Six months ago, I wrote about streamlining my wardrobe and trying for a more unified, basic, yet stylish look. In the interim, I have made a 1500 mile move and downsized significantly. Before the move, I completed one more closet purge and felt like I had managed to reduce my wardrobe to a really good size. What I owned three months ago fit easily in the six foot closet of my apartment bedroom.
Recently, however, Iâ€™ve been thinking again about the Audrey Hepburn wardrobe and whether Iâ€™m really inching any closer to my goal. In case you forgot, hereâ€™s the basic wardrobe:
- 2 pair classic Capri pants
- 2 white shirts
- 6 pairs of shoes
- 2 basic black dresses
- Trench Coat
- 4 classic sweaters
- 2 simple skirts
Hereâ€™s where I am right now:
- 1 pair classic black Capri pants (just bought used at the Junior League bargain mart for $3)
- 1 white shirt (Yup, itâ€™s still the same old Eddie Bauer button down oxford classic)
- 1 black dress (a three quarter sleeve Hanna Andersson knit that my daughter proclaims a fashion casualty)
- Trench Coat (Classic London fog with zip out wool liningâ€”wish it was black, but khaki will have to do)
- 6 classic sweaters (1 long teal cardigan, 1 long navy cardigan, 1 long orange cardigan, 1 red cable cardigan, 1 purple cap sleeve cardigan, 1 three-quarter sleeve ruby cardigan) All are cotton or wool/cotton blend, so they can be worn virtually year-round in Tennessee.
- 7 simple skirts (1 gray pencil skirt, 1 black all-season wool skirt, 1 dress khaki skirt, 1 casual khaki skirt, three above the knee casual skirtsâ€”black, dark denim, and khaki)
- 6 pair shoes (1 black ballet flats, 1 black heels, 1 black Birkenstocks, 1 black boots, 1 brown boots, 1 pair tennis shoes)
- 3 pair sandals (1 black Keens, 1 brown vintage Italian leather, and 1 brown beaded flip flops)
- 3 suits (black, teal, and navy)
- 3 clergy shirts
- 3 casual blazers (navy, khaki, and lavender linen)
I also have a pair of old khakis, old faded jeans, nice dark stretch jeans, and black leggings. I have four sleeveless cotton shells, seven solid t-shirts, and four other shirts/blouses. I have one dark green velvet Mandarin style dressy dress, an oatmeal-colored linen dress, jeans jacket, two pair khaki shorts, four pair running/soccer shorts, one swim suit, and about a dozen assorted t-shirts, two windbreakers, several scarves, two purses, two belts, and an ample supply of undergarments and pajamas.
I continue to downsize and have given away three bags of assorted clothes since moving here. The rule is two things out for every one thing in. I also have one plastic tote of winter clothes, including a sapphire wool coat and the gigantic Irish sweater that I simply could not leave behind.
Am I where I would like to be? Well, no, Iâ€™d still like to simplify more, but it is a process. I am under 100 items, not counting undergarments and accessories, and it still feels like too much. I plan to cut out another 10-20 items at the end of summer, but I am still looking for that perfect white shirt and a pair of khaki capris. Form, function, and comfort are the key elements over trendy style. I have way more than enough, and as items wear out, my plan is to only replace them with the best possible quality that I can find. That may mean splurging on a really nice pair of leather flats (Iâ€™ve already re-heeled the ballet flats twice!), but every purchase will be carefully analyzed.
How about you? Whatâ€™s the state of your summer wardrobe? Moving any closer to the 19 classic Hepburn-inspired items? Men, whatâ€™s the state of your closet? Would you consider yourself more of a Jack Johnson or Cary Grant dresser? Do you own six pair of shoes or 36? Do you worry about what to wear?
As long as we’re talking about a wardrobe ala Audrey, here a few timeless tips from the paragon of style herself:
â€œFor beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.â€ – Audrey Hepburn