In At Work, Capsule Wardrobe, Discussions, In my closet, Minimalism, Style, Style, Wardrobe Help, Women

How to keep a minimalist wardrobe

It can be hard with so many beautiful things out there. I can attest to wanting everything. I always seem to have a wardrobe hole to fill, so I thought I’d gather some of my thoughts over the past year or so in how I am reducing what I buy.

Do I need it? Does it fill a wardrobe gap? Is it a basic/foundation piece for my style?

These are the first questions I ask myself to make sure I am not just shopping impulsively. I tend to always buy duplicates of what I already own in my wardrobe – pencil skirts, wrap skirts, button up shirts, blazers and high-rise pants.

These days, a piece has to be truly special with incredible tailoring (nips, tucks, pleats) or with an incredible print for me to consider it.

Is it multifunctional? Will it last?

The quality is a big factor in whether it is worth the price tag whether it is $5 or $500.

If it isn’t multifunctional either to be worn with various seasons, or as a general topper over everything (leather jackets & drape wrapped coats for instance), then it needs to be looked at very hardly.

I would say the biggest problem with this area is people shop for the life they wish they had — a more glamorous one where they go out to events and get to wear long evening-length silk gowns, or that they wish they could wear bright colourful prints and pull it off with some white pants and 4″ cork sandals in the summer even though they are really not that kind of person & have toddlers smearing jam all over their shirts all day.

Don’t buy for a life you don’t have, buy for the one you’re already living.

Not buying items for a specific trip or event is also key. Every time I have searched for specific items like a linen shirt or pants to wear on vacation, I always end up wearing my favourite pieces anyway and never wearing those pieces again.

If you wouldn’t wear it in your everyday life 80% of the time.

Shop with a purpose

When you go out to shop, don’t do it as a hobby or because you’re bored. If you feel like going out to shop because you’re bored, fill it with another activity, preferably a hands-on one to keep you occupied.

What has worked for me is cleaning or cooking. Once I start cleaning or cooking, I lose all interest (and energy) in going out and window shopping.

I have no more interest in dressing and going to a shop.

Reading doesn’t work unless I happen to be really into a deep, great book I can’t put down. I keep walking around the apartment reading voraciously until it is finished, and as of late, these books have been it: The Glass Castle, Comfort me with Apples, Tender at the Bone, and The Curated Closet.

Know who and where your clothes come from and why

As of late, I have been trying my best to shop ethically and locally. I really prefer independent designers over mainstream design, but the best would be buying designer secondhand items on consignment.

Independent designers usually boast a higher quality for a lower price because they do each piece by hand (normally) and care very much about their word of mouth.

Some of my favourite independent designers (not necessarily local):

Love what you have in your closet

Make a promise to your clothes that you will wear each and every one of them.

I know it sounds STUPID… but when you commit to picking out that one shirt you never really reach for, you will put it on and then be able to assess whether it should stay in your wardrobe or not.

Each time you reach for an item in the wardrobe, choose a piece you haven’t worn in a while, wear it, assess it while wearing it, and then decide to keep it, sell it, or donate it.

You should definitely have your favourite & special pieces you reach for, over and over again and wear to death. They’re meant for that.

Buy secondhand: consignment for designer, thrift for the thrill of the hunt

I love shopping secondhand especially for designer items, here are my favourite haunts in Toronto Consignment and Montreal Consignment, and here are my favourites consignment shops online.

If you want a great piece but can’t afford it, don’t settle for cheap substitutes for what you really want.

Avoid buying anything and refashion and repurpose what you have

This DIY thing can turn into a bit of a hobby. I have successfully made necklaces, and refashioned my clothing by updating it with studs.

Here are some of my projects as of late:

Tailor, and repair your clothes

Learn how to sew and do a basic hem, and learn how to sew a button back on or move a button, as well as basic hems with hemming tape.

For things you can’t manage such as hems on jeans, take them in to the tailor. I’d also bring in skirts to be tailored to your body, bring the hems up, or tailor in the torso of the shirts.

Wear and re-wear everything and mix it up

Try layering pieces such as tops with a camisole peeking out underneath a sweater, or a collared shirt underneath a sweater.

I go through phases where I wear only one piece and remix it over and over again the entire week, then I flip to another piece and try to see how many outfits I can get out of it.

It can be a game, or just relaxing to not have to think about what you’re going to wear — it’s the same thing, just with another jacket, or sweater!


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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.

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Posted on September 30, 2018

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  1. SarahN

    After 2.5 weeks on the road, this post reminded me – I used to shop and shop when I travelled to the US or Europe. IN part, as Australia didn’t always have H&M or Zara etc. But it does now. Though I think there’s other reasons why now too – I know what I like. I own what I like. I used to leave shopping to holidays and then often, as you say, buy things that didn’t really suit the real me, the one I was everyday. I mean, I’ve always being good at wearing everything I buy… but.

    That being said, last year’s Euro trip I didn’t buy much (one Zara trip- three tanks, and a pair of jeans I now love to death and a white button up). US trip last year: two button up GAP shirts which I’ve worn to death on this trip (along with above jeans and tanks). Old age seems to mean I know me better now! 🙂 Tis wonderful

    SIde note: in the early days, I used to get an email when you replied to a comment, and not anymore… i worry if I say ‘notify of follow up comments’ I’ll get any and all comments. Lemme try and see…

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I think leaving for shopping for travel is a great idea, except .. I came back with a lot of crap that wasn’t me as you said. I haven’t kept much I bought abroad save for the accessories — bags, jewellery, shoes, scarves. I stick to that these days.

      Clothing, that’s something I am realizing veers into the expensive deep end for me. I just can’t seem to bring myself to pay $50 – $100 for polyester when I can just put $200 more (3X the price yes) and get a designer frock ON SALE (YAY!), or secondhand instead of at retail…. which was originally in the hundreds to thousands!

      Hah! I hope the reply comment thing is fixed. I set it up as WordPress functionality so it should work… properly… *fingers crossed*

      1. SarahN

        Yes! Email reply comments is working – thank you!!


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