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My 5 Closet Rules + Spring Wardrobe Favorites

March 13, 2019  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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When we finished our closet renovation last year, and many times since, I get asked, “But are these all of your clothes and shoes?” And I give an enthusiastic YES! There’s no hidden dresser or extra clothes stashed anywhere. It’s not a little bit of clothes by any means but I’m also not a fashion guru (I have one…wait, 2 purses!). I love getting a few fresh pieces every season…especially when I find a good sale. But for me, it’s always been about quality and personality over quantity. I don’t care about wearing the same thing over and over, in fact, my goal is to find pieces I want to wear 100 times.

But for those with an overflowing closet and nothing to wear–here are a few closet rules I live by:

1. I purge after every season. With winter coming to a close, this week, I’m going through my whole closet, focusing on my winter attire mostly, and if I didn’t grab for that sweater or turtleneck or boot at least one time in these last few frigid months–it’s gone. Chances are if I didn’t wear it once in the past 5 months, I probably won’t miss it. And then I even assess the other wintry things that I did wear and see if they still look or feel tired or, I guess, no longer “spark joy” and donate those things too.

2. I never buy more hangers. I’m not going for a minimal wardrobe, or limit myself to a capsule but this is my own version of keeping myself in check. Purging every season helps me keep the amount of clothes I own down, but having a finite number of hangers puts a hard stop to my shopping. A lot of people do a similar system with one in and one out, meaning every time you buy one thing, you get rid of one. This is just my version of that. I don’t do a one in and one out, but I’m not expanding my closet, I don’t have a dresser and I’m not buying more hangers so when I clean out my closet, I get to add more, but if I’m happy with everything in it, there’s no space for more and that’s a good thing, too.

3. I stick to my style uniform. Here’s the thing, I love so many different styles and I’m referring to home styles and clothing styles. But when it comes to clothes, I also know what works for me. I have extra long legs and a normal sized torso. I’ve learned I look best and feel the best in high waist jeans, casual shoes (mostly flats!), neutrals and stripes, button ups and crew neck shirts (a little cropped so my shorter waist isn’t swallowed) are my favorite. I veer more classic and casual (which falls right in line with our home style so that makes sense!) So even if “Sarah” looks impeccable in that large floral jumpsuit, it doesn’t fit into my style code that I’ve defined for myself–so I’m not tempted to purchase it. The same goes if something is on sale, even if it is a really good sale–there’s no chance I’m going to buy it if it’s a bright teal oversized sweatshirt or a cap-sleeved shirt (I just. can’t!). I know what I like to wear and what I feel good in and stick to those things, first and foremost.

4. I launder and store my clothes carefully. Paying attention to care tags on clothes extends the life of my wardrobe by years! Imagine that, ha. Things like turning black jeans inside out and washing them in cold and hanging them upside down to dry keeps them long and not so faded (although I like a little faded these days). Folding sweaters. Washing delicates separately. The best way to keep your wardrobe looking its best and loving what you’re wearing is to show your clothes some love first.

5. Don’t keep clothes that don’t fit you right now in your closet. This is a hard one as a woman because I feel like for the last 10 years, my size has been all over the map as I have had my babies and struggled with an autoimmune condition. But, I’ve learned that keeping my closet stocked only with the clothes that fit me now (and packing away everything else in storage under the bed or in the storage room if it is a temporary weight fluctuation like pregnancy) has helped me feel more positive about myself and more excited about what’s in front of me when I am getting dressed in the mornings. Now that I’m done having children, if something no longer fits me, I donate it or pass it on to a friend. I don’t keep “goal” or “just in case” clothes.

When I love everything in my closet and everything in my closet fits me now and feels like it is reflective of me as a person and a body, I feel like I could conquer the world. At the beginning of 2018 (over a year ago), I made a personal goal to get dressed every morning despite working from home. Slipping on a pair of good jeans and some fun earrings or slides I love has shot my productivity through the roof. I feel awake and confident and prepared for anything. Even the days I don’t see anyone, I feel more like me.

And since we’re rounding out winter and heading into Spring (at last!) below are a few Spring staples I’ve added to my wardrobe recently or are tried and true and still going strong from past years. Clicking on the clothing item, should bring you right to it!

 

 

What do you think?

  1. Gail Neel says:

    You seem to have mastered what my 100 year old mother has always taught. Unfortunately I accept all usable hand-me-downs and hate to get rid of anything. Several friends have pointed out that others are also in need.

  2. Jamie Canellas says:

    Enjoyed reading your post.

  3. Melissa says:

    Julia, excellent closet and wardrobe tips! I’m so intrigued by the idea of a “style code” and staying in your lane when it comes to buying clothes… any more info on how to determine your style? After looking thru my clothes, I’m sort of all over the place! Looking to streamline… thanks!

  4. CC says:

    Yes! More clothing-focused posts please!! I love your look as I am tall and lean <3

  5. Kelly says:

    Where’s your favorite place to get basic t shirts? Why is it so hard to find quality tees that aren’t see through or short and boxy?!

  6. Lindsey says:

    Love this ???? This has been a to-do of mine for awhile but I get some courage to begin and then o get overwhelmed. Style evolution plays a part too! Thanks for sharing your tips! #closetgoals

  7. Ashley Jensen says:

    I purge my closet at least a couple times a year and every time I do I never miss the things I get rid of. If I haven’t worn it in a year, it’s out of there! I work outside of the home and have really worked on honing my office wardrobe style and have definitely found it for the winter. Spring is going to be a little more tricky! I am definitely more intentional about what I buy and how I feel in it when I try it on.

