In general we only wear 20% of our wardrobe. It is very hard to believe but true for most women. There are a few favorite pieces in our wardrobe that we are naturally drawn to and consistently wear. We wear these same pieces over and over, because they are guaranteed to look good and feel amazing on. The rest of our wardrobe just holds space, making it difficult to see what we really have when its time to get dressed. Let’s instead make our wardrobe simpler and minimal, therefore maximizing our time and energy while creating a chic and easy outfit for every occasion.
Decide what colors that you look best in. Purples, oranges, greens, or pinks? Now that you’ve chosen at least three colors, decide if you look best in warm or cool tones of these colors. Now decide what neutrals that you are drawn to. Do you tend to wear black and charcoal, brown and tan, or navy and white? Once you’ve picked your best colors and neutrals you have your color palette. Every wardrobe should have a few black pieces, yet they don’t have to be part of the color palette.
Here’s an example:
Cranberry Red, Plum, and Green
Chocolate Brown and Charcoal Grey
2. The Staples
What staples do you need for your lifestyle? These won’t be the same for everyone. If you are really active outdoors, and never go to cocktail parties you can get away with only one little black dress. If you aren’t working an office job, you probably won’t need business suits. Take a moment to see how your lifestyle and personal style match up.
Forget about the latest fashions, as that concept will keep you consuming and insatiable. Instead of being consistently told what styles are in season, decide what looks best on you, and invest in quality pieces that will hold up for years to come. You don’t have to have boring pieces to be a minimalist. Texture, simple unique detailing, and vintage items make fashion more fun anyway.
1. A perfect fit t-shirt
2. Camisole or tank
3. Layering long sleeve top
4. A neutral lightweight sweater
5. A favorite colored sweater
6. Cozy warm sweater or sweatshirt
7. Dark denim jeans
8. Season-less trousers
9. A season-less pencil or a-line skirt
10. Blazer or jacket
11. Sexy little black dress
12. All occasion black (neutral colored) dress
13. Satin, chiffon, or silk top
14. A favorite colored all occasion dress
15. Pashmina or wrap
16. Evening bag or clutch
17. An everyday bag
18. Black (neutral colored) heels
19. Strappy (maybe metallic) heels
20. Warm knee high boots
21. Sneakers or hiking boots
23. Athletic suit (jacket and pants)
24. Leotards and tights (I’m a dancer)
25. Seamless great fit undergarments
26. Bathing Suit
27. Beach cover-up
29. Winter Jacket
30. A wool knee length coat
31. A few fun accessories
You can tweak this list as you need to. This list helps you see what you have and what you may need. There is no need to have too many of any one item. That wouldn’t be minimalism anyway.
3. Four Piles
You’ve created a color palette, a list of staple items, and now the challenge begins. Make four piles of clothing. The first pile is for items that fit your new color scheme and staples list. The second pile is your most favorite items. The third pile is clothing in great condition that can be sold at a consignment shop or on eBay. The forth pile is for Goodwill. If you can’t be honest with yourself about this ask a friend to help.
When deciding how many of each staple to keep, just pick a number and stick to it. Maybe three is your number. That would be 93 clothing items if you were using my list of staples. There is one way this can still work for you. For example, you only need one pair of black heels, so that is two more items in another category. You only need one winter jacket, and one wool coat. That is four more items in another category and so on. If you are trying to do the 100 Things Challenge, your number will probably be only one or two. Be flexible with this process. You don’t have to do all of this in one day.
4. The Wardrobe Reality
Once you’ve done steps 1-3, you are now aware of what items that you do need and can shop accordingly. Take the money from the clothing that you sell and go get what you need. You can also budget more money to help your wardrobe goals. Just be reasonable and take your time.
A minimalist wardrobe should create ease and confidence when getting ready for every occasion, as well as work well together. There is no point having items that don’t go well together, because it was cute when you first bought it. It definitely makes no sense to keep items you don’t ever wear.
Remember keeping up with all of the trends is not going to help your finances or free you from consumerism. Certainly every trend doesn’t give you the freedom to think for yourself, or even create your own personal style. You dictate who you are, so don’t let others do it for you.
5. An Inspiration Board and Your Budget
If you are still unsure how you want to create your minimalist wardrobe, design an inspiration board. This is a picture collage of ideas and clothing items that you like, and know is going to work for you. This will keep you focused on your wardrobe goals before spending any money.
Let’s say you finally know that you would love to have a quality stylish blazer, yet don’t have the budget to shop at high-end retailers. Go to consignment and second hand stores and look around. Since women are conditioned by the media to be consumers, these shops tend to be jammed packed with treasures.
6. The Purpose Behind It All
The point of creating a minimalist wardrobe is to have exactly what you need right now. If you don’t, you can at least be clear on what those needs are. I have found that knowing exactly what I already have, and the number of those items keeps me out of the stores. Minimalism can be used to be freed from ridiculous consumerism. Buying just to buy, and retail therapy isn’t healthy. Create what you desire with what you have, and decide what it is that you really need. If you are sewing savvy, make the items that you need to complete your wardrobe. Have fun with this, own less, be free, and have more time to do what you really love. You will never worry about what to wear again.
Thinking about creating an effortlessly stylish capsule wardrobe? You definitely want to read this!
(Photo by jcrew.com)