Finding a balance between wearing something new all the time versus too boring minimalism

by Sylvia

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Minimalism is a ‘thing’ right now.

Blogs and websites are full with information on doing more with less, buying less, sticking to a simple color palette and going back to basics.

In essence I’m very much in favor of this movement (especially around Christmas time).

I too think we should do more with less.

Although I’m not a strict minimalist, my home interior is quite simple and there is not a lot of ‘stuff’ around.

The space is quite empty and the walls are mainly white which leaves space to admire the few artworks in the room.

Of course, I always question that strategy when I see or visit homes like Sue Kreitzman’s as I’m very much inspired by them, but I know that is where my essence is.

I like simple, but good design (and that little wooden table there definitely needs to be replaced!)

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The clothes I like most are clean and simple, yet have really interesting design details that are often architectural.

I also don’t want to buy too much. I have enough clothes as it is and don’t want to keep adding and adding. So I have been trying to stick to neutrals that all mix together with only a few prints thrown in. There is a lot of white and blue at the moment, with a hint of red.

The ‘danger’ is when simple gets boring. Quite a few of the minimalist dressers resort to a very limited color palette or a very similar style all the time.

Some of them still have a cupboard full of clothes and they switch them around but to an outsider like me, it looks like every outfit is the same.

Yet as the same time, some kind of consistency is good, as it will identify your unique style specifically. The key is that you need to create enough variety within your limited wardrobe to keep things interesting.

Here are a few of my tips on how to keep your wardrobe both minimal and interesting:

  • Stick to a color palette that allows you to easily mix and match your clothes.
  • Don’t buy multiple items of the same thing. One standard blue jumper is enough. Better to buy a cardigan, or sleeveless vest instead if you want more items in blue.
  • Cover your basics but don’t ONLY have basics in your wardrobe.
  • Look for unusual shapes or forms in your non-basic pieces. These add extra interest to your wardrobe. They can still be bought within your preferred color palette so you still have the minimalist aesthetic.
  • Wear your pieces in different ways. This sheer dress for example also serves as a great top and even a short top when you knot it. It can also be worn as a jacket.
  • Play with texture by adding layers and adding some sheer items.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, use the power of accessories.

That last point especially is very important in my own style.

As my clothes have gotten more minimalist and basic, my accessories have gone more colorful, bold and artistic.

With accessories I am able to keep my outfits simple and clean while I add a lot of the interest with accessories.

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My personal favorite is the necklace. I love it because it’s close to your face which allows you to use it to balance a color that may not necessarily be the best for you. Above I’m wearing a gold colored contemporary necklace from Orly Segal which makes this outfit more chic and refined.

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If I switch to a colorful necklace and change the shoes, the outfit becomes more arty.

Accessories really help create the mood of your outfit and can dramatically change it. That will allow you to wear the same item in many different ways.

To me, more and more, my accessories create the mood of the outfit while my clothes remain basic and simple. This is my form of minimalism and how I keep things simple yet interesting and different. Even though I’m by no means minimalist when it comes to the amount of accessories I own.

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I’m happy to announce that accessories are the main topic of my next style course which will be launched in February of next year. It will teach you everything you need to know about accessories and how to use them effectively. In addition I will tackle important topics like figure flattery, balance and silhouette in more detail. It will be epic. It will be fun. I invite you to sign up for the special list which will keep you informed when the course launches as well as inform you of special launch events and offers. Click Here to add you name to the list!

Outfit details:
Silk Blue dress, Gemma (thrifted)
Black leggings: c/o Stella Carakasi
Gold Urban necklace: c/o Orly Segal
Cream pants: Drykorn for Beautiful People
Colored necklace (old): Alldressedup
Colorful shoes (old): Chie Mihara
Blue shoes (old): Unisa

How do you keep your wardrobe interesting?

