I never knew I would love having a minimalist wardrobe. I thought wearing the same items over and over would stifle my creativity. In addition, all the minimalist wardrobes I saw lacked color and patterns.
For those of you just beginning to create your minimalist wardrobes, most people start by crafting a capsule wardrobe. I personally picked out 33 items that I wore for 3 months using a system called project 333. I have since diverted a bit from the strict 33 items and made my capsule wardrobe more my own. My current seasonal wardrobes consists of about 35-40 items not including shoes, jackets/kimonos or accessories.
I like fashion. I enjoy following the latest styles and trends. I enjoy getting dressed in the morning, and, in the beginning, I thought minimalism would somehow take that away.
I was wrong. I love my minimalist wardrobe as much if not more today than when I started my journey.
For anyone else who needs the ease of a minimalist wardrobe without a closet full of gray and black “classic” pieces, here are some tips and tricks for customizing your minimalist wardrobe to suite your personal style.
Find accessories that speak to who you are. Some people like small studs, bracelets, and pearls. Some like shoes in all colors and styles. I like large statement earrings and handbags.
Whatever accessories you choose, use them highlight your uniqueness.
2. Decide which pieces will be your staple items and build your minimalist wardrobe around them.
Over time, I have invested money in pieces I can wear for the next several years. Some of the pieces are as simple as “good” black dress pants or medium wash skinny jeans. Other pieces showcase my individuality such as my green high-waist pants. Either way, I have accepted completely that these pieces will be worn over and over again. I am willing to wear them once a week without batting an eye because I can mix and match them easily with other items in my minimalist wardrobe. They offer versatility as they can be worn to work, church, or a night on the town. For example, in the picture below, I paired my green pants with a white flowy shirt, tucked in, and a cream moto jacket for work:
Then, I paired the same pants with a white cropped shirt for date night with my husband:
Your staple items should make you feel beautiful EVERY time. They are the pieces that flatter your good features. Usually, they are the clothes you look through all your drawers, closets, and laundry piles to find even though you have perfectly suitable other clothes that you can wear.
3. Eliminate the “perfectly suitable” other clothes.
They are not perfectly suitable. If they were, you would wear them, and you do not wear them. I found that for the clothing that I do not wear, I always have a reason. My pumps flop on and off my heels making walking nearly impossible. Certain clothes require ironing which I never have the time to do. Some shirts and dresses do not fit or look the way I really want them to fit or look. Whatever the case, the same items get pushed to the side over and over. These items need to go!! They are no longer worth your time or energy. (Hint: the hardest items for you to let go will be either a gift from others or an item you purchased and never wore or only wore once. You will feel like you need to keep and wear these clothes. You are wrong.)
4. Find a few simple shirts.
Develop a collection of shirts that you can easily pair with your staple items to dress them up or down.
They can be tank tops or camisoles. They can be fitted or slouchy. They can be in your favorite colors and styles. The good thing about t-shirts is that you can wear them with dress pants, jeans, leggings, or shorts. You can wear them by themselves, or you can wear them underneath blazers. They offer versatility and allow you to create looks you love to wear.
5. Take your time.
A complete overhaul may or may not be necessary. Some of you hate everything you own and want to start from scratch, but most of you have a few pieces to create a starting point. What you do NOT want is a shopping spree only to end up back at square one because you purchased many items that end up in the “perfectly suitable” category. I have found that when I “love” an item but question how feasibly it will work with my current wardrobe/ lifestyle, I buy it and end up not wearing it. When I take my time and only add clothing I cannot wait to wear, my minimalist wardrobe takes on a life of its own. This, however, does not have to take place overnight.
6. Make the journey your own.
Each of you had a different reason that you started or are planning to start your minimalist wardrobe. For me, I needed one less decision to make in the morning. Less clothes, especially ones I do not like, equaled less decisions. Some of you may want to take the money you are spending on lots of low quality clothing and invest it in a few high quality pieces. Some of you are starting the minimalist journey, and your wardrobe is just one part of a much bigger picture. Whatever your reason, your journey does not have to look like everyone else’s. At one point, I felt bad as I rotated items in and out of my wardrobe as trends changed. For example, last summer I wore oversized shirt dresses almost daily. This summer I like crop shirts and high waisted bottoms.
I felt wasteful as I hauled my giveaways to thrift stores, as though I had somehow failed at minimalism. Yet I still love my seasonal items of choice. I still love my journey. I still have less decisions to make in the morning, and that, for me, is a win!
So how about you, what are some wins for you in your minimalist wardrobe journey? How have you made it your own? What have you learned so far?
Leave your email so that I can send minimalist strategies straight to your inbox.
If you would like to learn other ways to declutter your life or learn to live a minimalist lifestyle, check out these additional blogs on the subject:
If you liked what you read here today, please feel free to share with your friends and family.