No-clutter Fashion

Something that is RIGHT does not always make you happy. In fact, it often doesn’t. At a much smaller (and somewhat pathetic) scale, the conflict between RIGHT vs HAPPY tends to occur in my shopping habits! E.g.:

  1. Phase 1 Shopper: Young and broke – wanted to be the hippiest hippie in town. I followed trend after trend and built empires of clutter in the process!
  2. Phase 2 Shopper: Older and less broke – decided to screw trends, and go fully expensive and minimalist. Boring, basic attire – many fashion faux pax’s

Phase 2 seemed like the RIGHT thing to do – it was an improvement from Phase 1, yet it did NOT leave me happy. I eventually realised that I am someone who  REALLY REALLY loves fashion (some nay sayers will be like WHATTTT!?!?! – you probably saw me in Phase 2, I swear! 🙂 ). I see beauty in style, it is a way for me to express myself creatively each day. It makes me excited to wake up and transform! So for my own sanity I experimented and I finally found the balance between Phase 1 and Phase 2, lets call it Phase Gold.

So what does Phase Gold look like:

/Phase Gold/ : You keep up with 50% of trends (more on this later) while maintaining a clutter free and organised lifestyle

To achieve Phase Gold (without the embarrassing trial and error method!) here is a stepwise guide to follow for 5 days:

1. Discriminate

This is one of those rare moments where discrimination is OK. Separate between your timeless vs. cyclical fashion items. The reason why I use the word discriminate instead of segregate is because you will not only separate these category of items, you will also INVEST in them differently. You will shop in different places and you will spend different amounts.

Here is a table to guide your ‘discriminating’ habits:


By the end of the discriminating process – you would ensure that you have at the very least 1 of each timeless, more expensive pieces. By the end of the ENTIRE process, these timeless pieces would make up approximately 50% of your entire fashion collection. The remaining 50% can be made up from more cyclical items.

2. Purge

Purging should be done quarterly or whenever seasons change. This should be done more so on the cyclical items than timeless items. Thus a good 50% of your pieces should be reviewed every 3 months.

Now, the main challenge I have with the purging process is the thought of giving away my items and wasting it away, especially if it is expensive. However, ever since I started investing in cheaper stylish pieces, I realise that giving away has become less painful as I pretty much wore down the piece and it did not cost me too much buying them in the first place. At the same time, I changed my mindset on giving way. Sometimes in life, you just move on to things that you perceive are better for you and thus, your older stuff should be given to other people to enjoy. It is only fair that you share the love and give others the opportunity to experience what you just experienced. Leading up to this process, you may also start building connections with college students, those younger than you, those really fashionable ones who will thank the heavens for your items. During the purging process, you can so easily just hand them an entire selection to choose from. Share the love.

Below is a guide on the category of items I have, and what I do with them during the purging process:


3. Meditate

So you have now cleared up 50% of your closet space. And you are thinking of your next kill – hold your panties because I want you to SIT BACK and REFLECT. Educate yourself and ask yourself the following:

3.1 What is my body type and what clothes will flatter my body type?

3.2 What is my personal style? Chic, tomboy, rocker, bohemian?

3.3 Who is my style icon?

3.4 What is my signature colour?

I cannot stress the importance of this step! This is super super important because if you do NOT understand your body type, your personal style, and signature colour – your next shopping process will leave you looking like a walking fashion disaster or leave you looking non-optimised. And may I also clarify – there is NO SUCH thing as TOO MUCH of one colour. NO SUCH THING. If the colour works, get MORE. This is something I wished I learnt earlier!

Once you have established your personal style, start having visions of what combinations of items / colour go together. This is where Pinterest comes in handy. Start pinning and saving clothing combinations which make you happy, start following your fashion icon (CRITICAL NOTE: make sure your fashion icon shares the same body type as you!). These fashion icons probably paid thousands to get a stylist, you can get a stylist too — just follow your icons online! My personal favourite is Olivia Palermo, The Zoe Report and Daily Chic on Pinterest / Instagram.

4. Select

This is actually a tough one for me. I do not make wise decisions under certain circumstances and thus do the following:

4.1 Avoid retail therapy : you ALWAYS ALWAYS make wrong purchasing decisions here. The therapy is very short lived and you eventually wake up filled with deep regret. Next time you need retail therapy, spend on something with instant gratification like ice-cream or a manicure!

4.2 Say NO to warehouse / flash sales : long queues, people rushing for items  – all these will just make you shop impulsively. The biggest risk of all is their no trying and no return policy. There is a high chance of you not liking / not wearing items bought under such circumstances

4.3 Trust your gut : especially important when going out with friends. Do not succumb to peer pressure. 9/10 times I have succumbed to peer pressure and listened to my friends advise, I ended up NEVER using the items. Not because it isn’t pretty or my friends have bad taste — I just wasn’t feeling it. And it is OK to tell your friends that “I get that it looks good, but I am just not feeling it so I am going to pass”

Bear in mind you only have 50% of your closet to play around with. If you have a particular look you are going for (as identified in no. 3) and you just do not see the styles coming around or haven’t found the most flattering fit – hold it out. Hold out for something better – it will come. Trust me.

5. Organise

This section requires an entire dedicated blogpost (something I realised after jotting down my initial thoughts on this!)! I do want to take my time here, including images where possible and going in detail on the best organisation tips for different fashion items. Better yet, I am extending this to general home items too. So do keep a look out for my next 2 blogpost on that!

Here is a little teaser: think (1) COLOUR CO-ORDINATION and (2) VISIBILITY. If your organisation meets those, I would say well done. These organisation tips have taken me a good 5 years to develop. I have changed things up one too many times and I believe I have finally found a winner! SO stay tuned!

Hope you enjoyed the above post. Whatever I am writing about took me a while to figure out. Much wastage, embarrassment and ridicule was felt prior to practising this approach. I really wished people spoke about this earlier. To prevent others from going through the same struggle, I decided to shared my thoughts with the world. These thoughts obviously may differ for a college student or a celebrity – but I do feel these are general rules which a good 80% of the working population can use.

Do let me know in the comments section below how you keep fashionable and clutter free! I love hearing new ideas and thoughts!




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