Building a minimalist wardrobe can be a transformative experience that simplifies getting dressed in the morning and also helps you to express your own personal style more effortlessly.
It’s a lifestyle choice that focuses on selecting timeless, versatile pieces that you truly love, and allows you to create a collection of clothing tailored to your needs and preferences.
Back in 2020, I decided to cut the clutter and transform my wardrobe into a minimalist one. And I’m now sharing some essential tips I learned along the way.
Embracing minimalism in my wardrobe not only reduced the amount of clutter I had but it also led me to a more intentional and sustainable approach to fashion.
I no longer go shopping for ‘fun’, I really think through each purchase and make sure that it fits my style and is something I’m going to wear, over and over again.
I highly recommend taking a minimalist approach if you’re looking to switch up your wardrobe.
You might also like:
- 10 Reasons a Simple Life is a Happy Life & How to Get Started
- How to Become a Minimalist in 30 Days: Conquering the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge
- How to Shop Like a Minimalist: 12 Ways to Shop Intentionally
- 12 Unexpected Benefits of Minimalism
The key to building a minimalist wardrobe is to start by evaluating your current wardrobe and identifying the number of items that you wear most frequently and feel most comfortable in. This will help you establish a foundation of classic staples that suit your taste and fit well.
From there, you can gradually refine your collection by adding versatile and timeless pieces that mix and match effectively and enhance your existing wardrobe without taking up any valuable space.
It’s important to remember that minimalism looks different for everyone, and you don’t have to adhere to strict rules or eliminate items that genuinely make you happy.
If you have 5 pairs of heels that you love and wear on a regular basis, then keep them!
By following a minimalist approach, you can create a minimal wardrobe that is thoughtfully curated and reflects your unique style and preferences.
And I know it’s not always easy, but with a little bit of effort and planning you can create the perfect simple wardrobe suited to your needs and preferences.
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- Benefits of a Minimalist Wardrobe
- What should be in a minimalist wardrobe?
- What's in my minimalist wardrobe?
- Simple steps to creating a minimalist wardrobe
- 1. Assess your current wardrobe
- 2. Define your personal style
- 3. Declutter your wardrobe
- 4. Choose quality over quantity
- 5. Use a tailor
- 6. Embrace a 'one-in-one-out' policy
- 7. Explore sustainable and second-hand fashion options
- 8. Create a seasonal rotation system
- 9. Consider borrowing rather than buying
- 10. Practice mindful shopping habits
- 11. Take care of your clothes
- 12. Go for multi-use items
- 13. Embrace your individuality
- Tips for Maintaining Your Minimalist Wardrobe
Benefits of a Minimalist Wardrobe
Having a minimalist closet offers many advantages that can improve your day-to-day life.
- One of the main benefits is the reduction of decision fatigue. With fewer clothes to choose from, you’ll likely spend less time in the morning deciding what to wear. Which means fewer decisions to make and a stress-free start to your day.
- Another advantage is the decluttering of both your physical space and your mind. A minimalist approach promotes greater focus and productivity in other areas of your life. By keeping your wardrobe simple and easy to navigate, you’re also cultivating a sense of mental clarity.
- When you adopt a minimalist wardrobe, you’re likely to spend less time shopping. This means you can save money by only purchasing items that truly fit your style and needs, rather than impulsively buying clothes that soon end up forgotten in the back of your closet.
- And lastly, by creating a minimalist wardrobe, you end up living a more sustainable lifestyle. By choosing quality clothing that lasts longer, you’re contributing to a more environmentally-conscious way of living, reducing the amount of waste associated with fast fashion and support brands that prioritise ethical practices.
What should be in a minimalist wardrobe?
I can’t tell you exactly what should be in your closet as it completely depends on your lifestyle, climate and personal style. Different people have different requirements when it comes to their wardrobe.
However, I can offer some general advice about the types of clothing that you could include in a minimalist wardrobe.
A minimalist capsule wardrobe consists of versatile, transitional, and timeless pieces that can be worn in various combinations. Investing in high-quality, classic items ensures your wardrobe will serve you well for years to come.
Here are some essential items to consider when building a more minimalist wardrobe:
Firstly, a quintessential coat is a must-have in any wardrobe. A classic beige trench coat embodies effortless style and can be dressed up or down, making it a staple for various occasions. Consider a well-tailored, neutral-toned coat as it will never go out of style.
Next, invest in quality basics such as layering tanks, bodysuits, and basic t-shirts that can be worn alone or layered other clothing. By choosing neutral colours, you’ll ensure these essentials can be paired with various outer layers seamlessly.
Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t have colourful t-shirts! There’s always room for accent colours in our closets.
