How To Build Your Own Tiny Closet: Step 1 & 2...

The concept I've had for my Tiny Closet has been a work in progress since the day I started recording how I shop, style and wear clothing.  I'm happy to say it is now a concept fully realized and one that I am finally ready (and so excited!) to share.  The challenges I faced with discovering my personal style, feeling great in my clothes and wishing to have a fabulous wardrobe are challenges that I've found many other women facing as well.  Well, hey guys I've created a solution!  It's about 5 steps and today, I am sharing steps 1 and 2.  Yes, these steps are simple but don't be surprised if they keep you busy for a while!

Back in 2011, it started with me just experimenting with the clothes I already had in my closet.  Being unemployed, I was no longer able to shop and was resigned to wearing and styling only what I already owned.  This went on for a while - maybe even a year.  Then, after months of styling and re-styling my closet, by the time I was able to start shopping again, my entire perception of buying clothing had changed.  A concept had also began forming in my head based on two ideals (or fantasies) I had:

You can always look good.
You can always have something fabulous to wear.  

Is it really so impossible to always feel spectacular in your clothes?   To always have something amazing to wear?  With all the shopping we do, with all the money we've spent on clothing, we still look in our closets and feel like we have nothing to wear... Does anyone else think that's kinda ludicrous?  

I was in the middle of cleaning out my closet, once again, stuffing more clothes into a big bag to be donated and it hit me.  These clothes I was getting rid of were indeed, for someone else.  I wasn't dressing for my lifestyle.  

This led me to taking a step back from my closet, forgetting it completely for a moment, and assess something else.

Assess your life.  What do you need to dress for?
Yes, we're all busy.  Some of us, more than others.  But regardless of who you are or what you do, much of our days consist of the same activities.  
What activities do you do every day?  Where do you go?  What are the main reoccurring events in your life?  
Figure it out and write it down.  

Here's an example of my life seen through my daily, reoccurring activities and where they take place.

Work // Home

Fabric Sampling  // fabric stores and warehouses

Walks with Theo & Finn  // downtown

Dinner Out  // local restaurants

Drinks or Lunch w/ Friends  // local bars

Grocery Shopping  //  Costco, Farmer's Markets & Trader Joes

Fabric Runs  //  warehouses

So, as you can see - the daily, reoccurring activities in my life are (surprise!!) not glamorous.  Ignore the list written in the photo above - that was written just as a fictional example.  The list written above for this post is my actual life.  I spend most of my time in my home or in big dusty warehouses.

Daily events are usually not glamorous.  They're not particularly special or something you look forward to.  And that's precisely why they can be a struggle to dress for.  It doesn't have to be that way though.  Getting dressed for the Grammy's?  Exciting!!!  Getting dressed to go to Costco, not so much.  But I bet you would've found the most perfect dress to walk the red carpet.  Let's find that perfect outfit to take you bulk grocery shopping!   And maybe you don't care what you look like when you're grocery shopping or mailing your Zappos returns, and that's fine.  But who says we can't look fabulous doing those things?  
If you know what you do everyday and where you go everyday, you'll have a clearer picture of what kind of 
lifestyle you're shopping for.

Now make a list of activities you know you'll most likely be doing and places you will likely be going this season.  Like this:

Camping // Big Bear

AfroPunk  //  Fancy Dress Ball L.A.

Thanksgiving Dinner // Home

Birthday Parties //  Restaurants/Bars

Anniversary //  Hotel somewhere...

Visiting Parents & Friends // Seattle

These are activities and places you can prepare to dress for and plan to shop for.   If you have a ton of birthdays coming up and your friends tend to party big, you know you'll need to be prepared to dress for the occasions.  Attending a baby shower?  Getting ready to cheer for your kid at their soccer games?  These are events you can be prepared to dress for and prepared to shop for if you don't see anything in your closet that fits those occasions.

Shop deliberately.  Avoid wandering into department stores to "see what you'll find".  
I don't go into clothing stores unless I have intent to buy a specific item that I already planned to get.

How do you want to feel in your clothes?
Yes, we all want to be comfortable.  But beyond that, how do you want to feel?  What kind of energy do you want to exude?  Me personally?   I want to be able to catch myself in any mirror anywhere I am and think Yaaaaaaassss!  

Clothing and styling can create moods and set intentions.  What kind of mood do you want to have?
Next to every activity you wrote with their corresponding place, write one or two words describing how you want to feel when you're doing that activity.  Here's my example:

Work // Home  -- light, easy

Fabric Sampling  // fabric stores and warehouses  --  sophisticated, creative

Walks with Theo & Finn  // downtown  --  feminine, cosmopolitan

Dinner Out  // local restaurants  -- romantic, feminine

Drinks or Lunch w/ Friends  // local bars  -- bohemian, pretty

Grocery Shopping  //  Costco, Farmer's Markets & Trader Joes  -- sophisticated, modern

Fabric Runs  //  warehouses  -- light, easy

For whatever reason, I want to feel these certain ways while doing my various daily tasks and activities.  Wearing clothing that speaks exactly what you want to say while you're wearing it, that flatters your self expression, is my definition of feeling fabulous in what I'm wearing.

