When you read about a minimalist wardrobe, 99% of the pictures seem to be monochromatic. I do love a white button up and its so versatile and yes I have one in my closet now. But do you know what I don’t have in my closet? Anything black. That’s right. I am probably the one minimalist who minimized black from her wardrobe.
A few years ago when I began this journey of simplifying my life, minimizing clothes sounded wonderful to me. Honestly, I’ve always struggled with fashion. I’m a country girl who loves her cowboy boots who also has a fierce love for global prints, so if nothing else I’m eclectic. But I’ve never been really confident in styling myself, so paring down to only items that I loved, that fit, and that worked with other pieces sounded great (and honestly I wondered why I hadn’t thought of that myself.)
As I began the discarding, I realized that I didn’t love any of the black pieces and that most of them were more formal. They didn’t go with most of my other items. And to be completely honestly they looked more like my best friend than me—-meaning, she’s a fancy city gal who dresses up quite a bit, so I dressed like her, not me, when I had a nicer event. So as I considered those items, I realized that I was much more drawn to navy and thus a non-black wardrobe was born.
As I continued to pare down my clothing, the benefits became clear; a closet that wasn’t crammed, clothes that only looked good and fit, easier time shopping for clothing, easier to get dressed in the morning, easier and lighter packing when traveling, and one that I totally didn’t expect,but I have noticed that I get more compliments than I used to. I think there’s a couple reasons for the compliments. One is that I have more confidence. Because I have less clothes, I wear them more often, but I love what I have and know that it suits me best, making me more confident.
While I haven’t bought a whole new wardrobe, now everything goes together and looks good. I have a few higher quality items that I would purposefully not wear in the past because I was saving them. Saving them for what, I’m not entirely sure. To that I say, “Wear your clothes!!” I would save the best ones not wanting them to get worn out, but by the time I started wearing it more regularly it was out of style.
Tackling your closet may seem like a big job, but it is so worth it! Here are some tips that came in handy and that I continue to use if I am looking to pare down again.
1. Determine your what your style is. Again, this is where I had a hard time because I love my boots, but I also love other things too that seemingly didn’t belong with cowboy boots so seeing how those could all work together was hard at first. I’m also not saying this in some fast fashion/trendiness spirit, but just knowing in general what you like will help.
2. Notice the colors you love. This was a biggie for me. As I started paying attention, I realized that I rarely wore the black items in my closet and that I was much more drawn to navy as my base color. At first thought, it may seem huge to cut an entire color out of your wardrobe, but think of the ease it brings! I no longer need black shoes, black purse, etc. Also notice what neutral you’re drawn to and accent colors and what color do and do not work with your skin tones.
3. Look for cuts that flatter and feel right and go with those. Knowing what looks best with your body type, will help as you shop because though something is the right color, doesn’t mean that it will work if it falls the wrong way in the wrong places.
4. When you have a nicer event, don’t dress like someone else. Be you, just be the “nice event” you. This was important for me. Its like when you’re a kid and you have the dreaded “church clothes.” You just don’t feel right in them, but what I noticed is that I could find more formal items that suited me and the event, I just had to be more intentional.
5. Layers. I’m the girl who is always the cold one in the room, so I’ve long been a fan of layers. Now, putting together a minimalist wardrobe, I see the huge benefit of investing in and learning more about layering pieces. It can extend seasonal pieces into other times of the year and help reduce the amount of items needed overall.
6. Use accessories. One of the first “concerns” I hear when talking about minimizing clothing is that you’ll have to wear the same thing over and over. First of all, NO ONE is going to notice except you. But one of the easiest ways to change up the same old shirt and pants is to wear different accessories. Here’s one of my favorite companies that is literally changing the world with accessories.
As for going through your current clothing, I highly recommend getting it all out and going through it. Even though I had done an initial purge of my closet, when I went through it again late last fall, I was shocked at the number of items I still owned and was able to greatly pare down again. Consider trying a capsule wardrobe like this or joining a challenge like the Project 333 with Courtney Carver.
If you’re hesitant or maybe a little less confident in knowing your style, etc, there are a variety of resources out there. It took a bit of purposeful time on pinterest and websites of companies I liked to help me see that I could make my most favorite items work together in multiple ways.
Simplifying my clothing was a bit of hard work at first, but has been worth the effort more than I could have known. My initial reasoning was to get rid of excess that I didn’t want and to make that area of my life a little easier. It is also one of the areas that once simplified tends to give a little boost to simplifying other areas in your life and home.