Another necessity is a selection of bottoms, including tailored trousers, jeans, and skirts. When you opt for non-print items, you can mix and match with printed tops. There’s always room for a well-fitted pair of skinny jeans or a tailored skirt, which can be styled with multiple tops to create a diverse range of looks.
And who can forget that perfect ‘little black dress‘ for those special occasions when you need to look your best? A timeless piece is a must – it won’t date and can be styled in the same way as many other simpler pieces.
In terms of footwear, versatility is crucial. A pair of well-made leather ankle boots, classic white trainers, elegant heels and comfortable flats should cover most of your daily needs. Ensure you choose comfortable, durable, and timeless options that will complement the rest of your wardrobe.
What’s in my minimalist wardrobe?
Want a sneak peak inside my minimalist wardrobe? The majority of my clothes are hanging in my wardrobe. This consists of:
- a tailored suit jacket
- 10 dresses (two of which transform into skirts, long dresses and short dresses)
- 2 shirts (one denim and one checked)
- 10 tops / blouses
- 2 pairs of jeans
- 2 shorter skirts
In terms of jackets, I travel quite a bit, so I have four jackets: one raincoat, one heavy winter jacket, one down jacket and one casual jacket.
I also have warm jumpers, pyjamas and gym gear stored in boxes on the other side of my wardrobe.
Not shown in the images are my t-shirts, other short-sleeve tops and tank tops, which I have around 8 of.
Simple steps to creating a minimalist wardrobe
1. Assess your current wardrobe
The first step on your minimalist journey is to take stock of your current wardrobe. Take out everything from your closet, stack it on your bed or floor, and go through each and every item.
I find when I stack them on the bed, it means I absolutely have to clear the pile that same day – otherwise I have nowhere to sleep!
By assessing everything you currently have in your wardrobe, it will help you become more aware of what you own, identify duplicates, and see any gaps in your collection.
2. Define your personal style
Understanding your personal style is crucial for developing a wardrobe that aligns with your preferences.
Consider your lifestyle, colour palette, and the types of clothing that make you feel comfortable and confident. There’s no point in keeping an item that you don’t find comfortable, or something you don’t love yourself in.
If you’re an avid hiker, it might be that you need two pairs of hiking boots in your wardrobe. If you work from home and don’t need office attire, you’ll likely have a different wardrobe to someone who works in the corporate world.
Defining your personal style will help ensure your minimalist wardrobe complements your identity and style and is appropriate for the occasions and activities you attend.
3. Declutter your wardrobe
Now it’s time to get rid of the items that don’t align with your personal style and lifestyle. This is a great opportunity for you to let go of clothing that no longer fits, is worn out from wear and tear, or that you simply just don’t love anymore.
Try to be as ruthless as you can when decluttering. Go through each item and ask yourself if it still brings you joy or fulfils a purpose, if not then get rid of it.
Remember to donate to charity, give items to a friend, or resell items you no longer want as they can have a second life.
My personal choice is always to donate to charity or a friend. The money you spent on these items is long gone, and they don’t owe you any money back.
4. Choose quality over quantity
When choosing new clothes, make sure to invest in well-made, timeless pieces of clothing rather than cheap, disposable items. Why does quality make all the difference?
- High-quality pieces are usually more durable and last longer than cheap, fast fashion items.
- Quality materials look better when worn and often require less care so that you can wear them longer without having to worry about them falling apart or losing shape.
- You’ll save money in the long run as quality clothing tends to last longer than cheap alternatives.
- You won’t be adding to the 92 million tonnes of clothing that ends up in landfills each year.
Of course, it’s natural to want to buy the latest trends, but try to remind yourself that it probably won’t be fashionable for very long and it may not end up being worth the cost.
Investing in quality clothing is the best way to ensure you get maximum wear out of your clothes and help limit the amount of waste accumulating in landfills.
5. Use a tailor
How many times have you bought something and never worn it because it didn’t fit quite right?
Using a tailor is a great way to make your clothes fit perfectly to your body. This helps if you have an unusually-shaped body type, or you buy something and it’s too big or small. I constantly have to get clothes altered to fit my non-existing shoulders!
A tailor can also help extend the life of your clothing as they can repair tears and add new buttons or zippers where needed. Not only will this help your clothes look better, but it might also save you money as you don’t have to go out and make a new purchase every time you lose a button.
6. Embrace a ‘one-in-one-out’ policy
I have been using this principle for a few years now and it works really well.
Before making any new purchases, I think about what piece of clothing I’m ready to part with to make room for this new item. If I can’t think of anything I want to donate from my wardrobe to charity, it’s likely I don’t actually need or really want this new item.
This helps me to keep a decluttered wardrobe without having to do a huge decluttering session every year. If it’s maintained and I declutter an item each time I buy something new, I’m always able to keep my wardrobe organised and uncluttered.
