One of the main issues I found when starting my minimal lifestyle change was getting to grips with creating a minimal wardrobe. I trawled Pinterest for ideas and it seemed quite easy, pick a few items of clothing that you like and put them together to create many outfits, simple right! Yes probably, if you know your style, colour preferences, what goes with what and what suits you and this is where I started struggling.
The reality of getting from this:
Was not going to be easy!
So before I started, I sat down and really thought about what having a minimal wardrobe would mean to me, and how it would improve my day to day life. I realised that as I have a uniform for work I wouldn’t need to worry about the working week so my style would need to consist of more casual outfits for evenings and weekends. I play badminton during the week but had active wear already so this didn’t need to be included in any new items I would need.
Attacking my wardrobe didn’t just happen in one day, I had a lot (a stupid amount!) of stuff and to my shame I had items that still had tags on which I’d bought in sales and had never worn. I spent a good couple of days going through everything and I still have a box of clothes that I haven’t yet been brave enough to part with, but I’ve set myself a time limit to re-visit them and if I haven’t worn an item it will be going.
Here are the 5 things I considered before I started, they made it easier for me to plan my new capsule wardrobe:
1. Dress For You
You deserve to feel good in your clothes, you deserve to feel comfortable and to wear what you love. Never dress to please someone else or wear something because it’s the latest style, your clothes need to work for you not against you. I’ve worn outfits in the past that are ‘the in thing’ and I’ve spent full evenings pulling down skirt hems, adjusting the fabric around my stomach and pulling up necklines. If you feel uncomfortable in your clothes then to other people you will look uncomfortable. You don’t need anyone else to approve of what you wear. Your confidence will always shine when you feel good in every item of clothing you have in your wardrobe.
2. Take Time To Find Your Signature Style
Your minimal wardrobe should include purchases of essential items that compliment your shape, lifestyle and style. Ask yourself ‘who are you and who do you want to be?’ What do you stand for and what do you want to achieve? What do you do and where you go during the day are important factors in what you choose for your basics. Once I started sorting through my clothes I realised that I have a wardrobe full of fitted dresses and heels, as I used to work in a more corporate environment. They are clothes I like the look of but no longer wear. As I’ve got older my style has definitely changed and I require a more casual wardrobe with two or three lighter less structured dresses for the basis of my evening wear.
The easiest way I found to discover my true style was to spend some time looking through Pinterest, and creating a board from all the looks I loved. I then deleted anything that didn’t fit my lifestyle. After spending years favouring anything black I found I was actually drawn to natural colour patterns and discovered that a lot of what I pinned included brown tones which I hadn’t considered previously. After purchasing a couple of new tops in rust brown colours I realised that they did really suit me and would go really well with my new colour palette. I also found that I really like floral maxi dresses with long boots and a knit cardigan for Autumn/Winter so I’ve made this the basis for my new season evening wear. Decide on your daily uniform and what you will need to make it work as a capsule collection.
3. Decide Which Brands Work For You And Set A Budget
Once you’ve cleared out you old wardrobe and discarded what won’t work, you need to decide what you need to purchase to create your perfect capsule collection. Take you time and make a list as you go (a list is included in my free planner printable), I found this to be the fun part of the process. Once I’d started a list I began looking for items online which matched what I needed, making sure the style and colour would compliment my chosen palette. Know what brands stock your style and keep details of what you purchase from each one in case you need to replace an item.
After you’ve made your list you need to have a set budget in mind before you start shopping. The purpose of simplifying is also to save money in the long run, so blowing all your funds on a massive budget will defeat the object. Ensure that the brands you choose are affordable and within your budget. Always shop for your base pieces first as they are the most important items on your list and everything else will be coordinated around them. If your budget doesn’t stretch to purchasing everything at once then focus on these base items and gradually add your accent items afterwards.
4. Do Your Research And Know Your Size
Choose good fabrics and understand their care and maintenance needs. One of the main elements of the capsule wardrobe is that you are mindful of the upkeep of your items, its all about extending their longevity, a top that gets misshapen on the third wash is not going to give you good wear. You don’t want to be paying out to replace items all the time because they were cheap and bad quality. If you are trying out a new brand always read the reviews!
Make sure you know your measurements before you go shopping, not all brands confirm to the same sizing standards. If you are shopping in-store then try everything on before buying. If you are shopping online then always check out the brands size guide to see what size your measurements fall into.
5. Don’t Have Too Many Restrictions
Creating your minimal wardrobe should be fun. It’s all about creating a capsule collection that best fits your personal lifestyle and makes day to day life easier. It’s an amazing feeling to wake up in the morning and know what you will wear. No more mad, frustrating clothes disasters, just a minimal uniform that works together and works for you. Creating your perfectly curated closet also takes time and patience so don’t be too restrictive in the beginning, if you can’t bear to part with something at first then don’t. Keep it to one side and see if it could fit in with your new collection, there are no rules or restrictions that say you have to be totally ruthless and get rid of everything. Find out what works best for you and minimise gradually.
I’m still creating my capsule wardrobe, which will be ready for the next season Autumn/Winter 19, I will begin posting my process soon, but in the meantime I’ve created The Wardrobe Planner Workbook which you can download as a FREE printable to help you plan your new minimal wardrobe . Check out the blog for more updates coming soon.