In Discussions, Discussions, Minimalism, Organization, Shopping, Style, Style, Wardrobe Help, Women

Guiding Principles of a Minimalist Wardrobe

Being a minimalist doesn’t mean you have to live with only a set number of things (100 seems to be the favoured number here), and you aren’t allowed to go shopping… AT ALL.

A minimalist is just someone who lives with only what they need and actually want.

Otherwise, we all look fairly normal and don’t sport any horns or distinctive tails… that I know of. 🙂

This statement is deceptively simple but let’s see if I can offer some real-life, “normal” examples:

  • They don’t have a basement full of unopened boxes, even if they are neatly labeled
  • They don’t have 15 hammers of varying colours and/or sizes, they have one, at the most, two
  • They don’t keep things like a hideous armchair that they don’t even sit in, just because it was free
  • They don’t keep broken items just in case (e.g. they need parts from it to fix another machine)

So how does this all apply to a wardrobe?

Easy!

Just substitute the items above with words like “tops”, “bottoms”, “shoes”, and the like.

Wardrobe-Closet-Mochimac-Clothes-Tops1

WHAT A MINIMALIST WARDROBE MEANS

You basically keep only what you actually wear and most of all, want to wear.

This includes items that:

  • Fit you well (with my varied weight changes, this is a tricky one for me as well)
  • Flatter you (via colour or shape)
  • Genuinely make you happy
  • Is something you willingly reach for, not just because you haven’t done laundry lately
  • Makes sense for your lifestyle (e.g. you don’t own ball gowns if you don’t go to balls)

WHAT A MINIMALIST WARDROBE DOES NOT MEAN

  • You need to wear all neutrals so that everything matches (e.g. all black, or all blue)
  • You need to wear only the same classic-style items (e.g. a plain, simple shift dress)
  • You need to wear all of the same type of pants, tops, dresses and skirts
  • You need only 3 pairs of socks / underwear / t-shirts, and not a single pair more
  • You can’t keep more than 3 items in each category (e.g. 3 shirts, 3 pants, 3 dresses)
  • You can’t keep items that make you happy once in a while (e.g. a silk kimono jacket you don’t wear daily, but gives you decorative and visual pleasure)

That wardrobe, sounds more like a uniform at a boarding school for reformed teenagers than a wardrobe for someone who lives an actual life with events and things to do.


GOING SHOPPING WITH A MINIMALIST MINDSET

Nowadays when I go shopping, I consider 4 major things before I purchase something:

  1. Do I have anything like this in my wardrobe at home? If yes, I need to re-think this purchase.
  2. Do I want to buy this just because I like wearing this style, but own plenty of already? (e.g. white button-up shirts, dresses, etc)
  3. Will it fill a gap in my wardrobe of some sort or is it just because I really like it? (e.g. a major gap right now are knee-high boots, I NEED A PAIR!)
  4. Will it be multi-functional? (this applies mostly to purses, I use clutches not just for going out, but to store jewellery and to travel with.)

Oftentimes, if it is something I just really like but don’t necessarily need and don’t have substitutes at home of, I buy it.

A good example of this is a silk kimono jacket I purchased recently. I just really liked the jacket, and I have also started collecting really nice kimonos (I’m picky about which ones I actually buy).

Magwood-Vintage-Kimono-Jacket

I am not really sure I’d wear the jacket quite often (being silk with long sleeves), but being a bit adventurous, I’d experiment with ways to wear it, or just wear it around the house because it makes me happy.

Another example are recycled kimono clutches.

I have a whackload of them now, and in a pinch, I have plenty of lovely purses to tuck under my arm for events, or just as mini wallets, but in the meantime, they double as jewellery pouches:

Kimono-Clutches-Jewellery-Holders-Minimalist-1

You can see how I store my jewellery here.

 


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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8 Comments

  1. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    Love this, Mochimac! I don’t have a ton of clothes, but I know that there are some in my closet that I never wear. Time to do some cleanout. 🙂

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I do this pretty regularly although a lot less now that I do not want to get rid of anything (it is all nice)

      Reply
  2. Tania

    Wardrobe is the most difficult area for me to trim down. I love design and clothes/accessories are just too accessible, small and too easy to add “just one more”. Being able to sell my own stuff in a social media type of atmoshphere though makes it easier. To see a little or never used item from own closet go to someone who truly loves is satisfying. I now enjoy selling more than buying. I ask myself similar questions now when I do buy and the weight variation is huge too. Too bad you’re not a size 6 because I have some lovely knee high boots (never used) that I’ll be selling soon 🙂

    I do think however all areas of minimal living are tied together.Once other areas of your life go through minimal treatment, others fall into place too as I find myself losing weight now since I started this process.

    I need more Ts than you but need no button downs or silk blouses as Ts are my work attire (worn with jersey maxi skirts or boyfriend jeans). Even when I get a little dressier, I usually have a T (a nice one) under my jacket or sweater. I have found the number of things like bras, socks and workout clothes I truly need are much less than I previously thought. (There’s this wonderful invention called a washing machine!) Items I buy too much of are cargo and leather jackets so I’ve started to free myself of excess in those areas. I find it helpful to carry a little list in my phone of categories I tend to buy over and over but don’t need anymore! It’s a little anal but it helps.

    I’ve been obsessed with kimonos lately. Haori jackets look wonderful over jeans/leggings and the kimonos also make beautiful robes and are much more meaningful to me as it is part of my heritage. I so wish we still had my grandmother’s wedding kimono.

    I use clutches that were little used as purses as pouches too in my larger bag. I’m finding I prefer the large clutches to carry so now I can stop myself from buying more smaller pieces as I can remind myself how little I use those.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I think style definitely evolves over time which contributes to my taste changing, I am gearing more towards neutrals these days and less into IN YOUR FACE patterns like I was in the past, hence the reason why I regularly cull my clothes. That, and fit.

      Reply
  3. cj

    Mochimac!!! I do love my shorts and t-shirt uniform for its comfort and simplicity. But I also agree with all your points. I don’t have meetings and the like. I teach the guitar and go on lots of walks. Oh, I do play an occasional gig, so I keep an oxford, pants and real shoes around for that. But that is precisely what you are talking about, I suppose. Have a neato day!!!

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      When I travel I notice just how little I need and it makes me feel a bit guilty when I think of everything I have at home.

      Reply
  4. SarahN

    I think my overall number is too high (340+) to be called a minimalist! I do regularly cull, but not to the extent that I have too few items. I need multiples of things worn daily like tank tops and long sleeved tees, socks and knickers. I also enjoy lots of scarves to mix things up. I do largely stick to a color palette but that’s happened naturally rather than consciously.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I don’t count accessories 🙂 if I did, I would have 100 necklaces alone!!

      Reply

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