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Style tips: Learn the 70-30-10 principle

Let’s do a little spring cleaning! Closet full of clothes and nothing to wear? Learn the 70-30-10 principle.

By Kathryn Mademann

Kathryn is an internationally known style consultant who relocated to Hilton Head. She can be reached at [email protected] or by visiting ©Jacqueline Friel Photography

A tale as long as time…

Those whom boast of a closet “full of clothes” usually fall victim to the 70-30-10 principle. Seventy percent is left unworn, 30 percent is deemed wearable, and a mere 10 percent is often repeated as our favorite outfits.


When diving deeper into that neglected 70 percent, we often see those pieces falling into familiar categories. Clothes that tie us to a memory of a special event, were worn 10 pounds ago, items that were on sale but to this day still have the tags still hanging on it, or those motivational pieces we hope to wear one day. For those whom can relate to the above, the feelings of frustration can be overwhelming. So what do we do next? Most struggle with finding the time to clean out their closets, but with this I am going to let you in on a little secret. You actively participate in the elimination of clothing every morning! Whether you are rushing the kids to school, running late for work, or discovering the dog left a surprise somewhere on the floor, the clothing that is left behind should begin to indicate to you that it is not needed.


As we address the 30 percent that you can wear, but you really aren’t enjoying wholesomely, I challenge you to think about why this is so. My first suggestion is to take a good look at those items that you aren’t wearing and remove them so you can see the clothes that you actually wear. Between the 70 percent you aren’t wearing and the 20 percent of the 30 percent that doesn’t feel good, we are only left with a very small percentage to wear. In my professional guess of the 10 percent remaining, I would say it includes the same black top, black yoga pants and some kind of sweater that you’ve been wearing over and over.


Here’s are few tips to help you regain some sanity with your wardrobe:


  1. Start the process to declutter your closet. Take all of the clothes out of your closet that don’t look or feel good on you in “real time,” meaning “today.” If they can’t be worn then remove them. Give those clothes to shelters, charity, etc. There are many people who are in need and would enjoy them. If you have a few pieces that you would like to keep, just in case you lose the weight or have a sentimental meaning, put them in another closet out of your view for now.
  2. Re-evaluate what is hanging there. Make sure the colors are complementary and styles fit you well. If not, remove and give away.
  3. For guidance use my style rule: 100 percent color + 100 percent fit = 100 percent style. Whenever you’re trying on a piece of clothing, follow this rule to help you evaluate if this item is best for you. It will also help you stop buying the wrong things and save you money. BEWARE of SALES. Make sure the item that is on sale is 100 percent style for you,
  4. As you look at what is hanging there, ask yourself, “Am I happy with these clothes?” If not, this is a perfect opportunity to shop around and find new interesting styles that would update your look and wardrobe. Take this time to shop and buy smart.
  5. My role as a stylist is to take the angst out of your wardrobe, and to create a feeling of success and harmony while saving you money. Who knew that you could learn math while rediscovering your wardrobe?
Let’s find your style,