Guide to a Minimalist Wardrobe

Big city dwellers know the struggle: you have a love of both fashion and shopping, but your 500 square-foot apartment will only hold so much. The Carrie Bradshaws of the world will say, “so what? Everywhere’s a closet if you just believe.”

If you’re willing to suffer for fashion — and by “suffer” we mean use your oven for sweaters and and your media cabinet for shoes — by all means, live your life. But if you’re like most of us, you want to keep your wardrobe contained to a closet (and probably a dresser).

This leaves one option: pare down your wardrobe and start buying strategically. Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered.


1. Define your personal style

Take time to think about how you dress and present yourself — think about how you want to dress and present yourself. Who is your style icon? What inspires you? What adjectives would you use to define how you dress? Write this down.

2. Organize by Category

What occasions do you need to dress for? Most people can break down their wardrobes into the following divisions:

  • Work

  • Weekend

  • Active

  • Comfy + Cozy

  • Night out

  • Special Events

3. Take Inventory + Organize

Before you decide to purge, take out all your clothes and organize them by category: jeans, trousers, skirts, tees, blouses, PJs, (include other staples like bags, tennis shoes, heels, etc)… you get it. Break everything down as granular as your wardrobe calls for. That way you’ll see what you have way too much of (jeans and t-shirts, anyone?).

4. Purge & Organize

Obviously, you’ll want to keep clothes for every category and division, but you’ll tailor the amount you’ll keep for each. Maybe you have a lot of workout clothes but don’t exercise that often; maybe you simply have way too many casual clothes even though you’re a workaholic. Perhaps you’re an event organizer and you require a lot more special occasion pieces than most people. Think about how you live your life right now when you purge.

Some rules of thumb:
If it doesn’t fit, get rid of it.
If you’ve never worn it, get rid of it.
If it’s impractical, get rid of it.
If it requires repair and you haven’t put in the effort, get rid of it.
If you haven’t worn it in who knows how long, get rid of it.
If you have multiples, get rid of them.
If it doesn’t spark joy (The KonMari Method), get rid of it.

If you’re thinking, wow, I’m finished! You’re wrong. Now that you’ve purged and organized, make a plan for the future.

1. What & Why Do You Buy?

Are you the type buy a shoe you’ll never wear just because it fits and just because it’s 75% off the original price? Are you an eBay addict who will buy it now if the price is right? Maybe you just can’t say no to a rare find. Or perhaps you just can’t resist a little retail therapy.

Be aware of your buying practices and adjust them… Don’t buy what you don’t need. And when you do buy something new, make room in your closet by getting rid of at least one thing.

Think about your wardrobe as a capsule collection. Create effortless style day-in-day-out with a pair of jeans, a nice pair of slacks, and tops that you can dress up and dress down.

For jeans, we love  RE/DONE’s High Rise Cropped
And for a shirt that can go either way, we can’t get enough of this  Emilia Wickstead striped top.

And for a shirt that can go either way, we can’t get enough of this Emilia Wickstead striped top.

2. Make a different kind of budget

Yes, you should always stick to a monthly shopping budget in terms of a dollar amount, but have you ever considered a budget for the number and type of items you buy? If you know yourself to be a shoe-aholic, limit yourself to just one new pair a season… and never buy “for the future” or “just in case.” If you’re not going to wear it next week, you don’t need it right now… even if it’s on sale.

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Aneesha Rao