Making the Switch to a Minimalist Wardrobe
I think one of the reasons that we wind up with so many clothes in our closets is that we haven’t defined our style. Instead of focusing on the pieces that will work within our style, we just keep adding pieces hoping that we’ll find the magic cure.
Since we don’t really love any of our clothing we just keep adding more trying to find the right formula. Then we wind up with lots of tops and bottoms, but not necessarily lots of outfits.
Does this sound familiar? You have an interview and instead of going to your closet, you head out to purchase an outfit. Or for a date or an event.
If the first place you’re looking isn’t in your own closet it might be time to rethink your wardrobe.
“Minimalism is embracing the essential over the excess”
A minimalist wardrobe can also be called a capsule wardrobe. We can all find joy in making less decisions and embracing better quality in our lives.
That’s what a minimalist wardrobe can do for you. It can make your days go smoother because there are less dilemmas and decisions to be made.
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Minimalist Fashion is a Transition
A minimalist wardrobe doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an ongoing process of editing and considering and that’s also why people tend to give up on it.
We like things to be quick and easy.
I don’t think that you have to be a minimalist to enjoy a capsule wardrobe. My love for the capsule wardrobe is so that my brain can be full of all the other decor and art supplies waiting for my attention. I can look good without wasting a lot of energy debating my outfit.
Minimalist fashion is a change in your thought process, not just in your shopping habits.
Minimalism is about letting go of the excess to enjoy the essential – it’s about being intentional, both with our purchases and our lifestyles.
If you haven’t started a capsule wardrobe yet, we’ve got some great information on How To Start A Capsule Wardrobe in a Weekend, and you should definitely check that out. After you’re caught up there join us as we focus on the long term side of minimalist fashion.
The Journey to a Minimalist Wardrobe
We all have to start where we are in the process. If you get rid of too much you have the stress of having to replace it. If you don’t get rid of enough you’re still sorting through too many pieces trying to make it work.
Taking your wardrobe from a closet full of fast fashion and discount item to a more minimalist style can be overwhelming when you’re getting started. And boy can it be a real eye opener.
It was disappointing to face all the “good deals” in my closet that had never been worn before.
Clear Out Your Closet
The very first step in starting a new wardrobe is clearing out your closet.
You have to learn what you already have that’s working for you. What pieces in your closet make you feel good when you wear them? Which pieces fit well and are flattering?
Those are the keepers!
If you haven’t worn it in a long time it might need a new home.
If it’s still got the tags on it because it was a “great deal” but it’s still got the tags on it, let it go. (I was very guilty of this one).
Don’t throw it all away.
We never, ever recommend getting rid of everything at once. Especially if you are just starting out.
Move the items that you don’t love anymore. Move them out of sight, into another closet or pack them up and let them sit. Put them in your attic, your garage or anyplace out of sight for a season, for a year, for whatever period of time feels comfortable for you to let them go.
But beware, if you’re in the mood to not like anything, you also might need to keep a few pieces that aren’t your favorites until you have the time or finances to replace them.
When the time comes to let go there are many ways to resell or donate your clothing so that it stays out of the landfills. Check out some ideas here on How to Make Cash With your Used Clothing.
Define Your Style
A very large part of the minimalist wardrobe is defining your style. Your style is unique to you so copying someone else’s is definitely not the way to go.
If this is a new concept for you there may be some trial and error before you really start to recognize your style. And your style can also change with your life – work, mom life, workout clothes, travel wear, etc. Going from working in an office everyday to staying home certainly needs a different wardrobe, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be any less stylish.
A long term wardrobe will reflect your personality and it will make you feel comfortable when you wear it. It will also fit your lifestyle.
If you have to wear suits to work each day, that’s going to be the main staple of your wardrobe. If you’re an athlete then your wardrobe should center around that style.
What clothes do you already own that make you feel the most comfortable? Which color brings out your eyes? Is there an outfit that you always get compliments on?
Pinterest is a great place to look at fashion inspiration as long as it doesn’t overwhelm you. It’s a great way to see how patterns and colors mix and a great place to find some inspiration. We’ve got lots of wardrobe ideas here.
Be Honest With Yourself
Fashion is all around us and it can be hard to determine what influences to follow. It’s a great idea to look at styles that you admire and figure out why you find them appealing. Once you know what it is about them that catches your eye, is there a way that you can incorporate that look into your style?
Do you love seeing women in pencils skirts and stiletto’s? What is it about that style that you find appealing? Do you think it looks powerful or sexy?
