Minimalist Monday: Dress Well With Less

It's 3 months since I committed to a 40 piece minimalist wardrobe and I can say, without a scintilla of doubt, that I have no regrets. Getting down to this low a number of clothing items wasn't easy and the last items were particularly hard to lose. However, it was worth it. Having a minimalist wardrobe makes my life simpler and therefore happier. This is what I've learnt from having a 40 piece minimalist wardrobe thus far.

1. With a smaller number of carefully selected items all my clothes are functional and loved. They fit, are comfortable, suit my lifestyle and are in good enough condition.  

2. Choosing what to wear takes less time.
3. Washing, ironing and putting away my clothes is quicker. 
4. I can wear my favourite clothes every day. 
5. My wardrobe space stays tidy without much effort. Bliss. 
6. 40 pieces is more than enough items of clothing for me – some items get more wear than others, isn’t that always the case?
7. I don't own occasion wear but have a more flexible wardrobe that can be dressed up or down.
8. I still get a lot of flexibility and different looks from 40 pieces.
9. I've learnt what suits me, feel more confident in outfits and wear them over and over again.
10. I feel confident that in the future I will make less mistakes over clothes and that my wardrobe will become more streamlined and coordinated.
11. Feeling content with my current clothes and enjoying the ease of getting dressed means I hanker less after new clothes and what others are wearing. 

Paring down my wardrobe to 40 pieces has been an ongoing, gradual process over the last 4 years. Achieving my goal of a wardrobe that is small, manageable and affordable is a satisfying feeling. Not only have I simplified this area of my daily life but I have also learnt a lot about myself in the process. Stripping back my wardrobe has forced me to take a long hard look at each garment I own and the emotional attachment I have to it. By allowing myself to clear out clothes that I had negative feelings towards I have also cleared out tonnes of emotional baggage in the process. The clothes that were too tight, unflattering or reminders of past overspending have gone and with them their associated feelings of self-loathing, guilt and disappointment. These days my mind is lighter as well as my clothes rail.

We all have different needs, values and emotions tied up in the clothes we buy and the garments we hold onto. Buying and hoarding clothes we hardly wear can lead to negative feelings which in turn can lead us into buying more and more in the vain hope that the next purchase will make us happier. And this is easily done when clothes are so readily available and advertising so seductive. It takes discipline, courage and mounds of mindfulness to change shopping habits but it can be achieved.  

Here are a few questions to ponder if you're gearing up to a wardrobe detox or about to make a new clothing purchase.

How many clothes is enough? 

Do we buy new clothes to impress others when we don't really need them?
Do we use clothes shopping as a distraction or as a reward?
How much does our self-worth come from the clothes we wear and the image we try to project?
Is looking our best just about the clothes we wear? 
How much space, time, money and energy are we prepared to commit to our clothes?
Could the simple pleasure of a tidy capsule wardrobe give longer lasting pleasure than the temporary thrill of a new outfit or “bargain”?
Isn't it time we accepted our body shapes and fluctuations of weight as normal and learn to judge ourselves less critically?
Could we do something more meaningful with our free time other than shopping?
Wouldn't it be a good feeling to look forward to our next clothing purchase knowing we are buying something we need rather than want?

I'm not suggesting we shouldn't enjoy our clothes, fashion and shopping trips or that a minimalist wardrobe will suit everyone. However, I do think a good wardrobe declutter can give us as much a boost as a spot of retail therapy can. Paring down my wardrobe and beginning to build a minimalist collection of clothes that I love has made me a more confident dresser. Here's to minimalist wardrobes, lighter minds and natty dressing! 

Have you edited your clothes recently or are you finding it hard to let go of past clothing mistakes? I'd love to hear from you.



  1. Hi Claire, I was inspired and followed your lead in reducing my wardrobe a couple of years ago too. I found the benefits were much greater than I anticipated. i love the emptier wardrobe, reduced time it takes to choose what to wear, better quality clothes and less shopping. Sarah x

  2. All that and more, yes. In fact, I surprised myself by what my "style" has crystallised into - not what I expected at all, and nothing to do with what my environments may think about what should or should not be worn! I feel much happier for it, wear my favourite things my favourite way, find it all much easier to deal with re. laundry and storage and have come to the conclusion that laziness has given me many simple solutions in my life!! I'm still tempted here and there but much more able to consider what I have (not so much!) and if it will work with existing items - so my England trip gave me a new skirt that I've already worn twice… other things will be moving along :)

  3. I love when you go on holiday your ultra capsule wardrobe just has to work. I love how you don't have to think too much about what to wear because it was carefully chosen to all mix and match. Then I thought I'd do the same at home -bliss - not much thinking about what to wear and it all goes together. And there is space in the wardrobe - loads of lovely space!

  4. After college I donated tons of my wardrobe and have been realizing that I really don't need as many clothes as I used to. Hopefully more and more clothes will make their way to the donation pile but for right now I'm content, which is far better than I've ever been.

  5. Once you dress for the life you HAVE instead of the life you THINK you have, it all becomes so much simpler. I take part in Project 333, so have 33 items available for wear (excluding gym wear and mucky work clothes), although saying that I have been slow to sort this Autumns clothes out. I blame the milder weather, as some of my Summer stuff is still being worn alongside the woolly jumpers in the evenings.

  6. I understand what you mean "reminders of past overspending." I've gotten rid of those items too, even though it was lots of money spent purchasing them back then. Good riddance, I say! I am so much more content it is unbelievable.

  7. No point in keeping things that you don't wear or use. Much nicer to wear what you love rather than keeping for best.

    X x

  8. I'm not sure how many items I have, but always think carefully before a purchase & regularly sort through. As you said.....it's all about discipline! Xx

  9. I am just setting out on this road and thinking very carefully about what I want in my capsule wardrobe, what suits me and also taking into account what is practical and what is affordable. I'm not sure I can ever get down to 40 or less items, but just a more grown up thought about selection is an exciting prospect.

  10. I'm going to reduce my wardrobe and pass on and sell clothing i haven't worn in years. it does no good to anyone just sitting there.


  11. Lovely blog i saw you thrue other blogger...nice posts to read...blessings ❤

  12. Hi Claire, having recently got rid of my chest of draws I am down to one hanging rail now. I have some baskets, one for undies, gym clothes, gardening and painting clothes and summer tops for now and one for bags. It's feeling much simpler now. I've got a range of basic tops in some nice colours which I layer up with things on hangers ready to wear. It much more inspiring. Basically as long as I can wear jeans I'm okay! I would like to be a bit more creative but the less decisions the better right now. X

  13. I have loved editing my clothes - it's a kind of distillation. Mindful. I enjoy shopping much more when I know what I need and what suits me. Lovely and well thought through post (Like your wardrobe no doubt!) Thanks.

  14. I found your blog via SFT - I minimalized my wardrobe a few years back and try to stick with it but am feeling tremendous guilt as I lost weight so some items are too big and don't hang well - I don't think they can be altered cost effectively as they are tailored/lined and I feel quite miserable when I look at them in terms of what they cost! Ebay is probably the answer. but having read your post I know it will feel a lot better if they aren't hanging on my rail looking at me every day!

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