When you hear the word "minimalist fashion," you're probably thinking of a few things. You probably envision those well-maintained wardrobes you see on Pinterest, full of wispy, shapeless-looking pieces in various colours of black, grey, and taupe, with a splash of colour thrown in for good measure.
It could also be a general feeling or atmosphere. The prospect of only a few pieces of clothes may excite you because getting dressed in the morning would be a lot easier, or it may make you grimace because getting ready in the morning would now be quite monotonous.
All of these items are pieces of a greater puzzle, but none of them provide a complete image of what a minimalist fashion approach looks like.
One component of minimalist fashion, specifically minimalist fashion as an aesthetic, is those wispy, neutral-filled outfits. Similar to minimalism as a decorating style, when there isn't a single trinket on the white furniture in a space with white walls. You can have a minimalist wardrobe with hundreds of pieces with a minimal aesthetic or a minimalist wardrobe with a small number of pieces and a minimalist taste.
A minimal approach
As opposed to a minimalist style, a minimalist approach to fashion is more about your attitude and thought process than your color pallet (or lack thereof) or the number of items in your closet.
A minimalist approach to fashion is approaching your closet with purpose rather than aiming for the largest (or smallest) number of items. Rather, your goal is to have a wardrobe that fits your lifestyle and is full of high-quality pieces that you adore and will hopefully endure for years.
The goal isn't to reduce the size of your shoes or clothes to single digits. The idea isn't just to have black, grey, cream, and taupe tones. The idea isn't for you to despise your minimalist wardrobe. In fact, the reverse is true.
Did you know that on average, only 20% of a person's wardrobe is worn on a regular basis? That means that 80% of the clothes we have can't live without spending the majority of their time on a hanger in your closet, while we reach for the same well-loved dress or sweater time after time.
Rather, you're probably suffering from decision fatigue, often known as the paradox of choice: the more options you have, the more difficult it is to make a decision, and the less confident you are in the final selection.
But what if that no longer happened? What if you opened your closet every day and only saw clothes you absolutely adored, such that anything you chose made you feel confident, fantastic, and unmistakably you? That is what a minimalist fashion approach is all about.
So you want to have that wonderful feeling of glancing through your closet and only seeing items that you adore, but how do you get there? Seeing your closet for the first time is likely to be intimidating, but cleaning it and getting rid of all the items you can't tolerate is the first step toward your dream wardrobe.
Define your style
It's time to identify your style after you've decluttered your closet.
The contrast between your style and your closet is comparable to that between minimalism and decluttering. Your own style is expressed through your wardrobe selections as well as other features such as makeup and accessories.
The actual pieces of clothing that make up that style are called your wardrobe.
You'll always have a wardrobe, but if you don't take the time to establish your style now, it'll be just as cluttered in a few months or years as it was before you started this trip.
Making your personal style visual is one of the finest methods to start figuring it out. Create a Pinterest board or a file on your desktop for everything you find that reflects the excellent style to you, and pin or save it there.
Everything from whole costumes to haircuts, cosmetics and jewellery selections, editorial shoots with a specific attitude, and even colour palettes can be included on the board.
Once you've generated a visual depiction of a fantastic style that you appreciate, analyse it and identify those patterns again, just like you did with the piles in your closet.
Make a mental note of the colours or patterns that appeal to you. Which silhouettes, styling options, outfit formulations, or accessories keep reappearing? Take note of everything from the obvious, such as colours and patterns, to the subtle, such as how an item drapes, the sort of cloth used, or a quirky detail that adds interest to an outfit.
Compare your list to the one you made during the decluttering step. This can assist you in finding the gaps between how your wardrobe expresses your current style and how you want it to alter in the future.
Because it's all about experimentation, this is where things can get really interesting.
Start experimenting with the silhouettes, pops of colour, and styling methods you've been pinning on your Pinterest board. It will force you to step outside of your comfort zone, force you to think outside the box and assist you in determining what you prefer in reality versus what you like in theory.
You may adore the way a certain colour or silhouette appears in photographs, but it doesn't look as well on you. Or perhaps it's a pair of shoes or a styling technique that looks fantastic but is too time-consuming for you to cope with on a daily basis.
Colors and selecting a colour palette that works for you will be a part of your experimenting. In a minimalist wardrobe, there are three major approaches to colour.
You can stick to neutrals with a splash of colour here and there, making adaptability a breeze. You can use a limited palette of neutrals, primary colours, and accent colours.
Choosing a palette that works for you takes a little more effort up front, but the final result can be a bright yet still versatile wardrobe. A third alternative is to concentrate your colour choices on pieces that will never be worn together, regardless of whether they coordinate or clash.
If the idea of sticking to just neutrals or even a single coordinated colour palette doesn't appeal to you, this is a terrific alternative.
If one of your main motivations for decreasing your wardrobe was to reduce choice fatigue, the outfit formula would most likely be your greatest friend.
A formula could be as simple as jeans, a shirt, a sweater, and shoes, or as specific as a flared skirt, a fitted button-down, a statement necklace, and ballet flats. Most likely, you already have a few subconscious outfit formulas, but if none spring to mind right away, go back to that visualization board and notice what kinds of clothes keep popping up.
Make a wish list
Creating a wish list is by far the most effective approach to combat overload while shopping. This means you go into the store with a clear idea of what you want, making it much easier to select goods that will fit into your existing wardrobe.
A wish list, like outfit formulas, can be broad, such as a structured pair of jeans, or narrow, such as a striped 3/4-sleeve peplum Top. Make it specific enough to assist you with those unavoidable selections, but not so specific that nothing matches your mental image.
Think about ethical and fair trade fashion
If the numbers in our closets don't tell the story, the numbers in our landfills do. Clothing has transformed over the last few years from being something you invest in and keep for as long as possible to become as cheap and disposable as the food we buy.
We don't have four fashion seasons a year anymore, but more like 52. New products are constantly arriving in stores, and we're encouraged to buy. So we do, and then we do it again the next week when new products hit the shelves, resulting in closets overflowing with mediocre-quality items and 15 million tonnes of textile waste created in the United States each year, 85 percent of which ends up in landfills.
Fast fashion has changed the way we shop for and consider clothing, but at what cost? Traditional methods use 2,700 litres of water to produce enough cotton for one shirt, and the chemicals used in harvesting that cotton soaks into the soil, rendering it useless. In addition to the environmental damage, several well-known companies use sweatshops to manufacture their products, paying little or no respect to local labour laws and safety standards.
While pricing isn't always a strong indicator of a garment's quality, it is usually always a good indicator of its ethics and long-term sustainability.
Fortunately, just as consumerism is changing in general culture, the fashion industry is changing as well, and there are many great companies out there fighting for higher-quality garments made from sustainable materials, in environmentally conscious ways, and under ethical and safe working conditions.