Zen and the Art of a Minimalist Wardrobe

July 4, 2018

You can probably tell by now that I live for simplicity. I look for it in all things – both in terms of aesthetic and lifestyle design. But for years my wardrobe was far from simple. In fact I used to hate my wardrobe. It was boring, the clothes didn’t go well together, there was nothing I really liked, and I never had anything to wear. Every morning I’d waste precious time gazing listlessly at my clothes, hoping that inspiration would strike. It never did.

When I got into minimalism a few years ago, I made a beeline for my wardrobe, looking for clothes to get rid of. I was on a mission to free my home of clutter. And my wardrobe was full.of.clutter. So I would regularly go in and start dumping stuff out to sell or donate. But for all the decluttering I did, I never felt truly satisfied with my wardrobe. Shopping didn’t help either – most of the clothes I bought ended up going unworn, because nothing I owned went with them or they didn’t feel very “me”.

Back in 2014, I was psyching myself up for another (pretty much bi-weekly by now) wardrobe purge, and I decided that I needed a new approach: I needed a way to simplify my wardrobe once and for all. I decided to start from scratch and build my wardrobe from the ground up.

A Game-Changer

Instead of starting another vicious cycle of wardrobe decluttering and re-cluttering, I took an analytical approach to my personal style. My aim was to distill the look and feel of my ideal outfits – define my “uniform” – and then use that as the foundation to build a new, better wardrobe.

Using a mood board of images I’d collected from Pinterest, blogs, tumblrs, Instagram accounts etc. –images that I felt really encapsulated my desired style – I extracted the key elements that made up my outfits and themes that ran through my style choices (colours, cuts, proportions etc.). Turns out I pretty much exclusively gravitated towards monochrome & muted tones, separates, unfussy design, with a few androgynous pieces thrown in. So, that’s what made up my uniform.

Here are some examples of my uniform:


Exploring my personal style made it easy to define the building blocks that would make up the foundation of my wardrobe. It was easy then to go back to my wardrobe and purge it of anything that didn’t “fit” with my look, as well as see the gaps that needed to be filled. It was so much easier to let go of items I’d been hanging on to as well. It’s not hard to let go of that red dress you’ve never worn, when you realize you actually don’t want it to be part of your look anyway (true story).

The first time I took a serious look at my wardrobe, I cut back my wardrobe pretty drastically. I ended up with just t-shirts, skinny jeans and a few jumpers. I loved it! It made it super easy to get dressed everyday, and I always loved what I was wearing. Since then I’ve continued to edit and refine my wardrobe, adding only pieces that I love and that fit with my style. I love having a tightly defined personal style and wearing my own “uniform” daily.

I’ve created a six-part guide to help you create your own signature look and build a minimalist wardrobe. If you’ve been struggling to get your wardrobe under control and you’d like to simplify this area of your life, you can check it out over here.

Bag via shopHAF.com

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