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How to Actually Curate a Minimalist Wardrobe, Without Feeling Like Your Closet Is Empty

The concept of minimalism can seem daunting, especially since it’s often associated with throwing away everything you like (even when it sparks joy). But, minimalism isn’t about getting rid of all your material possessions. The philosophy behind it is more about reevaluating your lifestyle choices and the way you relate to all the clothes hanging in your closet.

These ideas are supposed to involve all aspects of your life: clothes, eating, going out, and your worldview. I know it’s pretty overwhelming to look at even just your closet and think, “OMG, I have to throw all of this away.” But don’t stress about it so much! I promise that you’ll feel so much better after you de-clutter your life. Who knows, maybe you’ll find true love in the form of a capsule wardrobe

What even is minimalism?

Before I head to the closet, let’s think about what minimalism truly looks like in practice.

Let’s say that you have a collection of crop tops. It’s a small collection, but you wear every single one of them. Some people might think that minimalism means that you have to remove these items from your closet — because nobody needs 15 crop tops. That’s not entirely true.

Grab your tops. Does each of these have a purpose? Do you wear them frequently enough that they’re not gathering dust? If you answered yes to all of these questions, then yes, it’s fine to keep them. This goes for almost all collections, be it rings, necklaces, earrings or anything else. If you’re actively using them, it’s alright to keep them.

Now that collections are out of the way, it’s time to ask yourself the important questions before you start de-cluttering, organizing and sorting. What do you wear a lot? What pieces fit your personal style? What colors make up your ideal palette? Do you have any evergreen pieces? Do you have any statement pieces that you particularly love? Are patterns in the mix of your clothes?

Once you’re able to answers these questions, you can start sifting through your closet. Now, it’s time to decide if you want a capsule wardrobe, which has about 33 pieces, or if you want to minimize your closet without necessarily focusing on a set number.

Capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is a minimalist type of closet which usually consists of 33 pieces of clothing, but this number can vary between 33 and 37.



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Although it may seem arbitrary, there is a point in having to minimize to such a low number. It makes you evaluate what you really want to keep, and it forces you to think about what style really suits your personality the most.

But what does this number of items include? Clothes, shoes, and accessories. Some people even include jewelry, but it’s really is up to you.

Every capsule wardrobe is different, but there are some staples that are frequent in the majority of them: seven tops, two sweaters, five bottoms, three pairs of shoes, and two accessories, like belts and hats. Depending on where people live, some have multiple capsule wardrobes. They’ll have one in storage for the winter, and one for summer.

By using this method, you’ll get really good at matching up outfits and getting creative with what you do have. This may seem stressful to some people, but it may be the thing that’s best for you.

Related: How to Create a Color Palette for Your Personal Style

Freestyle wardrobe

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

If you don’t want to focus on having a set number of items, that’s fine. There isn’t really a precise way to do this! Instead, your goal can be finding things to fit comfortably in your closet rather than actually count how much stuff you own. So that you’re not totally lost, let me outline this.

Don’t buy into fast fashion! It’s only going to mess with your sense of direction. A lot of the time, fast fashion means that you’re paying for items that aren’t going to last a long time. You’re also likely buying into trends, not buying things you actually love. Yes, quality clothes can be expensive, but think about it this way: If you pay $10 for a top that looks super worn down after two washes, you paid $5 for each wear. However, if you pay $50 for a top that you were able to wear 15 times, you paid $3.33 for each wear.

If you know what your style is, don’t question it! Find basics in easy-to-match colors. If you have a good amount of basics, it means that you can play around with different combinations. Sometimes, you can even repurpose basics for a new style you want to experiment with. Another good thing is to have statement pieces that you love. These pieces can completely change up your outfit: from high fashion, to casual, to avant-garde.

Accessories are also important. You don’t have to have a jewelry counter’s worth of earrings, rings, necklaces, and bracelets, but you should have a few that speak to you. Big earrings can always upgrade an outfit, and there are plenty of ways that a well-placed necklace can bring attention to your top.

Related: How to Curate a More Sustainable Closet

Some things to keep in mind with minimizing your closet:

  • Colors can make or break an outfit. It’s time to learn what looks good together.
  • Don’t keep what you don’t need and don’t love.
  • Always get rid of clothes that are for “someday” (because that day is never going to come, babe).

Minimalism is an approach to life. It’s a philosophy that makes you re-evaluate your choices as a consumer. The money you spend on clothes can be saved for something else, like splurging on a trip or trying out a new restaurant. It’s also about knowing what suits you and what’s going to make you happy. Having too much stuff, like an overflowing disorganized closet, for example, can really put a damper on your spirit.

Antoinette Luna is a Performance Studies and Comparative Literature major at the UPR. Her passions include writing, reading, and anything crafty. She loves to sew, write, and make things from scratch. DIY is the name of her game. Around campus, she is known as a bubbly young woman who goes by just Luna. Her future goals include traveling, traveling, and more traveling. Outspoken transfeminist, and wannabe activist, she's out to set fires.