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What is Minimalist Fashion? How to Keep the Clothes You Love

You’ve probably heard plenty of hype about minimalist fashion by now. You can’t seem to turn a page of a magazine or scroll for a second on social media before coming across an article or post about the wonders of minimalist fashion and why you should adopt the trend.

But for whatever reason, it’s rare to find a full-fledged explanation of minimalist fashion in 2021, and we think it’s time we went back to basics.

If you’ve been waiting for a complete guide to minimalist fashion and what it really means, look no further! Get ready to go step by step and discover the true meaning of minimalist fashion, its many benefits, and how you can get started on your journey today.  

Minimalist Fashion Explained

It’s impossible to convey the principles of minimalist fashion in one short sentence, but we’ll do our best. When in doubt, just repeat this simple phrase: less is more!

We know that’s not the comprehensive answer you might be looking for, but let it be a guiding light for all of your minimalist wardrobe goals, whether you’re doing an all-out spring cleanse or weighing your options for a new jacket or pair of shoes.

This is such a powerful way to look at minimalism in general, because it can be applied to almost any situation. It can help you decide what pieces are truly worth keeping, which ones can be donated or repurposed, and whether you really need that pricey new purse you’ve been eyeing online.

It’s not just about getting rid of things for the sake of saving space – minimalism is a lesson in utility and making the most out of every single piece in your collection.

Here are a few areas that we tend to struggle with when making the shift to the minimalist lifestyle, which should help you navigate some common questions.

Everyday Wardrobe

These are the items that you can’t live without – or at least you perceive them to be essential!

From blouses and jeans to sneakers and sweaters, we all have certain pieces that have earned their rightful spot in our weekly rotation and have seen more laundry cycles than we can count!

On the other hand, there are garments that tend to sit on the sidelines, gathering dust and not getting as much attention in the weekly lineup.

In a truly minimal wardrobe, there will be none of these outliers or extras, meaning every piece in your closet or dresser is worn frequently and consistently.

Cohesion and theme are also major factors in a minimal everyday wardrobe. You want to be able to mix, match, and style your various items in a way that makes the process smooth and simple.

That’s why we suggest you pick a few particular colors and fits to form the foundation of your minimalist wardrobe. We’ll touch on some techniques later in this article, so stay tuned.

Formalwear and Special Occasions

Being a minimalist becomes a bit trickier when we get into the formalwear section of our wardrobe, which might be subject to more trends and swaps throughout the year.

We’ve all had an experience where a dress or blazer looks like the perfect addition to our collection, but before long, we’re scratching our heads and wondering why we bought it in the first place!

This is the timeless dilemma that many women face, and constant exposure to media definitely doesn’t help. From a minimalists perspective, formalwear should be purchased intentionally, rather than hypothetical scenarios or a distant “maybe” event.

In other words, only buy a new piece of formalwear if you are expected or required to wear it in a specific setting, whether that’s a wedding, a white-tie event, or some other special occasion.

This approach will keep you from going overboard and buying dresses and shoes on a whim! Besides, you’ll be surprised how much mileage you can get from your existing formalwear collection and even revisit some old favorites.

Athleisure and Fitness Gear

We know how hard it can be to stick to minimalism in the athleisure section of your wardrobe. All those lovely leggings, stretchy tops, and useful accessories appear to be so crucial to your fitness lifestyle, and you don’t want to let any of them go!

However, the truth is that many of these garments are likely past their prime and are showing signs of wear and tear.

Some pieces might also be made from less-than-ideal materials that lack modern features like moisture resistance and compression technology.

See what you can scrap from your athleisure wardrobe, and be sure to buy nothing but the top-quality gym clothes moving forward, whether from the store or through a yoga subscription box service online.

The Benefits of Minimalist Fashion

After that overview, you might want to know why it’s worth committing to minimalist fashion in the first place. Here are some of the many benefits you can expect by making the shift.

More Time

Imagine a world where you never had to spend 30 minutes every morning trying on different outfits and never feeling satisfied with your final decision!

That would be a dream come true for many women, and with minimalist fashion, you can make it a reality.

With fewer garments to choose from and a fully coordinated set of clothes at your fingertips, you can quickly assemble an outfit in seconds and save yourself tons of time each week.

More Savings

Clothes are the main “extra” expense for so many people out there, and we usually avoid running the numbers to avoid the harsh truth of what we spend every year!

By embracing minimalist fashion, you can finally stick to that budget you’ve been thinking about forever and enjoy watching those savings stack up in your bank account month after month.

It will be tempting to indulge in a shopping spree after a stretch of saving, but avoid the urge and opt for an investment in your health, education, or family. If you do need to buy new clothes, remember the principles we shared today.

Simplified Lifestyle

Life is complicated enough – why not make things a little easier by taking a minimalist approach to fashion?

You’ll be more organized in your daily affairs, reduce the effort spent on laundry and sorting, and devote more attention to the things that matter most.

You don’t even need to be a particularly messy person to see this benefit of minimalism in your own life. Just having a better vision of your inventory will help you to be more resourceful and efficient in everything you do, in and out of the home.

This can be made even easier by using a subscription service to get essentials like activewear.

Environmental Health

The impact of a minimalist wardrobe goes far beyond your own closet. We all know the negatives of “fast fashion” and the destruction it can cause to our environment.

By minimizing your wardrobe and reducing the flow of new clothes into your rotation, you can help do your part for the planet and set a strong precedent for your family and the community.

Getting Started with Minimalist Fashion

We’ve laid out some concepts to help you understand minimalism and how it can benefit you, but how do you set this strategy into motion? Follow these tips to get started the right way.

Complete Closet Cleanout

It’s intimidating, it’s painful, but you’ve got to do it!

This is an important step in assessing your inventory and cutting out unwanted garments.

A great mental trick to use when performing a cleanout is to ask yourself a series of questions about every single item you come across.

Here is a line of questioning you can use when you find yourself in the weeds during a major cleanout session:

  • When was the last time I wore this item? If the answer is more than a few months (and it’s not a seasonal piece like a scarf or coat), say goodbye!
  • How often do I really wear this item on a weekly or monthly basis? (Be honest).
  • If this piece weren’t already in my collection, would I seek it out and buy it again?

Find out which questions get to the core of your rationalization or emotional attachment, and be truthful with yourself to make this process much easier.

Add New Clothes Carefully

We touched on some principles to follow when adding new clothes to your wardrobe, so pick a technique and stick with the program no matter what.

Maybe this means only shopping once a quarter, or only when a garment is ruined or worn out.

This might also mean using a subscription service for athletic clothing to have your yoga pants shipped to your door, avoiding the department store altogether!

However you choose to go about it, the key lies in consistency.


Minimalist fashion shouldn’t be complicated, and that’s by design. Follow our suggestions and get into the minimalist mindset for a more functional and satisfying approach to fashion.



12 Benefits of a Minimalist Wardrobe | Minimalism Made Simple

Project 333: Benefits of a Simple Wardrobe | No Sidebar

Minimalism/Maximalism | Fashion Institute of Technology

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