You’ve heard all about minimalism by now, whether from social media, fashion blogs, or some other corner of the internet.
From a distance, it seems so simple – just get rid of the clothes you don’t wear and keep the pieces you love. But as we all know from experience, that’s easier said than done.
To help you make sense of minimalism and create a wardrobe that is both stylish and functional, we’ve put together a guide that covers all the bases.
We’ll talk about paring down your current wardrobe, making the most of your garments, and even reveal the best way to have athletic wear shipped to your home to spruce up your yoga and gym clothes collection. Here we go.
What is a Minimalist Wardrobe?
Ever realize the fuller your closet is, the more challenging it is to find something to wear? We appreciate things more when we have less and choose our possessions in a more conscientious, forward-thinking way.
That’s the philosophy that lies at the heart of minimalism, and it can be applied to almost anything in life. It’s about making the absolute most of every item we own and enjoying each one to the fullest, rather than taking a “fast-food” approach to consumption.
Minimalist art, architecture, interior design, cuisine – it can all be done with mindfulness and consideration for every purchase and placement.
A minimalist wardrobe is no different, and it’s often the entry point for many people who want to cut down on clutter, both materially and mentally.
Benefits of a Minimalist Wardrobe
Aside from posting cute pictures on social media and telling your friends about your Zen-like pursuits, there are some practical benefits for a minimalist wardrobe to consider.
When you aren’t out shopping for new clothes every weekend and filling online shopping carts in the meantime, you end up saving a lot of time and money – imagine that!
If you’re trying to stick to a budget or just be better with your time management skills, a minimal wardrobe can help you in both departments.
With these savings, you can invest more into your relationships, experiences, or just everyday hobbies you enjoy.
You might know that the clothing industry doesn’t have the best reputation for environmental protection, especially those fast-fashion brands you see at the mall.
By taking a minimalist approach to your wardrobe, you do a small part to help reduce carbon emissions on a global level and make sure that few items go to waste.
It’s something we all need to keep in mind these days, and this practice sets a good example for others, as well.
You wake up in the morning, and you already have a million things on your plate. The last thing you need is to spend 30 minutes scrambling through a messy closet and stressing out about your outfit for the day.
By taking a minimalist approach to fashion, you experience peace of mind like never before.
You know exactly what outfit will suit you best for the occasion, and you always have a full mental inventory of what’s available. Even laundry becomes way easier and less annoying.
So you’ve made the mental choice to go minimal, and now it’s time to put your thoughts into action. The first thing you need to do is do a cleanse of your current wardrobe, however painful the process may be.
Here are some tips to get rid of clothes and ensure you keep only the essentials.
Ask Key Questions
As you peer into your closet looking for items to remove, there are some critical questions you need to ask about each and every garment.
For starters, determine whether you actually wear the article of clothing, and how frequently you do so. If it’s been more than a full year since you last wore a top, for example, let it go.
This is also the time to identify pieces that you absolutely never want to abandon. These could be dress shirts, sweaters, coats, or more functional pieces that you rely on every single week.
Be aware of the common features among these “must-have” garments. Keep an eye on colors, fits, fabrics, manufacturers, and functions. This will help inform your future purchase decisions.
Donate, Swap, Upcycle
If you’ve got a pile of clothes that no longer serve a purpose for your minimal wardrobe, figure out a way to get rid of them without filling up the garbage bin.
The most efficient method is donation, which just means loading up a few plastic bags and taking them to your local Salvation Army, Goodwill, or comparable service.
Alternatively, you can hold a swap party with your friends who might be interested in a few of your old favorites. Just be warned – you may be tempted to pick over their collections as well.
Finally, if you’ve got the gift of arts and crafts, you can try converting some of that used fabric into something new and functional. Handbags, wallets, shoes – it can all be done with some skill and a few online tutorials. Give it a try!
Once you reduce your wardrobe to a reasonable point, you might have some gaps in the closet that need filling.
Before you run out to the shopping center to load up on new clothes, consider the following points so that you keep things clean and minimal.
Colors and Style
The hard part is pretty much over, and now you just have to rethink your approach to shopping. View each potential purchase with a critical eye. Consider the color and style of a garment and ask yourself if it fits within the scheme of your wardrobe.
There should be a lot of consistency throughout your closet, and no piece should look like an outlier. Ideally, you’ll be able to wear any combination of tops, bottoms, shoes, and accessories. That’s how you know you’re on the right track.
Up the Quality, Reduce Quantity
Shop for items that you know will last a long time, and try to avoid super-trendy pieces that will likely only be worn once or twice.
Here’s an example of a great minimalist wardrobe for women with around 50 total items:
- 5 Professional Tops (Blouses)
- 5 Casual Tops
- 4 Casual Pants
- 4 Casual Dresses
- 4 Professional Dresses
- 4 Pairs Shorts
- 2 Pairs Heels
- 2 Pair Flats
- 2 Pair Sneakers
- 5 Sweaters and Cardigans
- 3 Jackets (Light, Medium, Heavy)
- 3 Swimsuits
- 4 Yoga Tops
- 4 Yoga Pants or Leggings
Accessories, socks, underwear, etc., don’t usually count toward your overall total, but you can take a similar approach to these basics by sticking with quality and getting rid of old stuff.
Know Your Weak Points
Building a minimalist wardrobe isn’t something that just happens in a day – it’s a commitment that you need to embrace for many months and years ahead.
This means knowing yourself as a shopper and being aware of your old habits in order to create new ones. Self-awareness is key to staying on the minimalist path, and yes, it will take a bit of willpower now and then to say no to a shopping spree!
It’s not unlike overcoming an addiction like junk food or smoking. Know when you feel tempted to engage in some “retail therapy” and recognize it’s often just a sensation of boredom or stress.
Rather than spending weekends at the mall with friends or browsing sales online, switch up your routine to do more productive things that aren’t consumption-oriented.
We know it’s not easy in our modern world of constant stimulation, but trust us, you’ll be happier - and so will your wallet - after a few months.
How a Subscription Clothes Box Can Help
Work and casual clothes are fairly easy to manage in a minimalist framework, but things get trickier when we shift over to athletic wear.
For some reason, we’re all prone to chasing trends with athletic wear, and we convince ourselves that we need new outfits for the gym every single month.
To make this aspect of your wardrobe more manageable, we recommend signing up for a yoga clothing subscription service that puts it all on autopilot. Here’s why.
Rather than spending time and money browsing department stores and sports shops, a subscription service sends you one fantastic outfit based on your exact preferences each month.
You’ll also benefit from the motivation and inspiration of a new monthly outfit without going overboard at the mall. This keeps your budget on track and builds your wardrobe at a sustainable rate.
Plus, you can try new things and take small risks at a low commitment. Return the stuff you don’t like and develop your collection with discernment.
The minimalist wardrobe isn’t always easy to start, but once you unlock the benefits, you won’t look back. Try it out and use a subscription service to handle the athletic wear component of your wardrobe.
How to start a minimalist wardrobe | Living on the Cheap
My 36-Item Minimalist Wardrobe. How I maintain a capsule wardrobe | Medium