7. Explore sustainable and second-hand fashion options
We live in a time where it’s easy to access sustainable and second-hand fashion. There are so many great thrift stores and second hand options out there which allow you to buy better quality clothes for a fraction of the price, all while reducing your carbon footprint.
One of my favourites is Patagonia’s WornWear program, which allows you to buy second-hand Patagonia items. This is a great way to support the environment and also pick up some high quality items for your wardrobe.
The same goes for sustainable fashion. There are so many brands out there that are making clothes with ethical practices and using more eco-friendly materials like organic cotton or recycled polyester. If you want to make more sustainable choices and find quality garments for your wardrobe, doing some research on these types of brands is a great place to start.
8. Create a seasonal rotation system
Depending on where you live, you might have different seasons of searing hot summers and bitter cold winters. Therefore, you’ll need to make some smart choices when it comes to your wardrobe and create a seasonal rotation system.
Having a selection of winter clothes that you only wear in the colder months and summer clothes that you only wear in warm weather months ensures that each item gets enough use throughout the year, without becoming bored with pieces after repeated wears. This also prevents items from sitting unworn in your wardrobe and taking up that much needed closet space.
When the season changes, switch out your items accordingly and you’ll be well on your way to having a wardrobe that’s both organised and stylish.
Some effective ways of storing seasonal clothes are:
- vacuum packing and storing under your bed
- stacking them up in air tight storage bins
- hanging them in garment bags in a spare closet.
9. Consider borrowing rather than buying
Realistically, you don’t need to invest in a whole new wardrobe every time an occasion, such as a wedding, graduation or ball arises. Instead, consider borrowing from a friend or renting an item of clothing instead of buying something new.
The beauty of borrowing is that it allows you to have access to a bunch of items that you might never buy for yourself, but can still wear for a special occasion.
It will save you money, but more importantly, it’ll mean that your wardrobe isn’t getting cluttered up with clothes that you’ll never wear again.
10. Practice mindful shopping habits
When it comes to shopping for new clothes, be mindful of what you buy and why. Don’t let yourself get swept away in a sale or splurge on something that you don’t need just because the price might be right.
Think about the items in your wardrobe and what they can do for multiple looks. Investing in timeless pieces rather than trend driven items will mean that your wardrobe can stay fresh and up to date over the years, rather than having to buy a brand new wardrobe every year.
Learning to shop like a minimalist is a benefit in itself, as it teaches you to be aware of what you buy as well as how much clothing you have.
11. Take care of your clothes
Looking after the clothes that you do own is essential for a minimalist wardrobe. Make sure that everything is washed correctly and take note of any special care instructions on the label.
Try to hang items up to dry rather than tumble drying them in order to ensure they don’t shrink and lose their shape over time. Take care when ironing too in order to minimise the risk of any creasing.
Taking proper care of your clothing, and repairing when necessary, will preserve them for much longer and avoid having to replace items as often.
12. Go for multi-use items
When shopping for clothes, look for a versatile style that you can wear in multiple ways – this way, you’re getting more value for your money.
Look for pieces that can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion and make sure to think about how you can style them with items already in your wardrobe.
This is one of my favourite dresses, which I can wear as a long dress, short dress or skirt, depending on what I fancy on the day! It also comes from one of my favourite sustainable brands – Baiia. Check out my review on their reversible swimwear!
13. Embrace your individuality
Remember that a minimalist wardrobe is not about adhering to a strict set of rules but rather about creating a collection that suits your personal taste and lifestyle.
Embrace your uniqueness, don’t be afraid to experiment and take risks. Embracing individuality is a great way to make sure that your wardrobe reflects who you are and can help you create looks that stand out for all the right reasons!
Tips for Maintaining Your Minimalist Wardrobe
Maintaining your minimalist wardrobe is all about intention and conscious choices. Here are some helpful tips to keep your wardrobe minimalist and functional:
Know what you have: Take regular inventory of the clothes, accessories, and shoes in your wardrobe so that you know what is available to wear and when it’s time to buy a new item or replace an existing one.
Keep it simple: Stick with a neutral colour palette and classic silhouettes so that you can mix and match items to create different looks. This will help you get more use out of your wardrobe without having to buy new pieces all the time.
Layering is key: To get the most out of your minimalist wardrobe, make sure to layer items like t-shirts, sweaters, and jackets for added warmth and style.
Care for your clothes properly: Extend the life of your garments by properly caring for them. Follow washing instructions, hang them up to avoid wrinkles, and mend minor damage instead of discarding the item. Caring for your clothes ensures they remain in good condition, contributing to a minimalist wardrobe’s longevity.
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Remember, a minimalist wardrobe is about making intentional choices to simplify your life. By following these minimalist wardrobe tips, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining a versatile, functional, and minimal wardrobe without compromising your style.