Then take this a step further. Are pencil skirts and heels practical for your everyday? What parts of this style can you incorporate into your wardrobe? A tailored jacket or some pencil pants with chunky heels?
Your style is going to be the clothing that makes you feel good and look good. You have to be comfortable wearing it, that’s part of the reason it looks good on you!
Finding your signature style is a process, it takes time. It should always be fun though! It might help to have a friend or a group of friends to shop with. Host a clothing swap, or take a group shopping and try on all the clothes you haven’t tried before. Remember back in school when you went shopping just to try on clothes, not to buy anything? Just because it was fun.
How to Shop for Your Minimalist Wardrobe
Shopping for your wardrobe is either something that you love or something that you dread. If you love shopping then you can use a capsule wardrobe as a challenge. If you hate shopping this wardrobe style might help you make the shopping process more manageable.
Don’t overlook secondhand stores for great deals. We have found so many great items, including a whole wardrobe of spring jackets, at great prices secondhand. You may have to dig though a lot of stuff to find the great deals but that’s part of the fun.
It also helps if you’re searching for specific items. This is a change from “window shopping” to “seeking”. A minimalist wardrobe means that you’re conscious of the items that you’re adding to your closet.
Basically you’re paying attention to find a particular item, so you may spend more time focused on that one piece – say a button down shirt or the perfect pair of jeans. This is seeking, instead of shopping for the first thing that catches your eye.
Check out our tips on How to Find the Best Styles for Your Capsule Wardrobe
Shopping Tips for Your Minimalist Wardrobe
- Shop Secondhand
- Save Up for Staples
Many times one of the hardest parts of a capsule wardrobe is the expense. It costs more to build a wardrobe out of quality items than it does to pick up clothing at fast fashion or discount stores. A plan is the best way to overcome this.
I also find that I’m much more picky about any piece that I feel is an investment. I will consider it long and hard before I purchase it, then I will make sure it gets worn.
We have found tons of great deals at secondhand stores and there are many great brands to choose from. This can be a time consuming process but you can score some fantastic deals and by saving money in one area it can free up your budget for another.
Many higher end clothes can be found at a huge discount secondhand and they contain lots of details that make them last longer and hold up better than less expensive brands.
You may also be surprised at how much you can save by picking up pieces and having them tailored. Try checking with a seamstress in your area about what it costs and factor that into your second hand shopping.
Save for Staples
You don’t have to buy everything at once. This is a process and it’s an ongoing process. Save up for your staple items and replace them slowly. Through the process you’ll become more and more sure of yourself.
Watch for Deals
If you’re planning your purchases you can watch for end of season sales or discounts. If you shop online you may get coupons for signing up for newsletters. Some brands also offer referral programs so be sure to find out all the ways that you might be able to save.
Rent for Special Occasions
If you have a wedding or cocktail party that you have to attend check into renting a dress. Many times this is a less expensive option to wear a dress that you’d probably only wear once. There are many great options for special occasion clothing and you may be able to rent a dress that’s more flattering than the one you would have purchased based on budget.
Take Care of Your Wardrobe
Be sure that you’re reading the labels on your garments and caring for them properly. This will extend the life of your clothing and save you tons of money.
I have some beautiful bamboo pieces that I’ve worn for years and years and they look just as great as they did when I purchased them. They’ve had a lifetime of delicate washes and air drying to preserve them.
Try using a steamer on your clothes instead of an iron. It can knock all the wrinkles out without damaging more sensitive fibers.
Learn about which clothes to hang and which to fold. You don’t want your cashmere sweater to have hanger marks in the shoulders.
Read the care labels on your clothing and treat them as an investment. Air dry and dry clean the items that need it.
Enjoy the Journey
When you were a kid you probably went back to school shopping and got a whole new wardrobe each year. While this makes sense when you were younger, you were growing and needed to replace items each year, it can also become a habit.
Building a minimalist wardrobe is about rethinking our shopping habits. It can be hard to resist grabbing a new top for an interview or a date. We may use shopping as a cure for boredom and wind up with a few new things each time.
When you’re learning a new skill there will be ups and downs – and this is definitely learning a new skill. It’s learning a new way to think about your wardrobe. Beyond your wardrobe, it’s also about your money and lifestyle.
The Reward of the Minimalist Wardrobe
The reward is having a closet full of clothing that you love.
It doesn’t have to be a full closet though – that’s definitely one of the places we all seem to get hung up.
A closet is really just a place to store our clothes. Our closet should be filled with items that make us feel amazing and alive with possibility.
Now go create your inspired closet.
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