When you come to my house you will see a lot of empty space. In fact I realised that I’m a bit of a minimalist when a new neighbour once came to my house and exclaimed: Wow, I’ve never been to a minimalist house before! Mind you that house was spacious, so for someone that had always lived in smaller houses before, it was no wonder that there was so little furniture! Still, my current living room only contains essentials like a few low cabinets, tables and chairs and does not have any display cabinets, book shelves or other decorative items. I control my clutter and can easily store away most items I own in cupboards of other rooms.
However, I’m not so good with clothes. One of the reasons for that, is that I currently have ample storage space so I was not forced to get rid of clothes. Add to that that I get very tempted by each season’s new trends and all the beautiful clothes and accessories in the shops, and clothing cupboards quickly fill up. So when it comes to clothes, I’m definitely not a minimalist.
Yet, it’s possible to live well with only a few clothes. Leo babauta, for example, is a known advocate for minimalism who sticks to a wardrobe of jeans or slacks with a T-shirt or polo shirt and sandals or Docs. Another famous example was Steve Jobs who usually wore his ‘uniform’ look of jeans and Issy Miyake black turtle necks.
And then there is one of my fellow 40+ bloggers Anne from the Frumpfactor, whose recent article showed us a part of her minimal wardrobe. Although this list does not yet include shoes and tops, her working wardrobe basically contains:
- 2 basic pairs of work trousers
- 4 basic skirts
- 4 blazers
- 2 cardigans
Although I admire these people for getting by with minimal wardrobes, I know that I could never be happy with so few clothes myself. However, I do believe there are great benefits in getting a wardrobe that is versatile, yet is kept to a small size. One way to do that is through creating wardrobe capsules and editing your wardrobe after each season.
Building your minimal wardrobe with wardrobe capsules
The key to creating a wardrobe that is minimal, yet gives you lots of variety, is to work with wardrobe capsules. What you are trying to do, is to buy clothes that you can all mix and match with eachother, therefore giving you lots of variations with a minimum amount of clothes. I gave you examples of wardrobe capsules earlier this year when I showed you my brights wardrobe capsule and Nola Johnson showed you a wardrobe capsule for work. In general you would want to create wardrobe capsules for work, leisure time, sport and special occassions.
How many pieces would you need for each capsule?
Now this is where it gets interesting of course. You don’t actually need very many items. 2 pants and 5 tops already give you 10 outfit combinations. Most of us would find that too basic though and need more variety. What you will have to find out for yourself is how much you really need to make you happy and keep your closet in a manageable state. You could start your journey by looking at some of the 10 wardrobe essentials recommended by style experts.
As for me, I’m not ready to have a minimalist wardrobe yet. I like variety and want to have lots of options for various moods and occasions. But I DO want to edit my wardrobe since it’s getting too full. I want more visible space for my shoes, get rid of boring t-shirts that I never wear anyway and create an overall wardrobe that is more fun to shop in. A wardrobe that contains only items I love and feel amazing in. I have already started giving you shoe storage ideas, but expect more articles on this topic coming up at 40+Style and let’s all do some wardrobe editing, organising and wardrobe shopping and look even better in the process! (Don’t worry, I will still be sharing lots of fabulous fashion and shopping ideas as well!).
Would you like some expert help to shop your own wardrobe?
I just discovered and sampled a unique 52 week training programme created by Jill Chivers that will teach you how to shop your own wardrobe. A great course for all of you who like to take on the challenge of getting more style with less clothes and less shopping. She offers a 6-week program as well. Check it out at MyYearWithoutClothesShopping!