Simple Living Wardrobe Inspiration

How to Simplify Your Wardrobe In 4 Easy Steps

6th June 2016

How To Simplify Your Wardrobe In 4 Easy Steps

WHAT IS A MINIMALIST WARDROBE?

When we think of a minimalist or capsule wardrobe we perhaps imagine a limited collection of clothes consisting of black trousers, white shirts and similar basic pieces. This may have been the case when Donna Karan developed Susie Faux’s capsule idea in 1985 but the concept has developed considerably since then. Nowadays there are many variations on the minimalist theme, from Project 333 where Courtney Carver champions dressing with 33 items or less over a three month period to Anuschka Rees’s perfectly Curated Closet.

I believe a minimalist wardrobe is a versatile and organised collection of good quality clothing that perfectly match the lifestyle of the owner. They could be patterned and flamboyant or classic and sophisticated, the secret is to keep only the clothes you love, wear and feel great in.

How To Simplify Your Wardrobe In 4 Easy Steps

WHY CREATE A MINIMALIST WARDROBE?

Here are a few of the many benefits I’ve found from decluttering my clothes and creating a minimalist wardrobe.

1. I save money.
2. I save time.
3. I’m more likely to invest in better clothes.
4. I’m less likely to buy clothes I don’t wear.
5. Getting dressed is quicker, easier and more joyful.
6. I love and wear all my clothes.
7. I no longer save things for best.
8. I no longer hoard clothes I don’t wear.
9. I know exactly what clothes I have.
10. My clothes are no longer tightly packed.

Today I’ll be sharing a few tips on how to create a minimalist wardrobe and I’ve broken down the process into four simple steps:

1. Research
2. Edit
3. Create
4. Maintain

I hope you will enjoy the journey!

How To Simplify Your Wardrobe In 4 Easy Steps

1. RESEARCH

Before you start pulling everything out of your wardrobe I suggest you have a little fun by doing some research involving magazines, Pinterest and some valuable window shopping. This will enable you to decide what clothes you need and how you would like to look at this stage in your life.

Lifestyle

A great thing to do is to think about your lifestyle and the types of clothes you need. Start by writing a list of all the activities you do during a calendar month and once this is done add a percentage of time to each activity. This will enable you to know roughly how much of your wardrobe should be dedicated to each type of clothing.

Defining your style

Now for the creative part. To define your style, I recommend tearing pages from magazines, creating a personal style board on Pinterest or browsing the internet to establish what clothes fill you with joy. Consider the brands you’re drawn to and ask yourself why you like them. Really try to understand your taste and what style makes your heart sing. This will help you when it comes to deciding what clothes to keep.

I also recommend spending a few hours browsing clothing shops and even trying things on. Don’t buy anything at this stage simply build up a picture of what you would like your wardrobe to look like, what suits you and most of all makes you feel confident and fabulous!

How To Simplify Your Wardrobe In 4 Easy Steps

2. EDIT

The next stage is to declutter and I advise doing this when you have a clear day, some good food and plenty of great tunes!

Collect

Firstly, collect together all your clothes. This includes coats, shoes and accessories. If you have a lot of stuff you may wish to break down the task and address your shoes and accessories another day. Following this, you’ll need to pile your clothes according to type: t-shirts, jumpers, dresses and so on. Then tackle one pile at a time:

~ Keep:

Things you wear
Things you love
Things you need

~ Discard:

Things you don’t wear
Things you don’t feel happy in
Things that don’t fit
Things that were a mistake

~ Unsure:

If there is an item you’re unsure about perhaps imagine it hanging in a store. Would you buy the item if you saw it today? Often the answer is no.

~ Shopping mistakes:

We tend to view the clothes we purchased in error as money and sometimes it’s wise to treat them as a mistake, learn from it and let them go.

~ Repeat:

This process can take time and so I’d recommend giving yourself plenty of breaks. You may need to edit each pile repeatedly until you’re happy with the things you’re keeping.

~ Repair:

There may be some items you wish to keep but need repairing so put these to one side ready to address later.

How To Simplify Your Wardrobe In 4 Easy Steps

3. CREATE

When you’ve edited your clothes and accessories you can begin to build a minimalist wardrobe. Hang the clothes by type with the longer items: dresses, trousers etc. at one end and the shorter items: jackets, skirts etc. at the other. Within each type, I like to group items by colour because I find it easier to see what I have. Old retail habits die hard!

Fewer clothes make it possible to have everything in your wardrobe all year round. And with unpredictable UK weather (I’m currently wearing a cashmere jumper in June!) it’s great to have everything to hand.

