You all have probably seen this article floating around lately: Why I got Rid of My Wardrobe.  Check out the whole article because it’s interesting, but the basic concept is simple: simplify your life by simplifying your wardrobe.  Instead of having a closet that spills out into the next three rooms, minimize with a few staples that you really love and replace them when you get too tired of wearing them.  Don’t accumulate.

I really like the theory behind this.  Neat and tidy closets are beautiful.  Simplicity is beautiful.  Making quick decisions when you are in a hurry is beautiful.  And, as another article that my friend Beth shared with me pointed out, many of the most successful people have a very basic wardrobe (think, Steve Jobs).  I would argue that these people are men, and very logical, not-artsy-at-all types, but nevertheless, the thought is that if you eliminate the time spent on less important decisions – like what you will wear each day – you have more time to focus on things that are higher priorities.

Sounds great, and if that fits your lifestyle and relieves stress in your life, then please, go for it!  For me, I would be sad without my clothes.  Honestly, it doesn’t take me very long to pick out an outfit (usually. If I’m going on a date, all bets are off), and it is so much fun for me to put things together, that I would feel deprived of my morning play time and artistic expression.

But, I realize many people are not like me.  So, at Beth’s suggestion, I thought I would give my list of some essentials to keep on hand, should you decide to pare down.  The article suggests  a 37 piece wardrobe: 15 tops, 9 bottoms, 9 pairs of shoes, 2 dresses, and 2 jackets.  So, here is what I would pick, were I to only have 37 pieces (gasp!)


  • White button down
  • Chambray shirt
  • Black cardigan
  • Colored cardigan
  • Neutral colored tee (I love gray)
  • Fun colored/graphic tee
  • Tunic/Kimono (something should be trendy, anyway)
  • Denim jacket
  • Black blazer
  • 6 more things that you just really love – trendy or classic.  If you’re going to rotate them out as you tire of them, you can choose whatever you want (within your budget, obvs)


  • Pencil skirt – grey or black. Universally flattering
  • Dress jeans
  • Black jeans
  • Skinny (or whatever cut you like) jeans
  • Grey/brown dress pants
  • Non-jean casual pants in a neutral color (neutrals can be loosely defined; mint green would be a nice choice!)
  • Casual cotton skirt
  • 2 more things you really like (I love skirts, so a couple fun skirts would fill my last two spots)


  • Nude pumps
  • Black dress shoes (pumps or wedges; I don’t mean strappy sandals)
  • Ankle boots
  • Neutral wedge sandals
  • Neutral flat sandals
  • CUTE flip flops (if you’re reading this blog, you’re too old for Old Navy $3 flip flops for anywhere other than the pool or beach.  #sorrynotsorry)
  • Deck shoes or another casual loafer/moccasin
  • 2 more that you just love – as if I could ever narrow down my shoes to 9.  I take that many for a 5 day business trip.

Dresses: (I think you need at least 3)

  •  Little Black Dress
  • Cotton sundress (or a church dress; either one)
  • Shirt dress (chambray or black; can dress up or down)

Jackets: (I don’t know whether she means coats or blazers, but I went with the former)

  • Trench
  • Pea coat

Of course, depending on your lifestyle, this list will change.  I tried to think of a universal business casual wardrobe, but if you’re an attorney, you’ll need a few more suits (like, you know, at least one.)  If you’re a SAHM, you may opt for fewer professional clothes.  But, this list is, in my humble opinion, a good starting place.  Also, this list is more spring/fall oriented.  Summer/winter wardrobes may look a little different.

As you can see, I’m not counting special occasion clothes – for most people, they’re rare enough not to warrant taking up a whole slot in one of the categories.  Just be sure to recycle or rotate them out if you’re really going for the minimalist thing.  And I did not count workout clothes (keep your free t-shirts under control, y’all) or pajamas.  This real estate is too valuable to give it to boring items.

So, what do you think?  Are you ready to jump on the simplified life train, or do you need some more convincing?  Or, like me, is the whole idea completely appalling to you?  What about my list – agree, disagree, see any essentials I forgot?  Let’s talk!

Oh, and if you actually do this, I definitely want to see before and after pictures!