Fashion

How To Build A Minimalist Wardrobe That Lasts For Years

Katherine Saxon
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Owning a minimalist wardrobe is a critical part of one’s sustainable living.

While today’s environmental challenges seem overwhelming, leading a sustainable lifestyle is key to making a difference.

And, as fast fashion is responsible for a significant part of global pollution, clothing is a big part of it!

Time to rethink buying fashion items that weren’t made to last, and stop the seasonal approach to your wardrobe.

Don’t know where to start?

Check out this ultimate guide on how to build a minimalist wardrobe in 2020.

Minimalist fashion style

What Is Minimalism In Fashion?

When it comes to building a minimalist wardrobe, don’t let the terminology confuse you.

Minimalism – as a concept used in fashion – means relieving yourself from the burden of non-necessities.

Minimalist Wardrobe

It also means being conscious of your fashion choices.

Minimalism has never been about deprivation. Rather, minimalism is about getting rid of life’s excess in favour of the essential,” said Joshua Fields Millburn, co-founder of ‘The Minimalists’.

Minimalist Wardrobe Benefits

Minimalism in fashion

Having fewer things is about quality over quantity.

Minimalism puts you into a positive mindset of investing in what you love, rather than accumulating things.

How To Make Your Minimalist Wardrobe

Minimalist Wardrobe

First, you need to understand that the curation of a minimalist wardrobe is a slow process that takes time.

Also, the process of creating a minimalist wardrobe looks different for everyone.

But, there are specific vital guidelines you must follow.

Here are the top five we recommend, if you’re just getting started:

Step1: Begin With A Clean-out

No, you don’t have to begin by clearing out your entire closet, racks, and drawers.

Instead, this initial clean-out is about giving yourself the gift of time to go through each piece, and sort them out, one by one.

In the process, make sure you categorise each item into one of the following four categories:

  1. I love it.

  2. I might wear it again.

  3. Not sure about it.

  4. I won’t wear it again.

Once sorted, discard the last category. Don’t ‘bin’ it, though.

Sustainable fashion is not only about supporting slow fashion labels.

It is also about keeping clothing out of landfills by giving new life to existing items.

Here are what you can do with those unwanted items:

  • Donate: Pack those items up nicely and the send it to the local charity of your choice. Alternatively, you can donate your clothes online. Re-Fashion is one of such charities where you can donate your clothes online.
  • Sell: There are many local and online thrift stores where you can sell your unwanted items. This way you can sell those garments and accessories you won’t wear and buy garments that are missing from your minimalist wardrobe.
  • Swap: This can be actually really fun. Through one of those swapping parties with your friends. Gather your unwanted items, ask your friends to do the same, and trade over a bottle of wine!
  • Upcycle: Here is where to get creative. Take unwanted items and turn them into something new. It involves some free time and crafting skills. There are plenty of YouTube videos that can help you with the latter.

After a few weeks, revisit the ‘not sure about it’ category.

This time, you have to determine which items you want to keep and which you’d like to give away.

Step 2: Fix What You Can

Now that you’ve done the sorting and clean out, the next step to a minimalist wardrobe is to make your garments last longer.

  • Teach yourself how to mend clothes and make minor alterations.
  • Use your local tailor for custom alterations if sewing isn’t your thing.

By fixing, when a piece of clothing gets damaged, you’re extending its lifetime and reduce your waste creation.

This way you have eliminated the need to buy something new and contributed to a cleaner environment.

Step 3: Build Your Unique Style

Now, it’s time to see what your minimalist wardrobe is missing, or you want to improve.

  • Keep in mind that all the garments and accessories you want to add should be sustainable pieces that last for years.
  • Avoid choosing based on trends that are having a moment at that time. These are the garments you want these garments to become staples in your wardrobe.
  • Make a list of the things you want to invest in. Yes, ‘invest’, because that’s the approach you should have with fashion purchases.
  • Try to cover all aspects of your personality: fun, classy, office, relaxed, but also try to retain that timeless look.
  • Don’t sacrifice on quality. Better fewer but loved garments than loads you hate and will never wear. Remember, less is more. You’re not just buying to re-stock your wardrobe; you’re buying to make a difference.
  • Envision the overall look before you decide. Does it match with the other pieces you’ve decided to keep in your minimalist wardrobe? This way, you can always make sure you’re not impulsively buying, or just because your friends got one.

