Friday, April 22, 2016

Minimalism: 3 Steps I took towards a minimalist wardrobe

For a while I was associating a capsule wardrobe with minimalism. And although there is a relationship there, the capsule portion never really resonated with me, but the minimal part did. I'm sure I've already mentioned this
somewhere on this blog, but I have this kind of compulsion to always get rid of things I feel I no longer love or really need. I've developed a system of maintaining a small closet, where my clothes have enough space to breathe. For almost a year now, I've managed to keep the amount of clothes I own (excluding work out clothes and unmentionables) to about 60 items. Since the average capsule wardrobe seems to be around 20 to 30 clothing items, I felt it wasn't necessary for me to really downsize further. Instead, I was sold on a minimal and neutral wardrobe, one that contained items I knew I would enjoy for a longer period of time. In reflecting on my spending choices, I had realized how quickly I got rid of clothing that had bold designs or color. The items I held on to longer were usually white, grey, black, and the occasional blue. Therefore, I made a shift in how I approached shopping in order to enjoy a more minimal approach to style.

1. I got rid of clothing I didn't love and stopped purchasing clothing that contained bold designs or were colorful. I think capsule wardrobes are great, because you can still incorporate these items, but because I wanted an annual wardrobe instead of a seasonal wardrobe, it worked better for me to stop purchasing items that had a bold design or color. This decision also kept me from buying items just because I thought they were cute. Instead, I developed a system of being on the lookout for the 3-5 items on my wish list. However, if colors are your thing, then consider sticking to a specific color palette.

2. I created a small (3-5 items) wish list of basic items that I really wanted and kept them pinned to a secret board. This kept me focused on only looking at items that fit that list. It also was a way for me to decide on whether I really wanted that item. If after a few weeks or months I no longer really liked it, I deleted it from my wish list. This process has helped me take a slower approach to buying clothes and prevented me from going on shopping sprees. Examples of items on this list would be a pair of black skinny ripped jeans, high waisted blue jeans, a cropped linen shirt, and a cream knitted sweater. I would choose items I didn't have or items that could replace some of the things I owned. For example, I was on the lookout for a good pair of high waisted blue jeans, so I could get rid of the 2 pairs of $10 jeans I kept replacing from Forever 21.

3. I sold clothing I didn't love in order to purchase fewer items that were of quality, comfort, and had a more timeless design. In trying to be more intentional about my minimalist wardrobe, the pieces I wanted were sometimes more than I would ever really spend. But because I was able to use money from clothing I sold, I was able to further minimize my closet in order to invest in brands or clothing items I really wanted and items that felt more comfortable. If you're wondering where to sell your clothes, eBay has worked for me, but I've also seen people use Instagram as a platform, which seems to work really well. If you're looking for quality clothing, but can't quite afford the price tag, eBay or ThredUp can be a good place to look for them at a more reasonable cost.

I realize this type of shift may not be for everyone. Up until last summer, it wasn't really something I ever considered. I was so used to going to H&M or Forever 21 and walking out with a bag of clothing, feeling successful about the good deals I got and how much I was able to get for so little. Not to mention I was a strong believer in shopping therapy. But after noticing how quick I was in getting rid of clothing and wanting more, I decided there needed to be a change towards a more simple and mindful approach. So far, this process has created a more intentional mindset for me that enjoys a smaller wardrobe, sees simple as beautiful, and invests in quality over quantity.

Have you experimented with a capsule wardrobe or a minimalist approach to style? What do you like or not like about it? 


  1. I really like the idea of a minimalist wardrobe and I'm trying to simplify as much as possible. I've found it hard in the beginning to part with some items, but I feel like I'm getting better at it the more I realise that fewer, but well chosen pieces bring me more joy. Also, factoring in the ethical aspect in addition to quality helps me resist any temptations.
    x Kathi

    1. I like how you said that you have realized how fewer, but well chosen pieces bring you joy. That is what I love about this transition for me. Factoring in the ethical aspect has been something I've only recently begun to become more aware of. It can be difficult because clothing from those designers can often be so expensive to me, making it easier to purchase something that is more affordable. But I think that's why I'm finding my wish list of a few items to be helpful. For example, I have two items from the Elizabeth Suzann brand on my wish list, but they're priced higher than what I'm comfortable with. However, their clothing has a simple, feminine, and timeless design, which I love. And they hold high ethical standards. Because of this, I've been saving the money I would otherwise have spent on more affordable clothing and waiting until I have enough to purchase these items.

  2. I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe and having such a streamlined, efficient closet. But I'm with you there, I haven't been able to figure out how I can get it to work for me. So in the meantime I'll embrace my minimal wardrobe and be happy with it. :)

    Thanks for sharing! Your clothes look beautiful. :)

    1. Thank you for your comment Bethany! I used to always think that having a lot of options was ideal, but once I began moving towards a minimalist approach, I quickly fell in love with it. At one point my husband told me he thought I was going to run out of clothes. Haha! I think he just wasn't used to my closet having pockets of space. :) But since I've embraced a minimalist approach, it has kept me more focused on how I go about spending my money, which has been good for me.