From the archives
Even though it’s supposedly Springtime in Ireland….yeah, I know right…it feels a lot more like Sweater Weather. Fighting the wind and rain doesn’t leave many outfit options available. My primary concern is staying comfortable in spite of the outdoors. But I love clothes and fashion and cultivating a style! I love my look. The problem is that sometimes I buy items that don’t fit in with the rest of my wardrobe. So when I began minimising, I decided to build my own 10 Item Wardrobe.
It’s more of a system really, a way of managing my clothes based on value, quantity, and individual taste. Before minimalism, I had a different wardrobe cycle. I had essential clothes that I loved for a season maybe, and then I’d have to buy more when I got bored. One t-shirt there, a new jumper here. Next thing you know I wind up with a mismatched collection of impulse buys and things I only wear once.
What happens then? I complain I have nothing to wear, so I run out and find another once-off piece to add to the stockpile. It never stops. It’s not something I was consciously aware I was doing. It never seemed like a big deal really. Sound familiar?
When I started university, my budget was tight but my willpower wasn’t. I love shopping! I discovered that thrift stores could satiate my consumer appetite without breaking the bank. I bought good quality items; real cashmere jumpers, designer jeans, a new beautiful dress every week….so many great dresses!
In my mind I was doing it right – high-quality without the huge price tag – and so any guilt was allayed. But the rate at which I collected clothes is astonishing. I would wake up and decide that morning to buy a new sweater simply because I felt like it. Looking back now, my shopping was a crutch and I was out of control.
It resulted in stuffed drawers, no hanging space and every so often I’d find a top I forgot I owned. Or worse… something with the price tag still attached.
But I still scrambled to find an outfit every morning.
The 10 item wardrobe changed everything. Emptying my drawers and hangers of all their garments, no sock was left unturned. Initially, I was ruthless but as time wore on, I could determine value in clothing that I hadn’t seen before. Choosing 10 items of clothes to make up the foundation of my style was surprisingly easy.
At 20 years of age, I adored everything vintage, authentic, and preppy. Think Nancy Drew in the 21st-century. I supported my 10 item wardrobe with a number of basics – camisole tees, a few extra sweaters, and several pairs of jeans. Cute jumpers were my prized possession so I didn’t let go of many of those. However, I minimized most other areas of my wardrobe and discarded pieces that had passed their use-by-date like old undergarments and pajamas.
In the end, I donated three big bags of clothes to charity. My wardrobe is so spacious and I love it.
My system for transforming my wardrobe from a vicious pit to a minimalist dream was simple. I had to ask the question ‘Is this valuable to me?’ I was quick to pick up my favorite denim jeans, a black skirt, and taupe cashmere sweater. These were staples in my wardrobe.
These items made me realize something. My favorite clothes fit me the best out of all my clothes. They’re comfortable, versatile, compatible with each other, and I feel good wearing them.
From there, I figured out what to keep and what to let go.
Personal style changes over time. At this moment I don’t need or want any new clothes. But there will come a time when I feel I’ve outgrown my favourite skirt or jumper and I’ll buy a new one. I’m not one of those minimalists who insist on owning only one chair, or cup, or plate. I still love shopping. However, I finally feel capable of making better decisions with my money and I don’t feel like I need to buy new clothes every single morning.
When I start to get that itch to purchase something new, it’s better to acquiesce rather than setting myself up for failure by depriving myself. Buying new clothes isn’t the problem. Choosing clothes wisely is the real solution.
Try out a 10 Item Wardrobe and let me know how it goes in the comment section below! To help your transition along, we’ve created a handy and totally FREE printable for you to download full of this article’s core principles, and an easy-to-use checklist for building your own 10 Item Wardrobe. Enter your email below for instant access and start minimizing TODAY.
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