One of my favorite movies when little was ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’. Ronald Miller’s (young Patrick Dempsey) limitless effort to swoon Cindy Mancini was as dreamy as my elementary heart could take, but I loved it for other reasons. Just as any romantic comedy tops the list of sleepover movies, a fashion based storyline wins my vote every time. That suede outfit did me in. You know – the white ‘severe suede’, shoulder-padded suit with a fringe bikini top? So chic. So designer. So expensive! Aside from the $1000 price tag, I could only dream of having a closet of that caliber. I always wondered the other items Cindy’s mom hung alongside it and knew I’d probably borrow just the same. It’s clear, I am way passed the age of borrowing clothes from mom’s closet, but I’ll still take to heart the lessons on fashionable value.
Let’s be real – the likelihood I’ll own a closet like Mrs. Mancini (even in adult years) is slim. As much as I’d love every piece designer, it’s just not me. Yes, I’ve investment pieces – maybe not with a 1K price tag, but I bought them mindfully, and considered quality, sustainability, and versatility beforehand. And I’ve seasonal items – bought at both Target and on Amazon. My closet represents a mix of high end and affordable fashion. And it works! A wardrobe doesn’t need to be costly to be noticeable. (Cindy learned that lesson, too.).
“Creating a well-stocked closet is an art form. It’s about knowing how to balance what you want with what you actually need (and already have), spending strategically, and recognizing what works for you.” 1 If you’ve been around a while, you know capsule building is something I’ve learned necessary in maintaining a balanced closet. While I could chat specifics on the types of clothing you can include in your wardrobe, this post creates an outline on things you should consider before that capsule build even begins. Here’s to building a balanced closet, with or without a suede suit.
Factor in your lifestyle
When I worked in the corporate world, the majority of my closet fit with my 9 to 5. I had some casual leggings and comfy sweaters, but heels and pencil skirts were something I loved and enjoyed wearing. Holding onto the dream of being a stay at home Mom, I always knew those days wouldn’t be longterm. Once we started a family, investing in stilettos and pant suits seemed irresponsible. Building a balanced closet involves the consideration of who you are now and who you want to be. If you’re office bound with plans to stay home, consider investing in pieces that will coincide with your new casual. And visa versa. You want your wardrobe to mirror the goals and the future you envision for yourself, while simultaneously fitting your current lifestyle.
Factor in your personality
If you’re like me, you often put blame on your expensive taste. I’ll admit, I consider myself a little snooty. #noshame You see a new released fashion boot, take one look at the price tag and mumble to yourself, “of course, of course I’d like the most expensive pair.” But instead of categorizing your taste negative, I say claim that style your own! If you’ve a love for the higher tag, you can make the most of those higher priced items and still stabilize your wardrobe. I envision ways of wear, which often leads to an expansion of style creativity. I’ll curate so many ways to wear the boots, it’s as if they’ve proven versatile and a closet staple even before I leave the store!
But maybe you favor the minimalist and the thought of spending that much on boots is absurd. Maybe you like to weigh your options and prefer to shop the trends on a more considerable budget. Perhaps you’re undecided on whether this style is you. Or maybe shopping at retailers like Target and Amazon is just more convenient. Whichever the case, your wardrobe should reflect who you are, not what’s trending or what’s considered standard. Cause in all actuality – we should be creating our own standard when it comes to our style.
Factor in your budget
Your wardrobe cannot stabilize on lifestyle and personality alone. If that was the case, you could call me Mrs. Mancini. But as mentioned above, I am no corporate exec, nor can I (or even want to) have a closet with an endless budget. Maybe it’s just me, but I am not sure I’d have time to truly appreciate the clothes if I am continuously adding to the pile. Don’t get me wrong – I love to shop and adding a few new pieces to my closet each season is something I look forward to. But an endless budget may be a recipe for disaster.
More so, there’s nothing worse than having bought something and you’re too afraid to wear it. You don’t want to mess it up, or heaven forbid stain it! The longer it hangs in your closet, that guilt intensifies. You’ve now spent money on something you’ll never appreciate and then you’re really at a loss. We are more apt to enjoy our wardrobe when we know we’ve shopped smart, am I right?
I take pride in making financially smart decisions, I think we all do. It may be a little frustrating at times, but the process instills value. Factoring in your budget means holding off on that expensive pair of boots and filling the void in closet with something more affordable. I often find those ‘more affordable’ items are those I get the most use out of, anyway. Value isn’t always a reflection of the price tag; You can cut corners while simultaneously building the closet of your dreams.
