SilkLiving's Guide to a Minimalist Wardrobe

In times gone by the concepts of a minimalist wardrobe, or slow fashion were unnecessary.  For our grandparents, this was simply “life”. Not so today. In the current consumerist culture the multitude of available choices can be overwhelming, and often means our wardrobes end up expanding beyond control. 

Minimalism is about living with less, and we can take steps to a more simple, sustainable quality wardrobe by shopping a little more carefully – much like our grandparents used to do.

If you want to pare back on your extensive wardrobe without cutting out functionality and style, here are a few steps to get you started:

1. Start by cleaning out your closet

  • This can sound daunting, but it really is the best way to begin. Set aside some time to sort and organise everything you currently own into 3 distinct piles – Keep, Re-home and Donate.
  • When choosing which of your pieces to hold on to, consider how often you wear each item and whether it compliments the new staple pieces you envisage buying for your minimalist wardrobe. Only keep those garments you truly love and expect to wear often. This may include some “fast fashion” items but remember – slow fashion is about maximising enjoyment of your clothing and minimising the use of landfills. If you already have a piece in your possession you should enjoy it for the whole of its life.
  • For garments that still have plenty of wear left in them, but rarely make it out of your wardrobe, create a pile to on-sell. There are numerous outlets for “pre-loved” clothing, either on-line or through a local consignment shop. The money you make from selling these can then be invested in quality garments for your minimalist wardrobe.
  • The third pile is great for donating to a local charity; another way to re-use and recycle.

2. Consider your everyday lifestyle and what purpose you need from your clothing

  • Whether you have predominantly professional responsibilities, or you’re a parent or carer juggling multiple children, the way you spend your time will affect the base style you need from your clothing collection. To work, around 80% of your minimalist wardrobe should consist of good quality pieces that easily go well together.  These pieces are often neutral colours and shades that are interchangeable with other garments. The remaining 20% is where you bring in the accent colours and statement styles that can really make an outfit pop. For example, a plain black dress or trousers and top is transformed into a different look with the simple addition of a Saffron cardigan or Sunset scarf.

3. It’s all about your own sense of style

  • Quite possibly the most important thing to remember when creating a minimalist wardrobe is to think about you; your personal style, and what it is that makes your style unique. Keep in mind what it is you love about clothing, and the persona you wish to present to the world.  If you are clear about yourself and your own personality you will easily choose garments that coordinate well and stand the test of time in your wardrobe.

4. Start saving up to buy those staple items

  • Unsurprisingly one of the hardest things about building a minimalist wardrobe is the cost of quality garments. Good quality clothing inevitably carries a higher price tag than fast fashion, because ethical companies use natural, lasting fibres and work with suppliers that pay employees fair wages and benefits. However, this is not a process whereby you go out and replace your wardrobe all at once. Instant gratification and a minimalist wardrobe do not go hand-in-hand. Start with one or two pieces, and then begin saving for the next. If you put aside the small amounts of money you would usually spend on disposable fashion items you’ll be surprised at how quickly it adds up.  And remember – you won’t have to replace these quality garments anywhere near as often, so over time you will end up saving substantially.

Rummaging through your wardrobe day after day, searching for something nice to wear is all too time consuming. A minimalist wardrobe filled with high quality, versatile pieces that truly reflect you will help you feel better and make the most of your clothing budget.

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