Minimalism has been the buzz word of the past years, no doubt brought about by economically tougher times, and has spread into fashion too: think of the rise of sleek Scandinavian brands and styles, capsule wardrobes, quality over quantity slogans, 10-in-10 challenges, shopping fasts and the like. Which got me thinking - is this my way too?
You see, minimalism attracts me on many levels. I am all for saving the planet. I dislike clutter and in general do not like objects [well... clothes are an exception, obvs]. I feel best with organized, streamlined solutions. I constantly strive for simplified perfection. And yet when it comes to clothes, I cannot live with a pared down wardrobe. Not enough variety. I admire capsule wardrobe bloggers but every single one of them makes me shiver -- in order to have real mix and match potential, the individual pieces need to be very simple. So so boring for me: I have tried and just could not make it work, I felt restrained even in a 10-in-10 challenge [and already on day 3!].
What I want to achieve is a wardrobe that feels streamlined and mindful but offers enough room for unexpected combinations.
I have decided to call it maximal minimalism: minimalism on a more maximal scale, offering a maximum of enjoyment and options.
This requires a larger wardrobe than just 30 pieces but nevertheless needs just as careful curation and organization [only the right pieces!], and offers the same benefit of feeling less wasteful. At times, I may argue, even more so - as items are worn less and thus last longer, meaning that well chosen, quality ones can be around for years and years.
I do shop - I need the variety; however, I also return a lot of items. If at home something doesn't feel both completely right as well as wearable and 'transformable' [i.e. with the potential to be re-invented] for over a longer period of time, back it goes. If I do make mistakes [which I do, but thankfully more and more rarely], I give the items away, sell them on ebay or take them to the charity shop to reduce waste.
I duplicate key items [especially hard-to-fit ones such as jeans, and 'signature' pieces such as leather skirts] so I can make sure I always have one of my 'uniforms' available to fall back on in case of emergency [lack of time/momentary self-loathing], but I also like to have unusual, 'wild card' pieces for more creative or brave days.
I try to maintain a colour scheme so everything goes with as many other items as possible.
I track what I wear, and thus follow exactly how often I wear items, what I don't end up wearing often enough [useful for avoiding future mistakes], and how long my clothes tend to last. More than half of my wardrobe consists of items that are over 3 years old.
I take care of my clothes: they are kept neat and tidy on hangers and shelves, get washed or dry-cleaned according to instructions, and are always air-dried.
I make sure I know what I own: everything is in sight, and organized in a way that I can easily pull them out. [They are organized by type of item and then by colour, in fact, but this belongs to a different post about being a control-freak...]
And most importantly, I regularly spend time creating new combinations with existing items. I find it especially satisfying to find brand new ways of wearing old favourites that I still love but have grown tired of wearing in a certain way. If you buy items that are non-high-trend [and they do not have to be simple] and take care of them, it is amazing how variable they can be, for a long stretch of time.