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If you’re looking to simplify your life, your wardrobe is one of the best places to start. After all, one of the first things most people do in the morning is get dressed, and it’s a lot easier to do that when your closet is clutter-free and aligned with your personal style. That’s why most people can benefit from purging their closets and creating a minimalist wardrobe!
Not only will this save you time when getting dressed in the morning, but you’ll also feel great when you open your closet and see it’s full of outfits you love to wear and feel great in.
In this blog post, you’ll learn how to build a minimalist wardrobe in 10 simple steps. It’s perfect for people who are tired of feeling like they have too many clothes and nothing to wear!
But before we dive into how to put together a minimal wardrobe, let’s explore more about what minimalist fashion truly is – you might be surprised to find that there’s more to it than just aesthetics!
👖 What is a minimalist wardrobe?
Minimalists are as unique and varied in their personalities as non-minimalists, so as you might expect, their motivations and goals for building a minimalist wardrobe are pretty diverse as well.
For some, owning fewer clothes and creating a personal uniform is a way to reduce decision fatigue and be more productive. Others may simply appreciate the aesthetics of a minimalist wardrobe in a neutral color palette.
Therefore, a minimalist wardrobe is a curated collection of essential pieces that can be mixed and matched in a way that adheres to the practitioner’s lifestyle.
🤔 How many pieces are in a minimalist wardrobe?
Ah, the golden question: “How many pieces of clothing should you own as a minimalist?” As you’ve probably guessed by now, the answer is that it depends.
There’s no magic number of how few or many items of clothing you need own before a buzzer goes off, confetti starts to fall, and a funny man dressed in all black pops out of your closet to give you a trophy that reads, “Congratulations, you’re a minimalist!”
A minimalist wardrobe may contain as few as 5 outfits or over 100, which are rotated and swapped seasonally as a capsule wardrobe. The average number of items in a minimalist wardrobe seems to range from 20 to 50 pieces of clothing, which may or may not include undergarments and accessories.
Oops – I was wrong!
Look, Joshua and Ryan from The Minimalists are on their way with a trophy for us. While we wait for them, let’s go through a few examples of the various types of minimalist fashions.
🔍 Minimalist wardrobe examples
- Capsule wardrobe: This is a collection of a limited amount of essential pieces that can be mixed and matched to maximize how many outfits you can own while limiting the quantity. Capsule wardrobes can comprise as few as 10 and up to 40 pieces and are typically swapped or rotated at the end of each season.
- Minimal aesthetic: The goal of a minimalist aesthetic wardrobe is to curate a simple and elegant look that emphasizes quality over quantity. This type of wardrobe focuses on neutral colors and simple silhouettes; the cost of this minimalist fashion aesthetic can vary widely, from budget pieces to high-end luxury brands like Gucci or Burberry. Expensive pieces are seen as “investments” and to be treasured.
- Sustainable minimalist fashion: Also called eco-minimalism or “green” minimalism, sustainable minimalists focus on building a wardrobe of higher quality, ethically-made, eco-friendly clothes that will last for years. This might mean investing in key pieces from sustainable brands, shopping secondhand at thrift stores or online, or supporting local designers and boutiques.
- Extreme minimalist wardrobe: An person who practices extreme minimalism wants to own as few items as possible, ranging from 5 to 15 items. Many extreme minimalists also practice sustainable minimalism and seek out eco-friendly brands. (Read more about extreme minimalism here.)
- “Realistic” minimalist wardrobe: This is the most approachable of all minimalist fashions and can include any or all of the above examples. These types of minimalists tend to be more eclectic in their tastes, and their personality shines through in their wardrobe. Their style might be boho, gothic, artsy, vintage, or even like an average soccer mom – you might not even know they are a minimalist by looking at them when you see them out and about running their errands.
✨ How to Create a Minimalist Wardrobe: 10-Step Guide
1. Set a challenge for yourself
One way to jumpstart your journey to dress like a minimalist is by setting a challenge for yourself. Setting challenges makes the process of decluttering and creating a minimalist wardrobe more fun, which means you’ll be more likely to enjoy it and want to continue or go further!
Think about what your goals are and set challenges for yourself based on those goals.
If your goal is to stop buying new clothes and save money, then a 30-day no spend challenge like this one might be perfect for you.
If you want to experiment with living with less, you might enjoy the Project 333 challenge, in which you try to survive on only 33 items in your wardrobe for three months.
2. Pull out your favorites
One way to start building a minimalist wardrobe you adore is to take inventory of the clothes you already have.
Go through your closet and pull out your favorite items. The pieces that make you feel confident, stylish, and comfortable. These are the pieces you want to keep in your wardrobe.
Please note which colors, fabrics, or styles are your favorite because knowing what you like makes it easier to get rid of the rest.
3. Find your unique style
Now that you know what colors and fabrics you like, it’s time to start thinking about your style.
Remember, there are no hard and set rules when it comes to minimalist fashion, so there’s no need to conform to anyone else’s standards.
The most important thing is that you have enough clothing to curate a complete and functional wardrobe for all the places you go and activities you enjoy and feel comfortable, confident, and 100% Y-O-U in your outfits.
