The Minimalist Wardrobe: A Guide to Finding and Falling in Love With Your Personal Style

Updated: May 19

The concept of minimalism first emerged in the art world in 1965 and has now transcended over time to architecture, design, and nowadays to fashion and style. The philosophy is to reduce chaos and clutter in order to create a sense of calm. The iconic Gabrielle Chanel once said "simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance" and in an echo, style and design guru’s have been heard saying that “less is more” so many times that it has been ingrained in our heads. However, when something is chanted so often, it often becomes white background noise that we don’t necessarily know what to make of it and how to implement it.

So let's begin with why someone should introduce minimalism to their wardrobe. Have you ever found yourself in an “I don't have anything to wear” dilemma despite the closet overflowing with garments? You’re running late to the office or maybe even a date but while you stare at the mountains of clothes in front of you, you feel as though none of them are fit for the occasion? Or maybe you’ve felt enticed to buy something that you wouldn't otherwise purchase just because it’s at a discount? These are signs that the clothes you own aren’t necessarily of value to you.

Don’t get me wrong it could be a very expensive blouse, a limited edition designer dress or a beautiful leather jacket you got on your birthday. However, if it’s not something that you would miss when gone, doesn’t communicate your personal style and is just sitting there for the past few years without having seen the light of day- it most likely doesn't belong there. The idea is not to throw everything out and stick to 5 outfits… unless if that works for you, you’re doing great honey! Nor is it an attempt to get everyone to dress uniformly as we did back in the school days. There are a lot of articles on "what you NEED in a minimalist wardrobe", "10 MUST haves for minimalists", "the PERFECT minimal closet"- let me tell you you don't need anything, nothing is a must and there is no perfect way to minimalism. So what does it mean? In essence, it means sticking only to what is important to you. Translating that to your fashion, it means dressing in a way that feels the most authentic to yourself and expresses who you are.

I once had a dress that I loved, but it just wasn't the right style for me. Even though I liked how I looked in the mirror wearing this particular outfit – there was a voice inside of me that said "don't buy it!" I ignored the voice because I looked good, it was a trending style and colour, and of course, it was at a discount- a beautiful recipe for the unhinged consumer! I never wore it, not even once. The dress remained in my closet for 4 years before I decided to swallow my pride and accept the mistake I made by buying something I would never wear nor did I have any intention of wearing it anytime in the foreseeable future. It took me some time before I truly realized what it meant to own my own closet. Just because something looks good on me or because I like it, doesn’t necessarily mean it belongs in my life.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the many choices and decisions that go into the making and unmaking of a wardrobe. Here are some steps to get you started in the process of minimizing your closet, all without sacrificing YOUR comfort or style:

  1. Start by sorting your clothes into piles of what you wear and don't wear

  2. Keep only the clothing that makes you feel confident and comfortable

  3. Donate or sell anything that doesn't fit or is too old

  4. Sort the remaining clothes into three categories - work/school, leisure/workout, and weekend/fun

  5. Create capsule wardrobes for different seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter) with just enough clothes to last for 3 months each season

  6. Put all clothing on hangers so they take up less space when not being worn and make decisions easier when you come out of the shower

  7. Limit yourself to one statement piece per day - this could be an accessory like a necklace, hat, or scarf that resonates with your style and goes with most of your wardrobe.

  8. Most importantly, don't buy anything new unless you've worn everything else in your closet first and if you do buy anything then:

  9. consider how the piece will fit into your existing wardrobe as a whole before purchasing it

  10. buy quality over quantity - invest in one or two high-quality items that will last longer

Clothing is a major reflection of one's personality and tastes. Clothing can even reflect our very values, interests, aspirations--even how we see ourselves as people! Don't let things collecting dust in your room steal away time from clothing that truly reflects who we are; be selective about any purchases made right now so there will be no regrets later! You have to ask yourself what kind of lifestyle you lead. If your answer is that it's fast-paced, often stressful, and busy then minimalism might be a good idea for an easier life when it comes to dressing up! What if every single day was like this? Wouldn't it make sense to dress effortlessly and that too in looks that complement our style? That way there will always be enough room left over for other things that truly matter to us and add value to our lives... instead of sitting on the bed wrapped like a burrito in a towel for 10 minutes trying to decide what to wear.

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