Wardrobe Fix: How I Saved 10 Minutes in the Morning

One of my daily source of stress was “having nothing to wear”.  I used to rummage through my closet on weekdays for work outfits, changing in and out of clothes for an inordinate amount of time before finding the right combination. It’s the same story on weekends. I attempted the obvious solution: plan my outfits the night before. Then I quickly realized that I needed a (better) strategy.  Some ideas floated in my mind like capsule wardrobe, minimalism, wardrobe detox -all internet-famous stuff. Surely there must be something beyond the hype. Can these things work for me too?

Ideas and Inspiration

Productivity Books

You’ve probably heard of Tim Ferriss’s The Four Hour Work Week and Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’ve known of the Pareto principle before but it wasn’t until The Four Hour Work Week that it became ingrained in my mind. We wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time and the rest we only wear 20% of the time.

Kondo’s book is heaven-sent to shopaholics and misers alike. The simple mantra – keep what brings you joy – eases the anxiety of acquiring and discarding.  I  was never on trend and I’m still not a big shopper so her book validated my humble wardrobe.

Style Bloggers

I looked at style bloggers for inspiration too. I follow Jen Tam of Herwaisechoice because we live in the same region and she’s petite like me. Great source for style inspo!

Her previously “trendy” style has evolved into a more effortless one. She has a helpful list of resources based on her approach to fashion –buy less, choose well. Her blog led me to Un-fancy.com and Anuschkarees.com. Both sites have valuable information on ways to streamline your wardrobe ( like how-to’s for creating a capsule wardrobe and diagnosing why you have nothing to wear). Then there is Signe Hansen of Use Less on Youtube. She has videos on slow fashion, capsule wardrobe guides and a steal-her-style series.

I let these people guide me in eliminating my morning stressor.

Identifying and Solving My Wardrobe Issues

When I started creating my Capsule Wardrobe, I discovered that I had tons of tropical clothes. Sure, I can use summer clothes in spring but spring in Vancouver usually means rain and wind. Here, real summer runs 8-10 weeks only. I also noticed that I was ALWAYS cold. It dawned on me that while I was already in Canada, my wardrobe was still stuck in the Philippines.

Solutions:

  • I donated summer items I no longer liked and used.
  • I inventoried what sweaters and layers I had, hung them up and placed other frequently used layers on my most accessible shelf.

Like the first issue, my closet did not reflect my lifestyle. My closet seemed to be on perpetual vacation but in reality, I was (and still am) working full-time, in an office with a business casual dress code.

Solution:

  • I pulled out all of my office staples and work appropriate clothing (slacks, black jeans, turtlenecks, soft blouses and button down shirts). I hung them to be in plain sight when I opened my closet.
  • I got my slacks hemmed to get a more tailored fit so they can be worn more often.
  • I folded my casual clothes “away” and placed them behind my work clothes. 

I had this anxiety over activewear. I worried I didn’t have enough because I planned to exercise more and had dance rehearsals once a week. On the other hand, minimalists will scoff at my cocktail dresses, some of which only see the light of day during Christmas festivities.

Solution:

  • I found ways to dress down my cocktail dresses and make them office appropriate.
  • I decided that I was okay with alternating 2 yoga pants and using t-shirt tops for weekly rehearsals.
  • I also resolved to exercise at home in my pajamas or any comfy homey outfits (if I was serious about exercising more. Hah!)

Check In and Make It Work

I diagnosed my issues, modified minimalism and capsule wardrobe ideas according to my needs and shifted my preconceived notions about dressing. These ideas are popular for a reason: they inject a dose of sanity into our daily lives. At least that’s what they did for me. I wanted to stop ransacking my closet like a mad woman every morning and I’ve kept it cool and collected for the most part.

Now I’m more confident with my buying decisions and I know what I still lack (like a high performance coat and a quality cognac/black tote bag!). I also confirmed that I was alright with repeating my outfits. 

At the end of the day, it’s about checking in from time to time to see if something still works for you; be it your wardrobe, your desk set-up or your relationship (?) then making the necessary adjustments.

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