Types of Wardrobes

I’m sure that everyone by now has heard of the capsule wardrobe. Minimalism is trendy. But a capsule wardrobe isn’t your only option. A 30 piece wardrobe for each (environmental) season may not work for everyone. Not everyone wants a 30 piece wardrobe.

Le gasp! You mean to tell me that having a capsule wardrobe is not the ultimate symbol of style success?

Capsule wardrobes are great… if that’s what you want. A lot of people can and have benefited from reducing the size of their wardrobe. I won’t go into all the details of a capsule wardrobe since in addition to being done to death already, a capsule wardrobe only tells you how many clothes to have in your wardrobe. I would like to explore several options for what type of wardrobe to have, not in terms of style but in terms of organization.

1. The Uniform

This is kind of self explanatory and it’s quickly becoming a very popular kind of wardrobe. This type of wardrobe is a uniform, not because you have to wear a uniform for work (like scrubs if you’re a nurse or doctor) but because you truly do want to wear the same damn grey (of all colors) T-shirt every day…

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… with the same jeans and the same sneakers. I’ll cut him some slack though, I have seen Mr. Zuckerberg wear a grey T-shirt with an orange animal on the front and I know he owns at least two different styles of shorts for his vacations, but he does always wears the same Adidas sandals. I know why he wears the same thing everyday and it makes sense.

Another option for a uniform wardrobe is to wear the same thing but alternate one piece or vary your accessories:

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This is Emmanuelle Alt, Editor in Chief of Vogue Paris. She likes to stick with the same black ankle pants and belt and similar black shoes while changing the color of her button up blouse (but it is always a button up blouse).

A lot of people may think that a uniform wardrobe makes the wearer look poor because it appears as if they have few clothes and can’t afford more. I think that people like Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Alt are changing this. A uniform wardrobe says I’m too rich to give a shit and as this type of wardrobe gains increasing popularity, especially among the upper echelons, I think that is the connotation this type of wardrobe will come to have. I expect this to be particularly true if one’s uniform is as sleek as Ms. Alt’s and less casual like Mr. Zuckerberg’s.

2. The Tonal Wardrobe

A tonal wardrobe is just my way of saying “wearing the same color.” This wardrobe type is for someone who wants to wear the same color through their entire outfit all the time.

Truthfully, I couldn’t find any real life examples of this so the best example I have is of Elle Woods.

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Now, Elle doesn’t always wear pink but she does always wear pink.

This type of wardrobe is best for someone who knows what color looks best on them, loves that color and doesn’t mind shaping their entire look around it. This last portion is important because pink may be the color that looks the best on you with your skin tone and hair color but if you don’t want to give off a girly, Barbie doll vibe, an all pink wardrobe isn’t for you.

It would also be difficult to pull this off if you’re someone who likes to change up their hair color or do dramatic makeup with intense colors since a new hair color or makeup may not always be visually harmonious with your signature color (unless of course your signature color is black or white or you just don’t care).

3. The Functional Wardrobe

The functional wardrobe is for people whose lifestyle and personal fashion meld seamlessly.

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Jokes aside, a real example of this would be someone who loves a country-western fashion style and who also raises horses or works on a farm for a living, or a personal trainer who dresses in the athlesiure style.

This wardrobe lets you go from work to personal time to your favorite hobby and back again. If your lifestyle revolves around a singular activity, this is for you.

4. The Multiple Personality Wardrobe

Having a wardrobe to suit multiple style personas helps to distinguish when and where to wear certain outfits.

Perhaps your personal style isn’t exactly “professional” or office friendly. So, you end up having “work clothes,” clothes for *insert your hobby here,* clothes for the club, fancy clothes, etc. and then your “real” clothes, as in the clothes that accurately fit your personal style.

Or maybe you have a lot of different fashion styles that you love and want to express in your outfits. One day you’re channeling your inner Kate Middleton and the next you’re going for Britney Spears circa 2007…

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I think most people have this type of wardrobe since it is very hard to nail down your specific personal style. And even if you do, it may not always be appropriate for what you’re doing or where you’re going that day.

So if you have this type of wardrobe, I would suggest keeping your clothes as compartmentalized as possible to avoid “style bleeding” (Style bleeding is what I call it when one style bleeds into another, like lipstick without liner- not cute.) unless of course, blending two styles is exactly what your we’re going for.

Of course, there are some pieces that will be able to transfer fluidly from one style to the next namely jeans, pumps, and classic button down shirts. But items like most tops, jackets, skirts, sweaters, pants, and dresses should have a distinct style home that they belong to in your closet.

5. The Centralized Style Wardrobe

This wardrobe is usually the result of a long and introspective style journey. A centralized wardrobe is when all clothes are part of a coherent and cohesive “theme,” if you will.

The best example of this would be Dita Von Teese. Ms. Dita’s personal style is best described as vintage pinup. That is her style, it’s just a part of who she is. Perhaps she also has a bit of a tonal wardrobe since she does wear black a lot but I wouldn’t say it’s her signature color. Dita always dresses in the vintage pin up style, no matter how casual or how formal.

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Now, this is by no means “the best” kind of wardrobe to have simply because it can be the most difficult to figure out and obtain. Not everyone wants to fit themselves into one theme of style. Some people enjoy wearing any and every trend that comes their way or dressing differently for work versus their personal life and that is perfectly ok.

Most people will find that they have a multifaceted wardrobe ranging in style, color, and formality. In the spirit of “being prepared,” we often hold onto clothes that rarely or never get worn.

I continue to clean out my closet. And I continue to ask myself questions:

Do I really need 3 identical black t shirts that I only wear as pajamas?

Do I really want to keep that cut up leather jacket that doesn’t match the vibe of the rest of my closet?

Do I really need to keep that hideous gift I was given that I only wear around the giver?

The donation boxes at the end of my bed are now overflowing and my closet is becoming more and more organized.

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