Updated: Apr 22
A well-organised wardrobe work wonders for guys who love to dress and to those who are strapped for time. There are the minimalists who have many basic but quality pieces in their wardrobe, there are those who are free-spirited and prefer to find their clothes through the pile of organised mess - unfolded, scrunched and not colour code closet.
Since it's year end and as the new year approaches, it would be wise to do some space clearing of your wardrobe to donate/give apparel that you don’t wear at all or have out grown it.
Decluttering might seems like a daunting task, more tedious if you haven’t done so in many years. Here are some tips where you can easily re-organise your closet. You will be surprised how therapeutic it can be an exercise. I promise that you feel light and more in control with an organised and clutter free wardrobe.
When a wardrobe is organised, and everything can be seen, it bodes well for you to find a combination of clothes easily and much quicker, especially when you are on a time pressure to get to work.
One golden rule to declutter is, if you’ve not worn an item from more than 90 days, or know that this piece of shirt even exist, it’s most likely you won’t wear it at all.
Some quick fix to decluttering:
1) Take out everything from your drawers, racks of shelves.
2) Group similar items together into different piles - formal, casual, daily, party or travel.
3) Work through the different piles piece by piece and if it “sparks joy", keep the piece
4) Pieces that have emotional weight, it’s important to not get carried away. If you’re unsure about tossing an item out, put them aside in a "keepsake" box.
5) Categorise toss items into boxes labelled “Throw",“Donate” or “Sell”. You will not only give your clothes a second life, you are clothing the receivers with much warmth and joy.
Ask yourself when toss out these clothes:
(i) Have I used this item in the past year?
(ii) Will I use it in the year ahead?
(iii) Would it impact my daily life not to have this item?
(iv) Is this still a trend to wear this item?
(v) Does this item reflect my authentic personal style? So, once you’ve pared down, let’s get to the men’s fashion basics. What you want to achieve is a wardrobe that is minimal, purposeful but relevant. Have you been in a situation where you went to a restaurant and was confounded by a large menu? That’s the paradox of choice. So, owning a huge array of clothes is not the solution to getting great style; rather, great style always starts with fewer clothes and not more!
Keep in mind these rules:
(i) Keep versatile pieces. Pieces that are easy to match and go, i.e. jeans and few good tailored well-cut bottoms from trousers and bermudas.
(ii) Own solid, neutral colours as they are the foundation of a versatile wardrobe, i.e. white, black, navy, grey and khaki. Ensure they have no patterns, graphics, or logos.
(iii) Get a bespoke tailored blazer. Owning a blazer with good print and fabric will take you from casual to dressy. I would recommend a blazer in brighter hue for the contrast.
If you are a minimalist, essential wardrobe is about quality versus quantity. Go for higher quality fabric and classic designed clothes but be mindful that it should fit your personality, individuality and also your day-to-day work environment.
Here’s how to achieve a minimalist wardrobe: (20 is the magic number, not counting socks, underwear)
- 2 tailored jackets (1 blazer/sports jacket, 1 casual)
- 4 tailored button-up custom-made Italian cotton shirts (white, black, grey, navy)
- 1 casual shirts (linen or checked)
- 1 sweat shirt (mixed wool or cashmere silk)
- 2 tailored bottoms in light summer wool (1 black or navy pants 1 light-coloured pants)
- 3 bottoms (1 pair chinos, 1 pair dark denim, 1 pair denim)
- 4 cotton or dry-fit tees (mix of polos and tees)
- 8 underwear
- 5 pairs of socks
- 1 pair sneakers
- 2 pairs dress shoes - a brown and a black
The blazer or jacket can be your most versatile piece as it can be dressed up with a collared shirt with chinos/jeans for business-casual situations or dress it down with t-shirt and jeans. Invest in good quality tailored shirts as they are also the foundation pieces. A long-sleeved shirt can be rolled up for a casual look or left untouched for formal settings. In addition to owning a tailored long-sleeved shirt, you can opt to invest in two tailored pants that add distinction to your ensemble. These sleek pants can cut an engaging aesthetic even if you’re pudgy or portly. A good pair of tailored pants can give you a flattering look. Pair them with your tailored long-sleeved shirt and you can match them with a blazer, then slip into some white sneakers for a youngish, semi-formal look that’s relevant for today’s times.
For the above basic recommendations for the 20-piece wardrobe above, you’ll own a wardrobe that’s way more stylish than before. Clothing with colours, patterns and logos are harder to match and can prove to be fatal if you’re someone who doesn’t quite like pairing things when you’re in a rush to get to an appointment. Best of all, you’ll have less clutter, less clothes to wash, and you’ll find it easier to get dressed and out of the house in a jiffy. You wallet will also thank you that when you travel or move to a new house which will save your lots of time on packing.