A Minimal Wardrobe

After I started thinking about my functional wardrobe, I came across the concept of a minimalism in relation to clothing. Pinterest searches returned mostly black and white outfits (which looked a bit boring to me) but also the concepts of the Parisian Closet or French Wardrobe, and Capsule Wardrobe. 

The minimal concept, I came to understand, didn’t mean just owning less stuff. In fact, some contemporary takes on minimalism advocate it’s about having less stuff you don’t need (examples here and here).

In that context, one of the ways it can be used is to guide the choice of items. For instance, using the same colour palette when making a new purchase, thus creating consistency across the wardrobe and ensuring the new piece works with what’s already in there.

There also seemed to be instances where the minimal concept was used to justify buying a bunch of new stuff every season (a capsule for each season, for instance). This bit aside, I was curious – What would my minimal wardrobe look like? and How minimal would it go? 

My minimum requirements

After months of thinking about this, I finally felt inspired to put something together on Polyvore that feels like an accurate reflection of my most minimal requirements (considering current needs and style). I probably would only add one other top (a simple black long-sleeve), and a belt or two (in red).

Other than that, I look at this board and it really feels perfect to me.  It amazes me that it can be so small, particularly as I tried to make it an all-year-round collection that would be suitable for work and off-duty city life.

I still can’t believe that so few items could create so many outfits for all seasons. I mean, I understand that this is what a mixable wardrobe should do but it still amazes me to see the possibilities.

I know it is taking me quite some time to put these posts together, so I apologise in advance for my slowness.

But next, I want to tell you about the process – how I went about picking a colour palette and choosing the items. After that, I want to show you the differences or similarities between this inspiration and the reality of my wardrobe. And finally, how it has prompted me to pack a few more items for donation and pick a couple of new things!

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the whole idea of a minimalist closet. Have you tried it? Do you think the capsule wardrobe trend is often used by brands to encourage buying more? And, if you’re trying to be a more mindful consumer, how does the concept appeal to you?


10 thoughts on “A Minimal Wardrobe

      • It’s pretty cool! The idea is to limit yourself to 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes for 3 months. Everything else needs to be put away.

        I just find it daunting because I have SO many clothes, so it would be a big change for me! I’m starting off by stopping myself buying so much more, and I’m slowly donating things from my wardrobe that I never wear. I’ll get there… Just slowly!

      • Ah, I see. I wonder how many clothes/items I’ve been working with… Humm… Will have to check 🙂 sounds interesting though. I think for me it could work if we’re talking work wardrobe only, because my hiking wardrobe will add lots of items, especially in the winter. But I figure, as they’re different things, I can keep them separate. But I agree with you that this type of thing needs to be a slow transition. You’ll need the time to see what you need and don’t. Time to think and understand the current status before you can make any relevant changes. And that’s not something you can do over a weekend 🙂

  1. I’m using a capsule wardrobe but focusing on using what I have already rather than buying lots of new items. It’s helping me see how versatile the clothes I already own are 🙂

    • That’s a really good idea. Until I came across capsule wardrobes, I hadn’t realized that it was what I was doing too. Now I see I have a Winter capsule and a warm-weather capsule. It has really helped me understand my style better and also be a bit more creative with the things I already have. xo

  2. Hmmm. I’ve been very interested in having a more minimal closet and/or a capsule one, but I do think the temptation is there to go on a shopping spree of finding “just the right one.”

    For me, I think I fell into a capsule wardrobe for work a bit accidentally- well, sort of accidentally. I felt like when I had defined a certain work style in terms of silhouette that that really helped streamline my clothing decisions in the morning and that in turn led to a de facto capsule wardrobe. Because I work at a school and am outside for part of the day, no matter the weather, for much of the winter I was in cigarette pants every day, and will admit by the time spring came around, I was really excited for something else, but it mostly worked well. And that desire for “something else” in terms of silhouette really bled over into all of my clothes buying/purging decisions for my “off duty” clothes too and I ended up with about three different silhouettes. I might love something else, but feel more comfortable saying “that’s nice but not for me,” now. Makes mornings easier and it is easier not to want (or need to) to shop all the time. So, ah, the TLDR version I guess is that I felt that looking at over all shapes of the outfits you want/are drawn to really help just as much as color choices in streamlining things.

    • Thanks for sharing this Kristian. I had read about the tip of looking at overall shapes (or silhouettes), in addition to the colour scheme but it’s good to hear that, from your experience, you have found that helpful. I also only realise now (after the fact) that my work wardrobe has turned more and more into what I could call a capsule, but it all seemed to have happened quite organically. I also noticed just recently that my work capsule follows what some may call a “uniform” and it really does make life easier in the morning 🙂

  3. Pingback: Minimal Wardrobe 101 | Fashion pas

  4. Pingback: Minimal Wardrobe: Inspiration and Reality | Fashion pas

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