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.
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:
I hope you will enjoy the journey!
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.
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!
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!
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:
Things you wear
Things you love
Things you need
Things you don’t wear
Things you don’t feel happy in
Things that don’t fit
Things that were a mistake
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.
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.
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.
There may be some items you wish to keep but need repairing so put these to one side ready to address later.
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?
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.
The joy of a carefully curated wardrobe
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