Close your eyes and think about your perfect morning. You wake up fresh and rested before your alarm clock starts ringing. Actually, you don’t have an alarm clock because… Well, because it’s a fantasy world. 😉 Anyways, you get up, open your closet and you see shelves full of perfectly matching shirts folded KonMari style. And on the hangers, there are some seriously awesome dresses, blouses, skirts and whatever else you can imagine, all fitting, all perfectly matched, all very much your style. And there is just enough clothes to make you reach for anything you may feel like wearing without feeling like a crazy person and searching for a shirt for half an hour. Or finding it dirty in the back of the closet…
Yeah, girl, now it’s time to wake up and make it happen. For real. Let’s make it happen together, shall we?
When I think of a minimal wardrobe, I see an almost empty closet with three shirt hanging on some fluffy hangers and one pair of jeans to match. Well, at least this is what I used to think. This is the image that sells well and that’s why TV shows promote it as “true minimalism”. Which, in fact, is not necessarily true.
What is a minimal wardrobe?
A minimal wardrobe is a wardrobe that fulfills all your needs and wants but is not cluttered with unnecessary items. Which is why MY MINIMAL WARDROBE MAY BE NOTHING LIKE YOUR MINIMAL WARDROBE. And that’s ok. We are different individuals with different needs, wants and dreams and so we need a different wardrobe to suit us. And just like with many other things (f.e. orgasms, although usually not as intense!) you’ll know that your wardrobe is perfectly suited for your needs once you’ll get there.
My minimal wardrobe journey
I used to dream of having a TV-show-worthy minimal wardrobe. I thought that once I throw away all the clothes that didn’t fit me and that I didn’t like, my life would instantly become easier and I would have no troubles getting dressed in the morning. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
While it’s a great idea to get rid of clothes that do not fit you and all the clothes that do not bring you joy (yes, you know what I mean! Marie Kondo is my favorite Jedi!) but this is definetely not the end of the journey. Because the true path of creating your perfect minimal journey, is to do the mental work and figure out yourself as a person. Only then can you create a perfect wardrobe that will work for you.
Once I got rid of all the unwanted items from my wardrobe, I finally had the space to fill with my dream clothing. And so I did… filled it with the same stupid, unfitting, sh*tty clothes as before because I was following someone else’s plan. I became a proud owner of a fitted black button down (I never wear it because I feel it doesn’t look good on my boobs), a pair of low waist Levi’s (great for people who never bend or squat) or high heels knee-high boots. Laced boots! (OMG! What was I thinking?!). So I kept going back to step 1 – throwing away, and filling up again. What a vicious cycle.
My journey really kicked off once I realised that I need to understand myself first and only then, start buying stuff again. Also, I had to part with the idea that once I fill my wardrobe with flowy, flowery dresses, I’ll start looking like a Free People model when in fact I was looking like Kitty Forman of the 70s Show. I feel like I’m understanding myself much better now and I love what my wardrobe looks like nowadays. But am I finished with my wardrobe transformation? Nope! And I’m not sure if I’ll ever be. But it surely reflects me better than it did before.
A recipe for a perfect minimal wardrobe
OK. This is a list of clothes you MUST buy in order to get your perfect minimal wardrobe:
5 white tees; 10 black cardigans; 15 pairs of dark denim jeans; a pair of khaki green Wellingtons and a purse to match…
Oh, wait!! Didn’t I just explain that THE UNIVERSAL RECIPE FOR A MINIMAL WARDROBE DOES NOT EXIST?! You cannot expect me (or any other blogger, TV host, Instagram ifluencer etc.) to magically understand your personal needs and wants and dreams in order to create a wardrobe to match. You are the only one who can do it. And I’m here to accompany you on this journey.
How to build a minimal wardrobe
Although YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE who can create a perfect minimal wardrobe for yourself, there are a couple of guidelines that may help you in the process. Also, make sure to check out the whole series of wardrobe posts (which will be linked HERE as soon as I publish them… 😉 ) and share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.
