Fashion is like eating. You shouldn’t stick to the same menu. – Kenzo Takada
I am introducing you to The Fancy Minimalist Wardrobe: It’s easy to do, fun to have, and it works.
The Fancy Minimalist Wardrobe will benefit you in some ways:
- Your wardrobe will express who you are
- You know what works best for you
- Save money, invest better will be your new mantra
- No more hassle getting ready
- NO chaos
- More confidence with your fashion style
- You will never say: ‘I have nothing to wear!’ anymore.
- Guilt-free shopping! Who doesn’t want that?
Sounds great? Let’s dive in!
THE WARDROBE THAT STARTS IT ALL
A few years ago, just like you, I also struggled with my wardrobe. No matter how I did it, it was never sustainable enough, until I accidentally read about 5:2 Wardrobe.
You probably ever heard of this wardrobe using a different name. People usually call it the French wardrobe, based on how the French women create their capsule wardrobe.
The rule is to pick five basics, and twice per year or every season change, you invest in two statement pieces. I realized over the years that the concept has been fantastic to lay a foundation of a fun, functioning wardrobe. However, I have found it to be a bit too capsule for me.
I am not a maximalist, but I love to know that I have what I need. With that in mind, as mindfully as I could be, I made a few modifications and came up with my own.
THREE SIMPLE STEPS TO HAVE THE WARDROBE OF YOUR DREAMS
Now let me tell you. Creating a wardrobe of your dreams is not hard. Yes, the process could be overwhelming, but if you have to do one-time work and create a sustainable result, I think its worth it.
When I decided to create my wardrobe, I asked my self a few questions. I consider it a self-assessment. Some of the questions I asked my self were the following. Feel free to add more if you want to go into more details.
WHO AM I?
This question is a fundamental step before we start the fun process of creating our wardrobe. You want to have a wardrobe that suits your lifestyle and enchanting personality. Some aspects to consider would be:
- What do you do for a living?
Your work is a massive chunk of your life. It will determine most of the items you need to have in your wardrobe. A female onsite engineer would probably have fewer high-heels than a corporate secretary. A kindergarten teacher would invest more in easy to clean, robust pieces due to the nature of her work. You would invest more in classic sleek dresses you can easily combine if your calendar is full of business dinners or lunches.
- What is your typical weekend?
Are you mostly staying in with your loved ones? Then you might want to invest more in comfortable pieces made of lyocell or organic cotton. Love to explore new cities, visiting museums? Don’t invest more in high-heels. Invest more in chic, comfortable loafers. A nature lover who hikes every weekend would have more hiking boots than average people. What you do on your weekend also determine the number of items that function and serve just for your needs.
WHAT IS MY AESTHETIC?
Maybe you have heard the terms of classic, minimalist, boho, edgy, feminine, eccentric, tomboy, vintage, preppy etc.
Now the question is: which one is yours? What is your favorite color? If you have Pinterest and you pin some outfit inspiration as your visual roadmap, which one are those?
Don’t hesitate to put more terms on your mind as you go through, because there is no limit to fashion aesthetic. Somebody could be feminine and eccentric at the same time. You could even create your very own term. I, for example, consider myself a modernist. I love minimalist aesthetic but with a twist. Discovering your preferred aesthetic is very crucial in streamlining the inside of your wardrobe later on. Again, don’t worry if you can’t find the ready to use terms for you. Just stick to what you love, their function a.k.a their contribution in your lifestyle, and put quality (that you can afford) over quantity.
WHAT DO I ALREADY HAVE?
This step is where the fun – not fun part starts. You need to let everything inside your wardrobe out. I kid you not. But, don’t do this all at once, because it will be overwhelming.
Start with one category, let’s say trousers, carefully examine every item you have, make your selection, then move on to the next.
There is no rule how many items you should keep (more to this later), but be mindful. You don’t need ten pieces of White Button-Downs that looks the same.
I suggest, however, to discard and or donate the items that match these criteria:
- Similar items that you have more than ten pieces
- Some you haven’t worn in a year
- Those that are annoying and uncomfortable to wear (for me, this would be any type of jeans with few buttons)
- Some that are not in good condition anymore, for example, those with irremovable stains
- Some that don’t have any special meaning to you or serve your need
Congratulations on starting your wardrobe journey! How does it feel?
The Fancy Minimalist wardrobe lays in the importance of how your wardrobe can function for you, not in how many items you have.
The process needs to be honest, mindful, and as straightforward as possible.
In the following section, let’s talk about the rules.