A great way to make sure you’re purchasing with intention is to be very specific about the piece you need to buy.

The type of garment – if missing.

It’s color, texture, fit, and so on.

What To Buy?

Minimalist fashion style

Once you have organized your closet, you’ll be more conscious of what you need to add.

Here are some of the must-have pieces of any minimalist wardrobe:

1. Everyday Minimalist Dress

Everyday dress is a necessity for any minimalist wardrobe.

As the name suggests, this is what you can wear every day, everywhere!

So the quality and comfort are what you need to think about the most.

Nanushka Mona minimalist shirt dress

Nanushka Asymmetric Shirt Dress  – £461

Edward Mongzar Marble dress

Edward Mongzar Marble Dress – £384

Relax Baby Be Cool minimalist shirt dress

2. Minimalist Wardrobe Essentials

There are some pieces, like an oversized pullover, that are essential for any minimalist wardrobe.

Here are a few we have put together to put an end to the never-ending search!

Myintis ovesized minimalist sweater

Myintis Black Sweater – £233

Catalina J white shirt

Catalina J Faith Shirt – £194

Buena Onda white top

3. The Midiskirt

Midiskirts are the minimalist solution for any-occasion outfits.

They are your on-the-go choice for workwear, eveningwear or even formalwear.

Match them with a white shirt, or tuck a tank into a wrap one, and you’ve achieved a casual-chic minimalist look.

Stella McCartney Alisha Tailored Skirt

Stella McCartney Tailored Skirt – £425

Uma Oath Minimalist Skirt

Uma Oath Aina Skirt – £128

Shohei minimalist skirt

Shohei Kai Skirt – £310

Catalina J Insolence Skirt Minimalist Wardrobe

Catalina J Insolence Skirt – £175

4. Timeless Trousers

To make sure your trousers stay in your minimalist wardrobe for a while, timeless design is the key.

Whether made from ‘Tencel’ or ‘Peace Silk’, our favourite go-to trousers are the one that makes you both look good and feel good!

Brooke Da Cruz White Minimalist Trousers

Brooke Da Cruz Light Trousers – £558

Alabama Chanin tailored black trousers

Alabama Chanin Tailored Trousers – £390

Relax Baby Be Cool Long Trousers

5. Sleek Mules

The statement piece of any summer outfit is the mules.

But it’s important to make sure your minimalist wardrobe has not caused any cruelty.

Hard to find shoes that are both luxurious and cruelty-free?

The worry is over as we have put together some of the most luxurious minimalist mules that are both vegan and sustainable.

Balluta Cyano mules

Balluta Cyano Mules – £333

Rungg Radiance Mules

Rungg Radiance Mules – £200

Kweder Musiva Mules

Kweder Musiva Mules – £219

Balluta Pine Mules

Balluta Pine Mules – £266

Maintain A Minimalist Wardrobe?

Once you’ve slowly rebuilt your sustainable, minimalist wardrobe with intentional pieces of higher quality, put in your calendar a review in six months.

After a while, it’s a good idea to start from the beginning, clean out your closet, and refresh, using the same four tips above.

Hopefully, you’ll notice that all of the newly purchased staple pieces make their way into the ‘I love it pile.

From there, you can continue to shape down your minimalist wardrobe until all that is left are just top solid pieces of couture.

Sustainability doesn’t have to require radical life changes. Yes, it might feel like you’re making a sacrifice, but in time, you’ll love the result.

Just take it easy, make slow changes, and whatever you do, make sure you enjoy it. Only if you’re happy, you can make a positive difference.

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  1. VeganWonderWoman

    15 May 2020

    Love this, learned a couple new usefully tips!

  2. Melody

    5 August 2020

    Amazing! following the principles of simplicity and minimalism to achieve sustainable fashion