How to create a minimalist clothing collection
Something that had been in our hearts as a couple for a long while is to consciously make an effort to ‘live with less’, and to create a lifestyle where living simply is facilitated. It is one of the many reasons that we decided to take a round the world trip with kids and why we will be getting rid of all of our possessions to start our new nomadic lifestyle. Minimalist clothing is one of the ways that we have cut down and realised what we really need, and what we don’t.
My body has changed a TON in the past eight years as I’ve recovered from anorexia, been through three pregnancies and breastfed three children (the third’s still on me, like a cute fleshy wailing limpet). My weight has gone up and down like a yo-yo which is something I’ve finally become comfortable with, and I seem to have settled at one size for now. It means, however, that none of my jeans that I bought post-baby fit, and a load of my clothes were worn out or had stains from the collateral of living with three dynamic, creative, messy kids.
I patched up the items that were salvageable but there were some basic things missing- I ended up having just two everyday shirts and a couple of more formal shirts, a couple of cropped jumpers, one pair of jeans that fit, one pair of leather-look trousers (I can’t help myself) and a couple of skirts. It was minimalist clothing but it wasn’t actually serving me very well!
My friends who I see several times a week joked that they only ever saw me in the same two outfits! It wasn’t really a practical wardrobe and if something was in the wash it was hard to find a way to put together a decent outfit as several of the items didn’t really go with each other. During pregnancy and post-baby I really neglected any kind of focus on how I looked and it took its toll on how I felt; although I don’t think that looks are important in the grand scheme of things, it is good to take care of ourselves and feel nice about how we look (check out my minimalist makeup post here),
With those things in mind I decided to create a basic capsule wardrobe that was stylish (enough), good value and easy to wear. I wanted a minimalist clothing wardrobe where I could pull any top and bottoms out and have it co-ordinate with little effort. It also had to be as ethical as possible, mainly comfortable and some of the items needed to be able to transfer to my travel wardrobe.
No big ask, then!
If you’re thinking about having a life spring clean, trying some Marie Kondo style sorting or just need to buy some new clothes, try these five steps to KISS (Keep It Simple!) and get your own capsule wardrobe essentials:
How to create a minimalist clothing collection
1) Have a clear out of your current wardrobe. When I dove into the depths of mine, there were clothes in there that I’d had for years, didn’t wear and really had no intention of wearing. A lot of them held memories of my anorexic days and made me feel rubbish; they were the first to go. Anything with stains got chucked and things that I hadn’t worn for months went to the charity shop. It feels good, people!
2. Decide which items you need. I needed a light cardigan, some comfy loungewear (that I could wear out if I was having a lazy day), several everyday tops, some jeans and a couple of pairs of lighter trousers. I also needed a couple of non-cropped slightly more dressy tops for work events. To stop myself impulse buying things that I liked, I decided what I wanted and then found items that I needed that incorporated that. For example I love the little frills that are popular at the moment so I found a basic striped top that I needed, that happened to have frills on it. Win win! I also love baby blue and the cold-shoulder tops so I got a top with both of these as one of my two more dressy tops for work events.
3. Find a good shopping buddy! I can’t stress enough how much this helped the process. Especially if you don’t like shopping, find someone who does and has stamina to stick it out until you’ve got everything that you need! Make sure they will be motivating but also honest if something doesn’t work for you.
4. Get shopping! In the past when I needed clothes I’d head straight to eBay, but when you are trying to get several co-ordinating items it’s best to be able to try everything on together. I headed to H&M for most of my stuff as they are becoming more ethically focused, the quality is good and the prices are reasonable. They also have a great Basics range for things like strappy tops to wear under sheer shirts and basic tees for lounging in.
5. Organise your wardrobe so that everything is displayed clearly and you can easily pick out and outfit. I found this much easier when I only had about 15 items hanging up, compared to before when I had a crammed wardrobe. Having fewer clothes has actually meant I have fewer “I have nothing to wear” days!
Check out exactly what I ended up with in my minimalist spring wardrobe.
So that’s how I went from having a crammed, uninspiring wardrobe full of clothes to having just a few items that I love. A basic capsule wardrobe is an ideal time saver and made me feel way better about how I looked as well as helping me get organised!
Have you ever tried this? What are your minimalist clothing wardrobe essentials?