Why I Don’t Want to Have a Minimalist Wardrobe!

I’m sure you’ve all heard about minimalist wardrobes. Contests or challenges like « Project 333 », « The Under 30 Items Minimalist Wardrobe », « 10 Pieces (or sometimes it’s 12 pieces) Capsule Wardrobe », « The 5 Days to Minimals », « The Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge », etc.

To me, these wardrobe challenges sound more or less like a diet program. You know, the ones that tell you, you’re going to lose weight in let’s say « 7 days »… It’s kind of the same madness: « you ate too much » vs. you’re buying too many clothes – « don’t worry, you will get rid of these extra pounds in less time than it takes to say » vs. don’t worry you will be guided to have The Perfect Wardrobe containing the exact right number of clothes you just need…

AE5A2839-capsule-wardrobe-packingIt does look perfect!

 

Well, what do I mean exactly with these critics:

1/ I don’t say that the goals of these minimalist wardrobes are all wrong. Simplifying your life, saving money and time, having a closet well-organized and uncluttered… I agree with all of this promises and I do declutter my closet twice a year…

But mine never looks like this neat and well-organized one…

minimalist wardrobeThis closet looks nice but do I really want to wear this every single day? Won’t it be boring?

 

2/ As a French woman, I will always rely upon few basic clothes as a white shirt, a black or navy tailored pants, a trench, and a wrapped dress. I always have this kind of items in my closet. They are timeless, easy to match and I know I can wear them in a lot of circumstances.

3/ I am aware that we consume way too many things including clothes, especially since fast fashion brands convinced us that it’s costless and fun… I agree that doing shopping on every Saturdays should not be an end in itself, a pastime or a hobby.

But still, I don’t want to have a minimalist wardrobe!

Unless we need it (for a job or a special occasion), I don’t think we all have to wear the same uniform.

Isn’t a little frightening to see how alike all these wardrobes are?…

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(pictures from Pinterest)

It’s true, wearing always the same clothes simplify your life (like with a school uniform: you don’t have to think about what to wear…). It’s also true that with only (like on the picture bellow) 3 jackets, 2 tops, 3 bottoms and 3 pairs of shoes, you can have like 48 different outfits… Wow!

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In fact, I think it can be fine if you really consider dressing as a pain and a daily chore.

But I also think that we are individuals with specific bodies and most important specific personalities and tastes. We are not copy/pastable! The way we get dressed will always be an important way of expressing our characters and telling about ourselves. Finding our own style, it’s way more interesting (and difficult sometimes) than following a handbook that tells us what to buy and wear…

I’m not totally obsessed with clothes and fashion but I admit that I love creativity, new inspirations and the excitement of change. Wearing new clothes is part of the process and especially if these clothes are genuine and creative!

I also like keeping few old clothes and accessories that remind me good memories or a special person. Sometimes, I just keep some waiting for the moment when I will feel like wearing them again…

But the most important for me is that buying and wearing a new cloth that I truly love make me feel good and confident. The only condition is: does it fit me? (or I won’t buy it). No matter if it’s a trendy designer one or just one from a vintage or a second-hand store. No matter if it’s just a simple cut in a good fabric or one with outstanding prints… And no matter, if I can do, or not, hundred of combinations with it! (I have my staples for that…)

It’s just a cloth that for obscure, not always rational and objective reasons, I have a real crush on! I might wear it less often than my jeans + white t-shirt combo… but I still like to have it in my closet.

Is it bad?

What do you think? I’d be really interested to read your opinions.

 

 

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22 Comments

  1. I love the idea of a minimalist wardrobe, but not so much the practice. I try to keep my basics to well made pieces in neutral colors – black,white, grey, navy, and shades of brown. That way I can mix and match almost anything. Then I bring in a few pieces in colors that flatter me like red, or eggplant, that can be worn with most of my basics. I add interest with things like a nice silk scarf. I try to only choose one or two trendy items a season, but I will always splurge on a good basic piece that fits me and my wardrobe. I don’t collect too much, so I can always love what I wear

  2. I agree with Lisa. :-). Know what works, buy the best quality you can afford, stop there and stay in control of the shopping. Focusing on pieces of quality is much more self-affirming and they are reliable for me than trend-churn disposable fashion. Keep the closet uncluttered — it doesn’t have to look like an Instagram pic. :-) Merci, Cecile!

