While minimalism has countless benefits both on a personal level and on a global scale, people often notice a bit of a clash when it comes to fashion. Having a varied, expressive, and stylish wardrobe may seem like the opposite of moderating consumption. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a bit of planning and understanding, it can be easy to combine minimalism and fashion. But how do we achieve this elegant synergy?
There’s no firm definition of minimalism, and there are many different takes on what it means. It can help to remember that minimalism is about uncluttering and cutting out excess, not about hindering our main passions. That being said, it’s helpful to set an upper limit for how many garments can be in the wardrobe or adopt a concept like a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe prioritizes effective coordination to reduce redundancy and make it easier to choose an outfit. This way, one can easily achieve a variety of stylish looks with a very small number of clothing items. Typically, people set the limit between 25 and 50 pieces of clothing, including shoes and accessories. But there are no hard rules since it’s all a matter of personal definition.
One in – one out
The easiest way to keep a wardrobe from growing beyond control is to enforce a system where something old has to go every time something new is added. As a result, the number of garments doesn’t grow. Also, it’s less tempting to impulsively buy something, knowing that this means having to discard something. Another benefit is that it helps with priorities and sorting out things that rarely or never see any use. One way to make this even easier is by hanging everything on clothes hangers with the hooks facing outward. Whenever something gets used, hang it back with the hook facing the opposite way. This quickly clarifies which things are only wasting space and better suited for a donation box.
View this post on Instagram
Cut impulsive purchases
Retailers have countless ways to inspire needless shopping. From sales and small stock to sneaky return policies and optimized buying experiences, they know how to nudge people toward impulsive purchases. Often, these clothes bought in reckless moments end up as permanent residents in the back of the closet. If the fit isn’t quite right or the garment doesn’t fill a purpose that wasn’t already covered by other more versatile ones in your wardrobe, it’s just clutter.
Before buying something that seems hard to resist at the moment, it’s always best to contemplate a few questions. How often will it be worn? Does it fit with the rest of the wardrobe? How long will it be in style and in season? Is there already something at home that makes this new item redundant? Is this purchase really about fashion, or is it about seeking stimulation through shopping?
Stylish, functional versatility
The biggest obstacle to minimalist fashion is a garment that looks great but only fits with two or three other items in the wardrobe. Ending up with fixed, separate outfits increases the need for a big closet and excess washing. It also makes it harder to pick a getup for the day.
The trick is to buy things that work with as many other items in the wardrobe as possible. Coordinating a general style and color scheme makes it easy to enjoy a variety of outfits with fewer pieces of clothing. Also, those few items that stand out will be easier to incorporate when everything else gels nicely. Cohesion doesn’t mean monotony. Lastly, it’s best if the majority of garments are also good for more than one season.
Decluttering made easy
Getting rid of old pieces of clothing isn’t always easy. What should go and what should stay? There’s a simple way to make this easier. The first step is to take everything out of the closet and put it in a pile. The next step is to go through them one by one and sort them into three different piles. One is for things that are definitely keepers. Another is for things to throw or give away. Anything damaged or neglected belongs in this pile. Lastly, there’s a pile for the “maybes.” When everything’s sorted, it’s time to go through the “maybe pile” again and divide it between the “keeping” pile and the “disposal” pile. If it’s hard, it can help to set a rule where half or a third has to go. The last step is to bring the discarded pile to a suitable donation box or thrift store.
Master the art of layering
Layering isn’t just a way to stay warm during the colder months. It’s also a fantastic way to add variation to outfits without expanding the wardrobe. Adding some layers with different textures and colors can instantly bring an outfit to life. For example, wearing two light jackets instead of one heavy coat allows you to get creative and expressive. Skirts can also be layered or worn with pants. Another quick fix to add variety is to wear tattered jeans with differently colored tights underneath. Similarly, draping a big scarf over your shoulders is a quick and effortless way to add an interesting layer.
Enjoy uncomplicated, sustainable fashion
Streamlining your wardrobe will not only save money and reduce your environmental impact. It can significantly simplify our relation to clothing and style and make everything easier. Viewing garments and outfits in isolation is often what leads to poor combinations and restrictive choices. Therefore, shifting focus to the wholeness and compatibility of the wardrobe is more likely to improve style than limit it. As they say, less is more.
It’s one of those typical cases where the perceived drawbacks of minimalism are really just in our heads. There are so many benefits beyond that small initial hurdle. And, as always, having to work with less makes us smarter about how we use things. Simply put, minimalism is very fashionable, and there are great reasons for that.