A “minimalist wardrobe”. The concept is fairly simple—pick several “key colors” for your wardrobe, figure out what you like to wear and what fits with your lifestyle—and pare your wardrobe down to include those elements!
Several months ago, I decided it was time to drastically change my wardrobe. I had lots of clothes that I liked individually, but nothing seemed to go together. It took too much thinking to put together simple outfits. I had lots of clothes that just “worked”, were “tolerable” or “sufficed”, but no outfit that I really loved. I wanted a smaller wardrobe, with every piece being an absolute favorite.
I decided to try out the concept of a “Minimalist Wardrobe”.
To start things off, I picked a couple of neutral colors and two “fun” colors. My fun colors are colors that look good on me and I really enjoy wearing over and over. For me, the neutrals are black, gray and denim. The fun colors are colors in the turquoise and teal family, and lavender. I also included white and cream in my color selections.
Next, I went through my entire wardrobe and pulled out everything that did not fit me or fit into this color scheme. I did “cheat” just a little and keep a couple pieces that I really did love but that were not in the new set of colors. I liked the ideas of Minimalist Dressing but didn’t want to be too drastic to start with!
While I was sorting, I also tried to figure out what types and styles of clothing I felt most comfortable in and looked the best on my body type. I tried to narrow down what I liked to wear, and figure out my own personal style.
I determined that my style is a mix of classic and romantic. I love layering sweaters and tank tops, ruffles, feminine scarves, and jeans. I knew that picking a wardrobe that fit my lifestyle was also important. (I’m a mama and live in the cold, north.) So based on that, I looked for trouser or boot cut jeans, pretty scarves, nice plain t-shirts, fake pearls, skirts that transition from snow to 80 degrees, and nice sweaters. A lot of that was already in my closet, I just had to get rid of all the extras so I could see my style more clearly in what I already had!
What I Like about My Minimalist Wardrobe
My minimalist dressing experiment has been a huge time saver for me. Instead of struggling to figure out an outfit, I know I can go to my wardrobe and pull almost any top and bottom and it will (at least theoretically) coordinate and look nice on me.
Having a set color palette that I like and know I’ll wear has saved me time when I go shopping or thrifting! I focus on the sections that have “my” colors—and ignore the rest.
It has also helped me limit how many pieces of clothing I have—I am not tempted to have a sweater in each of my favorite colors; instead I just limit it to “my best colors”.
How to Create a Minimalist Style Wardrobe
If you decide you want to change your wardrobe around and try out some minimalist dressing ideas of your own, here’s a couple tips for you that I’ve learned along the way.
Creating Your Minimalist Wardrobe doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
Don’t be discouraged thinking that it will lots of money or that you have to throw everything out and start from scratch!
Remember, it does not all have to be done “right now”. Take your time and replace pieces of your wardrobe as you can afford to or as you find them.
I shopped at a lot of thrift stores over time, and I kept my eyes open at retail stores and on eBay for good deals on brands I knew I liked.
Make a list of how you would like your wardrobe to look, and then start crossing off what you already have. Keep your eyes open and before you know it, you’ll have a wardrobe you love.
You don’t have to be a pro to build a minimalist wardrobe
I don’t have any “professional” qualifications for writing this. I just started experimenting and figuring out how minimalist dressing worked for me in various seasons of my life. Experimenting is the best way to figure out what works for you! Try things on. Read books and look at pictures.
I’ve picked it up through various blogs and fashion wardrobe books that I’ve read over the years. One website that has really inspired me is The Small Notebook, especially these posts:
Need More inspiration?
Here is a Polyvore “Example of a Minimalist Wardrobe” based on my chosen colors (black, gray, denim, aqua, lavender and white/cream). Using polyvore is a great tool to figure out some outfit ideas to shop for!
Erin L. is a wife and mother of three in Michigan. She enjoys coffee, thrift store/garage sale shopping (especially when she can do it with friends!), chocolate, reading and spending time with her family, but not in that order!