Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.

- Coco Chanel

Did you know that, compared to introverts, extroverts wear more eye-catching outfits?

I imagine part of the reason is that introverts like to hide don’t like to draw attention to themselves.

But I also think introverts find simplicity and minimalism more peaceful and beautiful. After all, as introverts, we like a low level of stimulation.

A simple wardrobe is visually calming and less likely to over-stimulate.

Plus it makes outfit decision-making simpler, so it’s less likely to overwhelm.

I used stand in front of my closet, paralysed by choice, feeling defeated by the pressure to pull together an outfit from so many possibilities. My overflowing closet, rather than offering lots of great options, was simply a source of stress.

And it often made me late, a trail of discarded clothes in my wake as I rushed, frazzled, out the door to wherever I was going. So much for calm self-possession.

But then I discovered a way to simplify my life, and ease the pressure on my sad little overwhelmed brain, and also make my closet look more aesthetically pleasing.

Here’s what I did.

My 3CC: 3-Colour Closet

Over some months, I reduced my closet to mainly 3 colours.

I Chose 3 Neutral Colours I Could Mix And Match

I chose: black, navy, and white.

I could wear black + white, navy + white, black + navy (a favourite combination of mine – but if it’s not your taste, choose something else), all black, or all navy.

I Created A Theme

I already had some good basics in these colours and I bought several more. That gave me a solid base of boots, heels, coats, jackets, jeans, tops, sweaters, skirts, and handbags.

And, knowing I’d be wearing these staples for years, I bought classic designs, not trendy ones, and I bought the best quality I could afford.

This was my theme.

I Added Variation

For variety and a touch of personality, I bought the odd accent items, or more trend-based pieces like inexpensive tops and jeans, in colours like pink and blue.

And I was happy to pay less and not worry so much about quality, as I knew I’d just wear them for a season or two, as a highlight.

This was my variation.

With numerous colours removed, basics streamlined, and accents reduced to the odd piece, I radically decreased the number of items I needed. It was genius.

Fashion changes, but style endures

- Coco Chanel

Why Have A 3-Colour Closet?

Should you try a 3-colour closet? What are the advantages of my approach?

1. The 3CC Simplifies Shopping And Saves Money

Shopping becomes far easier.

For one thing, you have so much less in your closet, so it’s easier to remember what you have and therefore not buy what you don’t need.

Plus, you don’t crave that retail high anymore. It’s so pleasurable to enjoy your simple, uncluttered closet – and that makes you hold every potential purchase to a higher standard. I buy more expensive items now, but overall I spend far less since I’ve switched to my 3CC.

Decision making when you shop is a cinch as well. Doesn’t come in one of my colours? Hmm I’ll leave it. Easy.

2. The 3CC Simplifies Dressing And Assembling Outfits

Because my closet is mostly in these three colours, everything literally goes with everything else.

Here’s my process.

  1. I usually pick one thing I feel like wearing – a pair of jeans, a particular top, a pair of over-the-knee boots.
  2. If it’s a strong piece – like leather pants or OTK boots, I chose something simple to go with it. If it’s very plain – say classic skinny jeans in indigo – then I might opt for a top with some kind of detailing. One fancy item per outfit is my limit.
  3. All my jackets, coats, footwear, and handbags are in my three neutral hues, so they all go with everything. I simply make a choice based on day versus evening, weather, and formality of the occasion.

From one single decision, my outfits pretty well assemble themselves.

3. The 3CC Saves Time

I go shopping and wander around stores far less than I used to.

When I do shop I’m more focussed and efficient because my parameters are so clear.

I spend much less time getting dressed.

I rarely spend time putting away a maelstrom of discarded clothes.

4. The 3CC Looks Beautiful

A closet of three neutral colours just looks lovely. Especially when the clothes are beautifully spaced instead of smooshed together in a horrible overcrowded clump.

Having matching hangers (no wires, ew) helps, too.

Women think of all colours except the absence of colour. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.

- Coco Chanel

How To Transition To A 3-Colour Closet

If you love having a radically different look every day, then this approach is not for you.

If you like your style to be about the clothes rather than the person, then this approach is not for you.

If you like to have the latest trend in fashion, this this approach is not for you.

If your idea of introvert style is a heavy goth look best described as Back Away Slowly, then this approach is definitely not for you.

But if you find classic minimalism is more your thing, then my 3CC could be perfect for you.

Don’t worry if your current closet contains more shades than a sunglasses factory. Here’s how to make the transition.

  1. Get rid of all your closet dross. If you haven’t worn it in a year, if it doesn’t fit, if it doesn’t look good or feel good or make you happy – donate it or toss it out. Regardless of colour! Out damn skort, to paraphrase Lady Macbeth.
  2. Of your remaining items, see if there’s a theme in your colours. If you already have mainly chocolate, cream, and camel; or black, white, and taupe; or coral, cream, and beige, then you can make this work beautifully. If you have an overabundance of chartreuse then I think we’re both out of our depths.
  3. If there’s no existing colour theme, then peruse fashion magazines or fashion store windows to see what colours you like. Look for colours that work well together and appeal to you and pick your three.
  4. Add to your closet over time, buying classic styles in your neutral colour choices. Let this happen organically, in line with your budget and wardrobe needs.
  5. Buy the odd accent item in a non-neutral colour – but make this an occasional purchase only.
  6. Continue to prune your closet – every time you make a new purchase, look for at least one thing to donate. Keep moving toward those classic pieces in your signature colours, with a few fun accents each season.

Over time you’ll create a wardrobe of classic, neutral pieces that all go together, are a pleasure to wear, and look lovely in your closet.

Now comes the true introvert challenge: making plans so you can get dressed and actually leave the house in your simple but beautiful outfit!