20 Minimalist Wardrobe Tips: How to Have a Minimalist Closet
Would you like to create a capsule wardrobe and start saving time, money and energy? If so, here are my top 20 minimalist wardrobe tips to help you get started!
As a former shopaholic turned minimalist, these are hard-earned lessons. At one stage, my closet took up an entire spare bedroom and I had over 100 pairs of shoes. Also hidden in my closet was a lot of guilt, shame and limiting beliefs about myself and my clothing addiction.
Decluttering was NOT easy and in all honesty, it took me several years to make any real progress. It was a long and painful process but in the end, Im grateful because I learned so muchabout myself, my wardrobe and minimalist living in general.
In fact, you could say that decluttering my closet was the spark that kickstarted my entire minimalist lifestyle. If youd like to create a similar change in your life (or you just want to create a minimalist wardrobe you love) then here are tips and resources to help you on your journey.
Tour My Minimalist Wardrobe
Before I share my minimalist wardrobe tips, I thought you might like a sneak peek into my closet!
Its not super minimalistIve definitely gotten by with fewer clothes in the pastbut its what feels good for me at this stage in my life. (And thats so important to remember! Minimalism is not one size fits all. Instead, its about doing whats right for YOU!)
20 Minimalist Wardrobe Tips
GET COMFORTABLE WITH REPEATING OUTFITS
I used to think that in order to be stylish, I had to come up with new looks all the timebut honestly? When I look back on that time of my life, I can see that I never felt very confident and Im sure that it showed.
What has worked a lot better for me is having a uniform (a few go-to styles I can wear all the time) and quality basics that I wear on repeat. I feel so much more stylish and confident, plus I never have to worry about what to wear!
PAY ATTENTION TO FABRICS
When I first decluttered my closet, one of the best things I did was to pay attention to fabrics. I started looking closely at the clothes I wore all the time (and the things I never wore) and I realised there were some definite trends.
Natural fibres like cotton and linen were on high rotation in my everyday wardrobe, while fabrics like polyester sat in my closet unworn. Armed with this information, I was better able to curate a minimalist wardrobe full of clothes I actually like wearing!
This doesnt mean you have to get rid of all your polyester too but I do recommend paying attention to what you feel comfortable in. Look for your own trendsthe more you know about what you like wearing, the easier it will be to make good decisions.
DEFINE BOUNDARIES + CREATE RULES
What will you (or wont you) wear? Personally, I know I never wear wide-legged trousers, the colour yellow or anything dry clean only.
There isnt anything wrong with these types of clothes but personal experience has taught me not to bother buying or owning these thingsI just dont wear them! Creating these rules for myself has made closet decluttering and shopping so much easier.
BORROW INSTEAD OF BUYING
A simple minimalist wardrobe tip is to borrow clothes that you know you only need for a short period of time. For example, if you need a dress for a special occasion or a warm jacket for a ski trip. You might be surprised what you can find if you take the time to ask.
UNDERSTAND YOU CAN ADMIRE A STYLE WITHOUT WANTING TO WEAR IT
I use to spend so much money on things I loved but never wore and I could never figure out why until I realised that I can admire a style without needing to wear it. Its like going to a museumyou can appreciate different styles of art without wanting it all in your living room.
This might sound like common sense to some but for me, it was a game-changer.
AVOID CLOTHES THAT REQUIRE SPECIALTY UNDERGARMENTS
unless you already own them and are 100% comfortable wearing them.
For example, dont buy a dress knowing you need to go out and buy a speciality bra before you can wear it.
BE HONEST ABOUT HOW MUCH YOURE WILLING TO SUFFER FOR FASHION
I used to tell myself that I felt great in stiletto heels and tight pencil skirts but in reality, I was always reaching for flat sandals and t-shirt dresses.
Once I got honest with myself about the importance of comfort in my wardrobe, I stopped buying (and holding onto) anything that didnt meet that criteria.
KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT DEFINED BY WHAT YOU WEAR
OK, I know this is something that most people know on an intellectual level but at the same time, I think many people struggle to truly believe it.
This is why we hang onto clothes that no longer fit or struggle to say goodbye to items that remind us of different stages of life. Were still attached to who we used to be in those clothes (or perhaps more accurately, who we thought we were) and so letting go feels hard.
If you struggle with this, I recommend investing time into working on your self-worth. The more confident you feel about yourself, the less youll need your clothes to define you.
GET TO KNOW A GOOD TAILOR
If you have a closet full of clothes you never wear, odds are that poor fit is at least partially to blame.
Heres a reality check for you: if you buy read to wear fashion (99% of whats on the market), then youre always going to struggle with fit issues. This isnt about your sizeits about body shape. No one pattern will ever fit everyones body!
You cant expect that everything you buy off the rack will fit you, so finding a good tailor is a must. I know its can feel like an added expense but think about how much money youve probably already wasted on things that dont work for you?
Paying a little more upfront will probably save you more in the long term (plus youll feel good wearing clothes that actually fit your body!).
Tip: Before you shop, its important to know what a tailor can and cant do.
DO A WARDROBE AUDIT
So many of our wardrobe challenges stem from a clack of clarityfor many people, what they think they like wearing and what they actually wear are two completely different things. This is how you end up with a closet full of clothes you never wear.
If you want to create a minimalist wardrobe, one of my top tips is to start by doing a wardrobe audit. Take a long hard look at what you actually like wearing (and why) and then use this information to make informed choices about your closet. I can promise this will change the way you dress and shop.
