Going minimalist can be an option for those of you who feel overwhelmed by their closet and want to reduce their choices. But what is a minimalist wardrobe, and how does it differ from a curated closet? Here’s what I think …
Minimalism and Your Wardrobe
Minimalism has become a big hype. It seems that nowadays, there’s a minimalist version of nearly everything. Not surprisingly, one can find countless instructions on how to apply the principles of minimalism also to clothes.
Minimalism has become a big hype. It seems there’s a minimalist version of nearly everything nowadays. Not surprisingly, one can find countless instructions on applying the principles of minimalism to clothes.
After years of overconsumption, many of us want to reduce clutter, stress and overwhelm. So why not start with sizing down our closets to a minimum? When you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know that I’m not a big fan of taking it (again!) to the extreme. Read more about why I think that way and what the alternatives are in this article:
Numbers or Aesthetics – Two Things to Differentiate
Often, promoters of a minimalist wardrobe also have a minimalist vibe to their style. But both don’t necessarily belong together. I believe we have to differentiate between ‘minimalist’ in regards to numbers and aesthetics/style.
Minimalist Aesthetics and Style
A minimalist aesthetic can be achieved through simple silhouettes and minimalist details. This means fewer frills, flounces, embellishments, ruffles – and more clean lines. These clean looks are often based on a monochromatic color palette with lots of blacks, whites, grays, and nudes. Generally spoken, nothing too flashy or exaggerated. The biggest advantage of a minimalist aesthetic is that those pieces can be easily combined to blend seamlessly into multiple occasions and looks. What makes such a wardrobe exceptionally versatile.
Minimalist (= Small) Wardrobes
No matter if you love a minimalist aesthetic or not – you can always have a minimalist wardrobe. Decluttering, editing, and reducing the number of clothes works entirely independently of your style preferences.
However, similar to a capsule wardrobe, a minimalist wardrobe only works well when all pieces mix and match. Thus, the creators of a minimalist wardrobe often commit to a reduced color palette and go for versatile items that can be combined to achieve different looks. I also noticed that the majority seem to have a very cohesive lifestyle. This means they can wear what they have, for instance, for both work and leisure time. This can be difficult, though, when you have to follow a specific dress code at work or when you’re involved in a wide variety of activities and occasions.
How Many Clothes in a Minimalist Wardrobe?
Instructions for creating a minimalist wardrobe have in common that they want us to reduce the number of clothes until there is nothing left that could be seen as superfluous.
So what is the exact number of clothes we should own, and what is superfluous? Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve seen closets with 5 and with 50 items. Both were called minimalist wardrobes. So no matter the exact number, a minimalist wardrobe is always on the lower end of what an average Westerner usually owns.
What Are the Benefits of a Minimalist Wardrobe?
Going minimalist is an option when you feel you have many clothes but nothing to wear. Reducing the number of clothes can make it much easier for you to get dressed. You’ll definitely save time every morning as there’s simply not so much to choose from. There’s no need to plan your outfits ahead of time as you wear very few pieces over and over again.
The most significant advantage of a minimalist wardrobe is getting a lot of use out of each item. This promotes sustainability and saves you money as it reduces the cost per wear to a minimum. Plus, it can support you in defining your unique style as you become more selective.
What Makes a Minimalist Wardrobe Different from a Well-Curated Wardrobe?
I believe our wardrobe should contain everything we need to feel confident and inspired every day. No more and no less. That’s why the number of items will vary a lot by person. There’s no rule of what and how much of which category we should own. It just depends on our lifestyle and what makes us happy. Creating and maintaining a fabulous wardrobe should be fun – no need to be overly restrictive. Still, the goal should be not to overdo it. And to purchase only items that we really love and regularly wear. Once you’ve found a size that feels good – meaning you never feel overwhelmed but have enough choices – stick to that number. And follow the ‘one in, one out’ rule for every new wardrobe addition.
When you love what you wear and feel good in your clothes, it greatly impacts your self-confidence. And although I agree that we have to say goodbye to overconsumption and fast fashion, we should still be allowed to have fun and be playful with our wardrobes. So when a tiny closet is your thing, and you love it, go for it. And if not, go for more. But always enjoy and take care of what you have and choose wisely what you add to your closet.
More Tips and Inspirations
To dive deeper into the topic, check out these 10 proven rules for a well-curated wardrobe and my capsule/curated wardrobe comparison:
The fewer clothes we have, the more often we’re going to wear every single item. This means it’s essential to choose excellent quality and to take good care of our clothes. Both, by the way, help you transition into slow fashion.
- How to Spot Quality When Shopping For Clothes – 3 Things to Check
- How to Shop for Quality Shoes You’ll Love to Wear
- All about Wardrobe Maintenance
- Slow Fashion: Where and How to Start
No matter if you aim for a minimalist, capsule or a curated wardrobe, it’s always good to have a clear understanding of what you actually need and want. My posts on wardrobe planning can support you to ask yourself the right questions:
- Wardrobe Planning: Recap + Free Printable Worksheets
- Wardrobe Planning: Why It’s Worth Doing It and How to Get Started
And when you currently feel entirely overwhelmed by the number of clothes accumulated in your wardrobe, decluttering may be a reasonable step for you:
- Wardrobe Decluttering a la Marie Kondo: Pros and Cons
- Wardrobe Decluttering a la Marie Kondo: Lessons Learned
- The KonMari Method: All You Need to Know + Printable Checklist
If you like the ‘less, but luxe’ idea, follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more tips and inspirations. And don’t forget to join my email list to receive weekly updates plus content that’s exclusively available to my readers.
Thanks for sharing this post and your thoughts!
Do you have a minimalist wardrobe? Are you aiming to not exceed a specific number of clothes? What’s your style? Do you love a minimalist aesthetic? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.