I’m often called in to help people when it comes to decluttering their wardrobe, however, I never really felt my own wardrobe was particularly large. Last year my clothes spent a lot of time in storage bags as I bounced between places I called home. I ended up only dipping into one or two of the storage bags to pull out clothes I wanted to wear, mainly through laziness. However, it made me realise I could probably get by on far fewer clothes than I currently owned.
Around the same time, I stumbled on a local minimalist group on Facebook. Essentially, it’s a group of people with a shared interest in living a more minimalist lifestyle who meet up to share tips and have a general chat. Usually over food. It was great to hear other people’s thoughts on minimalism and how they interpret it.
What is minimalism?
When it comes to style minimalism can actually refer to two different things…
- A minimalist aesthetic – Usually refers to clothes that have a pared down design with simple lines and shapes.
- A minimalist philosophy or approach to dressing – a way of removing the excess from your wardrobe (or life) and focusing on the elements that are important to you in order to feel less stressed and more fulfilled.
For the purpose of this post, I’ll be focusing on the philosophy. You could adopt a minimalist aesthetic but not adopt a minimalist philosophy when it comes to your wardrobe. On the other hand, you could adopt a minimalist philosophy but your aesthetic could be anything BUT minimalist. The philosophy doesn’t impact what clothes make up your wardrobe, but your approach to what goes in it.
Who should adopt this?
Pretty much, everyone. The chances are you rely on 20% of your wardrobe at the moment while the remainder just sits there gathering dust. Having a pared down wardrobe helps alleviate the stress of getting ready in the morning or evening. It also forces you to find different ways of putting together outfits.
Making it happen
- If you’re unsure about what your favourite pieces are, or the ones you tend to rely on, do the following: take photos of your outfits every day for a week or two, then look back through them. Use the items that appear in these photos to take centre stage in your wardrobe.
- So a great way to start this is to pick out your favourite pieces or clothes you wear the most. Keep these front and centre, so make sure they’re the only bits in your wardrobe or draws. Doing this will strip your wardrobe right back. You can keep underwear, accessories, jewellery and gym wear separate.
- The next step is where everyone usually goes wrong. Don’t throw away all the bits that haven’t made it into your wardrobe. Instead get some storage bags and put them in there, in a cupboard, under the bed, where ever you have space for them.
- You don’t need to do anything drastic and throw it all out. Say you’re in Spring, so you may have some winter knits you’ve been using to layer with, you then might have a light jacket. However, come another 3 months time, the season may well have changed (unless you live in the UK). At this point, it’d be worth dipping into the clothes you’ve stored away and pulling out any high summer pieces and placing them in your wardrobe. You can then put anything deemed too wintery back into storage.
- You may want to pull out all your summer bits and repeat the activity from earlier; building outfits, taking photos, then anything that doesn’t get used goes into storage.
- After a few seasons you’ll then be in a much more informed position as to which pieces you never wear, and at this point, you can look to get rid of them. This approach also stops you throwing things out, only to later re-buy the same item because you realised you needed it.
Get in the mindset
There are plenty of minimalist challenges floating around the internet that you can use as a taster. These are great to try out if you want to challenge yourself but aren’t yet sure whether you want to fully commit to a minimalist approach.
Here are some of the best:
- Project 333: Pick 33 items and wear them for 3 months. This includes shoes, accessories, jewellery, and outerwear. A great challenge to try if you want to trial a minimalist wardrobe a reasonable length of time.
- 30 x 30: This one has been on the internet for a while and I don’t really know who initially came up with it. If you do, let me know! This is another great way to trial a minimalist wardrobe. Take 30 items and wear them for 30 days. Some twists to the challenge include no repeat outfits, which forces you to come up with a brand new outfit every single day. You have some flexibility as to whether you want to choose to include accessories and jewellery in your 30 items or not.
- 10 x 10 challenge: This one is a little bit trickier, but for a shorter period of time. Pick only 10 items from your wardrobe and create 10 different outfits from them. Then wear them for 10 days!
So whether you want to dive right into a minimalist wardrobe, or simply dip your toe in and give it a try, you now have plenty of options to choose from.
I’d love to hear whether you’ve adopted a minimalist approach yourself and how you’ve found the process?