The resurrection of the “Perfect 10”

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I believed in the concept of a Perfect 10.

As with many things in my malleable life, it all started with a book. Jill Martin and Dana Ravich’s I Have Nothing to Wear! to be exact. It’s a stupidly simple book with a stupidly simple concept: quality over quantity. Calling it stupidly simple makes it sound like it’s easy, so let me explain—Martin and Ravich’s book is outlined like a 12-step program. Because clutter and “stuff” is an addiction. This. Shit’s. Hard.

But boy, is it beautiful. In short, we’re guided through the process of filtering through our closets, trashing, donating, or selling anything that isn’t a “perfect 10” on a scale of one to ten. That means no holes, no pilling, perfect fabric, flattering, and reflective of one’s personal style. In the end, it’s estimated that we get rid of 70 percent of our closet. And then instate a one-in-one-out rule, so it never gets cluttered again.

Think about it: If you were to remove all the clothes in your closet except the absolute best, you’d be left with your favorite pieces, each of which perfectly reflected your style and made you feel comfortable, beautiful, and in your element. If everything in one’s life is a perfect 10, doesn’t that bring the individual closer to being a perfect ten, herself?

I’d forgotten about this concept, or at least let it fall by the wayside over the past couple of years. But this past week, I went a little crazy. I actually bought the kindle version of their book, to look over and revitalize my passion for the concept, and then I went a little cray.

I would estimate that I eliminated about 50 percent of my closet, with plans to eliminate more (like sorority shirts) after I graduate. When something ended up in the “maybe” pile, I evaluated if I would wear it to work or not. If not, I let it go (I’m not 100 percent sure of the dress code at my work, but I’m erring on the conservative side).

What’s left are my favorite pieces and a clear indication of my “uniform”—tight bottoms (skinny jeans or leggings) and loose-fitting, flowy tops. In black, gray, tan, or blue (Side note: It’s actually ridiculous how much of my closet falls into one of those color categories. Baby girl is clearly a citymonger.). I am reminded that the items I invest in and care for—my leather jacket, leather boots (that I’ve re-soled twice), mink-collared coat, Longchamp purse, watch, Yurman ring, etc.—are those that I love most and which most accurately reflect my style.

I’m slowly trying to go through and de-clutter corners of my life not involving clothes: cleaning out my purse, organizing my class notes, fine-tuning my planner, filtering through Facebook friends, unsubscribing from junk email, canceling magazine subscriptions, going through kitchen gadgets, even clearing electronic clutter. I’m not sure I’ll ever necessarily be a minimalist, but I can choose to surround myself with quality and avoid the physical and mental clutter associated with anything other than Perfect 10.

Hopefully this obsessive de-cluttering with help ease the burden of my upcoming move, and help me to save money by avoiding unnecessary spending on anything weighing in at a 1.0 through 9.9 on my 10-point scale. I can save for the 10s. (Or for food, to avoid a recurrence of The Snickers and Peanut Butter Diet Fiasco of 2011.)


  1. Pruning of the rose bush is the only way to produce new rose wood, and roses only bloom on new wood. It’s not only rejuvenating, it is life producing…

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Hi, I'm Marian.
By day, I'm a PR maven with a nerdy affinity for research and branding. By night, I'm an explorer; I delve into books, food, design, and the murky waters of my own psyche, then share my musings here.





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