Last updated: March 15th 2019
We’ve all heard of minimalist living. But maybe it sounds too challenging to get rid of all your material possessions and completely overhaul your lifestyle. The good news is, you don't have to do that to be considered a 'minimalist'.
Minimalism is all about scaling back on the things in life that don't bring you value. So, if you’re looking to adopt a minimalist lifestyle but need some simple guidance, look no further. We’re going to show you how and why you should do it – beginning with your wardrobe.
Streamlining your closet will have you spending less time worrying about how you look, and more time focusing on your joy, happiness, and fulfilment. Not to mention the positive impact it will have on the environment.
Here’s our top five reasons to simplify your wardrobe, and five ways to do so.
5 great reasons to adopt a minimalist wardrobe
1. You'll save money
Adopting a ‘cost per wear’ mentality keeps you on track with wardrobe staples you love and can save you lots of money. For example, instead of buying an expensive ‘in-season’ dress and only wearing it once, opt for a little black dress that will see you through many fashion seasons and can be dressed up or down.
2. Good for you and our planet
Fast fashion is one of the largest polluters in the world. Dyeing, printing and bleaching are one of the most energy and chemical-intensive stages along the manufacturing line, along with water usage.
Buying clothing in moderation and in a conscious way is one of the easiest ways to reduce our footprint on the planet. But when you do decide to shop, whether it is for yourself or for a gift, aim to purchase from sustainable, eco-friendly brands that adopt a wiser production system by limiting the use of harsh chemicals and recycling dyes.
3. More clothes don’t make you happier
We’ve all heard of ‘retail therapy’ as a quick pick me up, but it can do you more harm than good. According to psychologist Daniela Intili, the ‘temporary lift’ from retail therapy soon reverts back to feelings of guilt and anger, taking the shopper back to square one.
Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist suggest three questions a great minimalist should always ask themselves before making any purchase -
- Am I replacing an item of clothing or buying something new? If the item is not a specific replacement, rethink your need for it.
- Is this something I will wear regularly? If you can’t see yourself wearing the item on a regular basis, rethink the purchase.
- Is the style one that will last? Don’t believe all the hype of the latest trends, they are created by the fashion industry and fade rapidly.
4. Confidence starts with you
We don’t need to buy more to feel better or impress others. It’s tempting to buy clothes because they are on trend, everyone else is wearing them and we want to join the crowd. But at the end of the day, confidence begins with things like your smile, the positivity you bring into a room and the energy you exude – even if you’re wearing a paper bag.
5. Boost Creativity
Half the fun of having a simpler wardrobe is being your own stylist. Once we have our basics, mixing and matching is a great way to get the most out of your closet, and still look like you own plenty of outfits! Little do we know the potential of some of our wardrobe items until we try them on, so give yourself your own style session and get creative.
5 steps to an eco-friendly and minimalist closet
1. Get rid of what you don’t need
We know it can be hard, especially if we have an emotional attachment to our clothes. And while keeping a few pieces that remind us of important people or times in our life is completely fine, you certainly don’t need those 20 pairs of denim jeans in your closet.
Once you’ve sorted through your wardrobe and kept only the pieces you do wear and love, simply donate the surplus to your friends, family or to a charity. Is that old shirt way too worn out? Don’t throw it out. Old clothes can not only be recycled but also up-cycled to give them a second life. From making DIY paper (yes, that can be done) to using them as cleaning rags, your clothes can still serve a purpose even if you can no longer wear them.
2. Find your staples
Having the right staples as your ‘base’ helps you create multiple outfits and still do it with style. Always keep one good pair of jeans, a black or denim jacket, black trousers, a white blouse and a pair of shorts or skirt. Then add a few prints in your wardrobe for colour and texture. Then, have some fun with accessories, hats, and shoes and get the creative brain juices flowin’!
Use Pinterest for inspiration to mix and match your wardrobe throughout the seasons. Remember, less is always more.
Choosing eco-friendly basics that last makes for a healthy wardrobe and a healthy mind
3. Get your basics right
A great wardrobe begins with great essential pieces. A simple yet stylish black tee can be the foundation for your entire closet. This type of basic garment works in every season and can be dressed up or down easily.
Carefully selecting the fabric that composes your essentials means that you might be able to multiply the number of purposes your clothes can serve. For example, choosing pieces made using organic bamboo will keep you cool in the warmth and warm in the cool. From the office to your morning walks on the weekend, think clothing that will be able to accompany you in every situation.
4. Opt for quality over quantity
Always purchase quality clothing which has the least environmental impact. Pieces made using organic natural fibres look and feel good, they are biodegradable and don't create static electricity that makes your clothes cling to your body. Cheaper clothing might save you money as you buy them, but over time you’re likely to be out of pocket as they need to be replaced more frequently.
5. Play with accessories
Accessories are not only more affordable to buy, but can instantly dress up what you’re wearing. Jewellery, scarves and belts can give you a completely different look with any outfit and help you enhance your minimalist wardrobe with taste and personality.
Once you minimise your wardrobe, up your eco-friendly basics, and get creative – you can then start de-cluttering other areas of your life, too!
"Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less; rather, we focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more experiences, more growth, more contribution, more contentment, and more freedom. Clearing the clutter from life’s path helps us make that room."
- The Minimalists