Minimalist fashion, many people think, is a fad that is ephemeral or will be short-lived.
The truth is, it is increasingly embraced by a discerning population across the world, as a reaction against the perils of modern day consumerism.
The toxic dyes that seep into the bowels of our earth contaminating our scarce water sources is a reason for a rethink on our consumerist behavior.
Then, we have to consider the huge hills of textile waste – particularly polyester – derived from fossil-based fuels.
Beyond these very valid concerns I care more about another factor why consumerist behavior affects all of us.
Consumerist behavior rests on the premise that the things we buy and hoard define us. Or, what we have in our lives are what give us a sense of power and balance.
Does it not mean then, that without all the things we own, we become insignificant, without substance?
For me, minimalist fashion is an effort to return to our roots – to find our strengths from our inner resources than from the things we like to hoard.
What is minimalism in Fashion?
Minimalist fashion is about returning to one’s roots and getting rid of unnecessary frills and ornamentations. The focus here is to achieve more with less by leaning towards basics. There is emphasis on the quality of the fabrics used. And, neutral colours and simple, clean cuts are important parts of what constitute the fashion.
Compared to clothes made by high-end fashion designers, minimalist fashion is timeless – like classical books which have an imprint of permanence about them.
Like there are books for all times and books of the moment, the fashion world too is divided into fashion for all times and fashion for particular seasons.
Minimalism is timeless and season-less.
That is why minimalist fashion is more a movement than a trend. Trends come and go. A movement on the other hand, is relentless, percolating into the consciousness of people in a robust way.
That is why minimalism in fashion is important. It helps people find their moorings and a deep sense of who they are.
Minimalist fashion involves a tremendous sense of mindfulness and awareness. It requires that you understand and know the clothes and palettes that suit your personality the best.
This requires an ability to observe yourself carefully to fully understand what you really love and what complements your personality.
So, when you go for shopping it is an occasion to celebrate the person you are, choosing only those clothing items that would spark joy in your life.
Marie Kondo, the high-priestess of minimalism and decluttering insists that you need to really touch and feel your clothes and only when you feel a deep sense of joy, should you choose that for yourself.
This way, the minimalist is able to choose any item in his or her wardrobe and feel absolutely great donning them because every item has been selected with a lot of love and care. And every item in the wardrobe defines your lifestyle and personality.
Therefore, the clothes you own is a statement about who you are.
Minimalist fashion is for those who have the mental poise to be different and unique exactly the way they are – without being influenced by the noises of the market place or the opinions of the people around them.
Why should you consider opting for the minimalist wardrobe?
The path of the minimalist is a less travelled one. But it surely is a more fulfilling path, like most less-trodden paths.
- When you focus on less is more, it doesn’t mean that you compromise on quality. On the contrary, you choose clothes that have timeless quality written all over them. In the process, you look and feel great in your attire.
- You end up saving a lot of money because you don’t keep buying stuff mindlessly, according to the ebbs and flows of seasonal fashion. The quality, timeless pieces you own are more than enough to last you a long time.
- When you have only clothes that you dearly love, you don’t have the problem of decision fatigue – the habit of wasting a lot of time making up your mind about what clothes to wear.
- Minimalist fashion is more about the flowering of your personality than about just clothes. It’s about loving and accepting yourself as you are. It requires you to be in touch with your inner world and feel enough just as you are.
- You are going to enjoy the order and soulfulness emanating from your minimalist wardrobe because with less stuff, you are able to arrange your belongings in an orderly, aesthetic way.
- The most important benefit from going for minimalist fashion is in the feeling of mental well-being. Where earlier, there used to be stress from too much of clutter, now there is a new found calm and a feeling of having found one’s sanctuary.
- You are contributing to building a better world by consuming less and reducing the carbon footprint.
To get a minimalist wardrobe, declutter first.
This statistics may surprise you:
An average person on a regular basis wears only 20% of his or her wardrobe. The enormity of this piece of information is in the fact that 80% of the clothes in the wardrobe are rarely used.
Now, if you are a believer in Pareto principle (about 80% of outcomes are generated by 20% of the causes), you would focus on the productive 20% lying in your wardrobe.
This is precisely what happens when you declutter your wardrobe.
You arrive at the essence of what you have by discarding the excess baggage which does not contribute to your well-being in any way.
Steps to getting your minimalist wardrobe.
Marie Kondo has built a ritual around decluttering. Her method revolves around the following process.
- Make up your mind to tidy up. Be sure you are committed to this life-long .
- Begin with the end. Imagine the outcome you want in your life. Visualise.
- Discard items that have served their purpose – with a heart filled with gratitude.
- Start the decluttering by category rather than by location
- Stick to the suggested order.
- Feel the items you have decided to keep. Ask yourself again if they spark joy.
As this article is about creating a minimalist wardrobe, here are a few practical suggestions to go about this task.
As mentioned above, declutter by category, rather than by rooms or location. Decluttering an entire home should always begin with clothes and then proceed to other items in the house.
Clothes from all parts of the house are brought to one place and dumped together.
Then they are placed into cardboard boxes with the following labels.
The clothes which have already served their purpose, but which are no longer required are consigned to the trash box with a feeling of gratitude for being part of your life. You can decide to either sell these items in the trash boxes or donate them to charities.
Hold every cloth item you own, feel them and if they indeed spark joy within you, put them into this box for keeps.
If you are not so sure about which box certain items should go into, put them into the “Maybe” box. After about 3 or 6 months, if the contents have not been touched, it is a sure indication that they belong to the trash box.
Such clothes are needed only during certain parts of the year and therefore, they can be packed tidily and placed separately to take out and use during the appropriate season.
Arranging the items in the “Keep” box should be done with care and method. Favourite clothes of a minimalist which “spark joy” are further categorized into sub-categories and stored according to the types of clothes. The sub-categories can be along these following items.
Tops (shirts, sweaters….)
Bottoms (pants, skirts….)
Clothes best hung (jackets, coats, suits….)
Socks, Underwear, Bags
Accessories (scarves, belts…….)
Clothes for specific events (sports items, swimsuits, uniforms…..)
Arrangement of these items should be accomplished paying attention to minute details, which is bound to bring about order and aesthetics in your wardrobe and your mind.
Once you reach this stage, dressing becomes fun and there is no more any form of decision fatigue because everything you own spark joy within you.
This is how you enter the niche zone of slow fashion which is the fashion industry’s minimalist subculture. In the process you leave behind your days of fast fashion characterised by chasing weekly fashion trends and mindless splurging.
I am the founder of a company called Service Square and the service we have built a reputation for is, deep cleaning services. Twenty years of experience in this field has taught me that paying attention to only cleaning without decluttering is like putting the cart before the horse.
We have therefore introduced decluttering as one of our key services. If your goal is to own a home which remains clean, minimal and soulful month after month, it may be worth going for our decluttering services.
Beyond getting an aesthetically pleasing minimalist home, you will end up saving a lot of time and money which you can put to better use.
I have written more about being The Minimalist of your dreams in my previous post in this blog.
And I cannot emphasise this enough. More than the pleasing sight of your minimalist, decluttered home, you will begin inhabiting a new inner world of peace and contentment.
It is like finding your home.