A Maximalist's Guide To A Minimalist Wardrobe
To me, the idea of a capsule wardrobe has always felt a bit restrictive - bleak and rather boring. Clothes for me have been more than just clothes and getting dressed has enabled transformation, role-play and self expression, the kick of which is comparable to very little. I want colours, accessories, patterns and details - preferably all at the same time! However, over time with every good quality investment piece (and the help of moving to a flat that fits a quarter of all my clothes), I have come to realise that you don’t need as many items in your wardrobe and that a minimalist closet does not have to mean a minimalist aesthetic or break the bank. On the flip side, being a maximalist does not necessarily mean that you have to contribute to a lifestyle that produces waste and disregards sustainability and ethics. For me it has always been about dressing in pieces that bring me joy and allow for self-expression, that being sometimes dramatic and sometimes just downright silly. Therefore, I have decided to compile my best tips for curating your own minimalist wardrobe that will allow you to embrace your new inner jazzy Steve Jobs.
What Is A Minimalist Wardrobe?
If you’re not familiar with what a minimalist wardrobe is - it is essentially a well edited collection of unfussy pieces that can all be paired with one another allowing for practicality and sparing you time and energy every time you get dressed. Minimalist wardrobes have been on the rise in the fight against fast fashion with people opting to make more though through long-term fashion choices.
You may have even heard of a minimalist wardrobe’s more rigorous cousin - the capsule wardrobe, which is an even smaller and stricter version of a minimalist wardrobe, where the number of pieces is limited to a set number (often only 20). However if you are still on the fence on taking the big leap you can ease yourself into the world of minimalist fashion by...
Starting With a Seasonal Wardrobe
This tip is much easier to follow when you live in a part of the world with four seasons as that allows you to temporarily rotate pieces out of your closet and then bring them back in once the next season rolls around. So my winter wardrobe may include a few simple pairs of jeans with five of my favourite funky sweaters, that keep me warm as well as from getting bored until spring rolls around, when I am able to back them away until the next year and instead opt for some lighter garments. Using this method, your old clothes will feel new when getting them out of storage next year, as you are not used to seeing them in your closet every day. A seasonal wardrobe will help you figure out the items in your closet that you actually never wear during any season, but often keep around for its sentimental value. Furthermore, at the end of every season you can reassess your wardrobe to see if there were pieces you never really used or if there are pieces that are missing from the coming season’s closet. And if you do feel like there are key pieces missing from your wardrobe that would perfectly tie together the whole closet then my first recommendation is try and invest your time prior to the start of the season into finding secondhand/used/vintage items that would serve the purpose.
Pieces That You “Love” Rather Than “Like”
What has always bugged me about minimal wardrobes is the amount of monochrome closets that are offered as suggestions online. Although it may suit some, a completely neutral closet will never work for me. Therefore, when working out my own key pieces, what has helped me, is thinking of my wardrobe as a curated collection of my favorite pieces that I always want to wear and that I have a personal connection with. You should allow yourself to let go of trend pieces that do not feel 100% you and instead keep pieces that truly make you happy. So when cleaning out your closet, ask yourself how you feel when wearing a particular garment and also whether you have a better version of the piece that you find yourself turning to instead (and if the answer to the latter is yes, then too-da-loo). And remember that investment pieces do not have to necessarily be expensive as cost does not always equate to quality. And it is always much more frustrating to see something expensive that you have invested your hard earned cash in break down after a couple of months, which also brings us to our next point...
Take Care of Your Pieces to Make Them Last Longer
There are times where you may feel that an item in your closet has worn out and it is time to replace it with a new one. However, before you do you may want to think whether it is instead worth investing in getting it repaired or altered or whether you can mend or upcycle it yourself. More importantly, to prevent your pieces from being damaged in the first place it is essential to take proper care of them throughout their wear. This often comes down to simple everyday things such as not overstuffing your bags (which can cause zippers to break) or spraying your items with protection.
Don’t Throw Your Other Pieces Completely Away
So this might be considered cheating by capsule wardrobe experts, but I like to keep the majority of my clothes to come back to them every once in a while and to “shop my own wardrobe”. Keeping these “other” pieces separate saves you from the never-ending dilemma of having nothing to wear every morning as you can still rely on your capsule wardrobe, but then have the opportunity to rotate out items and give your wardrobe a kick once in a while by adding in your own old pieces. And as history has shown, trends can come back in a wink!
If you do however decide to get rid of your old clothes, try to use a more sustainable alternative such as donating them to a charity or selling them on Depop or Poshmark to avoid them from ending up in landfill. Additionally, swap parties with friends and family or making your old clothes that you won’t wear, into something new and cool that you will, makes for a fun activity in addition to adding some fresh spark into your wardrobe.