I recently took a long overdue getaway to New York. Aside from the fact that I had no children to attend to for 48 hours (which was quite lovely), what I appreciated the most is how efficient New Yorkers are with space. From the newly constructed High Line, to their compact apartments and more specifically their wardrobe.
My cousin proudly showed me his small but pristine, organised closet: Five suits, five formal button-down shirts, five casual shirts, a few jeans and polo shirts. He has the ability to scan his entire closet in 30 seconds.
I thought to myself, 'Priyanka, you can do this too'. I closed my eyes and imagined a beautiful, department store-type closet of my own. As adult as it felt, it also left me semi-paralyzed.
Herein lies the issue, as stereotypical as it sounds, women just need more clothes. For example, I have several ‘types’ of black pants – boot cut, skinny, crop, long, wide leg, straight leg – you never know, right? Add to that, clothes by occasion. Work clothes, formal clothes, casual wear, cocktail attire and then if you throw in the brown element, a whole wardrobe of Indian clothes.
I asked myself why I was living in my eternal wardrobe clutter. There is an excess of everything and yet nothing to wear. I can't seem to find anything when I need it. There are sections that are untouched. Every morning, I spend a good portion of my time deciding what to wear. Some of my friends have adopted a work uniform, i.e. they wear the same thing to work every day. It saves time, money and allows them to focus their energy on more creative activities. While the idea sounds fabulous in concept, I’m not there yet. One of the joys of finishing school was to no longer wear a uniform.
Surely I can do better. I solemnly swore on my favourite handbag that I would make a concerted effort in being more mindful in the things that I buy and keep.
Refrain from buying things because they are on sale or seem like a 'good deal'. Guilty as charged.
Differentiate between impulse buying and truly liking something. Leave the store; if you’re thinking about it two days later, then go ahead and take the plunge.
Avoid going shopping when feeling sad or bored. This typically leads to bad decisions, and ultimately buyer’s remorse. Guilty as charged again.
Buy more multi-purpose items that can be worn several different ways.
Purge, repeat. Learn to part with items that haven't been worn in a while. Styles change and chances are that if you haven't worn it in the last year, you are not going to any time soon. Make a pile of these and revisit in a month or two, if you still don't miss them, give them away.
I will likely never get to being truly ‘minimalistic’ but I can certainly take baby steps; intention is key. As I look around my four walls, I can’t help thinking, if Lucy, from the book The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe had accidentally walked into my closet, she would have never found her way to Narnia, and what a shame that would have been.
When not working on leadership development for an engineering company, Priyanka Khanna scouts the mall for new buys. She lives in Dallas, USA. She's on Instagram @browngirldiaries. Read her posts on her Fashion101 Blog.