Four Ways to Decode Your Wardrobe

Four Ways to Decode Your Wardrobe

This is a guest post by Cora, a fellow minimalist mom, expert in kids capsule wardrobes and author of Creature of Joy.


One time a friend of mine told me the back of her closet was filled with clothing that still had tags on them. This made me chuckle a little bit.
Being the frugal minimalist I am, I couldn’t understand how you spend time and money shopping for something and then never use it.
Then a few weeks later while going through my own closet, I found not ONE but TWO tops with tags still on them. I bought these tops months ago!
I was so surprised. Needless to say I ate my slice of humble pie that day.

Action item: How many items in your wardrobe still have tags on them?
Take a moment to be real with yourself.
Knowing how many unloved items are truly in your wardrobe can be really insightful.
If you do have many items still dressed in tags, this can be an indication of shopping habits such as these:

  • Retail therapy: Enjoys the bliss and high of retail therapy. Shops for feel not need.
  • Impulse buying: It’s love at first sight at the store, then the romance fades once the items are home.
  • Take, then test: Buys clothing to test out in the comfort of their own home and/or alongside other pieces in their wardrobe. Intends to return what isn’t wanted but often misses this step.
  • Guilt and Gluttony: Regardless of whether they are indeed buying in excess or not, sometimes guilt will kick in when they take their new purchase home so they leave the tags on and avoid enjoying the items in effort to avoid feelings of guilt.



No, I don’t mean long walks on the beach or candle lit dinners.

I mean taking the moment to guess the length of time you’ve owned the various items in your wardrobe. 
If you own a lot of clothing purchased recently this could be an indication of problems similar to what was listed above.
On the flip side, maybe most of your wardrobe was purchased 8 years ago. This can be revealing as well.
Maybe 8 years ago, you became a mom and concern for your style became less of a priority.
Maybe 8 years ago, you lost a lot of weight and now you’re not sure how to dress for your new figure.
You get the idea.

Action item: How long have you owned most of your clothing?
  • Weeks/Months
  • 1-2 years
  • 3-5 years
  • 6-10 years
  • 10+ years


Business or Casual? Tops or Bottoms? 

When you take your first look into your wardrobe do you notice what are the first things you notice?

Action item: What types of items dominate your wardrobe?
Here are examples of things that could stand out because they dominate your wardrobe:

  • Colors (eg blacks, pastels, bright & vibrants)
  • Types (e.g. Blouses, Sweaters, Dresses, Tank tops)
  • Fabrics/Feels (e.g. cottons, linens, blouse materials, stretch fabrics)

Taking note to which items are dominate your closet will reveal not only which items are in surplus and which items are lacking but it can also reveal more about your wardrobe collecting habits!
For example, if you own an abundance of tops that could mean:

  • You have an easy time finding tops which flatter you therefore many of them come home to your collection.

or maybe

  • You have a difficult time finding tops you like so you’ve “sampled” a variety of types over a period of time.

Use your observations to learn about your wardrobe habits. If you know these now you will be strengthening ability to create and maintain a capsule wardrobe.


Whether you feel quite certain you know what your style is or whether you feel completely lost, assessing the versatility in your closet can give you clues about your style tendencies.

The items you find most versatile are often also the items with the most potential to be your “base” or “foundation” capsule wardrobe items.
As you go through your wardrobe to minimize and eliminate the unwanted items create a special pile for versatile items (if you enjoy wearing these).
Knowing what these are early on can set the standard for the rest of the minimizing process, making it easier to let go.

Action item: Asses how versatile your wardrobe feels.
  • How many items would you consider part of an everyday look? This includes work attire.
  • How many items would you say are specific to only 1 outfit.
  • How many items pair well with the rest of your wardrobe.

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    You can learn more about Cora and her methods by signing up for updates at Creature of Joy.




  1. Mary lee on 04/26/2018 at 12:21 am

    Great insight and what a way with words!! You are a wordsmith!

  2. Mama Headley on 04/29/2018 at 6:03 am

    Cora, this is great! Just what I need! Too many clothes in my closet that have tags OR that I’ve only worn 1-2 times. I have wanted for so long to get rid of them but felt guilty! Thank you for helping me see it is ok! I’m really looking forward to following your blog, Creature Of Joy! I have so much to learn from YOU! You Rock, girl! 😍

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