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
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:
- Silk scarves (Wanderlust Scarves)
- Galaxy Edition of Jewellery
- Updating my leather items & making jewellery
- Studded my leather jacket and this leather blazer
- Studded my leather obi belt and wore it here
- Studded the hem of a black linen skirt
- Updated the buttons on a silk shirt
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!