Imagine getting dressed in the 40s and 50s. It was such an extensive, particular process with so many aspects to an outfit. Yet over the decades, fashion for women has changed in many ways. As modern, busy women juggling so much, all we’re often able to do is throw on a slightly wrinkled T-shirt and jeans with heels for good measure. In order to have life balance, we need fewer choices—with each item being comfortable and versatile. In a simple day, we might go from a yoga class to a meeting, to pick up our child, to the park and then maybe a dinner at night. Life can be overwhelming, so we need to be able to reach for things in our closets that are simple, classic and fit well.

I am personally not immune to this feeling of being overwhelmed by managing life balance and personal style. Being the founder of Darling, a wife and a mother to a two year old, it has taken me a long time to find my rhythm for personal care and fashion preferences, but I do have a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

TIP #1: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

I used to have so many trendy, cheap clothes and nothing matched. I found myself frustrated, rushed in the morning and unable to make outfits I enjoyed wearing. One day, a friend of mine who is a stylist came over and helped me pair down my closet to less, but more practical items that could create many diverse looks.

Imagining your ideal self-image, and making decisions that bring you closer to that image is important. Darling had the privilege of interviewing Marie Kondo, the author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” who now has a show on Netflix. She says that when trying to decide which items to keep in your closet, ask yourself: “Does this item truly bring me joy?” If it doesn’t bring you joy, be thankful for the times you wore the item, but get rid of it.

Speaking of “joy,” when I go out during the day, I want my outfit to feel and look “light and effortless” like this look here from Uniqlo. This line always offers the perfect building block items for your wardrobe. I always get a few key items from them every season because they go with everything and are comfortable, functional and chic. The Seersucker Circular Skirt is so clean and goes with literally any top. The cut of the Mercerized Cotton Sleeveless T-shirt is classic and structured, which works well tucked in or out with virtually any bottom. The Light V-Neck Cardigan is great for a pop of color over the shoulder. Also, the white on white makes me feel chic and playful—the perfect choice for a sunny day.

TIP #2: Conquer Indecision in Your Closet

Make sure that you have simple, clean and classic silhouettes in your closet that you can reach for on a busy morning. You can still toss in a trendy or flashy item to accentuate, but building a base is important.

For example, this professional look, also from Uniqlo, is an easy choice for dressing for work. The Pleated Pants are incredibly soft and comfortable, which is ideal when you’re sitting a lot. They also can be paired with anything such as this Ribbed Tank Top and UV Cut Supima Cotton Crew Neck Cardigan to a cropped sweater or structured T-shirt. Also, choosing items in nice tones like this rust color offers diversity to your look and can be contrasted nicely with other muted tones such as this pale pink.

TIP #3 Care For Your Clothes

It’s hard when you’re in a rush to think about caring for your clothes. I get it; sometimes I just want to stuff everything in a big ball in a drawer to get it out of sight. However, it’s important to care for your possessions by folding your clothes nicely and having a spot for everything (Marie Kondo has amazing tips for this too!). Also, be sure to buy a quality steamer and give your clothes a quick steam in the morning, it’s amazing how that extra effort affects how you feel all day in that outfit. I’ve found that being grateful for each item that I own and showing it care has really improved the way I view all my possessions.

If you haven’t discovered Uniqlo, visit their website, their Instagram, or one of their stores near you for everything you need to build out a simple, clever and high-quality wardrobe full of basics and unique pieces you’ll want to reach for every morning.

Images by Kat Borchart

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