As we put the finishing touches on the new Effortless Gent site (!), the one section I’ve been giving a lot of thought is our About page. I want it to embody everything we believe in and talk about here on EG.
Of course, a big part of that is the concept of a Lean Wardrobe. I’ve internalized this idea so it’s easy for me to grasp, as I’m sure it is for a lot of you longtime readers.
But what about the new guy? The one who accidentally stumbled upon EG looking for answers, and has yet to learn about fit, the difference between a dress shirt and a sport shirt, or why he needs to own a pair of dark, fitted denim instead of the baggy, faded variety?
If he doesn’t know about those things, how could he possibly understand the Lean Wardrobe concept?
I wanted to package up this idea into one bite-sized morsel on the About page, and I think I came up with something good.
The Lean Wardrobe Pyramid
So, here’s my theory. Let’s think of the Lean Wardrobe as a pyramid, split into three levels.
The bottom is your base. It comprises the building blocks of your wardrobe. All your essentials. Your basics, in both garment style and color.
This is where your navy suit is, your dark denim, your khaki chinos, your T-shirts, your white dress shirt, your blue Oxford cloth button down.
These are typically solid, muted, and / or neutral in color. They go with everything, and they play nicely with each other.
The middle level contains pieces that are limited in their ability to mix with others.
These things go well with your base-level items one-on-one, but not so easily with each other. It’s certainly possible, you’d just have to understand how to match and complement colors and textures well.
The top level contains all your trendy, one-off or standout items. Things you see other people wear and want to try, too.
Own fewer items the more you move up the pyramid
In keeping with the Lean Wardrobe theory, you want a majority of your closet to contain the base items, things that are interchangeable in style and color, because these pieces will go with everything no matter what other clothing you choose.
You should own the fewest top-level items, those unique (yet inflexible) pieces. They’re great to finish off or accent your base outfit, but shouldn’t comprise your whole wardrobe. Not only would that be impractical, but you limit yourself in terms of interchangeability with the rest of your clothing.
Clothing in your base level ≠ someone else’s
What’s trendy or outstanding to you (i.e. suspenders), may be part of someone else’s base level.
The ideal Lean Wardrobe is different for everyone, and completely dependent upon one’s situation, income, and surroundings.
Just keep that in mind when you’re building your wardrobe. Find out what’s important to you and what fits your lifestyle best, and roll with that.
The complete Lean Wardrobe is MORE than just essentials
Sure, a majority of it is your essentials, your base-level items. These clothes are your wardrobe’s building blocks, the starting point of all your outfits.
But a wardrobe built on essentials alone is kind of… boring.
You need mid-level items and top-level trendy accessories. You need to introduce color in your wardrobe other than navy, gray, khaki, and white.
You need to experiment with trends outside of your comfort zone, because who knows, you may discover something you originally thought too far outside your level of comfort is actually pretty awesome and looks great on you. That means you can incorporate it more regularly in your rotation.
Does that help?
Curious to know if this helps you visualize the Lean Wardrobe idea better. Also would love to know if you prefer these shorter, more succinct posts vs our longer-form writing.
Let’s chat in the comments below!