  8. Chrissy says:

    Julia – Thanks for all your insights. I’m currently renovating my bathroom and am using the PAX system. How did you get the side panels to fit so perfectly with no gaps showing? It looks so much cleaner like it’s a seamless wall. Any tips?

    • Chris says:

      We went to Lowe’s and picked up some edge trim that was the perfect width, and attached that on each side to hide the gaps.

  9. Gracia Livie says:

    Do you think the dresses
    You posted would be nursing friendly? Having a baby in a few weeks; but really wanting to add some comfy dresses for summer that I could possibly nurse in.

  10. Lindsee Hancey says:

    I’m so glad I bought those green rain boots before you published this post haha! Loved your insight and wardrobe tips! I’ll be sharing this with all my pals. Thanks!

  11. Erin says:

    I love the idea of purging my closet as the seasons transition. Thanks for the great ideas!

  12. Jessica says:

    Thank you so much for sharing!! I think it can be really hard to stay true to your own style when so many friends around you change theirs with the current hype/trend. And they look awesome! But Im left with pieces in my closet that never see the light of day and make me feel like I wasted money because I “could” feel comfortable wearing those high waisted trousers with a tie front. No. Haha Super encouraging!!

  13. EP says:

    I love this! I’ve been working on streamlining my closet for several weeks… ever since Marie Kondo popped up on Netflix. Ha! I’m trying to be thoughtful about it and not just do a mass purge that I might regret in a few months. Anyway – I’m wondering if you could tell me the name of the brand of that striped blouse you wore in Las Vegas, I think it was from Nordstrom? I don’t know if it’s still available but I was hoping to learn the brand so I can look for something similar. Thanks!

  14. Jessica says:

    Where are your hangers from?

  15. Leah says:

    I love this post! I wear a x-long/tall too so I jump all over these fashion posts. Most fashion bloggers are much shorter than me so It makes it hard to picture their items on someone my height.

    • Erin says:

      Do you follow Pinteresting Plans? She is 6’ and has great suggestions for taller gals.

  16. Jessica says:

    I think you have the best style! I’m always like it when you link your outfits in your instagram stories so I loved seeing your spring wardrobe essentials in an actual post. And I actually just bought the scrunchie from the link! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Tanya says:

    Ok. So totally random, but can you share things you find for Chris as well? My husband has a similar build/style but 7 years later I still don’t know where to shop for him :(

  18. Amy Wheaton says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more! Nothing is more frustrating than looking in your own closet and seeing NOTHING that you want to wear! You ultimately grab your “go to” outfit so it’s pointless to stuff your closet full of reminders of what doesn’t look or feel good! My next lesson to learn is not buying something because it looks cute on someone else or on the hanger…it needs to look good on me. Simplifying your home, and that includes your closet, is so gratifying and calming…thanks for reminding us to all do some purging!

  19. Amy says:

    I totally understand your sentiment here. I do something very similar, and I work at a corporate office job. I do have to say though that before our dress code was relaxed, my closet was not as streamlined as it is now. I’ve learned to apply the concept to all parts of my wardrobe (Athletic, Everyday, Work, Formal, etc.), and I think people forget to do that. I agree, if you keep what you love, and works well for you, and weed out the “not cutting it” pieces, you won’t get lost in the mess. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Linda Dosser says:

    Great reminders! I’m a one in one out gal with clothes, but haven’t thought of that with purses and shoes. So just cleared 6 items in that category and it feels really good. Thanks for the push!

  21. Kayla Anderson says:

    Julia,
    Thanks for sharing! My husband and I are both in college right now and we have been looking for something to help keep our closets organized and fun (especially for those mornings when class starts at 7:45:). I love your style and tastes and appreciate that you keep things real and attainable.

  22. Kel says:

    Love this post! Any tips on figuring out a “style code”? Something I struggle with lately!

    • Julia says:

      A good place to start is to pay attention to what your favorite outfit is and then take notes on why. Are there any things that you consistently pass on in your closet? Why? And then add in more of what you love. I actually started by assessing my home style. And it translates quite nicely.

  23. Patricia says:

    It really helps to know your own style. I have very few prints except leopard and mostly wear neutrals with a few brights. Pants are mostly jeans with a few pair straight leg pants. I am trying out a wide leg belted pant (on the way in the mail) and will see how I like it. I have a few jackets I’m trying to integrate into my wardrobe as a completer, making me look more polished on some occasions.
    Everything I own has to fit into one closet (except overcoats) and I try to have at least one item go out for every item in.

    Recently my women’s group shopped at thrift stores for good quality clothing and put together outfits for a women’s shelter. I just shopped my closet instead and donated three outfits … and felt pretty darn good about it too. Dress for success has gotten a lot of my professional wardrobe now that I’m retired.

    • Patricia says:

      I just read your reply to the comment above mine; yes, our condo and me have the same style. We both have lots of neutrals, leopard prints and blues, and a dash of black somewhere in the room. We both wear kimonos (me, occasionally, the condo, always). I think it’s shopping in my closet when I’m out.

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