Over the last year I’ve found myself really cutting down the clothes I wear and it’s made me happier. So I thought I would share some insights here, as so many of my readers are also busy parents. I’m writing about a minimalist capsule wardrobe today without posing for pictures, because simplifying your style is about your clothes, not mine.
Every capsule wardrobe article I found on my journey was full of things I would never wear, and limited practical advice to adapt, so I wanted to flip that a bit. I think simplifying your wardrobe is something that comes from inside, not outside. I’m not a fashion blogger, I’m just someone who simplified her wardrobe and feels loads better for doing it. It’s about how you do it, and you know what you need more than you realise, trust me.
Trust your own instincts. Try to mute fashion a little and step away from what other people are doing, it can make it incredibly tricky to transfer ideas to your own sense of style. It is overwhelming to be faced with what everyone else is doing, especially when you are only looking to reduce down to a few key things – these things need to be your favourite things. ‘Fashion’ can be really intimidating and often makes us feel we don’t know anything, or that we are dazzled with choices, when we all know more than we think about what works for our own bodies.
Instead focus on the items you already have that make you feel amazing, get worn to death, the things you keep going back to, and build your capsule wardrobe uniform around that.
It’s worth spending some time making sure you know what colours and shapes work for you. I think this has taken me about 40 years, but the best thing you can do is ask those you trust. I remember a turning point for me was a friend once giving me and another friend a scarf each for Christmas, we immediately looked at each other and knew that we needed to swap, but not because we didn’t like the scarves we had, but because we could see they would look better on the other person. From then on I stuck to Autumn colours, they are where I feel myself.
Start with basics and work outwards. This is your basic uniform I guess. All too often I am tempted to buy jackets and odd shaped tops but don’t always have the basic things to match them. When you are confident with your basics like jeans, vests and t shirts, it is easy to add more interesting layers while knowing what you are really looking for and what suits you. I love skinny jeans, and vests are brilliant for keeping warm, creating a smooth silhouette and layering under everything.
Shop like a man. Well, not all men, but I have noticed over 20 years with Mr A that he tends to buy things in pairs or more. This is the key to it all! When you see something or already have something you like, buy two, or maybe three or more with basic things like black jeans, t shirts or vests. Things do get more wear when you rely on a smaller pool of clothes, so if you don’t want to be replacing things all the time, buy more of the same. It sounds expensive but it will still be more economical than buying lots of random things as you know it will all match.
Decide which bits you want more coverage for. There is no point finding the perfect colour and fabric top if the lack of arms means you only ever wear it with a cardigan. Be ruthless and keep searching, the internet makes that much easier.
Buy one, get one in another colour. If you have something that works really well, look for other similar things in different colours or patterns, but still stick to colours and patterns that work for you. Having the same shoe, but in two colours isn’t boring, it’s genius, if you are already wearing one pair to death.
Accessories are great. A minimalist wardrobe gives me more opportunity to wear all my forgotten accessories more freely again.