their wardrobe to have one less choice during their day! By creating a personal uniform, it frees you from having to make another decision in an already choice-saturated life!
“Consistency of all kinds is what builds brands. People who wear the same thing, have a catch phrase or two, and associate with the same people are more memorable than those who don’t. It says this is who I am and this is what I enjoy. I think it’s a rather positive thing that helps people identify with them and allows them to just be themselves.”
-Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding and author of Me 2.0.
My laundry pile is much smaller these days. I don’t make the greatest shopping buddy, although I do appreciate a good retail browse now and again. When I am looking for something, I know specifically what it is – gray shirt, skinny jeans, black flats. I stick mostly to simple basics, only letting a select few patterns and embellishments into my closet.
I don’t miss those mornings where I ran late trying to choose my clothes; I just don’t have that problem anymore.
This is certainly not a one-time only process, but after the first big purge, it seems simpler each season that goes by. I still allow myself to be moved by individual pieces when I go shopping, but carry along with me a strict clothing assessment policy. If it goes with at least 5 other pieces from my current wardrobe, then I can incorporate it. Otherwise, it doesn’t make the cut.
If this seems impossible, fear not, it can be done! It took me almost a year to build my capsule wardrobe. I didn’t have the budget to go out and purchase everything at once. I used my Pinterest board Mix and Match Closet Remix to map out my choices and figure out the look I wanted to achieve.
If this inspires more research on capsule wardrobes,
here are some resources to check out:
Until next week!
Every week I'll be dropping off a piece of inspiration, a little bit of something to think about, the best of the best of branding, design and overall simplicity living!
I find inspiration EVERYWHERE and I'm excited for you to come along on the adventures!