Minimalism, Closet Edition

I love having things, but I loathe seeing them.  My work desk is spotless (I win neatest desk by a mile) and I am constantly re-arranging things in the house to make surfaces look neater and cleaner.  I can’t function if there is too much clutter and distraction.

This explains the issues I have with getting dressed for work.  On a whim, I asked my husband how long it takes for him to get dressed in the morning.  Two freaking minutes.  On a typical morning, I set aside 10-15 minutes for getting dressed, usually trying on multiple outfits or fiddling with combinations until it’s time to go.  Or past time to go.  Yes, I can be running ahead of schedule up until the point of getting dressed.  I can even make myself late trying to get dressed.

It shouldn’t be so hard.  My office has a business casual dress code.  We get to wear jeans every Friday and because of our floor to ceiling windows, it’s usually chilly and people wear fleeces or light jackets.  I rarely meet with clients on my own or even see clients, so it’s definitely not a formal work attire situation.  Everyone seems to value function over fashion, which is okay with me.  So why am I having so much trouble throwing something together?

It’s an over abundance of choice.  My closet was packed to the brim with choices, many of which I haven’t worn in years.  My closet began to spill over into the office closet.  Every day I strived to find something new to try out.  At one point, one of my co-workers asked if I had a new outfit every day.  That was a source of pride.  Who doesn’t love the attention and a great outfit at the same time?  But the pressure is grating.  I’m sick of wasting precious time in the a.m., too. This week I finally dug into some Pinterest research this past week on creating a work uniform.  The end goal is functional pieces that go together without much deliberation but still look polished.

So began the mass closet exodus of 2014.

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To start, I edited by color.  I focused on keeping blues, blacks, whites and grays.  Those colors go well together without much brain power.  Some people probably think it’s boring.  Maybe it is.  I wore combinations of those colors all week and it feels fine to me.  I kept a few pieces outside of this color range, but they had to be absolute favorite pieces that I’ve worn recently that fit well.

From there, I ditched the cheap brands (Forever 21, Charlotte Russe).  Just…no.  No one is forever 21.

The harder part that I’m struggling with is the sentimental clothes.  The bridesmaid dresses.  The skirt from a friend.  The clothes that I use as a way to measure my body.  Fat jeans, skinny jeans.  I still need to convince myself that fitting into the dress I wore at age 20 doesn’t matter if I’m never going to wear it again.  Neither does the cheap UW-Housing t-shirt that I wore when I worked for the UW.  I don’t need these things around.  It’s just so hard to get rid of them, though.

Here’s a poorly lit shot of the new and improved arrangement:

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I still want to cull the herd a bit more, but it’s a good start.  I plan on selling, giving away, and donating the clothes I took out.

Clothes mountain in the office:

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This morning, I got dressed in three minutes.  I’m wearing red heels, black dress pants, a white tank layered with a dark gray sweater.  I feel good and look profesh.  I didn’t change outfits at all this morning.  Bonus:  I even had time to do something with my hair.

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