SLT047: Simplify Your Wardrobe

Is it time to simplify your wardrobe? Think about it, what is it that dictates how big your wardrobe is or how many clothes you have? Is it fashion and changing trends? Is it utility? Is it the weather or the climate? Is it an expectation of society or your social circle? Is it the activities that you do that necessitate what you wear? Or is it simply the size of your container…be it an overnight bag or walk-in closet? The answer to all of these is probably YES! That’s the thing about clothes, we all wear different things for different reasons.


But, sometimes it’s like cable TV…500 channels and nothing on, right? You go into your huge walk-in closet and you can’t find a thing to wear! So what’s the real problem? Is it analysis paralysis…just too many decisions? Well, let’s dive into that. Read more…

Main Topic:

We all have different reasons for what we wear and how big our wardrobe is. It’s a pretty personal thing and each of us is unique, but maybe it is time to simplify your wardrobe a bit? Our ancestors certainly lived with a whole lot less than we do…and there are those who choose to minimize what they keep in their clothes closets. We decided to ask ourselves some very pointed questions about what we wear and why, and some others questions to see if there was an opportunity to edit our closets and drawers to a point that feels more like “enough” and less like “too much.”

Question: So what things shape your current wardrobe?

  • Vanessa:
    • Work: professional business attire and hands-on organizing work attire.
    • Climate: mostly warm weather clothes needed here in San Antonio, TX.
    • Culture: cowboy, Western, relaxed.
    • Lifestyle: fitness and travel dictate need for lightweight and versatile clothing…nothing to iron!
    • Personality and Image: pretty tomboy look…fun yet put together…balance of attractive yet conservative clothing.
  • Dan: 
    • The look: going for that “guy in shorts” with a little bit of “guy in tee shirt” look (ha-ha!).
    • Mostly comfort: work from home so commute is only 19 steps…like to stay pretty comfortable.
    • Uniformity: think of clothes as a uniform with everything capable of mixing and matching.
    • Weather: the San Antonio  heat really does dictate my wardrobe.

Question: So what does your wardrobe look like now?

  • Vanessa:
    • A lot of fitness clothing.
    • Closet: 40% work and professional attire, 40% casual and 20% travel/merino wool and coats.
    • Few accessories: 8 purses, 6 belts, 6 scarves…but only wear or use half of each!
    • Shoes are my weakness! I hate to admit this… but I have 40 pairs, half of which are for professional attire which I wear maybe 10% of the time if that!
  • Dan:
    • 8 of the same identical black short sleeve shirts, 4 identical long sleeve shirts, identical calf wool socks and SmartWool ankle sock…a lot of the same!
    • Very few “accessories”...a few baseball caps, 3 cowboy hats and only my wedding ring for jewelry.
    • On the “dressed up spectrum” most of what I wear is on the lounge around at home or very casual end.
    • Only have 1 or 2 options for business attire.
    • “Business casual” however is a little slim.

Question: What would your ideal wardrobe look like?

  • Vanessa:
    • Nothing to iron.
    • Everything is comfortable.
    • Everything fits or is tailored to my shape.
    • All clothing is attractive and flattering.
    • Can coordinate pieces into different outfits.
    • variety of colors other than black and brown (can be a limitation though).
    • No dry-cleaning.
    • Be able to pack everything I own in 1 piece of luggage or large duffle bag!
  • Dan: 
    • Very casual wardrobe that doesn’t show sweat.
    • Drapes well and doesn’t bind or make me feel self conscious.
    • Mostly black or brown .
    • Favorite clothes are ones I can wear and feel comfortable in 70 degree weather.
    • I wish I could pull off keeping my shemagh around my neck like in the desert…they’re very functional.

Question: What are some of your favorite pieces and why?

  • Vanessa:
    • My running shoes: bright hot pink, comfortable and fit my running style.
    • Bling bling cowboy pants:  comfortable, don’t stretch out, and are flattering on me.
    • Merino wool long skirt: comfortable, breathable, fits well and can look casual or sporty.
    • Shirts with built in bra: way more comfortable than having a separate bra!
    • Long necklaces and scarves: they can dress up an outfit in an instant!
    • Vera Wang tall riding boots: casual yet slightly dressy and I can wear with pants, skirts or shorts.
    • Sunglasses: stylish and can be used as a headband.
  • Dan:
    • Cargo shorts: just comfy for everyday wear.
    • Shants: feel great, quick drying, pants or shorts!
    • Ranger panties
    •  Ibex merino wool shirts.
    • Crocs Santa Cruz slip-ons and my brown leather Born Hobarts: for their look and feel.
    • Scottevest Qzip shirts: can wear alone or as a layer.
    • Different weight fleece shirts and zip ups: perfect for winter.

