Mission Minimalist Wardrobe

by tolmema on February 21, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of a minimalist wardrobe. There’s something about keeping things simple and wearing things that you love that is extremely appealing to me. It took quite awhile for me to realize this as in my youth I loved wearing wild colors and things that didn’t match because it was “trendy”.

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A few years ago I took a job with a company on the East Coast and was flown out to meet the owners and spend a week with my new team. It was my first business trip and I was very excited to be jet setting across the country for very important work. However, when it came time to pack for my trip I made a horrible realization: I had nothing to wear.

Since having kids, I had acquired the typical “mom wardrobe” – yoga pants, a stained tank top,  a hoodie, and a messy bun. I had a ton of clothing in my closet, but nothing really fit, and nothing really went together. Those problems coupled with body confidence issues made me feel uncomfortable wearing anything even mildly professional from my closet.

The resolution of this story is quite anti-climatic but very typical of many moms – I bought a few emergency items for my trip, felt horribly self-conscious of my body while I was working, and came home with more memories about how uncomfortable I felt in the presence of young, cute, stylish women than from any actual work that I did with them. This experience was a huge turning point for me in terms of my wardrobe, and how I approach clothing now.

I was determined to be better prepared for my next business trip. I pored through Pinterest trying to figure out the secret sauce to the “perfect wardrobe” and how my personal style fit into said secret sauce. After awhile I started seeing some patterns in the outfits that I liked – casual, flattering, and more natural colors (namely black and grey) – basically, the minimalist wardrobe.

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The idea behind the minimalist wardrobe was terrifying at first: “get rid of almost everything in your closet and ensure that what makes the cut can mix and match with everything else.” Eek! I tried to get rid of things in my closet but found that I was holding an unnecessary emotional attachment to everything I owned. I simply wasn’t ready to pare down to just a handful of items. It took a fit of rage a couple of years later when trying to get dressed for a hot date that I finally broke down and pitched a bunch of my clothing. Fuck all of these shirts! And these stupid pants! And these shoes! I tossed a bunch of stuff I didn’t love and was surprisingly happy with the results (once I had cooled down).

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Since then, I’ve been focused on creating a wardrobe that is simple, comfortable, and flattering. I’m still not 100% there yet, but I feel like I am moving in the right direction. Every business trip is easier to pack for because I am continuously getting rid of things that I don’t love and sticking to what I know would look good and feel comfortable wearing.

My daily go-to at this point is a plain tee, some jeans, and a zip-up. Still plain, still simple, still basic – but now I can pull pretty much any top from my closet and it will match just about any bottom that I have, and that’s very freeing. I also now own things that actually fit me, so I don’t worry about whether or not I look good when I throw something on. The removal of so many choices has actually been a very liberating move for me, and I’m happy that I took the plunge to get rid of items that I didn’t need.

I’d love to hear your wardrobe story – what do you love to wear? What do you gravitate towards? Do you think a minimalistic style is valuable?

 

 

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lucy April 30, 2016 at 4:15 am

I like the idea of a minimalist wardrobe a lot. The freedom of grabbing whatever top that will always match with any bottoms you have in the closet is great. However, it can become boring wearing neutral colors all the time, so I would add some colorful and cool accessories, such as a red belt, some scarfs, hats, and jewelry. I love dresses, so my minimalist wardrobe would need a couple of them.

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