Minimalism doesn’t always mean purging 70% of your wardrobe. It doesn’t always mean being able to pack everything you own in a Winnebago so you can travel the countryside. It doesn’t even mean owning only one of everything.
Minimalism simply means owning the minimum that you need to be happy and healthy. What is way too much for one person is way too little for another.
Minimalism styles can vary greatly from one person to another as well, especially when it comes to fashion.
Some folks love rocking nothing but black and white. Other’s need a rainbow in there closet.
For some minimalism as a practice and minimalism as an esthetic go hand in hand. For others it means mixing and matching boho layers.
Let me give you an example of two very different types of minimalism.
For me minimalism means not owning any wardrobe clones.
Yes, I do own three blue skirts but they vary in style and shade. One is a short dark teal skater skirt. Another is a light periwinkle handkerchief hem knee skirt. The other is an electric blue peasant skirt.
In contrast, I know a woman whose work style is wearing all black with a colorful statement accessory. She owns just enough black slacks to get her through the week.
She only buys low black heeled shoes for her office “uniform.” Because of that she only needs to own two or three pairs of them at any given time.
She also has a pair of sneakers and a couple sandals for when she’s not at work, and a pair of boots for the winter.
I own five pairs of pointed toe flats, although they are all in different colors. I also own several heels and sandals, none in duplicate shade.
She owns one winter work bag, one summer work bag, one weekend tote, and a handful of crossbody bags.
On the other hand, while I could probably fit all my clothes in a large duffle bag, my bag collection would need two duffles of its own.
There is little to no overlap between her work and weekend wardrobes.
While one could argue that she could rock her black heels with her white weekend maxi dress, that is simply not her style.
And despite the casual dress code at her office, she wouldn’t be caught dead wearing sneakers to work.
I wear almost every top in my closet with every bottom. I mix dressy with casual, conservative with snake print, preppy with boho. You get the idea.
Her minimalism is owning a handful each of her go to basics.
Almost every piece of clothing that I own is timeless. But basic? Not so much.
Orange is my favorite neutral at the moment. A little while back it was crisp white. Before that it was leopard. Everything I own has to be unique, just to keep up with my moods.
My minimalism means around having 65 pieces of clothing that make thousands of outfits.
Her’s means having a similar number of garments and nine or ten go to looks.
As you can see we have very different styles when it comes to both minimalism and fashion.
Here’s the thing though. Even though we each have a similar number of actual garments there is no actual “magic number” of pieces that applies to all women or all men.
I truly believe that most people in the first world own more than they need. That said if you don’t live in a Winnebago you don’t have to be able to fit everything you own in one to benefit from a minimalist lifestyle.
Here are a few steps you can take to figure out what a minimalist wardrobe means for you:
Figure out what your personal style is when it comes to fashion. Go beyond the basic archetypes.
For example, even if you are eclectic like me you probably don’t dress exactly like me.
I love metallics and hate florals. I rarely wear dresses or short skirts without leggings. And I don’t do sporty. (If I’m wearing sweatpants it’s time to either work out or do laundry.)
Knowing what isn’t your style is just as important as knowing what is. Take the time to figure out what you actually wear, what trends work for you, and what trends don’t.
Know what flatters your body type.
Study up on the tips and tricks that personal stylists use. Just remember that knowing your personal style comes first.
If you’re big and you love printed yoga pants, then rock them. Just be sure to only choose prints that highlight what you want highlighted and camouflage the parts that you would rather be camouflaged.
Remember that this is your body so you get to choose what parts make up your assets.
Pick a color pallet.
Know what colors flatters you. Know what colors you love. Stick with them exclusively. This is the biggest secret to having a wardrobe where everything goes with everything else.
Trim the fat… slowly.
Start with the obvious offenders. If it’s not in your color pallet donate it. If you hate how you look in it, get rid of it.
In a week or two widdle down non seasonal pieces you haven’t worn for three months or more.
After that audit your closet monthly until you find your sweet spot. Use your pallet and style to find tune your wardrobe and gain insights on your shopping strengths and weaknesses.
Make a list of what you own.
Keep it on your phone so you know what you already have when you go shopping. This will help you make sure new items actually equals new outfits.
I know that this can be a huge task. If you need to break it down to types of garments. For example I have a list of that is tops broken down into tees, button downs, tank tops, etc.
Make a list of what you need.
Keep this on your phone too, so you know what you really need when you go shopping. It’s a good idea to have a “short list,” a list of items that fill the gaps in your closet to help you prioritize you purchases.
Not only will it save you money but it will also help you to focus and zone in on what you’re really looking for when sorting through the chaos of clearance bins and thrift store racks.
Practice the art of wise shopping.
And I do mean practice. Just as with learning any art form, everyone sucks at it at first. Be patient with yourself. Keep with it and it will get a lot easier to do.
What do you think? What is the smallest number of shoes you need to be happy? What is on your must have list? Tweet me or comment below.
As always have fun. And remember the lines only exist so you can color outside them.