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Create Time: Addition By Subtraction in Your Closet

Short on time and long on style envy? Find a few favorite brands you love and be loyal. It’s a surprisingly easy way to fall in love with your closet while also creating a whole lot more time for the rest of life!

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We all feel like we could use more time, right? There are all sorts of strategies and methods for better organizing our time, being more productive, and using our time better. Some work, and (in my humble opinion) most aren’t that great.

While I continue to work on this, I really think the best way to “make” more time is addition by subtraction; we gain more time by cutting out activities and to-do list items and commitments that aren’t serving us. Sounds simple, though I recognize it’s so much easier said than done.

Addition by Subtraction

Here’s one idea for ‘time addition by subtraction’ that’s really pretty easy. You probably already do this at the grocery store. But now it’s time to take this policy to more aspects of our lives. Here’s my big not-so-revolutionary secret.

Find a few brands you love and stick with them.

You Already Do This At The Grocery Store

When you go to the grocery store, I bet you know exactly which brand of toothpaste you want and precisely which loaf of bread you’ll throw in your cart. You know your favorite brand of pasta and sauce, cereal and cheese, and even ice cream. You may stray occasionally and buy an extra thing or two (ahem, chocolate, ahem). But you’re not likely perusing every brand and flavor of yogurt and every jar of peanut butter or jelly.

Imagine if you did explore every brand for every item on your grocery list?! How many hours would you spend at the store if you agonized over every flavor and color and brand?! You’d be at the grocery store all day! Think of the time you save grocery shopping by knowing exactly what iteration of each product you want.

Instead, you head to the store, find the brand or style that’s “tried and true” for your family and buy it. Perhaps, you’re even frustrated when “your brand” isn’t on the shelf?!

What if you applied the same principle to your closet? Hopefully none of you are shopping for clothes as often as you shop for food. That’s quite the statement if clothing is as “consumable” and disposable as food. Unfortunately, for some people, that’s probably not far from the truth. But comparing the pace of which you shop for clothes to the pace of which you shop for food might make an interesting point of reflection. I digress…

Regardless of how often you shop, think of how much simpler your style experience would be if you found a few brands you love and that fit your body type and style preferences well, and then stuck with them for a while. There are a billion (maybe not, but it feels like it) clothing brands out there. There are seemingly a million brands, even when just focusing on sustainable options.

Being loyal to a few favorite brands eliminates decision fatigue, reduces buyer’s remorse over pieces that don’t work , and recovers all those hours (and dollars, for that matter) spent trying on sizes, returning bad options, and simply pondering the endless options.

Add time to your life by subtracting the trial and error.

Men Already Do This

I think many men already do this. Most guys I work with have a favorite brand for dress shirts and certain brand for pants that they know fit them well. They found their gem, and they keep going back.

Some might argue that this could get boring. I understand how that might be expected. But I really don’t think that’s the reality for most.

I bet most people wear a handful of favorite pieces over and over again already. Much of what resides in the closet, particularly if the closet is packed, rarely sees the light of day. Yet you spent hours upon hours shopping for those pieces (not to mention the hours spent working to earn the money to buy them).

Less is More (It’s Not Just a Cliché)

Over the last few years, I’ve gradually reduced my wardrobe. It’s far from a capsule wardrobe. But as I’ve been more thoughtful about what I keep and what I buy, I’ve found that I spend far less time deciding what to wear and significantly more time loving what I’m wearing.

I stick to things that fit me well, make me feel good, and work with my everyday. I buy fewer things, spend less time browsing online stores and chasing sales emails in my inbox, and I haven’t shopped at a real mall (but for maybe once or twice at the request of a friend) in the last several years.

My experience is consistent with that of so many others who’ve tried capsule wardrobes, decluttering, and getting rid of all the unhelpful excess that crowds our closets (and ultimately our lives). So many have shared that simplifying what they wear has been wonderful, and often times, far more than an exercise in a more efficient style experience.

This all boils down to the conclusion that one way we can create more time in our lives is by reducing the number of clothing brands with which we experiment. It doesn’t have to be an overnight change, and most likely, it won’t be. You also don’t have to throw out everything in your closet today and replenish with just a few rock solid brands. But as you find brands that you absolutely love, keep buying them when you need to replace old pieces.

Don’t waste time at every corner browsing for which brand of new t-shirt or dress shirt, socks or underwear, or jeans you should buy. Jeans, in particular, can be a doosy on our efforts to make style efficient. It can be so hard to find the perfect pair.

Check out the Modern Roster

Over the last year or so, I found a t-shirt and sweatshirt brand I totally love, an underwear brand that’s become my one and only, and a denim brand that rocks my skinny jeans world. Down the road, I’m sure I’ll try something new at some point. But for now, there’s no wavering. It’s just easy to know what I’m ordering, place my order in a familiar size, and know I can expect 100% satisfaction and happiness when the package arrives on my doorstep.

I anticipate many of you might also be looking for some really great ethical brands that might become your new go-tos. Check out the Modern Roster, a short compilation of just a few of my very favorite style, home and everyday brands. I’ll add brands to the Roster as I discover and vet more over time. For now, I only included the brands I’ve tried time and again and can really attest to loving.

As for today’s outfit, all three pieces are from brands I totally love (as I’m sure you expect). The shirt from Everlane also was purchased secondhand from Slowre (win-win-win). If you follow me on Instagram (and I’d love if you did!), you already heard me rave about my Industry Standard Emannuelle’s that I knew would make their way into my closet the day they were released. I already own one pair of jeans from Industry Standard and raved about them before. And my Bucketfeet shoes were designed by one of the many independence artists that design all of the Bucketfeet styles. I’ve had two pairs of Bucketfeet slip-on shoes and they’ve been troopers for several years.

If you have way too many clothes or a closet full of nothing to wear, consider clothes shopping like you grocery shop. Find a brand or two you love and be loyal. You might just be surprised what comes of it!

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