The overall driving force behind building a minimal wardrobe is slow fashion and conscious buying; placing needs before wants, buying quality rather than quantity, but also focusing on personal style, form and function. A minimal wardrobe (or indeed, lifestyle) is about getting rid of anything that doesn’t make you happy to make room for things that do.
The cycle of purchasing seasonal trends, clearance rail “bargains,” and last season cast-offs, which become misshapen and faded after a few washes is tiresome and destructive both for our wallets and also for the planet. Simplifying our buying habits and minimising our wardrobe brings a sense of freedom; you never have to think about what you’re going to wear because everything fits, everything matches, and everything looks great.
If the idea of building a minimal wardrobe seems daunting, these five principles will help guide and assist you on building a minimal wardrobe to be proud of. Remembering these principles will keep things uncomplicated and easy to achieve.
1 | Plan What's Needed
Firstly, declutter and downsize your wardrobe this will give you a firm grasp of what your wardrobe lacks. Planning what your wardrobe needs means you will be less likely to impulse buy. Think about what you like about your surviving clothes, what you like to wear and what you really want to avoid. Write up a shopping list of items that need to be replaced and plan what’s required to fill the gaps. Focus on selecting pieces that are timeless and versatile, which will work together as a whole. There might be a sense of urgency in replacing such things as the basics - tights, leggings, lingerie, and staple items like t-shirts or jeans - but there should be a couple of items on your list that can wait until you find the perfect item.
2 | Choose a Colour Palette
Neutrals are often a good choice of colour palette for a minimal wardrobe. Since the goal is to build a wardrobe with each piece being able to be mixed and matched with each other, keeping to a complimentary palette will help achieve a unity within your wardrobe space. Neutrals are not, as they might first appear to be, boring, however, if you’re someone who craves a brighter sense of fashion then by all means pick a bolder colour palette. Learn more about developing your personal colour palette.
3 | Buy the Best Quality
Buying the best quality your budget can afford is crucial to building a minimal wardrobe with fewer items of higher quality. It’s not always easy determining what fashion brands are worth investing in; high-end brands don’t always last and cheap labels aren’t always terrible quality. Fabric and materials used are more important than the price tag so focus on learning which fabrics and metals (when buying accessories) equal quality and will, if cared for properly, last years.
4 | Dress to Feel Good
Ignore fashion advice that tells you to “dress to flatter your figure,” it’s much more important to learn what you like to wear and pick items that make you feel good every time you wear them. Clothes should never make you feel bad; your wardrobe should make you feel empowered and comfortable. If you don’t enjoy wearing trousers or skirts, stop buying them; if you hate sleeves tops and dresses, don’t wear them; if you like wearing all black every day, go for it. Build a wardrobe that makes you feel good and you’ll never get bored with its contents.
5 | Accessorise
Accessories often get overlooked yet are the most powerful tool of any wardrobe. If you’re working with a neutral colour palette and very specific cuts or styles of garments, then an accessory can completely change the look and feel of any outfit. Focus on selecting key accessories - again, of high quality and made to last - such as a quality belt, a classic jewellery set including necklace, bracelet, and earrings, and a timeless watch. These pieces will completely revolutionise your style and are not to be overlooked when building a minimal wardrobe.