Reflection, personal takeaways, and things we learned:

  • Vanessa:
    •  Just because your container isn’t stuffed doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a lot.
    • Realized I still had quite a bit of clothing! My perception wasn’t necessarily reality.
    • Although I do like versatile and utilitarian clothing…I care just as much about how they look and wondered if that’s a vanity or a self-conscious issue.
    • It’s not a bad idea to conduct a little 80/20 analysis every once in a while.
  • Dan:
    • There are definitely things I can get DX (get rid of).
    • Don’t need so many of the same shirts…probably only half.
    • Too many shoes, too!

Courtney Carver’s Project 333:

So…recognizing all of these things, we’ve decided to take a look at Courtney Carver’s Project 333. Basically it’s a project that challenges you to pick just 33 things…and only 33 things to wear for 3 months. She also has a microcourse called Dress With Less that goes along with Project 333.

So here’s a little bit more on how it works:

  • When: every 3 months (you can start any time)
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear (coats, hats, scarves and gloves) and shoes.
  • What not: items not included as part of the 33 are wedding bands or sentimental pieces that you always wear and never take off, underwear, sleepwear, in-home loungewear and workout clothing (as long as you don’t wear it as casual clothing too).
  • How: choose your 33 items and box up the rest. You don’t have to toss them…just box them up and store away.

Courtney goes on to explain that this isn’t meant to be a project in suffering. If clothes don’t fit, or are in poor condition…replace them!

We’re definitely doing it! We were going to make our own plan, but we’ve heard so many great things about Courtney’s Dress For Less microcourse that I figured, “Why reinvent the wheel?” Heck, it’s only $15 and honestly, we’d spend way more in time trying to figure out how we were gonna do this! So, we’re going with Courtney’s course!  If you’re looking to simplify your wardrobe, consider joining us too!

Take Away:

We all have different reasons for what we wear and the size of our wardrobe. It’s personal and each of us is unique. Only you can decide what’s right for you, but maybe doing some experimenting once in a while will let you see how much you truly need or want to keep.

For us, we think we’re best served when we base our wardrobe on how we want to live, how to best portray who we are and the image we want to project. The more authentic that is, the smaller our wardrobe needs to be. Regardless of the size of the container, we’re trying not confuse needs with wants and we’re shooting to live with just enough. And for us, living with “just enough” is a perfect way to help make our lives simpler.


So, maybe it’s time to take a second look at your wardrobe to see what’s right for you? If you decide to makes some changes, we’d love to hear about them. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Thing Segment:

Dan’s Thing: Getting back to basics and spending some time riding horseback around the Silver Spur Ranch in the Texas Hill Country

Vanessa’s Thing: Same thing (pun intended)! Making new memories horseback riding too, and enjoying the benefits of paying for access versus ownership.


A HUGE thank you for all of you who nominated us for the Podcast Awards! Amazingly, Simple Life Together is a finalist in the Education category and also the coveted People’s Choice category. So, we’re up against 9 other shows in each category, but as Vanessa said there were over 4400 shows competing and we made the final cut. We really feel like we’ve already won.

So here’s how the shows were graded to make the finals:

    • 40% from number of nominations
    • 20% from relevance of content
    • 15% from website design quality
    • 15% from sound quality
    • 10% from podcast delivery and show format quality

So what happens next?

    • Voting starts 1 November and lasts until 15 November.
    • You can and should vote once a day at
    • As much as we’d really like to win, we have no desire whatsoever to inundate you with info about this.
    • So, if you’re up to voting every day for two weeks we’d love it. If not, vote when when you can. No matter what, we sincerely appreciate your support!
    • As far as I can tell we’re the only podcast dealing with simplicity in any of the categories.
    • Some of our good friends also made the finals so consider voting for them too: Mommy’s Cocktail Hour for Food and Drink, and Ivy Envy & Who-Dey Weekly in the Sports category.
    • While voting is from 1-15 November only, the awards aren’t announced until 5 January at New Media Expo in Las Vegas, so it’s a bit of a wait!

Thanks again soooo much! SLT listeners rock!


You can download a PDF of our show prep, too.

Resources and Links:

As always, you can help support by using our Amazon Affiliate Link for any purchases you must make. Thanks!