Not sure how to do a wardrobe audit? Then to be sure to check out my One Day Closet Cleanse program. Ill teach you a step-by-step process of how to declutter your closet, including a bonus Wardrobe Audit workbook.
This is the key to really understanding your style (say goodbye to buying things you never wear and hello to a functional closet full of items you actually wear!).
SHOP WITH A LIST + ALWAYS DO RESEARCH FIRST
Lets be honestclothing shops are designed to manipulate you. Everything from the displays to the music (and sometimes even the smells!) are carefully chosen to encourage you to buy. Millions and millions of dollars are spent on consumer research because retailers want us to make impulsive decisions.
A simple but surprisingly easy way of combating this is to always shop with a list and to do your research first. Know what you need and be specific.
If you want black trousers, then what style? What fit? And what fabric? I like to read reviews tooyoud be surprised what information you can find online. Narrow it down to a few specific options (or at least have clear criteria) before you get to the shops and youll be less likely to be influenced by marketing gimmicks.
LET GO OF PERFECT
Are you searching for the perfect little black dress? (Or insert whatever items on your current wishlist?) If so, you need to stop.
I know that minimalism is all about the pursuit of quality over quantity but in my personal experience, you have to be careful not to let an obsession with quality get out of control.
Why? Because there is no such thing as perfect and if youre obsessed with achieving it (in your wardrobe or in any part of your life) then youll never be satisfied. Accepting this is an essential part of achieving a minimalist wardrobe and an overall minimalist mindset.
HEMLINES, NECKLINES + MORE: KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE!
Most people favour certain hemlines, necklines, waistlines, and more. Knowing what you do (or dont) like is essential to creating a functional minimalist wardrobe.
EXPERIMENT WITH GOING WITHOUT
Most of us have nearly 24/7 access to shops and as a result, I think weve become accustomed to having our needs immediately satisfied. For example, if Im trying on a dress and I dont love how it looks with the shoes currently in my closet, its incredibly easy to buy a new pair.
I can hop on my phone and place an order within minutes or I can pop out to the shops at all hours of the nightright?
It might be easy to do but experiment with resisting the urge. Get used to making do with what you have. It will help you resist impulse buys and youll get a better understanding of what your actual closet needs are.
Related Post: How to Be Happy With What You Have + Stop Wanting More
TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR FAVOURITE ITEMS
One of the challenges of having a smaller, minimalist wardrobe is that you need to take care of your clothes! Here are a few tips that have helped me:
- Wash your clothes less often I know that depending on your lifestyle this can be a challenge but this doesnt mean its not worth trying. Try airing out your clothes before you toss them in the laundry pile.
- Avoid the dryer When I moved to Australia from the US, I was surprised to learn most people here dont use a dryer. At first, this was an inconvenience but Ive since learned is a giftair drying is so much gentler on your clothes!
- Read (and follow) the care instructions this should be a no-brainer but Ill admit I used to be guilty of this all the time! Now Im more careful and honestly if Im not willing to follow the instructionsI dont buy it in the first place!
ORGANISE YOUR CLOSET
Personally, I find that having an aesthetically pleasing closet really helps me to maintain a minimalist wardrobe. I dont want to clutter it with excess clothing because I enjoy looking at the beautiful and function space!
Some easy tips: use matching hangers, arrange your clothes by colour and style, and use storage bins that match your overall decor for small items.
Also, I recommend taking a picture of your closet once youve organised it! Keep it somewhere handy (like on your phone) and look at it before you make any new purchases.
- Do I physically have space for a new purchase?
- Do I already own something that will do the same job?
- Does this new item fit my existing style? (This is especially helpful with coloursreferring back to a photo will help you identify what doesnt belong.)
CHOOSE VERSATILE ITEMS
Keep or buy items that can serve multiple purposes. Here are some examples:
- A denim shirt looks great on its own or you can wear it as a jacket
- A simple t-shirt dress can be worn in the summer with sandals or you could add tights, boots and a cardigan in the winter
- High-quality tanks or camisoles can be worn alone or under sweaters, jackets, etc.
Be wary of pieces that are hard to layer (billowy sleeves or strange necklines) or items with limited uses.
STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE
I can almost guarantee that the more time you spend looking at other peoples wardrobes, the less content youll feel with your own.
To help with this, I stopped buying fashion magazines, I no longer read any fashion blogs, and Im mindful of who I follow on Instagram.
GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO MAKE MISTAKES
Odds are you have a few mistakes hanging in your closet and trust me, I know it can be difficult to acknowledge. Its never own up to a bad purchase. Instead, its easy to pretend its not a bad purchase. (I really do love that dress! Im just waiting for the right time to wear it.)
I know its not easy but give yourself permission to own up to your mistakes. In doing so, I can promise it will be easier to let go and youll learn from experience, which means youll make fewer mistakes in the future.
STOP TAKING IT ALL SO SERIOUSLY
And finally heres a bit of tough love: at the end of the day, no one really cares what youre wearing.
This doesnt mean you have to stop caring completely but honestly, be mindful of how much time, energy and money youre putting into your wardrobe. Is it really a priority? Or are there better things you could be doing or worrying about?
More Minimalist Wardrobe Tips + Resources
If you enjoyed this article, then be sure to check out:
Do you struggle with your closet? If so, what are your biggest challenges? Or if youve got your closet under control, what are your top minimalist wardrobe tips! Let us know in the comments xx
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