Minimal Wardrobe: Inspiration and Reality

After finally putting my ideal minimal wardrobe together, I was curious to find out how it aligned with my actual wardrobe.

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The first obvious difference is size. While I wanted my ideal minimal wardrobe to be realistic and allow me to create enough outfits for a regular 5-day work week, my actual work wardrobe is not as small as the inspiration. I mean, I do have more than two pairs of trousers!

However, I have been impressed to see how many outfits a well thought small wardrobe can create. Being able to visualize this has made me more willing to downsize even further.

Outerwear, for instance, is an area I’m now thinking about reducing. Even though the last time I bought a coat was three years ago, these items tend to last longer and so, at the moment, only one coat could do with replacing. I haven’t figured it out entirely yet but I’m thinking of consolidating this section into a couple of items.

When it comes to colour, I have found that there were a couple of differences. First, my actual wardrobe has one additional main colour (green, mostly military green but also emerald), and one more accent colour (red).

Colour Palette

Other than that, my real wardrobe is quite similar to my ideal minimal wardrobe. In fact, I find that the inspiration board is not complete without some green and some red. In terms of ideals, reality beats inspiration in this case.

One thing I’ve noticed though is that my wardrobe used to have no black at all. Instead, brown was the additional main colour. I have slowly replaced brown with black in the last year but wasn’t even aware this was happening until now!

Ahh, the little things that remind me that being mindful is a work in progress…

Finally, style and silhouette in my real wardrobe are pretty similar to the inspiration. Which makes sense as I wanted my ideal minimal wardrobe to capture my style preferences and favourite outfits.

work wardrobe


In the whole, it isn’t strange that my ideal minimal wardrobe is not that different from reality – after all, the inspiration board is not just an ideal but also a reflection of what I am already happy with.

The best thing about doing this exercise

To consider my wardrobe in a slow-paced, holistic manner. I had never before put time aside to think thoroughly about aspects such as colour, the concept of an uniform, and how these things can work together to create more mindful – functional – minimal wardrobe. Maybe not minimal in size, but definitely less full of items that I never wear.

Added benefit

Seeing my clothing preferences as a whole and creating some pretty cool visual tools that I can use to guide future choices. I no longer have to mentally match a potential blouse with all my trousers to try to imagine if it works with what I have – I can simply refer to my colour palette and pick a colour from there.


Up Next

A side effect of this exercise has been to press pause on everything – from buying to getting rid of things. I next want to tell you about my thoughts on culling and how my year of minimal shopping is going so far.


Have you ever thought of your wardrobe as a whole or did you too find that task a bit overwhelming?And if you ever edited your wardrobe, what kind of tools did you use to guide that process? 


 Previously on this…

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A Minimal Wardrobe

inspiration colour palette

A Minimal Wardrobe 101


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A Functional {Intentional} Wardrobe

In previous posts, I make references to a functional wardrobe but I never really stated what I mean. I think it’s time to change that.

I consider my wardrobe to be functional when it works well for me – my life demands, my personal style and even my body shape. A real test of this kind of functionality is time-pressure. If I can put together an outfit I love, early in the morning, with minimal fuss, then my wardrobe is working for me.

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My functional wardrobe is one that has been put together over time, and {mostly} with purpose. This intentional, slow-paced approach gives me an opportunity to explore my style in a way that is adaptable and can evolve with me. It has also helped me curb impulse-buying, minimize clutter and waste in my life, and think more creatively about my outfit options.

From my experience, I wouldn’t say that a functional wardrobe has to be built from scratch or that the first step towards creating functionality is to get rid of everything you don’t love or need.

You need time to learn about your style and needs. As you take your time, you’ll find that slowly, the garments that you really need but are probably of lower quality, are replaced with better quality ones (which last longer and need replacement less often).

As for the stuff that really has no place in your life, you either find a new home for it, or simply don’t replace it at all when it reaches the end of its (generally short) life.

In time, you’ll find that your wardrobe no longer overflows with unwanted possessions and, instead, reaches an optimal size that is a more honest reflection of your clothing needs.

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In my definition, a functional wardrobe really is an intentional wardrobe, as I don’t think you can achieve a high level of functionality without intention. functional wardrobe is put together in a mindful way.

There is some effort in putting time aside to think honestly about lifestyle demands, personal style and whether a purchase fits a real purpose.

But, if you ask me, effortless outfit options, greater opportunities to create and express your own style, and a more positive impact of your style choices, are worth this on-going, long-term process. If for nothing else, for the feeling of confidence you get when you step outside wearing something you love.


What do you think, is an intentional wardrobe something worth pursuing? If you’ve tried something like this yourself, what do you think have been the biggest benefits and challenges? 


Taking Stock

When I had that attack of mindless consumerism the other day, I figured it was probably a good idea to step away from all the pretty coats distractions and take stock – what are my real wardrobe needs at the moment?

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Creating a functional wardrobe is all about being aware of what we already have and mindful about what we really need.

It’s knowing that all our tights from last Winter need replacement, but our Winter trousers don’t because we ended up wearing skirts most of the time.

It’s knowing – and accepting – that buying a pair of Hobes as our casual cool-weather footwear, is probably not the best idea since they’re not hardy enough for the rainy place we live in.

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I am at a stage where I can, with a clear mind, recall most items in my wardrobe – and what condition they’re in. But in the midst of excitement around something new, all clarity goes out the window.

I’ve recently found that, when that happens, pen a paper are all the technology I need.

Writing things down helps me focus and achieve a level of awareness that I don’t have when I’m exposed to distractions such as newsletters from my favourite brands, emails announcing new items/promotions, instagram…All those little things that prevent me from thinking clearly about a purchase, and encourage me to obtain stuff that may not contribute to the functionality of my wardrobe.

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What do I already have? What condition is it in? Will it last another season? How many new pairings can I create with it? 

These are some of the things I’m currently trying to answer, in the hope that it will help me make better decisions about what to buy this year.

I suspect this may take me some time (and effort). But without a clear idea of what’s going on, it will be a lot harder to make useful contributions towards my wardrobe – and easier to buy stuff that I will regret later!

What about you? Have you taken stock of your wardrobe’s state of affairs lately? How often do you do it?

A Functional {Travel} Wardrobe

As in my day-to-day life, I’ve been trying to make my travel wardrobe a functional wardrobe.

This is not just because I’ve had enough of carrying heavy suitcases, but mostly because I think that holidays are better spent enjoying the moment, not wasting time wondering what to wear.

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Wandering through old streets in Porto: Travel is for wandering, not to spend time wondering what to wear!

As you may be able to tell by my previous posts, I recently spent a few days in Paris. I took with me exactly 5 outfits – one for each day I was there, plus travel day. It turned out that even that was one outfit too many. It never got cool enough to wear my long sleeve black dress.

Á Paris

That was fine because, with an ever more functional wardrobe, most items I took with me could easily be mixed and matched to create a new combination if need be.

I didn’t always pack this way in the past, and pretty much always ended up overpacking. But this time around I decided to put some thought into it – how many days I’d be away, what I was going for, what the weather would be like…

Then I made a list of the items I thought would work, including shoes and accessories. I worked on that list, trimming it and writing down possible outfit combinations. A few days before packing, I laid out the outfits and removed anything that appeared unnecessary (a foulard here, a cardigan there).

And that’s how I ended up with a perfectly functional travel wardrobe and a light suitcase, with plenty of room for some annual shopping. The hubby introduced me to Uniqlo and we took the opportunity to replace some basics. But that’s a story for another day!

:::Thanks for reading and happy weekend!:::