Yesterday, I finally got up the nerve to say farewell to what was left of my corporate wardrobe. No longer taking up space in my closet are suits, long-sleeve collared shirts, or “business casual” sportswear. My dresser drawers are free of pantyhose, trouser socks, and sweater sets (wait, I did keep one black sweater set — but all the rest are gone).
I haven’t worked in a traditional office in 3.5 years, but I was holding onto many of my corporate clothes out of fear. What if this writing and organizing thing doesn’t catch on?
After the book went on sale Tuesday, it was like the clouds cleared and the sun came out — I could relax and let them go.
Truth be told, I didn’t own many clothes before I started this process. I’ve pretty much only been wearing the same 10 t-shirts and three pair of jeans the past six months. The rest of the stuff in my closet was just hanging there, waiting on a giant “what if.” They were a security blanket I didn’t need. Also, most of the clothes were two sizes larger than I currently wear. If I had needed to change careers, they wouldn’t have even fit me.
So, I cast them off — the Brooks Brothers suits are going to consignment and the shirts and sweaters are heading to Goodwill. I kept a very small handful of dresses and slacks for media appearances and when I do productivity training and organizing for corporate executives — but only five of those items. I weeded out my shoes, too.
I feel lighter, more comfortable.
In Unclutter Your Life in One Week, I talk about setting guidelines for your wardrobe to help you decide what can stay and what should go. The eighth item on this list is “You should have an occasion in the next year to wear it.” Thankfully, none of the clothes I’m getting rid of meet this definition.
Here are the guidelines, from page 24 of the book, that I’ve set for myself when sorting through my wardrobe:
- The item should represent your current style and the image you wish to project to others.
- The item should fit you well and complement your body type.
- The item should work in coordination with a minimum of two other items in your wardrobe.
- You should be able to wear the item with shoes you already own (for shoes, you should be able to wear them with clothing you already own).
- The item should be in good condition and should not need to be repaired.
- There should be space for the item to be properly stored.
- You should like how you feel when you wear the item (for shoes, they should not cause blisters).
- You should have an occasion in the next year to wear it.
Do you have similar guidelines? Are parts of your past lingering in your wardrobe, acting as an unnecessary security blanket? Is it time to let them go?