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Lisa

Since I first became a reader I have fewer clothes but more outfit variations. I have a lot of things that are colorful but they tend to be solids. I have found that two dissonant colors — such as turquoise and orange, or burgundy and forest green — look great together if they are of the same brightness. And those same four colors can also combine turquoise and burgundy or orange and hunter green, etc. so lots of color combinations. Sometimes I add a scarf or necklace that brings those two colors together. I have been sparer with prints because I think that limits the ability to combine things together. I know there are people who mix prints, but it seldom looks right on me. I also have to admit most of my slacks and skirts are neutrals– most of the color combining goes on the top.

A friend recently saw my closet and was surprised — she thought I had a lot more clothes because I always wear something different. I’m not a minimalist by any means — I can’t imagine paring down to a total of 40 things for instance — but compared to many women, I suppose I am.

In any case, the re-mixable aspect keeps me from getting bored even though I haven’t bought a new article of clothing in 12 months!

Greetje

Oh Lisa. I admire you. 12 months without buying anything AND a very bold and good choice of colours.

Lisa

I’m very, very gradually losing weight (about a pound a month) and have decided to forego new purchase for the time being. (I sew, so taking things in a bit as needed.) I am putting aside money for each pound lost, and am anticipating putting together a new wardrobe in about 15 months. Won’t that be fun?

Sylvia

Very impressive Lisa!

Rebecca

Unfortunately, my wardrobe is pretty boring. As I work in sales p/t, I need to wear the store clothes which are really not my best look. On my days off, I tend to wear slim jeans and fitted tops with either a jacket or sweater, depending on the weather. The saving grace for me is my jewelry which I have collected over the years and which brings many compliments.

Sylvia

Accessories can be so important in finishing an outfit or mixing it up!

Melanie

Great photos, Sylvia! I love your painting – it’s so dramatic in scale and composition and yet it doesn’t overpower the area, it still lets you be the star here. It’s great how a few switcheroos in accessories and shoes can change the feel of an entire outfit.

Sylvia

Thank you. Yes I love it too but my husband does not which is why it’s front and center in my office!

Elaine

My closet has fewer clothes now but more variety and I’m finding I wear more of the items more frequently. Since I began this journey a year ago I have received many compliments on my clothes which makes me smile. I love both of the looks you are wearing and I’m very much looking forward to the new course on accessories. Sometimes I feel like my outfits are cake without icing and I would like to change that!

Sylvia

That is so great to hear Elaine. And wonderful that you want to join the course. It’s going to be epic!

Aileen

It’s always great to hear your views and excellent ideas Sylvia. I agree with you completely about doing more with less and being more creative when choosing an outfit. It is so easy to wear the same style day after day and takes a little bit more effort to think up a different outfit, especially when life is so busy. But it’s well worth the effort to put some thought into coming up with something different or a few different ways to use the same piece of clothing.
Thanks Sylvia.

Sylvia

Yes, that is so true. We are all so busy. That’s why it’s good to keep things simple yet interesting by making just a few tweaks!

Jill

Love the look! Your hair has really grown, and I like it…..however, I think you would look good in any hairstyle because you have such great presence!

Sylvia

Well I’m only posting the flattering photos haha… And the hair has just been cut to a much shorter cut…

melissaleehealing

When it comes to clothing and textiles, I say, bring on more!

Sylvia

Enjoy Melissa!

Greetje

Grat photos. Great examples how it can be done. True words. This is a very good post Sylvia. I can learn from it.
And I am deeply ashamed about al the black trousers I own.

Sylvia

Oh thank you Greetje. Don’t be ashamed. If black trousers are a regular basic for you then it’s ok to have several. Hopefully they are all slightly different though?

Rita

This article definitely speaks to me and my desire to keep things minimalized and tidy. I have culled most of the things I don’t wear out of my closet (save a couple of things that I just really like, even if just to look at), and decided to do more layering with what I have this winter vs. buying new sweaters and heavier clothing. That really saves space! I have even lost my taste for, and reduced the amount of, solid tee shirts that I have. Over the last couple of years I’ve added more prints and textures and it seems really dull to wear the tees now (unless under a patterned sweater).