I think the reason why we believe we have "nothing to wear" is because we are not aware of how we want to 
feel when we're wearing our clothes.  
What we see doesn't align with what we want to feel, so the clothes are left unworn.

For the longest time, I wore jeans and a tee when I would pick fabric samples.  The fabrics I would view were always in huge, dusty warehouses with big sweaty guys walking around.  So I dressed the part.  But I would always feel grungy and boyish.  Drab and frumpy.  I didn't look like I was part of the world I had created and it was bringing down the mood of my creativity and finding beautiful, inspiring fabrics.  When I began dressing up to visit the various warehouse, I immediately noticed a difference in how I felt.  And also how I acted.  Not to mention when I would put colors and prints against myself in the mirror, my own reflection and outfit complimented my activity.  I felt like a creative, sophisticated designer.

Pharrell Williams says "Fashion has to reflect who you are, what you feel at the moment and where you're going."  I wholeheartedly agree.  

I hope you have fun exploring these first steps in creating a wardrobe you love!
Be sure to come back on Thursday where I share the one thing I always do before I shop for new clothes (and it works every time!).   Steps 3 & 4 later this week!

Thanks so much for reading!


  1. Great post and right on time for me! In my intention to start living a more minimalist lifestyle, this post was right on time! My personal style and closets are going through a big metamorphosis and I have cleaned out and donated bags and bags of clothing. I'm looking forward to the rest of the steps!

    1. Awesome, Milan! So excited for you! You'll love steps 3 & 4 on Thursday :)

  2. I'm also a total office supplies nerd. What pen is that in your picture?! It looks like an Uniball? Lol.

  3. This was great! Good tips here. I love the idea of writing down the places we go and how we want to feel in our clothes.

    Xx www.TheActiveSpirit.com

  4. I'm actually doing this activity right now

  5. I love this post: "I think the reason why we believe we have "nothing to wear" is because we are not aware of how we want to
    feel when we're wearing our clothes." That quote really drives the point home. I think some people kind of always want to look/feel the same and maybe they are the people that very limited capsule wardrobes work for...but I feel like I have different feels and love clothing a bit too much for that. But I really like this idea of "how do I want to feel?" which is where I usually start but hadn't deliberately approached my wardrobe with that idea. Also it was super nice running in to you (last Thursday, I think) near Grand Central :)

    1. Crystal! Thanks so much for stopping to say hi :) it was very nice to meet you! Thank you for reading - I'm glad you connected with my point, it's all about the feels baby! lol But actually, a capsule wardrobe doesn't have to be 3-4 pieces. A capsule is simply a part of your entire wardrobe. So a seasonal capsule can be your Summer wardrobe or Winter wardrobe or even a vacation/resort wardrobe. Instead of looking at your entire collection of clothing all year long (which is distracting and draining), a capsule closet is a collection of pieces highlighted for that moment or season or event. So you can have a closet of 4 pieces or 400 pieces, it's all up to you but capsules will highlight the the pieces you wish to focus on. Ya know, for all those different feels :)

  6. Lots of good information here.

  7. September 29th cannot get here soon enough for me! That loose, comfortable style of yours has transformed me, and I can hardly wait to get something you have designed in my closet.

  8. Deffo something I'm going to do - I already have three giant sacks full of clothes to giveaway to charity.

    That floral dress/tunic you're wearing, is that a Tiny Closet piece? If so I hope it will be available in your store 'o)

    Love your blog and vibe.

    Much love
    Natalie x

    1. Thank you, NDM!! Thank you so much for visiting and enjoying my posts. Whoever is on the receiving end of your charity is a lucky girl! The palm print jumper is indeed a Tiny Closet design, thanks for noticing! I do intend to offer some fun jumpers the near future so please keep watch!

  9. Great Post.. Just in time for building my tiny minimal closet..

  10. Can't wait for the big reveal! Great post. I'm so happy that your line is finally here!

  11. Spot on! Wow, gotta tell you this blog resonated with me in several ways. Started thinking about the clothes that I wear most of the time (leggings and a tee) and how I feel in them - not good. I like tailored and polished - I smile, right-on! when I glance at myself... don't like the way (my) tailored and polished feels-not comfortable, so back I go to the not-good feeling stuff. Reading your blog I am thinking that T&P makes me feel like I have made an effort and I care about myself. I just need to make it comfortable! While I like so many looks on others they don't fit how I want to feel. Thank you so much for the sage advice!

  12. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! This is exactly what I needed. I've attempted to downsize my closet for years and now I think I finally have the information I need to get started. Wish me luck!!!

    1. Wishing you lots of luck and enjoyment in making over your closet! Thanks so much for reading :)

  13. Please make a YouTube video:) Thanks for sharing.