Minimalism: How to Nurture Your Interest in Fashion While Avoiding Excess


by Michael Catford November 01, 2016

Many notable people preach a minimalist fashion philosophy. Mark Zuckerberg runs with a simple gray crew neck and jeans. Steve Jobs wasn’t Steve Jobs without his black turtleneck. But while these noted supernerds may not be who you’d be first to consult for fashion advice, the truth is that many prominent fashionistas preach the very same philosophy.

Designers including Vera Wang, Michael Kors, Carolina Herrera and Karl Lagerfeld all live a minimalist fashion lifestyle by favoring a sparing amount of simple pieces and sticking to certain color palettes. The appeal is obvious; by minimizing your wardrobe, you simplify an often complicated area of your life – choosing what to wear.

We’re certainly not talking about a Homer Simpson style ’10 copies of one outfit’ closet, but many people sit at quite the opposite end of the spectrum, with a wardrobe that is filled to the brim with worn once items and regrettable sales rack investments. Clearing this mess out for something more modest can remove quite a bit of weight from your fashion conscious shoulders.

Here are a few tips to avoid wardrobe excess, but still nurture an interest in high fashion.

Identifying Your Style

Minimalist aesthetic and minimalist lifestyle shouldn’t be confused. While a minimalist aesthetic is dominated by blacks, whites and grays, a minimalist lifestyle simply means cutting down on the amount of pieces in your wardrobe, rather than each item’s fun and excitement. If you like tie-dye, you can have a minimalist tie-dye wardrobe!

Identifying your style is an important first step in the process, as this will guide the small

The Wardrobe Excavation

By far the hardest step. You need to take stock of what you’ve got, and identify the pieces that you actually value. Form piles of clothing; YES, NO and REPAIR. Anything that doesn’t fit you, make you feel good, or fit your identified style should be instantly tossed in the NO pile.

The REPAIR pile should be reserved for those items that you truly love but are in need of a little bit of TLC. Once the required repairs are made, put these in your YES pile and form your new wardrobe from it.

Minimalist Wardrobe Basics

The perfect minimalist wardrobe is a small collection of flexible pieces, that each brings a unique value by its presence and can be teamed with a range of other items. Depending on the person, anything between 20-40 pieces should be more than enough to give most minimalist fashionistas enough material to work with.

A good 28-piece wardrobe baseline to start from is:

2x bags

4x pairs of shoes

2x pairs of jeans

2x pairs of trousers

2x blazers

2x coats

3x sweaters

3x dresses

2x skirts

2x T-shirts

3x blouses

1x button-down

Obviously this selection is based on a cooler climate. For those in warmer regions it may be worth swapping out the coats and sweaters for swimsuits and shorts. Coordination is key, so that you can create new outfits out of the same items over and over again.

Staying On Trend

Don’t think of it as ‘buying’ new clothes for your minimalist wardrobe, but rather ‘investing’. If you’re keeping it simple, you can afford to invest in items that are quality, well made, tailored, stylish and comfortable. While fashion trends will come and go, truly stylish pieces will remain wearable for years to come. Do your best to stick to a ‘one in, one out’ policy with your wardrobe, so as not to build up another enormous collection.

In the end, minimalism is about mindset. If you’re firm with your minimalist goal, you’ll succeed. But if you’re on the fence about its merits, you may find yourself back to your clothes hoarding ways in no time.

A cleverly planned minimalist wardrobe saves you money and allows you to give more time to other things, without compromising on your fashion credentials. If you’re looking to follow in the footsteps of Zuckerberg and Jobs, you could do far worse than go minimalist.




Michael Catford
Michael Catford

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