Since becoming a minimalist I’ve honed in on what I truly want in my wardrobe, practically; functionally; aesthetically; and environmentally.
Long past are my days of shopping “for fun” or buying something impulsively simply because I thought it was “cute." Although my wardrobe is much smaller now, it's curated to my specific taste and needs, and I couldn't be happier!
As I’ve grown as a minimalist so have my wardrobe choices so here are the 8 ways they’ve changed for the better.
1) Comfort is a priority.
When I was in my teens all the way till my early 20s I would shop for items I thought were cute but weren’t very comfortable whether it was a pair of sky-high stilettos I could barely walk in or a polyester summer dress made of not-so-summer material (can you say polyester?). I was prioritizing fashion over myself, and it certainly didn’t help that I was going to fashion school at the time, where girls were wearing 6” Jeffrey Campbells like it was a walk in the park. All in the name of fashion, right? Wrong. Your well-being and comfort is 100% more important than how good you think you look on the outside when in reality you’re sweating balls underneath that dress (oh y’know, that polyester summer one).
2) Quality is so important.
This is imperative when I shop for new items. I don’t want to buy something that I’ll only have to throw out in a few months' time (like my old Forever 21 jewelry, either tarnished or broken). I want my purchases to last not only for my wallet’s sake, although that is a big one, but also because the last thing I want to do is feed into consumerism and the wasteful practices of fast fashion.
Plus, remember that polyester summer dress we were just talking about? Yeah, not so good quality. Polyester, like most synthetic fibers, aren’t breathable. It’s a man-made product akin to plastic. They’re full of lots of nasty chemicals and don’t biodegrade so I like to buy clothing made with natural fibers instead, like good ol’ fashioned cotton!
3) I no longer buy into trends.
Once upon a time I was opening up the latest issue of Vogue to marvel at all the pretty new fashions that were out. I’d browse endlessly through my favorite fashion blogs, eyes widening at the sight of their new shoes, jewelry, handbags, and what-have-you. Unfortunately, the only thing that ended up happening was my wallet widening at checkout, and even more unfortunate, my wallet shrinking down right after.
Many of the trends that have come and gone were items that I thought I wanted when in all honesty, they were merely distractions and good marketing. Now I’m not talking about all trends here; if you truly love something, that’s great, go for it! I’m just saying that I’m much more selective and mindful of the trends I do follow. I want to make sure that whatever I buy won’t end up sitting in my closet untouched in just a couple of years because I’ve outgrown it. (Ahem... Bart Simpson t-shirt à la Jeremy Scott...)
4) No more items that are the same.
I mean, how many white t-shirts do you really need? What about jeans? Is that shade of dark wash skinnies that much more distinguishable than your other pair sitting at home? I definitely understand that even subtle differences make for a new look, but for me it isn’t worth the money I’d spend when at the end of the day the difference isn’t significant enough to stand out and certainly doesn't outweigh the cost rampant consumerism has on our economy and on the planet.
5) Versatility is a must.
I’m done buying one-off items! A rule of thumb I like to follow is that whatever article of clothing I purchase will match at least 5 pairings in my wardrobe, and whatever accessory I purchase will match with at least 90% of what I wear. That way I get a lot of use out of everything I own. I never want to have something wasting away because I don’t have anything to wear it with, and I definitely don’t want to have to spend extra money on a pair of bottoms just so it can match some top I bought impulsively.
Now when it comes to special occasions like weddings and the like, there are so many clothing options that you can dress up or down. I mean, people are wearing sweatpants with heels and cocktail dresses with denim jackets! The fashion world is getting more and more creative, and breaking the rules is as cool as ever!
Bonus: The best thing about only buying versatile items? You’ll never have any of those overwhelming I-don’t-have-anything-to-wear moments again! At the root of it all, isn't that all we want from our wardrobe? Everything looks great together, yay!
6) Fit is key.
This one is huge for me! Ill-fitting clothes is a definite fashion pet peeve of mine. Even when something looks great on you, if the fit isn’t quite there, there’s always something off about it, if only because it’s apparent that you’re uncomfortable wearing it. I used to have this jacket that would restrain my arms from being too tight around the armhole and a dress I’d have to constantly adjust for bunching up. Who wants to go through that? Not me! And if I'm being honest, I tended to bypass these items when choosing what to wear so why even spend money on it in the first place?
A good fit always looks exceptionally better, like it truly belongs on your body. I’ll never subject myself to a poor fit again, unless of course it’s an oversized band tee. That I can get behind!
7) No more “just in case” or “maybe” items.
Oh yes, the “just in case” items. I know these well.
I used to keep almost everything back in the day. I was bigger then which made it much harder for me to find clothing so I was always looking to “save” all my clothes. Overtime my weight would fluctuate here and there, and I’d find that some of my clothes would either be too big or too small. I’d keep them anyway with the thought that getting rid of them would be wasting the money I spent to attain them. Then of course there were items I kept just in case there would be some special occasion where I’d need them (this is where #5 comes in handy, by the way). I shifted this mindset completely. It really made no sense as they’d just be sitting in my closet collecting dust.
The reality was, I wasn’t wasting the money I spent, instead, I was wasting valuable mind space and closet space.
8) Wearing something that looks good on someone else.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve seen someone (usually some Instagram model or people attending New York Fashion week) wearing something you wouldn’t normally gravitate towards, but somehow you find yourself pining for everything they’re wearing. Then you finally find that coat or those pair of shoes only to find that you look nothing like the person in the picture. Well, duh, of course you don’t! You’re not them; you’re you, and that’s amazing! If you’re finding that someone looks great in something that you don’t feel great in, that’s totally okay! In fact, it’s more than okay because we all have our own tastes; body types; personalities; etc.! It gives this world flavor and variety; it gives you flavor and variety.
Admire their style; it’s a form of art and self-expression, but it doesn’t have to be yours. Appreciate your own self-expression and wear what works for you, what makes you feel comfortable and confident whatever that may be!
The most important takeaway here is to be who you are, wear what makes you happy and be comfortable in your own skin. Prioritize your well-being and overall health over anything inanimate or superficial, not just in fashion, but in all aspects of your life.
Happy shopping! (or perhaps "Saving" would be more appropriate here 😉)