A smaller - simple wardrobe - I like that idea. I once read a book about Mother Teresa (it is still on my bookshelf - a keeper). It blew me away. Her sacrifice and way of life made a huge impression on me. She had her philosophy and it reflected in EVERYTHING she did. For instance, talk about a simple wardrobe - her wardrobe couldn't get ANY simpler. She had the clothes that she was wearing and one extra set, that was it. No closets or drawers. She had one outfit/religious habit on her body, and one to launder. Done. Simplicity at its simplest. Talk about extreme. Yes - extremely simple! I'm not saying that her wardrobe is my goal (I do like white with blue stripes), but it does challenge me to see the differences between NEED and WANT. She is the only person I know where her needs and wants were the same thing. Over the past year I've been assessing my idea of a simple wardrobe. I am taking steps to reduce my possessions and make a change in my life.
Some of the advantages of having a simple wardrobe are:
- it takes up less space
- it requires less time to shop for and to maintain
- it takes less time to think about what you will wear each day (with the help of my handy dandy Outfit Options graph I'll talk about in another post)
- it tends to have more 'classic' pieces
- it is easier to mix and match pieces
- if you fluctuate in sizes, you are only replacing a couple of core pieces and the rest will still coordinate
- it still allows your personality to shine through
Another reason I like the idea of a simple wardrobe is that it goes along with the whole 'green' movement to reduce, reuse, and recycle. If we make better choices when shopping, we eliminate excess and have a smaller ecological footprint. At one time shopping at resale shops was for those who couldn't afford department store prices and for college kids for wanted vintage attire. Fortunately, now, shopping second-hand or resale shops (online included) is accepted as a viable way to reuse and recycle clothing. It has an ecological as well as financial benefit.
I've mentioned the work of Jennifer L. Scott before, and I'll do it again. I stumbled upon her book Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris. It really spoke to my heart and subtly shifted my attitudes on lifestyle and purpose. She's a busy, young mom, who decided to follow the way of the Parisians regarding food, home, lifestyle and to live with a small, sophisticated wardrobe. She writes about her adventure to downsize her closet and live with a Ten-item Wardrobe. I follow her blog. She's inspires me, and many others, to think about the insanity of our brimming closets and make a change.
By purchasing fewer clothes, and making wise choices for the ones we DO acquire, we are better stewards of our resources and of those in our communities. That's my goal. I am a long ways from 'simple'…a long way….but I am taking steps toward that goal. It's as much a mental shift as it is a physical cleaning out of stuff. I'm trying to be ruthless but sometimes it's difficult to lose the grip on things I've collected. Now…onto those shoes!