It’s not news that I thoroughly enjoy having a lack of items taking up my room and cluttering up both physical and mental space. When I began researching this is when I discovered the term ‘minimalism’. While I live this way contently in almost every part of my life, I have a notable exception – fashion.
A few years back, still dreaming about Carrie Bradshaw’s walk-in-closet, I decided to build my own in a small alcove I have in my bedroom. The result was absolutely perfect, with the added bonus of not having to stare at a clunky wardrobe but instead get to eye up all my favourite pieces whenever I like, while simultaneously creating outfits in my head.
As almost every piece of minimalist advice out there says, there are no rules when it comes to how you choose to live with less. And for me, I find a lot of value in the clothing I have held onto. This is not to say I have held onto everything – I have minimised my closet multiple times of almost duplicates or ill-fitting items that no longer suited me.
I am on a weight-loss journey and the most difficult part of letting go of the bigger clothes is the fear of gaining the weight back. But at 4 stone (56lbs) lighter, I know in myself that will not happen – I now feel relief knowing that the comfort clothes of my past self are no longer in my present.
With this, I do have some rules when it comes to buying clothes that may be helpful to those trying to control or minimise the clothes and accessories entering your space.
NO COSTUME JEWELLERY
For me, I stick to silver jewellery only. It suits me more and I know it will always match the silver framed glasses and silver watch I wear daily. Having this rule means I don’t end up with duplicates. For example, if I wore both gold and silver, I would likely own both gold hoop earrings and silver hoop earrings.
The actual pieces I do own are minimal and stackable, meaning it is very easy to create more dramatic looks through my basic looking accessories when the occasion arises.
Buying higher quality pieces also means they last – without the silver coating slowly rubbing off, often leaving green marks when wearing rings.
THEY MUST BE MULT-PURPOSE
I don’t own any pyjamas myself, opting for oversized t-shirts and cycling shorts instead. Because of this, I am able to wear clothes I would wear to sleep in, outside the house. I haven’t owned any pyjamas for 10 years and I don’t miss the ‘cosiness’ – I find if the clothing is high quality, it will still feel soft and cosy as you would want.
While a hoodie is still a hoodie, it can either be used as a lighter layer than a coat during chilly weather, or as a standalone jumper for more casual days.
I have simple dresses that are cool enough for summer wear but versatile, so they can be layered with jackets and tights to be worn in spring/autumn, too.
The list goes on…
As I mentioned earlier, I purged most of my clothes that are almost identical. This was key for me maintaining minimalism while still allowing me to be creative with my outfits.
I only own 3 pairs of jeans – 2 black and a classic denim. If I didn’t wear black jeans for work, I would reduce this to only one. And while I don’t often wear my classic denim pair, they are a nice change when trying to brighten my outfit for more spring and summer looks.
NO SHORT-LIVED TRENDS
This is crucial if you don’t want to live with a constant over-stuffed wardrobe. Quite often, these trends we see everywhere only last a season or two at most. When I was younger and felt I needed to keep up with this, I was financially drained, constantly browsing for new releases and never fully satisfied with the clothing I already owned. Giving this up was the best option for me. I now opt for more timeless and classic looks that will never be out of trend because they never left.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
This again changed how I felt about my clothing and naturally made me more minimal. Quality, most often, costs more than the cheap, less durable clothing. More money per item means less items bought and although more expensive, they are well-made and long-lasting, thus, less replacing.
It might seem like a costly rule, but the money I have saved not having to replace or throw away cheap clothing, wholly outweighs the initial cost.
With this, I am not saying discard your cheaper/lower quality items. I just advise reconsidering your usual choices and explore other, more sustainable brands.
I am considering trying a capsule wardrobe in the future and sharing my experiences. Perhaps it will completely alter my mindset and allow me to become more minimalist when it comes to fashion, but for now, I must admit I am very happy with my current clothing situation – although these rules do keep me accountable and in check and prevent being frivolous and making silly purchases that aren’t essential.