5 In Wardrobe Wellness

Closet Personalities: the Minimalist and the Collector

6 words memorable clothes

I’ve been in a lot of closets in my years as a style and wardrobe consultant. And I’ve learned something very important. Not everyone is like me! When I first started working in closets I had one way of doing them and I made everybody follow my way. But over time I realized that there are several different closet personalities. I’ll tell you about a couple of them here.

One of them is the minimalist. The minimalist loves having about ten items in her closet that can be mixed and matched endlessly. I had a client who left for work at about 5 a.m. She’d walk down her hill and catch a bus to San Francisco. She wanted to be able to dress in the dark and know she looked fabulous. What a fun project! We kept to a very narrow color palette and only a few key pieces of jewelry that she could wear every day.

This would totally not satisfy the collector. The collector LOVES expressing herself in clothes and accessories. She’d be sick of the minimalist’s wardrobe in about five minutes. She needs variety. She needs her clothes to entertain her. She loves it when people comment on what she’s wearing…and they do it often! She needs more stuff and more closet space.

Does the collector need to edit her wardrobe even though she loves nearly everything in her closet whether she’s had it for a week or twelve years? Yes, she does. Her body shape may have changed. Her coloring may have changed. And if her clothes aren’t fitting properly and relating to her coloring, she’s going to look dated.

The key thing to remember is that when you’re editing your wardrobe, you need to adjust your expectations based on your closet personality. When you see magazine articles or blog posts that say get rid of everything you haven’t worn in six months, if your closet personality is the collector, this is NOT what you should do. Don’t feel bad that you have more items than other people. It’s how you’re wired!

And if a minimalist hasn’t worn something in six months, it may very likely need to go and be replaced by something else. She uses her clothes a lot. Wear and tear may be more of an issue for her. Her wardrobe may need more maintenance.

What do you think? Are you closer to being a wardrobe minimalist or do you think you might be more like a collector? I’ll share more closet personality types in the future.

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  • Reply
    March 20, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Brenda, I’m so glad to hear that you love working with closet minimalists! I always thought that an image consultant would look at me like I had six heads if I told her my dream is a season’s worth of clothes that fits in a carry-on suitcase. Unfortunately for me it means a lot more shopping time – and somewhere around twenty-two I stopped enjoying shopping.

    I’m curious to hear more about minimalist closets!

    • Reply
      Brenda Kinsel
      March 22, 2014 at 7:37 am

      I LOVE working with minimalists but you’ve really nailed it: It does take very careful shopping. Next time you’re shopping, see if you can get a designer’s brochure (and I just am not thinking of the right word but it’s physical, you hold it in your hand) of their current line for the season. I always pick these up when I come across them. They show their pieces in different combos and it’s often a great way to visualize a season’s worth of clothes. Regardless of the price point of the designer, you can translate it to the price points you’re comfortable with and find it. And minimalist closets have hangers that never ever rub up against their neighboring hangers! Lots of air circulation! Thanks for sharing, Donna!

    • Reply
      Brenda Kinsel
      August 29, 2014 at 10:50 am

      Donna, I seem to be revisiting comments today and came across yours about closet minimalists. You may know yourself well enough to be able to sit down with pen and paper and make a list of what your ten items would need to be. Then, once you have your dream list compare it to your reality in your closet. Minimalists (especially if they don’t fluctuate in weight) can sometimes live in something for years and not realize it’s not fitting the say clothes fit in this decade. So if this was happening with you it might make shopping less hard if you were just on the hunt for one replacement item like a pant, a jean, a sweater, etc. Because one might be enough for you, taking time to find the one that you really love and feel great in is worth the effort. I guess I’m trying to reroute your brain pattern so you might find shopping more pleasant and still useful. You’ve got me inspired to speak more about the closet personalities! I find them so fascinating because everyone is different. I would be the image consultant that would look at you and see one wonderful head, not six, in response to your dream of having clothes that would fit in a carry-on suitcase! Good luck!

  • Reply
    September 1, 2014 at 8:53 am

    I just discovered your blog and am really enjoying it. There is so much on blogs now about the importance of purging your closet, and I keep wondering why. I would be getting rid of clothes I still enjoy. So glad to see a word put in for the collector!

    • Reply
      Brenda Kinsel
      September 1, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      I’m glad you found that helpful! I am a definite advocate for people to enjoy clothes and expressing themselves. I heartily approve of you keeping those wonderful clothes you still enjoy! Thanks for writing in.

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