Ok. Back to the Rules (with the capital “R”!):
1. Imagine yourself in a perfect world and do the reality check.
Close your eyes. Imagine your perfect world and yourself in it. Is it spring? (Yasssss!) Are you wearing beautiful, flowy, light dress and there are no little dirty hands ready to make marks on it? (Yassss!) Are you lean and strong and your legs suddenly seem twice as long and your hair is thick and flowy? Aaaahhhh! Breath in all that perfectness and beautifulness (yes, I made up words. Both of them. Ha!) Do you feel a flow of energy invading your body giving you the strength to change your reality?
NO?! Yeah, me neither! As much as I’d like that, no amount of visualization could make my legs grow another inch or two or make my look nice in 70’s-inspired flowy dresses. I have a strong suspicion that your case may be similar to mine. It’s nice to dream for a while but in the end, don’t let your unrealistic vision influence you or your wardrobe. Not only you will never look as good as your dream-self in all those clothes. You’d probably not even like it or wear it because you are not that woman. And if anyone tells you otherwise, they are wrong.
Now, let’s do the reality check. Think (rationally) about who you are, what you do and how you spend your time. Don’t share it with anyone, don’t write it down (unless you want to) but be brutally honest with yourself. Trust me, I’ve been so ashamed of the way I live on a daily basis that when it came to the honest review of my life, I lied to myself and managed to convince myself that I need 5x more office clothes than loungewear even though I work from home and basically live in my PJs!
Do yourself a favor and be honest with yourself.
2. KonMari your wardrobe.
There are many ways of assessing your wardrobe but I love how simple and powerful the KonMari method is. You may find it odd and irritating at the beginning. I did!. However, I quickly understood that the proverbial “spark of joy” is nothing else but your intuition (or subconscious self) telling you that this is what you really want to wear.
I’ll definitely write a separate post about doing the KonMari of your wardrobe but at this point, all you need to know is that you should touch every item of clothes that you own and decide if it sparks joy. If it does, keep it (even if it doesn’t “fit your vision”!). If it doesn’t, do not try to rationalize. Donate it (if it’s in good condition) or throw it away (if it’s in poor condition). Do not try to reason with yourself or rationalize your choices. Do not doubt your intuition.
Although Marie Kondo recommends discarting things right away, I think it’s wise to keep them stored in a tightly closed box until you’re finished with your wardrobe transformation. The reason behind this breach of KonMari rules is that once you transform your wardrobe, you may fall back in love with some of the discarted items and start using them again (although maybe in a completely different way).
3. Make a list of what you need
That’s really the most exciting part of the wardrobe transformation. Once you truly understand who you are at this particular moment in your life and what your daily life look life, you are ready for some shopping. Again, there are millions of posts about creating a cohesive wardrobe.
- Find a muse.
My favorite is “finding a muse”. I guess an influencer would be a better name but, to be honest, I try very hard not to get influenced. I’d rather be inspired. Anyways, I find a fashion blogger on Instagram and seriously stocker-ishly check out their profile. It’s best to find a person who is a similar size and shape to you. I try to use their knowledge and experience to my advantage. Once I find an outfit that I really like and I think would fit my lifestyle, I try to recreate it with my own clothes or shop for the items that I’m missing.
- Online shopping haul
Another effective way (although not very ethical, I guess) is to make a huge purchase in an online shop that offers free returns like Asos or Zalando. I consider this a one-time experience if you can’t find the clothes the you want to try on in regular chain stores. Basically, you shop for all the items you feel may fit your perfect wardrobe. Don’t worry about sustainability, quality, prices (!) of anything about the stuff that you choose. The only goal is to try on different kind of clothes in the comfort of your home.
If you find anything that you like, take a picture and put it on a list of things to thrift or buy sustainably. However, this method requires some seriously strong will because you MUST send all the items back. Even if some of them were a perfect match to your wardrobe.
If you want to keep any items from your online shopping haul, make sure that you only choose clothes that are sustainably made. Trust me, you may feel like you want to keep that leather skirt that fits your butt like a glove but you’ll feel ashamed every time you’ll wear it because you’ll know that buying it was unethical.
I mean it! Give yourself permission to try out new things. To make mistakes. To look not like your usual self. It takes time and work to create this unique set of clothing that will be your signature look. And you may be suprise if underneath your sweet, Audrey Hepburn-inspired, style, there is also a little bit of Kat Von D.