The Classy (& Frugal) Lady’s Guide To Creating a Minimalist Wardrobe

Honestly, I hate having to dig through a messy pile of clothes to find a suitable outfit each day. It’s like, if one shirt is clean, then the pants that match it aren’t, and if I have the right skirt then the only shirt that goes with it is wrinkled. That’s why I’ve decided to try to minimize my wardrobe – not only will it save me time and headache, I think it will also save me money, too.

There are plenty of minimalist success stories out there for men’s wardrobes, like Max the Cyclist’s Minimalist Wardrobe Project and this guy who fits all his clothes into one bag.  But for ladies, the task of minimizing a wardrobe can seem daunting. We have tons of different clothes in a variety of prints and colors, and it can feel like we need all of them. The truth is, we can also cut down their wardrobes to the essentials without sacrificing on style or versatility. Here are the steps I’m following to make my wardrobe more streamlined:

1. Choose your look.

The first step toward creating a minimalist wardrobe that will work is deciding on an overarching style that you want to hold it together. You should choose a “palette,” that is, a few colors that go well together and look nice on you. It’s a good idea to include neutrals in your palette so that you’ll have clothes that can look good in a variety of outfits and combinations.

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2. Draft your rules.

Shopping with rules is the key to maintaining a minimalist wardrobe, especially as a lady. There are a million different styles out there, and new ones each season, so when you shop you’ll need a game plan. First, you have your color palette. Next, come up with some style rules. Some good ones are, no shirts that require other shirts (nothing transparent or too complicated), no wild prints or patterns that won’t go with anything, and no accessories that only go with one outfit. If you stick to your rules and your color scheme, you’ll soon realize that most of the pieces of clothing you’re looking at can be mutually combined with each other to create a variety of outfits for different occasions.

3. Stock up on basics & timeless pieces.

Huge flared pants, bubble skirts, and bright-colored tights may go in and out of style. A classic black dress, a good-fitting pair of jeans, and a trench coat will not. When you’re creating your wardrobe, stick with timeless and classic looks that won’t be out of fashion by the time you even get to wear them. Stocking up on basics like neutral tees is a good idea, too. Things like this pea coat or these dark jeans from Luisaviaroma are good choices because you’ll be able to wear them year after year.

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4. Get good quality.

If you’re going to keep your wardrobe minimal, that means that many of your articles of clothing will be pulling double duty. It’s no good if your jeans split after just a few washes. Since you’re buying less clothing now, make sure you get good quality pieces that will last more than a season. Instead of shopping at places like Forever 21 and H & M, where the clothes are literally only intended to least a couple of washings, shop at higher-end places like Everlane and Luisaviaroma. The prices may be higher, but if you consider that you’ll be using these clothes for years instead of months, you’ll actually save money in the long run (plus you can use a coupon code to keep prices low).

5. Get rid of clothes when you buy new ones.

This is the golden rule of a minimalist wardrobe: whenever you buy a new piece of clothing, find an old one or two to donate or give to a friend. This way you’ll never let your wardrobe get too cluttered, and you’ll be doing someone else some good at the same time.

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