    • Right Shan! It definitively doesn’t have to look like an Instagram pic! :))

  3. Thank you for this post. I think too many people have equated the capsule wardrobe with the idea that they are the only clothes to wear. For me, capsule means core pieces, the sort of clothes that I wear frequently, like the good white tee and the black cardigan. These are the pieces that provide the foundation for the bright skirt or the floral silk pants I wear on my date nights or to work. I don’t need so many of these core pieces and I buy the best I can find–not always so expensive, but the best. When they wear out, I replace them. Otherwise, my closet contains an eclectic mix of beautiful clothes I love to wear because they are like art to me. Again, these pieces are not always so expensive, but they are well-made pieces that have meaning to me.

    • I love your words: « eclectic mix of beautiful clothes I love to wear because they are like art to me » I couldn’t say better Kimberley!

  4. I appreciate your perspective on this, Cecile! Like others have commented, I do like to have certain good basic pieces. But because I love colour and texture, I look at the photos of capsule wardrobes in all black/grey/white/navy and I know I would feel sad wearing only those, every day. How I dress is a creative practice for me. I like having variety and options wherever possible.

  5. I go back and forth. I love the idea of a uniform, especially when I am very busy, have my mind on other things, and don’t have the energy to try to figure out what to wear every day. But – I do get bored after awhile, so I jazz things up with new shoes, tees in « the color of the moment » and scarves. Right now, I am toying with the idea of denim blue being a neutral because I love to wear jeans! Through it all, though, I stick to a three-color wardrobe: navy, gray and white. Everything goes with everything, which makes me feel like I am successful at developing and maintaining a workable wardrobe…

    • It’s all about a matter of balance, Catherine. And it seems that you’ve found it!

      • For the last three years I have disciplined myself to buy clothes only in black, blue, white or grey. I’ve got a closet full of lots of different shades which still gives variety — as do variations in texture and weight of fabrics and the overall shape and style. I like this quite well. First, it makes it easier to say No to tempting purchases I don’t need to make. Second, it makes dressing (and packing!) a breeze — well, easier anyway. Everything goes with pretty much everything, so it’s a matter of playing with proportion and silhouette from day to day in those colors. And I do love scarves — but typically I’m wearing tones int eh same families. Works for me, anyway. :-)

        Have a wonderful day!

        • Thank you for sharing your process, Shan. It seems to work very weel for you. Still, I’m very impressed by your discipline.

  6. Joe Lupo and Jesse Garza of Visual Therapy (www.visual-therapy.com) have a very appropriate analogy for this. They talk about the importance of both “cake” and “frosting.” Cake being the basics of one’s wardrobe; frosting meaning the whimsical pieces that add spunk and personality.

    Personally, I agree wholeheartedly that everyone needs both. FYI, not even all the basics will be the same for everyone. It’s important to recognize which pieces in one’s wardrobe are the building blocks, yet that should never mean removing pieces that speak only to the individual. That is precisely what gives life to the wardrobe.

  7. I like to think of dressing as simply another aspect of my creativity. The move in the last few years to us all having a uniform, and basically the same one at that, leaves me cold. I want to put my own spin on things, and reserve the right to have a pink day now and then!

    • You’re so right! If we feel like it, let’s have a pink/red/yellow/orange/purple…day ;)

    • Thank you Ann for the link you did in your post « Links I love ». I really appreciate!

  8. I enjoyed this perspective! I’ve never understood the whole numbers/counting clothes/setting a cap concept with the minimalist wardrobe. I like being mindful about what I buy, but picking out « 30 articles of clothing » to wear in a month makes no sense to me.

  9. I always have the fear that I wouldn’t feel like wearing what I have if it’s so limited. I would feel so boxed in with such a small wardrobe! Even if I don’t use the options very often, I feel safer with them. I can’t even set my clothes out the night before- what if I’m in the mood for something different the next day? Great perspective though!

  10. Interesting perspectives in the comments! What I got from things like Project 333 was inspiration to drastically prune my closet to hold only what suits me and I love (plus a few grungy things for cleaning out the chicken coop!). I do have a ‘uniform’ for most days, but it consists of flowing, patterned boho skirts (99% second hand) plus a smaller number of plain tops in colours that go with several skirts. I appreciate being able to reach into my closet and quickly pull out an outfit that I will feel good in, every day. (BTW, I found your blog via Modern Mrs Darcy.)

    • Hi Susan, thank you for joining the conversation (thank you Modern Mrs Darcy!). Your experience is very interesting. Sometimes we need an inspiration to start something difficult and editing a wardrobe is not so easy… But as I can see you did it your very own way not copy pasting « all in black » minimal style uniforms and keeping the unique clothes you really love. Just as your patterned boho skirts matching a bunch of colored tops. Doesn’t look « minimalist » to me but looks really personal and perfect!

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