Don’t fall into the fantasy self trap and buy clothes in sizes, silhouettes, colors, or patterns in which you don’t feel amazing just to fit in with the trends.
4. Purge your closet
Now that you’ve identified your favorites and defined your style, the next step is to purge your closet of all the clothing that doesn’t make you feel like your best self. You might be surprised how much of your wardrobe consists of items you don’t even like, let alone love!
Let go of anything that is uncomfortable, doesn’t fit well, or you just plain don’t like wearing.
Here are 20 genius tips for doing a complete closet cleanout if you need more help getting started.
5. Know how to mix-and-match
Now that you’ve whittled your wardrobe down to only your favorite pieces, it’s time to explore how you can mix and match them to create various looks. The sky is the limit!
If you lean towards a more neutral color palette, you’ll find it simple to mix and match tops and bottoms to create many outfits.
If you have more color in your wardrobe, try pairing a solid color item with one that has a pattern on it. For example, black and white striped shirts look great with colorful pants, tucked into jeans, layered under dresses, and underneath blazers.
Don’t be afraid to try things you’ve never tried before. You might be surprised at how people react when you boldy pair surprising colors and patterns.
6 Maintain your clothes
One of the best ways to save money and reduce your carbon footprint is to take care of the clothes you already have. Properly washing, storing, and repairing your clothing can make them last much longer.
Here are a few essentials to maintain your minimalist wardrobe:
- lingerie bags for proper laundering
- fabric shavers
- a small sewing kit and supplies
- velvet hangers for storage
- drying rack to hang clothes to dry (dryers wear out clothes faster!)
7. Practice intentional shopping
The minimalist wardrobe philosophy is all about quality over quantity. When you need to shop for new clothes, take your time and be mindful about each purchase as you consider them on a case-by-case basis.
You can ask yourself this list of intentional shopping questions to help you reduce impulse spending and prioritize wants over needs.
Remember, you’ve already identified your favorite kinds of clothes in the first step, so go back to those, and they can help guide you in making better purchases going forward!
8. One in, one out rule
Once you commit to buying a new item, you might consider implementing the one in, one out rule to help you maintain equilibrium in your minimalist wardrobe.
The one in, one out rule goes like this: for every new piece of clothing you bring into your closet, get rid of an old item you no longer wear. This will help to keep your wardrobe feeling fresh and avoid having a cluttered space.
Of course, there are many variations of this rule, which include increasing the ratio of items going out versus items coming in or swapping across categories; read more about this rule and how to modify it in this post.
9. Create boundaries
As creatures of habit, many people thrive rather than feel stifled when they create routines, systems, and rules for themselves and the stuff they own.
Particularly for aspiring or beginner minimalists who are new to decluttering and living with less, setting boundaries can help them focus their efforts on paring down, making tough decisions about what to keep and what to let go of, and deciding when it’s time to buy new clothes.
Everything in your home and life exists in a finite amount, from the space in your wardrobe to how much time you have to how many outfits you can wear in one week. Boundaries are healthy and a total gamechanger when it comes to saving yourself money, energy, time, space, and headache.
How to set boundaries for your stuff:
- Commit to owning ( – ) amount of items.
- Limit the items in your wardrobe to a set number of hangers.
- Only buy new clothes when your old ones wear out and need to be replaced.
- Make a budget for how much you can spend on clothes each month (and stick to it!)
- Permit yourself enough clothes to fill up your dresser, and when it’s full, it’s full; you either stop buying or declutter if you want to buy new clothes.
10. Make decluttering a habit
One of the best things you can do for your minimalist wardrobe (and your life) is to make decluttering a regular habit. Carve out time every week, month, or at the end of each season to go through your clothes and eliminate anything you no longer wear or love.
Not only will this help keep your wardrobe streamlined, but it will make it so much easier for you to keep your home tidy as you do a little bit at a time, rather than having to do a HUGE declutter in the future!
👚 My Minimalist Wardrobe for summer!
Remember, dressing like a minimalist doesn’t mean you need to wear only neutrals or own fewer than 10 items!
If you want to see how I dress as a real minimalist mom, check out the below video where I shared my minimalist summer wardrobe. If I had to define my style, I’d say it’s cozy, electric, and casual.
For comparison, we live in a four-season climate where temperatures can vary dramatically, even from one day to the next! Many items in my wardrobe are 10 years or older or from the thrift store, but I recently added a few sustainable linen pieces that I’d had my eye on for a while – check them out and see what you think!
💡 Final thoughts on building a minimalist wardrobe
Remember, creating a minimalist wardrobe and deciding how much clothing you should own is more art than science. No matter what, be honest with yourself about your lifestyle, what you actually wear, and what you don’t, and be willing to learn from your struggles and mistakes.
If you do that, I’m confident you are on the right path to building the minimalist wardrobe of your dreams.
If you have any tips on building a minimalist wardrobe that you’d like to share, be sure and drop them in the comments section below, or if you’re new to minimalism and want to declutter but don’t know how to get started, read this post on how to declutter your entire home in 5 simple steps – yes, each and every room!