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.
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:
- Do I have anything like this in my wardrobe at home? If yes, I need to re-think this purchase.
- 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)
- 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!)
- 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.