On the latter side of things – the higher price tag is priced higher with reason. The likelihood your boots are crafted from higher quality materials and manufactured closer to home is very high. Thus proving more sustainable, ethical, and cost efficient. But even without the justification of price, if you can find the high end or budget item versatile, you’ll find the investment or buy a wise one.
I believe a lot of people frown upon fast or affordable fashion. But, I think a good balance of both really helps someone find their style and helps us determine the difference between true investments and affordability.
However you budget and what you choose to spend it on is entirely up to you. Your goal in building a balanced closet is to end up with pieces you value. And that means taking prideful ownership in items you feel best in.
Factor in your figure
Building a balanced closet involves choosing items specific to your body size now. Maybe you’re planning to get pregnant, have fitness goals in mind, or are hoping to lose a few dress sizes. While I think purchasing the future’s applicable size can serve as motivation, it leaves your present options limited. Instead of purchasing items you know you’ll feel confident in later, purchase items to feel your best in now!
What we wear is a large reflection of our style and ourselves. We want our closet, the items we choose to wear everyday, to be full of pieces we feel our best in. Settling on pieces until we ‘reach our goal’ for the time being doesn’t feel great, am I right? If we aren’t shopping for our current figure, we deprive ourselves the confidence a closet built for now will hold.
Factor in your current figure now, to render the confidence needed. You can then reevaluate your closet when change or goals are met in the future.
There you have it – four factors to consider when building a balanced closet! But wait, I am sure the majority of those reading already have a full closet. I am aware that most of you aren’t starting from scratch and that your wardrobe is an accumulation of items bought on these ‘factors’ already. Am I right? Your stilettos from corporate years, maternity tops, umpteen pairs of jeans, leggings in every color… I get it. The key is to start a new ledger.
This is where you consider all mentioned above and start the eviction. My great closet clean out of 2020 comes to mind. Yes, I am a fashion influencer and an accumulation is bound to happen. But there came a point where enough was enough. Getting dressed wasn’t fun anymore, and I found myself settling on convenience of reach more than anything. I needed to start fresh and consider each piece I’d bought for some reason or another, and evaluate.
A few questions I asked myself: Does it fit in my lifestyle? Does it reflect both the lifestyle I’ve envisioned for myself in the future and present?
Reverting to your closet – Is it you? Maybe your style has shifted over the years, and those bell bottoms just aren’t as groovy as you thought back in the day. Or maybe those designer boots you justified buying in your 20s just don’t serve purpose today or aren’t something you’d categorize as your present day style. Make sure each piece reflects your personality.
Let’s tackle the umpteen pairs of jeans, sweatshirts, or leggings you’ve accumulated in closet without reason. We’ve all done it, loved something so much we grab it in every color, wash, or print. I know it’s hard to hear, but you don’t need them all. You may want them all, and if you’re like me, justify and put them in the ‘just in case’ pile. Buying something in every single color just isn’t logical, nor smart. The smart choice is deciding upon one or two in that category that meet those balance requirements we talked about above.
Further, evaluate the frequency of wear. When was the last time you wore each item? It may surprise you, but that $10 Target dress may be more valuable in your closet than you’ve given it credit for. If you love how it makes you feel, and you’ve found it versatile, it’s worth something. Further, if that designer item isn’t serving a purpose now, don’t be afraid of the let go. You can always donate it or sell it to get the remaining return on your investment.
Lastly, does it fit your current figure? If not, there’s no reason to hold onto it. It may sound silly to align this reason with quote, but I will anyway, “You’ve got to stop waiting for Friday. For Summer, for someone to fall in love with you, for life. [insert for someday when you’ll achieve your goal weight, become pregnant, loose two dress sizes, etc]. Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most of the moment you’re in now.” Unless you’ve firmly decided it’s for motivational purpose, ditch the clothes that don’t suit you currently. Instead, choose confidence and look your best now.
Whether your closet consists of investment items or affordable ‘spur of the moment’ pieces, if they represent your lifestyle, personality, budget, and current figure – the retailer or designer name drop doesn’t make one bit of difference. Tho we all desire a closet like Mrs. Mancini, it’s not to say it was balanced in the least. Building a balanced closet is a process. It takes time, effort, and a lot of consideration. You’re not only building a closet full of pieces you’ll enjoy wearing and feel confident in, you’re building and learning your style whilst in the act. And that by all means, is worth the level up.