FIVE SUSTAINABLE WARDROBE RULES AS A FANCY MINIMALIST
Don’t worry about the rules. They might look complicated, but they are not, and by the time you get used to them, you will do them automatically. Are you ready?
RULE ONE : EVERYTHING MUST FIT IN THE WARDROBE
Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak. – Rachel Zoe
No matter if it’s a walk-in closet or a two-meters wardrobe, your wardrobe needs to fit every piece of clothing you own.
If you live in a country with four seasons, then you can store seasonal items somewhere else.
I have 1.5 meters long wardrobe (not enough space in the house, so it needs to work). I have a seasonal switch system and store my shoes somewhere. (more to this later).
When I say it doesn’t matter how many you want to keep, it’s true as long as you are mindful about it. If you only have one meter of a wardrobe, it doesn’t make sense to have thirty pairs of jeans. Don’t store the fifteen pieces inside the closet and the rest somewhere else, thinking you are going to wear them. Trust me; you won’t.
This wardrobe aims to streamline everything you have in one place.
Whatever you want to keep, just remember that you need to fit them ALL inside your wardrobe.
RULE TWO: KNOW YOUR ‘BASICS’
Now, for some people, the definition of basics would be something versatile that you must have. Something like a white t-shirt or a good pair of jeans that you can wear and re-wear them differently.
For me, my basics cover everything I need, and this includes something as simple as underwear, pyjamas and swimsuits (since I love swimming).
Since all of these items also need to fit inside your wardrobe, you couldn’t just ignore these. Remember, our goal is to streamline everything we have so it could be in one place.
I would suggest this. Prioritize your basics, then move on to the other items.
RULE THREE: APPLY THE THREE TO FIVE FORMULA
Depend on your lifestyle and of course the size of your wardrobe, I believe in five as a magic number. Five is the maximum amount of each type of clothing you own. Three is ideal. Our shoes usually have a designated place, so this is entirely different. I, however, would make the same rule for every type of footwear you want to have. (For the past five years, I only have two winter boots, you can read the story here)
Now you might think, Gosh Eve, it won’t work. I could never have five pair of jeans!
Well, believe it or not, I only had one skinny jeans for the past three years, and it works. I only have one and a half meter of the wardrobe, and I love wearing pants more than jeans, so I’ve got to prioritize. Now that is your magic word: prioritize.
If your wardrobe only enough for ten pieces of pants and you love jeans then have ten pairs of jeans.
Know your lifestyle and make an appropriate decision, but give five a try, and if you still have space, adjust accordingly.
Remember, we want to diversify our outfits, and we want to be able to wear and re-wear everything we have. Having more than five will guarantee that you won’t wear all of them.
Whatever you want to do, try to keep five of each, or if your lifestyle permit with three, then go ahead. If you buy another one, take one out. This way, you will always have a balanced wardrobe.
RULE FOUR: BUY ONE GET (RID OF) ONE
This rule used to be the hardest for me. But I have learned over the years that sudden urge to buy something goes away after a day or two.
It will need practice, but once you mastered it, you will only have the items you love and keep wearing. You will also be more mindful about your spending. This rule is one of the crucial keys in creating your fancy minimalist wardrobe.
RULE FIVE: BUDGET YOUR SPENDING: DON’T WAIT SIX MONTHS, DO IT EVERY FOUR
With the 5:2 Wardrobe, you invest in two statement pieces every season change. I find this a bit unrealistic, so I changed the method to be as ‘humane’ as possible. I evaluate my wardrobe for four months or three times a year.
Why? Money reasons.
All of us would love to buy excellent quality pieces that last forever. The problem is, those items come with high price tags. So we compromise and depends on the way you take care of your things, some might need replacing sooner rather than you expect.
I am not saying you should buy new underwear every four months. But it doesn’t make sense to save the money for a Balenciaga bag when you need to replace some of your basics.
If everything is in excellent condition and you didn’t have to use your monthly clothing budget for six months, then splurge.
But evaluate your things every four and make a wise decision on your spending.
Some people I know ended up putting most unused chunks of their budget for their travel.
To help you with your decision, take a look at this on-point Closet Detox Cheat Sheet by one of my favorite author Anuschka Rees.
By now, I hope you have understood the basics. Start the process slowly, and as simple and as honest as possible.
Don’t make it too complicated, but put in the work. In the end, you will have a sustainable minimalist wardrobe and a neat working system that function.
We’ll cover some ideas and tips on how to curate your Fancy Minimalist Wardrobe in the next blog post.