I was recently asked to join a friend for a last-minute round of golf and as I tried to curate an acceptable outfit, I ended up with clothes strewn all over the closet floor and I think the mirror actually growled at me when I peeked to see how the ensemble was coming together. Spoiler alert: not great. I ended up wearing something that was just “meh," which set the tone for the day and my score reflected it. Truth be told, this has become the norm and I realized I needed to get my “stuff” together. And although there are a million ways to approach decluttering a closet, I decided to take my own route, and when I play my next round of golf I will be getting ready like a champ.
The first thing I did was think back to what I was wearing when I played some of my best rounds recently. I noticed a pattern in terms of both color scheme as well as style of tops and bottoms. There were a handful of recurring pieces that were used to build different outfits. Those articles immediately secured a permanent place in my rotation and I promptly put them back on the rack.
From there, I removed everything else from the closet, laid everything out and evaluated each piece carefully. I used the following process to dwindle my wardrobe down to a manageable and tidy state.
Does it fit?
This might seem like common sense, but how many ill-fitting garments do we have in the back of our closets just taking up space? Here’s the thing...I have never said no to a taco or piece of birthday cake (because that would just be rude) so I’m all about weight fluctuation. But I’m talking about those pants that never did fit quite right and deep down you know they never will, but parting with them causes you to “feel something." Part with them anyway. You’ll be fine. As you make headway on discarding those unshapely pieces, it will become easier to decipher what truly fits (on most days) and what you are delusional about.
Are you genuinely comfortable?
At first glance this might seem the same as “does it fit?” but feeling genuinely comfortable in your clothes goes well beyond how tough it is to button your pants. We all own clothes that fit and, if you do say so yourself, you look fabulous in. But they are often also the clothes in which you can’t lift your arms higher than your shoulders or take a full stride without worrying about tearing your pants right down the middle seam. Throw a golf swing in the mix and now we are really in trouble. Are you self-conscious about how far down your waistband slides when you kneel to read a putt or bend over to stick a tee in the ground? Are you more worried about your shirt flying up in your follow through than where the ball is going? The main job of your outfit is to allow you to perform at your highest level and you can’t do that if you are distracted by what you are wearing. So yeah...it’s one thing for the article of clothing to fit but it must also allow you to move around without feeling constrained or self-conscious.
I’m excited to see that golf fashion offers more options in material and fabric than ever before. A wider variety leads to better odds of finding that perfect article of clothing, leading to a new favorite outfit and ultimately, a wardrobe full of pieces you absolutely love. But that also means it’s important to pay attention to what fabrics make YOU feel your best. Everyone is different so just because “Betty” loves the feel of microfiber doesn’t mean you need to shy away from a poly blend if that is what you prefer. But generally speaking, fabrics that breath, wick away moisture (especially sweat), enhance comfort in the current climate, aren’t too thin or too thick, etc. are best. And bonus points for any SPF, since we can ALL stand to gain from maximum protection against sun exposure.
Once the items that I truly felt good in were established, it was time to assess whether or not they absolutely deserved to be placed back into the closet. I asked myself, “Do you actually like the color? Does it go with the rest of your wardrobe?” I picked my top five favorite colors, ensuring they went together as I mixed and matched, and stayed with that general color scheme. I tend to lean toward darker colors and a more monochrome look. That’s just me. You do you, as they say. I did allow myself a few busy patterns and “fun colors” for those days I’m feeling a little “extra," but those outfits don’t require a lot of thought. I either want to wear that colorful floral golf dress or I don’t. There isn’t any mixing and matching to complicate matters.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that this is a continuous process if you want to keep yourself from falling back into closet chaos. The best time to assess an outfit is right after a round of golf. The nuances are fresh in your mind and if you are having any doubt whatsoever about wearing something again, get rid of it immediately.
I now find that even though I have less articles of clothing in my closet, I in fact have more outfit options because I can be certain that I love (or at least really like) every piece I’m looking at. It helped me to organize everything according to color, but some people prefer categorizing by hanging all their tops together, sweaters, skorts, etc. Pick the method that works best for you. There is no right or wrong. Take that zen mental state to the golf course and notice the difference it makes in your performance. The saying really does hold true: Look good, play well.