Though Mother Nature may have you feeling otherwise, spring is right around the corner. (As of today, just 45 days to go!) The changing of seasons often means shedding some clothes from your closet to make way for new looks, but how often do you do this chore and think, “Why did I ever buy this?”
If you’re ready to really make some changes to your wardrobe, Shilpa Shah (pictured, left) and Karla Gallardo (right) of the shopping site Cuyana are here to help. The mission of their company is to get people to buy “fewer better things,” and with that in mind, the co-founders launched their first-ever Lean Closet movement earlier this year, showing customers how to edit and add to their wardrobe so it’s only filled with pieces they truly love. Even so, “it’s not about minimalism,” Shah says. “It’s about developing a wardrobe that you wear everything in. If you want to spend $1,500 on a pair of shoes that you will love and make you feel confident, by all means go ahead!”
So what exactly does a Lean Closet look like? Shah says everyone’s will look different because it’s really about cultivating pieces that make you feel confident. With the annual ritual of spring-cleaning nearing, find out how you can get started on your own Lean Closet with these tips from Gallardo and Shah (plus, find out how you can earn credit on Cuyana’s site by following them).
Understand what your personal style is. Are you preppy? Rocker chic? Trendy? A combination of all three? The first step is to figure out what makes your style uniquely yours and apply that mindset to the products you already own, and pinpointing what’s missing, Shah says.
Pick your essentials. “Your essentials are the base for any style,” says Gallardo. But it’s not only about style — it’s also about body type. “(In the series) we touch on all of those aspects about how to go about learning what fits you as a person and the style that you have.” (See what InStyle’s own senior fashion editor Violet Gaynor had to say on the subject!)
Buy pieces that tell a story. “We see so many women who buy products that they later don’t love, and that product just takes up space,” Shah says. “Our entire philosophy is based on buying the pieces that you will wear and developing the stories and context for their use.” That means really examining the environment that you usually operate in: What does your professional life look like? What does your personal life look like? What kind of things do you wear when you get dressed up? “Think within those categories,” Shah says. “What has made you feel like your best self—and develop a set of principles for them.”
Donate the pieces that no longer speak to you (and get credit toward pieces that do). In their Lean Closet series, Cuyana wants you to send them those articles of clothing you really have a lot of guilt around—the ones that you spent a lot of money on, or the ones that still have tags on them—because they will gift it to somebody else. “We will donate them to people who actually need them,” Shah says, adding that you’ll then see where your articles have gone and what benefit and impact it has made.
As if that’s not gratifying enough, you’ll also get a credit on Cuyana for your good deed. Says Shah, “It’s more to help women take that first step to shed the last few pieces hanging in the closet that they really haven’t worn but for some reason feel attached to.”