When this process is complete you will almost certainly notice clothes you forgot you had. Removing the items you no longer wear, makes everything else seem new again. It also encourages us to wear the things we had previously saved for best, after all, why shouldn’t every day be treated as a special occasion?

How To Simplify Your Wardrobe In 4 Easy Steps

4. MAINTAIN

When you create a wardrobe made up entirely of items you love you’ll probably find you buy less, buy better and make fewer shopping mistakes. And with a small and organised wardrobe, you’ll notice the items you’re no longer wearing encouraging you to regularly donate or sell. A regular and careful edit means you won’t have to repeat this process and your wardrobe will remain organised and manageable.

When you go shopping it’s wise to know exactly what you’re searching for. Shopping with intention and having a plan will hopefully eliminate any impulse buys you may later regret. And while you’re shopping try not to be seduced by sales, something is only a bargain if you need it and you were genuinely prepared to pay full price. Further reading: a few tips for buying luxury for less.

**

Owning fewer clothes has encouraged me to be a little more versatile and creative with what I have, rather than simply going out and buying more. Since cutting back I’m able to see everything and best of all I no longer hoard items for special occasions. I enjoy my carefully curated wardrobe and despite having less I always have more than enough to wear! If you decide to simplify your clothes and create a minimalist wardrobe I’d love to know how you get on and I wish you the best of luck.

I hope you have a great week!

Further reading on Candy Pop:

What are minimalism and simple living?
10 things I gained when I decluttered my home
My decluttering tips
10 ways I simplified my life
How to declutter your kitchen in 5 easy steps
How Marie Kondo helped me let go of my past

How To Simplify Your Wardrobe In 4 Easy Steps

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34 Comments

  • Reply Lori 6th June 2016 at 1:47 pm

    I love this, the only thing is my tastes change so quickly that I end up recycling clothes after a season or two. It would save me SOOO much time though! Great tips x

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 6th June 2016 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks Lori for stopping by. Recycling your clothes is great! Have a lovely day. x

  • Reply Lazy daisy jones 6th June 2016 at 1:50 pm

    My wardrobe is due a huge overhaul! Everything has to go!! I find this happens on a major scale every four years or so, with quick tidy up every 6 months. Planning on using and heeding your advice this time….x

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 6th June 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Thank you. From one ex-Selfridges personal shopper to another I wish you the best of luck with the overhaul! x

  • Reply Victoria Eales 6th June 2016 at 1:53 pm

    I think I’ll simplify my wardrobe by only buying Chanel – if only!

    Victoria x
    FlorenceandMary.com

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 6th June 2016 at 1:54 pm

      Haha! Now there’s an idea (in my dreams). x

  • Reply Molly 6th June 2016 at 2:46 pm

    As someone who’s currently in the process of doing some major decluttering in the wardrobe department, this post is packed with useful tips. I love the idea of thinking about your lifestyle first – I’m so bored of seeing capsule wardrobe tips sent out in a “one size fits all” approach, as if we all have a need for a suit or a little black dress, for example.

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 6th June 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Thanks Molly. I’m glad you found the post useful and as someone who doesn’t own a little black dress I completely agree! Good luck with your declutter. x

  • Reply Lucy 6th June 2016 at 4:26 pm

    I really love this post and it has inspired me to have a look through my wardrobe. So many things that someone else could benefit from and to declutter my space. Thanks – great post as ever X

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 6th June 2016 at 4:35 pm

      Thanks so much Lucy, I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. Have a great week. x

  • Reply Eleanor@The Bristol Parent 6th June 2016 at 5:20 pm

    That discard section is key for me. Really interesting read, I just chucked out a load of clothes that I know I’ll never want to wear again post pregnancy. Where do you stand on keeping favourite/interesting pieces, even if they are not designer, for your kids? I wore a lot of my mum and dads clothes when I was a teen.

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 6th June 2016 at 5:30 pm

      Thanks Eleanor for your comment. If you have items you think your children may enjoy in the future you could consider storing them in your loft? I remember wearing my Mum’s clothes as a teenager, it was like having an extra wardrobe! x

  • Reply kathryn 6th June 2016 at 8:15 pm

    You see I totally agree with all the benefits you mention but I’m such a sucker for newness and being a style blogger doesn’t help I guess. I just love fashion too much. I think I need to get more disciplined about recycling more after each season. Great post and lovely photos! xx

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 6th June 2016 at 10:05 pm

      Thanks so much Kat. I still buy new clothes I’m just better at letting go of the stuff I no longer love or wear. A huge change from being a hoarder! I hope you have a great week and see you soon. x

  • Reply Slummy single mummy 7th June 2016 at 9:31 am

    I really enjoyed this post because it made me think – I don’t think I’ve ever done that first step, where you stop and THINK about how I want to look. That sounds like an odd thing to say, but I guess our wardrobes just sort of evolve, without us ever taking the time to step back and think about the overall look. Food for thought!

