In At Work, Capsule Wardrobe, Discussions, Discussions, In my closet, 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?


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



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)


  • 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.


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).


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:


You can see how I store my jewellery here.


Share Tweet Pin It +1

Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using 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 with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

You may also like

Previous PostSpend your money where you want to spend the most of your time
Next PostHow should you calculate how much you need to save for retirement?


  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. 🙂

    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)

  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.

    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.

  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!!!

    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.

  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.

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

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


Leave a Reply