Minimalist Wardrobe: Closet Editing

Designing a functional wardrobe can be difficult in this day and age. Cost effective clothing, shoe and accessory options are available, but some brands lack in quality (or are declining in quality) and have a short lifespan. Capsule wardrobes are all the rage. Are capsule wardrobes practical? When minimizing a wardrobe, defining one’s personal style, or reducing scooting spending, probably. If you already have a defined style, I think it’s easier to tally up the basics, and decide what pieces really belong in your closet. As opposed to adding new pieces each season, I’d consider the seasons holistically when initially designing a well rounded closet.

Here are some questions that are helpful to ponder while downsizing:

  • What are your favorite colors?
  • What clothing types are practical for your climate?
  • Are you a frequent traveler?
  • Do you prefer solids, prints, or a mixture of both?
  • How do you transport your belongings (wallet, purse, backpack, luggage)
  • What types of shoes are practical for your daily activities?

This set of questions has helped me identify my favorite types of clothing. For example:

I love the color black, but constantly have to remind myself that it can convey a sense of coldness or distance and feel off putting to others (I’m a teacher). I lean toward navy, black, gray and white.

I live in a climate with hot summers, and distinct seasons as such, layering is key).

I travel and camp often. I aim to buy light color natural fibers (cotton, linen, silk) that can pull double duty, whether I’m bumming around at home, hiking, road tripping, or teaching.

Prints have an amazingly short shelf life in my closet. Occasionally, I’ll buy an on trend print. After a few months of sporadic use, it ends up in my eBay pile. This has been consistent my whole life! I’ve come to accept that I like the idea of wearing prints, but gravitate to solids. The only print that I can truly stomach, is the classic Breton stripe.

As an evolving minimalist, I don’t like to lug around all of my belongings at once. The less pressure I put on my shoulders, the better. I have a blackberry and iPad that I toss into my single navy leather satchel. Any clothing is packed into a medium leather shoulder bag, handed down from my grandfather.

Shoes are my “problem” area. I have 2 pairs of washable sandals, 1 pair of vintage lace up boots (appropriate for dressy & casual events). 3 pairs of canvas/ leather sneakers.

Here’s the synopsis: I need comfortable, loose, layerable attire that I can bike commute in, a bag for traveling, one purse, and a few shoes. Editing my closet feels easier now than it did a few years ago. I have developed a keen sense of who I am, and what looks and feels good for my body. Capsule wardrobes can change from season to season…but I know what I like, and I’m sticking to it!


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