Minimalism Can Ruin Your Wardrobe For The Better

Some of you may be aware that I started a journey into Minimalism a little over a year ago. It has been and will continue to be an ongoing journey with no definitive finish line. I proved this to myself, yet again, this weekend.

My husband’s uniforms had been sitting in the box he brought them home in for several days. There was not much room in the closet. I felt the urge to change both of those situations, immediately. Keep in mind, our closet is NOT that large. It is probably 2′ deep by 6-8 feet long with a single rod running down the length of it. Before the clean out, it was home to several of his suits, dress shirts and polos, and all my Spring and Summer staples (nice shirts, skirts, dresses) as well as some sweaters and sweatshirts.  There was truly not that much in there. The problem, however, is that I only wore about 1/4-1/3 of what was in there on a regular basis.

While my husband was napping, I ruthlessly swept through the closet and came out with a full bag of donation clothes as well as several items to consign. How did that happen?! I had already gone through multiple purges and have refrained from buying many pieces all season. The answer was two-fold, and simple. Firstly, I have continued to lose weight and get in better shape over the last year. Naturally, many of my pieces were not going to fit me anymore. Secondly, my taste and style has evolved. I used be attracted to different cuts, colors, and patterns. Now I am constantly seeking out ethical brands, simple styles that lend well to multiple outfits, and neutral colors that complement my skin tone. I guess this is a sign of getting old, right?

Anyways, the journey continues, as I make conscious decisions to buy each individual piece I add to my closet. I have set forth guidelines to aid in my decision-making process:

1-Is it a neutral, skin tone complementing color? For me this means it will not wash out my already pale skin. I try to stick to navy, deep reds/maroons, soft/jewel tones, and limited black. I avoid bright colors like the sun (as both would show no love to my skin). I go for subtle patterns (soft polka dots, geometric etc.).

2-Will it pair with at least 3 other items in my closet? This is not applicable to dresses as they will usually only pair with a sweater/jacket/blazer in the closet. For all other items (shirts, skirts, pants) I make sure that it will go well with 3 other items. If it does not I evaluate whether my purchasing plans include another 1-2 necessary items that will round out the rule of three. If the answer is “yes” it goes in the cart.

3-Is it made/sold by an ethical name? My goal, over the next 8-12 months is replace nearly every item I wear with ethical brands. There are many advantages to supporting and ethical brand over fast fashion, including the support of fair wages and benefits for employees, knowing the brand is sourcing ethical items (i.e organic and fair trade), and the longevity and higher quality of the item. A fast fashion shirt that is $5 will only last a few months with continual wear. A $25-$30 shirt that is purchased from an ethical brand, sees the same amount of wear, can last you several years or more.

4-Does it fit me perfectly? How many times have we made a purchase simply because it felt like a good deal, or thought “Once I lose a few pounds…” That thought process has no place here. I make it a point to try the pieces on in store. If I am ordering online I check on the companies return policy, and do not order final sale items unless I am 110% positive I will have no issues with it. As soon as the package arrives I try them on. Anything I have doubts about goes back in the box or envelope and is dropped off/returned the next day or two.

5-Can it be worn year-round? In addition to seeking out a minimalist lifestyle and wardrobe, I am also trying to move towards a capsule wardrobe that allows my pieces to be used throughout the year, only having to add in certain layering items such as sweaters, when the colder weather hits. It is such a pain to have to swap out two wardrobes twice a year. Who has time for that?!

Make no mistake, I am far from done. Minimalism is more of a lifelong journey than an end goal, or destination.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash


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