Wardrobe Makeover Part 1: Minimizing Your Wardrobe

I’ve probably said this a hundred times… “I have nothing to wear!” as I stare at a closet literally packed with clothes. It’s a sad state of affairs, and I finally decided I needed to do something about it this past month as I cleaned up my closet for the 50th time this year. The problem was, I wasn’t really sure how to go about minimizing. What is minimal exactly? 100 items? 50? 30?


I know myself, and I would go nuts if I only had 30 items to choose from, mainly because I like to layer so much, so I went with the safe bet and allowed myself 75 items to hang in my closet. I don’t do the whole drawer thing because I am a little OCD and organize my closet by color and category; plus it’s nice to see it all hanging up and, hey, with only 75 items, there’s still tons of room to spread everything out.

Before I jump into the process, you need to know that these are functional, every day clothes. The 75 items do not include pajamas or workout clothes, undergarments, accessories or shoes. We’re talking tops, bottoms, skirts, dresses and jeans only. The goal of minimizing your wardrobe is to pare it down to only things you love (meaning you love them because they feel good and they look good; not because you one day hope they will or love the idea of them). Okay, let’s jump in.


Step 1: Find your style.

Search Pinterest and pin the outfits you love; pull them out of magazines; take photos of outfits or items that speak to you. When you go back and look at all of these, you’ll see a pattern take place.  For instance, here are a few of my outfit pins:

Outfits on Pinterest 1 Outfits on Pinterest 2 Outfits on Pinterest 3

Based on this, you can see that I love flowy tops, skinny jeans, booties, long necklaces and felt hats. If you were to look at my full “The Look” board, you’d also see lots of plaid, lace, boot cuffs, tunic-length tops with leggings, stripes and pointed jackets/blazers. Once you’ve determined what you love…

Step 2: Determine your basics.


Every wardrobe is made up of basics — whether you have more of a classic or trendy style. The final looks may differ, but the building blocks are the same. These are the must-haves for me, and while you might need to add or take away a few based on your preference, they’ll serve as the basic building blocks of your outfits.

  • Loose fit tees (white and gray or tan)
  • Loose fit tanks (white, black and striped)
  • Jeans
  • Black pants/jeans
  • Black leggings
  • Plaid shirt
  • Muted tunic (think navy or deep red)
  • Blazer
  • Green vest
  • Leather jacket
  • Loose fit sweater
  • Denim/chambray tunic
  • Black dress

Step 3: Add your favorites


I love layering with lace tanks, I have a thing for loose fit tops in muted pastels and I’m a sucker for graphic tees. These are the types of things you can add in once you have your basics. If you love patterned leggings (check!), add them to the mix. Absolutely need colored jeans in your life? Put those in! Any items that you just cannot live without, keep them! This is where you really get to have fun and show your style.

Step 4: Get rid of the rest.

Everything that did not make it into your closet, get rid of it. Give it away, donate it, throw it away if it’s damaged. Don’t wait and let it sit around. Do it now. Trust me, you won’t miss it. If you want more tips on getting organized and getting rid of what you don’t need, we posted about it here.

The Giveaway Pile


Step 5: Take in all that space!

Your closet probably looks extremely organized now. You can actually see everything in it, at least. Enjoy that! When you go to pick out something to wear tomorrow, I’d be surprised if it takes you more than two minutes to decide on a full outfit, top to bottom, and you will love what you’re wearing because you only kept items you loved!

After Pano
An Organized Closet
After 3
You can see every item!

Minimizing your wardrobe is a one-time commitment that will save you hours and headaches in the future. It is so worth it to try. I went a little crazy and bought these pretty velvet hangers from Home Goods so that all of my hangers matched. I bought exactly 75 for my half of the closet, so if I add something in, I have to get rid of something else. It’s fun to pick out an outfit now because the possibilities are endless! I love pairing things that you wouldn’t imagine go together… like stripes and plaid. Yep! I’ve done it!

So that’s how you pare down your wardrobe if you just have too much stuff! Tomorrow, Amanda is going to show you how to build a capsule wardrobe, and on Wednesday I’ll be giving you outfit ideas that are not only trendy for fall but use the items from today’s post.

As always, we’d love to hear from you so email us at saltandlifeblog@gmail.com or leave us a comment below! Happy Monday, friends.

Jess Signature

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