Designing a minimalist wardrobe has been one of my greatest challenges since I have delved into living with less. Other things haven’t phased me so much, interestingly. Trinkets? Throw them! Kitchen stuff? Away! Photos? Meh! But clothes…well, they’re pretty! I want them all!
If you’re embarking on your own minimalist journey and are feeling overwhelmed by the idea of getting rid of some, or even any, of your clothes, please rest assured that it will pass. You can get through this, because I did, and I still leave the house looking decent each day. Promise!
As of right now, I estimate that I have decluttered about one third of my wardrobe compared to one year ago, and I’m still in the process of culling, hoping to cut that down by a further large chunk by the end of 2017. There is so much out there online about minimalist fashion which has kept me motivated to really keep going at this. Opshoppers, sustainable fashion enthusiasts and closet declutterers are all over Instagram, so go and take a look if you need some inspiration!
I haven’t reached the stage of a proper capsule wardrobe yet (but I know I’ll try it out sooner or later), but I would say that I am well on my way to creating a minimalist wardrobe that I love. I am getting so much joy out of this way of dressing because it’s more practical, more sustainable and more affordable. Yay!
Here are my tips for creating your own minimalist wardrobe:
1. Work with what you have. If you really have a good look at your closet, you’ll see that’s it’s already complete. Pick out your favourite, go-to items and you’ll find that you have a fantastic core collection to get you started (mine are featured below 🙂).
2. Focus on timeless pieces and styles. What kind of pieces are easy to dress up, dress down and style differently? What never goes out of fashion? Also think about colours that are easy to match with a wide variety of other colours, textures and patterns. If you ask me, denim and black reign supreme in this regard.
3. Get rid of anything that doesn’t make you feel great. Before decluttering my closet, I was holding on to countless items that didn’t really make me beautiful when I put them on, but I couldn’t let go because of all the money I had invested in them. Just forget the money and focus on feeling fabulous.
4. Forget the ‘what ifs’. We often hold onto clothes because they would be ideal for a particular event, but after so many years of waiting and hoarding, that event just hasn’t come around. I recommend letting go then borrowing, thrifting, renting, or just buying a similar piece of clothing again later – if and when the need for it arises.
5. Go at your own pace. If you’re struggling, don’t feel that you have to get rid of it all at once. If you’re enthused and are feeling frustrated with the sheer volume, dedicate an entire day to clearing things out. Personally, I wasn’t able to just do one big clean-out and be done with it. I needed time to work through the emotions that came out in the process (fear, joy, uncertainty, freedom) and really think through what my simplified wardrobe would mean to me. Give yourself as much (or as little) time as you need. Just working towards a simpler life that you love is the most important thing!
6. Have a plan moving forward. Set intentions for your fashion future so that once you have simplified your wardrobe, you can keep it that way. Some examples to get you thinking:
- I won’t buy any brand-new clothing for the next year.
- I’ll only buy second-hand clothing from now on.
- I want to invest in good-quality, ethical pieces of clothing in the future.
- I’ll review my wardrobe every month/three months/six months and see if I’ve worn everything I thought I would.
- Every time I buy a piece of clothing, I’ll donate one to charity as well.
My Minimalist Wardrobe Essentials
Just for fun, I thought I might share with you what the basics in my minimalist wardrobe are.
Complete with amateur fashion shots of a real (make-up-free) person – moi! 😊 I was super nervous about doing that but had a lot of fun and felt really confident afterwards!
So here they are – my go-to items…
Skinnies are my favourite, either with canvas shoes for a casual look or with flats if I’m going out. For something a bit more summery, I also like to roll up the bottoms a bit to create a cropped look and wear them with sandals.
I opshopped mine years and years ago for $10. It was money well invested as it’s still in fantastic condition and I never get sick of it. Here I’m wearing it with an A-line skirt (also secondhand!).
Little Black Dress
An absolute must. Mine has served me so well and I’ll be devastated when it finally wears out, (although I think it still has several years in it yet!). I love to wear it with a denim jacket and chunky jewellery (the necklace I’m wearing here was $2 secondhand) for a casual look, or with a cardigan or blazer for a more sophisticated outfit. I also love that this is an item that can be worn year-round, as it goes well with or without stockings, and with sandals, flats or boots. The possibilities are endless!
Long-sleeve Black Top
Here’s a picture of me wearing one while flailing my arms about, not knowing what to do in the photo! 😆 Can you tell this is the first time I’ve done this?
These are so versatile because they’re comfortable, flattering and can be styled in so many different ways. I own two of them and in winter they are my go-to item. I just change around the jewellery (or scarf if it’s really cold) to get a different look each time. Perfect with jeans or any skirt.
I also have one black singlet which I wear a lot in summer. Same deal – I just change around the jewellery and the options are endless…
An oldie but a goodie! I always put mine in my bag, even in summer, in case I get stuck in freezing aircon.
Mine’s secondhand. Love, love, love it – so simple and elegant! Here it is two ways…the first with a breezy (but slightly itchy!) secondhand top, and the other is a cute little top my Mum gave me for my birthday last year which I am finding really versatile.
These play an important part in keeping my wardrobe minimal! Accessories take up less space than clothes, and are widely available at thrift stores so are easy and cheap to source. When you are done with something, simply donate it and find a new one! I have lots of thrifted necklaces and scarves that I like to regularly rotate with my basics. I also have a little box of sterling silver jewellery items I have acquired over the years (and quite a bit of that has been donated now), which go with everything really!
Here‘s Courtney Carver’s guide to setting up her famous 33-item capsule wardrobe (#project333). You choose 33 items to wear for 3 months at a time and pack everything else away into storage. I’m looking forward to trying this one day!
Joshua Becker’s guide to owning fewer clothes – this one is a nice quick read.
Thanks for reading!