How to: Make the Most Out of a College Wardrobe

Make the Most of a College Wardrobe

College is here, or, rather, I'm at college. Being a clothing lover in college is the worst. situation. ever. Why? It's not because everyone else is strutting their stuff or because I can't decide what to wear, but because of the teeny tiny amount of space that I get to store my clothes. And guess what that means for me. That's right: less clothes. My biggest nightmare. So when I was packing for college, I designed a bit of a system that would help me make the most out of a college wardrobe. If you're a student like me, or perhaps you're just looking to cut back on the amount of garments you own (first of all... why?), then read on and learn all about what it takes to always look good on a short clothing budget.

My first step was to sort all of my clothes in order to figure out just what I had available to me. I went through everything I own (and I mean everything) and got rid of anything I knew no longer fit. If I came across something I knew immediately I would never wear, that went to; however, that barely cut my closet down, as I tend to be good about keeping up with what I have. After the rejects were purged, I did another sweep following a three-part questioning process.
1. Does this garment fit me, or am I keeping it in hopes it does? If it doesn't fit, get rid of it.
2. Have I worn this garment within the past 6 months, or do will I wear it in the next 3? If no, get rid of it.
3. Can I come up with at least 3 outfits on the spot using this garment? If no, get rid of it.
This process brought me to the closet that I have today. Though, in order to make the most of a college wardrobe, you have to do more than just cut down. The next step was to plan.

I did the planning stage with old, trusty Microsoft Excel. What I did was split the page into four parts: tops, bottoms, shoes, and accessories, then I began to literally build outfits. Think Cher's amazing wardrobe creator in Clueless, but I was the person doing the manual outfit creating. This process yielded a document that looks like this:

How to Plan Outfits

This document is single-handedly saving my life. I'm serious. If there was any one tip I could give you to make the most out of a college wardrobe, it would be to make this document. I like to call it the outfit encyclopedia, or the outfitpedia, if you will. Obviously, there are still a few kinks in my planning (note my selection of the solid ???? shirt), but the beauty of this document is that it's changeable, a work in progress. As I try outfits on and decide they don't look as good on as they did in my head, I change them. The outfitpedia is my life saver.

Utilizing the closet that you have in order to make the most out of a college wardrobe is easier and more achievable of a goal than some people think. Don't just grab clothing here and there that you know you've worn recently; rather, think about how you would wear them. Cross them off as you do, and if things sit in your closet even though you planned outfits for them, throw them out. There's no room for slacking in college, both in grades and in garments. Learn what clothing works for you, and create your own outfitpedia. It really works.

Have you recently cut down your wardrobe because of space? Are you starting college? Has school affected your closet in any way? I'm really interested in hearing all about others' wardrobe-downgrade experiences, so leave yours in the comments below!


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