I’m not sure when it started, but for the longest time, I have had the feeling that my wardrobe was trying to suffocate me.
I was buried in a sea of outfit choices. All I had to do was walk in to my closet and pick an item that I felt like wearing that day. That had always been a fun process for me. I’ve always enjoyed dressing up as a form of expression and presentation. I’ve always enjoyed shopping and thirsting (or as I like to call it, treasure hunting), finding deals and scoring on items I love.
But as of recently, when looking at my closet, I have felt:
- And all manner of feelings around the latter.
So I decided that the first step was to figure out what I was doing wrong. I mean surely the bigger my wardrobe grew, the more style options I had, the happier I should be right?
More is not good
It’s not. In fact in marketing psychology there is an argument called the paradox of choice. It’s one of my favorites concepts. It basically argues that the more choices you present people the more frustrated and unhappy they become. So keep it simple, don’t overwhelm, look to simplifying your customers choices.
The case for simplicity
Observe Picasso’s bull paintings.
The first state of the bull is filled with a lot of details and shading and all manner of pencil work. As the art progresses, Picasso is able to preserve the concept of the bull, while achieving simplicity. In the last image, there is no shading, virtually no detail, and it’s simply an outline that honors the image of the bull.
This, I think is a great visual when thinking about simplicity. It’s what companies like Apple use to teach the employees about great product design.
What does Picasso have to do with you getting dressed and finding something to wear each morning? Or me with my meh closet?
Here’s why, we fail to appreciate the beauty of the pieces in our closet because we are so bogged down by all the choices before us. The details we think are necessary are all the extra dresses, and one-time statement pieces. We assume the more of these options we have, the more likely we will be to achieve the style looks we want. But at the end, all it does is overwhelm us with options, drain our finances, and suck our time shopping and accumulating more.
That’s why my closet feels like it’s suffocating me.
There is simply too much to keep track of. And the anxiety you and I may be feeling is because you don’t want to miss on a particular look or item.
I argue it’s the reason why I can never settle on wearing the first outfit I put on. Even though I’ll usually come back to it 8 times out of 10.
A minimalist wardrobe is simple and beautiful (and freaking hard)
I’m going on a spending challenge.
I just bought a bag; it’s a vintage bag from the 80s. I justified that I needed it, bought it, and then looked around and saw I have multiple bags. So I’m calling it my last cig, because shopping to me is like smoking. I do it at all hours of the day in all sorts of situations (waiting in line, on my lunch break, waiting for a meeting to start, at an event, or even on a day out with my partner).
Quitting shopping cold turkey is a little hard. It’s also necessary in my case because it will help clear the clutter. Take out the fogginess of confusion and the driving need to get this item, or that bag, or that pair of shoes.
I don’t need all that to be honest. I can be happy with far less (but better quality).
Figure out what you need to do if you want to start building a minimalist wardrobe. Whether it’s slowing down on your shopping, buying one item a month, or saving up and starting with a personal style assessment.
Figuring out your personal style is the very first step
IMAGE: Shirt and Jeans + Me+Hat
Not shopping for the It bag, or yet another pair of boots. Figuring out your personal style will open the doors for what you need to buy, what aesthetic you’re going for, and what you need to get there. Collect muses, whether that’s from fashion magazines, online, world art, nature, music, eras, movies. Find your style muses and collect pieces, fabric colors. Akin to the way a designer might look at a collection, look at your wardrobe as a collection of the style you want to achieve, the woman you wish to be. Is she refined? Carefree? Sexy? Polished? Chic? Does she have specific accessories she would not leave home without? A scent? A fabric she dearly loves? A color?
Figuring out your personal style muse will be a long first step. But it’s a necessary one.
Investing in the right pieces is key
Along with the plethora of more is good, is the concept the less you spend the more you win. Win at what though?
Crowding your closet? Having more laundry and dry cleaning bills to pay for? Low quality clothes (the ones you find most often at fast fashion stores and clearance racks of department stores) that are trendy, cute and oh so cheap. (I once spent 0.99c on a corset top, true story).
But unless you have a need for these pieces outside of the price tag, you are adding to the void. Figure out your personal style, and then settle on your key pieces. The 11th state of the bull. Essentials that will help you achieve your look.
Pledge to buying less and being far pickier
Commit to buying only items you absolutely love. Do more research. Think about it longer. Look beyond the price tag, and more at the item itself. DO you absolutely love it? What are some of the ways you will wear it? How many events/occasions can you wear it to? Are there similar pieces you currently own that can fit the bill? Before you buy something sleep on it.
“So Daisy, that choker necklace you’ve been thinking about and seeing everywhere, maybe you don’t need it because you don’t absolutely have to have it. Maybe the gold chain you have will work as well.”
Look at pieces a little differently. Look at what you own, not what you don’t have a lot more.
Take the plunge with me and build your minimalist wardrobe
I am documenting my journey to become a minimalist to share with you.
What are you trying to achieve by building a minimalist wardrobe? How do you feel about what your wardrobe and style is like now? Where do you want to be? How do you picture your look changing?
Share with me in the comments, and join Style Peace Happiness Warriors to take this style journey with me and get exclusive tips, How To’s and guides along the way.