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 7th June 2016 at 9:51 am

      Thanks for your comment, I’m glad you found the post useful. Have a great day. x

  • Reply Polly Davies 7th June 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I did this just after christmas and it made such a difference. My wardrobe was bursting before, and now it has less than half as many clothes as before – but it’s all stuff I like/makes me feel good/fits!

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 16th June 2016 at 12:33 pm

      Thank you Polly, that sounds perfect! x

  • Reply Alice 7th June 2016 at 2:08 pm

    This is all great advice!! I got rid of 3 bin bags of clothes a few months ago after reading Marie Kondo but I think I could do with another go. Like Jo said, I also think I should think about how I want to look!

    Ax

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 16th June 2016 at 12:33 pm

      Thanks so much Alice. x

  • Reply Emmaly Knecht 9th June 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Great tips. I use to be a huge impulse buyer, like my mom, and use to shop for events, not my life. Now i have scaled down and only get things i know i really need or want. Especially for work, i usually have outfit on rotation.

    http://www.ebatotes.com

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 16th June 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Thanks for stopping by. Less is definitely more! x

  • Reply CraveCute 9th June 2016 at 11:41 pm

    Thank you for a great article. It’s a good reminder to go through my closet this week!

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 16th June 2016 at 12:34 pm

      Thanks Diane. I hope you’re well. x

  • Reply laura redburn 12th June 2016 at 3:52 pm

    though i don’t have that many clothes (compared to most women my age especially) i do find having a little sort through from time to time really helps. if there’s something i realise i never wear or is obviously never going to fit me again it’s out (well, to the charity shop)!

    i’m definitely more of the ‘colourful and flamboyant’ type but i do love black, greys and navy too. i’ve always found it so strange that so many minimalists hate colour. you can be minimal in your tastes and lifestyle but still have a huge love for colour!

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 16th June 2016 at 12:35 pm

      Thanks Laura. As a colour-lovin’ minimalist I totally agree! x

  • Reply Charlotte 20th June 2016 at 3:52 pm

    I loe the idea of having a capsule, minimal wardrobe but the truth is, I just love dresses. I have so many, including ones that don’t fit particularly well and those I save for ‘best’. Truth is, how often do I need to wear a ruffled, silk black with tiny buttons dress? Hoarding things for special occasions is my issue!

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 22nd June 2016 at 9:31 am

      Thanks Charlotte for stopping by! I think it’s fine to keep the dresses if they add value to your life. It’s when you don’t love or need something that you may wish to consider letting it go. BTW, the ruffled dress sounds great! x

  • Reply Alternative Ageing 21st June 2016 at 5:56 am

    Love it! I so agree and love to de-clutter. I still make mistakes caught in that adrenaline rush of shopping but am getting better & better. Great advice. x

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 22nd June 2016 at 9:32 am

      Thanks so much for your kind comment. x

  • Reply Jo 30th June 2016 at 11:21 pm

    I don’t think I could ever have a completely minimal wardrobe as I like having a lot of choice, but I do make sure I only keep what I love wearing. I also reorganised all my tshirts and cardigans last month, folding them Marie Kondo style, and it revolutised my drawers! So much easier to see what I have.

    Have you heard of the Wardrobe Architect series by the Colette sewing blog? It’s not necessarily sewing related so non sewers shouldn’t feel put off. It’s about planning a wardrobe of clothing which suits your personality and lifestyle. It’s broken down into categories, allowing you to reflect on what you’re drawn to and what doesn’t work for you. From that research you can then curate a capsule wardrobe and colour palette, allowing you to shop/sew more mindfully. Christine Haynes thoroughly documented her wardrobe architect experience on her blog: http://citystitching.com/?tag=Wardrobe+Architect . I think you’d enjoy it 🙂

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 1st July 2016 at 10:07 am

      Thank you Jo for your kind comment. I haven’t heard of the wardrobe architect series but I will definitely check it out. Thanks so much for sharing. x

  • Reply Kyia Belle 3rd July 2016 at 4:08 am

    I’ve been slowly but surely minimizing my wardrobe, one top at a time. I love and will definitely be using your tips!

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 3rd July 2016 at 9:29 am

      Thanks Kyia. I’m pleased you found the post useful. Good luck with your wardrobe edit! x

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