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I’m of two minds when it comes to clothes. On some days, clothing is just the material that shields us from the elements, and an arbitrary symbol of status. On others, clothes are like architecture in motion; the external expression of who we are. (If you can’t tell, I like to over-think things.)
The truth, I think, lies somewhere in between. Clothes are, in many ways, arbitrary; they are just bits of fabric sewn together, serving the basic purpose of shielding our bodies from the world. But they also carry projections of ourselves. I feel different when I wear a t-shirt and shorts than when I wear a sundress or a pretty top. When I’m feeling artsy, or classic, or edgy, I dress the part, and it makes a difference in how I feel about myself.
Clothes are also important in another way. They are one of the number-one ways that we as a society consume goods. The way we consume those goods, and the way those goods are produced, is incredibly important on an environmental and ethical level. (To read more about this, check out my first blog post about ethical fashion.)
At the same time, there are so many more important things. I care so much more about the contents of my mind or my heart than that of my closet, and I’m willing to bet that you are, too. So while I want my clothing to show who I am, I also don’t want it to take up too much of my time. Ideally, I’d like a closet that reflected my lifestyle, my personality, and my values, and was selected in a way that made my life simpler.
Over the course of the last six months or so, I’ve been in the process of making that happen. I’ve been identifying my style and my needs, evaluating my standards, and slowly adding and removing clothing from my collection so that it better reflects who I am. I’ve also been cutting down on the amount of clothing I own so that my process of getting dressed is faster and easier. Though there are likely many names for this, I’m calling it an “intentional closet.”
So what is an intentional closet? Here’s how I define it:
A small collection of clothing that reflects your lifestyle, personality, and values while simplifying your life.
What does that mean? Clothes that fit your body, make you feel good, suit your lifestyle, and support practices you believe in. And few enough of them that they all go together, and don’t take up too much room in your closet or your life.
I am in no way an expert in style, ethical fashion, or capsule wardrobes, but I have found tons of joy and freedom in owning less and in making sure that the things I do own reflect who I am. For that reason, I am putting together a blog series on creating an intentional wardrobe, in case you, too, want a closet that reflects your spirit and makes your life a little simpler. I’ll be kicking the series off with a post on defining your style, then one on identifying your standards, and one on taking stock of your closet. To read the next post, on defining your style, click here!