Probably my biggest revelation is how a few smart pieces of jewelry can really make a difference. At your encouragement through your articles and style course, Sylvia, I have been adding some fun jewelry to accent my basic pieces. When I first discovered your blog, I wore no jewelry except my wedding ring and college ring. Other than those two items, I felt jewelry was not very useful. (You sort of have to wear clothes and shoes.) With your thoughts on accessories in mind, and having found a lovely boutique that sells jewelry by local designers (at very reasonable prices, I think), I’ve added some necklaces and bracelets that I really love. Another advantage is that jewelry is so much smaller and easier to store than tons of clothes!

I do have probably too big of a collection of shoes, but have always used them to make my super basic outfits look a bit nicer. Funny how simply a change of shoes can make the same outfit look totally different. They do take up a bit of space to store, so I am trying to reduce the number of pairs I have, but that’s a bit harder for me than purging the clothing. I have stopped buying shoes, though!

And speaking of, you have my favorite pair of Chie Mihara shoes on in your last two photos! They are just fabulous! 🙂

Greetje

Hi Rita, just wanted to let you know that I saw an outfit on a blog of a friend of mine today where she is wearing a patterned sweater UNDERNEATH a solid sweater. You can see the pattern peeping out at the top and the bottom. Looks very nice. If you want to see it: http://www.theprettycute.blogspot.com

Rita

Hi Greetje. Thank you for the link. That is a great look, and I never thought to layer sweaters like that. Since I’m always cold, that’s a perfect solution. I scrolled through your friend’s blog and she has some lovely outfits (and shoes!). 🙂

Greetje

I know! She is a very good stylist, very classy lady. She styles me as well when I am there. If you click on the link below, you see that I copied her boots. She found me the skirt I am wearing. The rest I styled myself this time, but Dan finds me the stuff in the shop. See her influence?
http://www.nofearoffashion.com/2015/11/max-mara-cream-pleated-skirt

Rita

That’s a lovely outfit, and I can see her influence there, but your own style, too. I love looking in the Max Mara boutiques…such beautiful things and so classy. The skirt you are wearing is really timeless, and looks very up to date with the mid-calf boots. That style of boot is not very common in the shops here (US east coast), that I’ve seen, but I love it. Sometimes you want more coverage than an ankle boot but don’t really need a tall boot. Beautiful photos and setting, too!

Sylvia

Ah that is good to hear Rita. I’m happy that I could play a little part of you using more accessories. I do believe they can make a huge difference to an outfit! Yes, I still love my Chie Mihara’s!

Rita

🙂

nancy

I also wear very very minimalistisch and have got a lot of accesories but never wear them,so i am looking forward to your course!
http://www.fashionandfoodandotherstuff.com

Petra

Your hair is looking great Sylvia – fabulous length on you and the colour is lovely 🙂 I like the minimalist look and although I don’t have much in my wardrobe, I tend to wear the same 3 or 4 outfits over and over because I’m comfy in them. I’m a bit boring that way :-/ so I really need to figure out how to up the anti! However, one area I have changed over the last few years of reading your blog, is that I no longer wear only black! I wear lots of navy, bright pink or orange and team it with beige or denim instead of black. Yay me! And happy Christmas to you and yours.

Mare

Hey Silvia,

Like Melanie I’m admiring that painting. Who’s the artist?

Yvonne

Dear Sylia,
Love this post – fab pictures and I so understand what you are saying…I have a wardrobe full of clothes and despite blogging I sometimes too feel like I spend most of my life wearing the same stuff 😉

This winter I added a cropped bright red cardigan to my wardrobe to brighten everything up.
In summer I have been wearing chunky necklaces – they look fab teamed up with white t-shirts!

Wish you a wonderful christmas.
Yvonne xx
http://www.funkyforty.com

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