Courtney Carver’s Dress With Less and Project 333

Dan’s Ranger Panties 😉

Ibex Merino Wool Clothing

Icebreaker Merino Wool Clothing


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10 thoughts on “SLT047: Simplify Your Wardrobe

  1. Hi Dan and Vanessa,

    Congrats again on the nominations 🙂

    I so appreciate all of your visual content to go with your podcast. I can’t always understand electronic sound due to my hearing but need the above info as I unpack our mess of a trans-continental household goods shipment. Having lived just fine without all this stuff for 3 months, I honestly just want to throw it all out and start over but that isn’t really an option… But I was happy to see the Vitamix 🙂 so there may be a few more treasures in there.

    Anyways, I’ll be all over your site as a I deal with the hell that is all of these boxes.

    Thanks for great advice and even better ways to think about what I’m actually trying to accomplish. I’m still giggling over Dan’s “Ranger Panties” 🙂

    All the best, Kerry

    • Glad it’s helpful, Kerry! Ahhh, the joys of moving, huh? Well, I’m glad you’re getting a well deserved laugh from my Ranger panties! So, we’re thinking about a meetup in Rockville, MD when we’re in the area for Thanksgiving. Interested?

      Hope all is well!!!!

  2. I really want to do Project 333 or a variation of it at some point (I might need to count all my jewelry as “1”). I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes for you.

    Vanessa, you mentioned on a different podcast comment about tips. I wanted to tell you that Eileen Fisher’s YouTube channel. Although I can’t generally wear head to toe EF, I did find their videos very helpful and inspiring in terms of seeing how system or capsule dressing works. I am more creative about layering over certain base pieces now after watching her videos. EF herself is also quite inspiring as she started the company with almost no fashion experience but a desire to make wardrobe a system so that she can focus on art and other areas of interest.

    Minimal wardrobe in google will bring up a whole bunch of good stuff too.

    If you look at certain fashion designers as well, they tend to wear a uniform. Vera Wang often works in leggings and big boyfriend sweaters, Miuccia Prada wears pleated skirts, a simple shirt and a statement necklace (no make-up really) and Donna Karan dresses very NYC black pieces with a great drape. When I worked at Prada, this one brilliant visual merchandiser wore the same black pleated Prada skirt, a white T and a Helmut Lang denim jacket every day. Of course she changed out her T every day and brought 2 of those skirts. She looked very chic and again wore very little make-up. I was very inspired by that.

    • Tania,

      I’m so glad when you write! Your advice is so helpful. I’ll definitely check out EF’s site. Dan and I just finished up a 1 hour conversation about how difficult this project has been for me. I’m a “rules” gal so I want to be true to the Project 333 guidelines of 33 items including outerwear, shoes and jewelry…but I’m struggling! My wardrobe is less than 1/4 what it was…but I’m still about 10 items over! Although it’s been difficult, I already am learning/challenging myself to dig deeper into why I’m so attached to my clothes. It’s not fun digging that deep…but I’m definitely learning. I started journaling this morning about it and will def share with you and the rest of the SLT community on our blog. Again…thank you for your input and sharing the simple wardrobes/outfits of so many famous designers/merchandisers….that is inspiring!

  3. Sometimes you can go a bit overboard in simplifying – at least, I have. I now realize there are about five or six pieces of clothing (like a denim jumper) I now wish I’d kept b/c they are much more practical for the outdoors homesteading work I’m going to be facing pretty soon. Oh, well. I’ve decided to do with what I have left, and if I find in the future I really need different things it will only be a matter of getting maybe four pieces.

    BTW, I’m about to give away another ten boxes/bags of stuff. The Big Move is coming in about three months, and it’s time to get packing and cleaning! 🙂

    • Emily, I think we’ve all had an item or two that maybe we should have hung on to. I know I have! It sounds like things are really moving along for you so make sure you keep us up to date as the big move gets closer!

  4. Hi
    Just wanted to say thanks for the podcast, enjoy the month off and I started 333 yesterday. Full transparency, didn’t quite get down to 33 items .closer to 43-45, but did pull and will be selling, donating about 50-60 items that were just old, outdated and just to big on me!

    Even got my 13 year old daughter involved. Wife.. not yet. 🙂

    Great stuff/show…

    Thanks again!


    • Thanks so much, Adam! Best of luck with Project 333! 43-45 items is a great number. That initial first cut can be tough, for sure. I packed about 25 of my 33 items for our trip and I bet I only used…maybe 15. Candidly, that surprised me. Congrats to your daughter, too! Maybe your wife will get inspired down the road, or maybe not. It certainly takes a strong desire and isn’t for everyone.

      Thanks again, Adam and I hope you have a great holiday season with your family!

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