Men’s Addition – A “How To”
A minimalist wardrobe is often the first step when exploring the world of minimalism. Opening your closet door and seeing your clothes packed floor to ceiling and wall to wall can both be daunting and inspiring. Being overwhelmed with the sheer amount of items packed into this small space can be enough to kickstart the urge to minimise. It can also be discouraging to think about delving into this space with its unimaginable number of items.
The inaccurate portrayal of a men’s minimalist wardrobe is usually one of two variations; that of a stark, colorless, half-empty closet. Nothing but shades of grey and black, with one or two pair of shoes sitting on floor. Or, a line of five to ten of the exact same shirt, with two or three pairs of the exact same pants neatly hung and evenly spaced with the same one or two pair of shoes, sitting on the floor under them.
While this may be an aspiration for some, it is not an accurate or even practical representation for most. Different situations, seasons, occasions and occupations all consist of different wardrobe needs. There are no rules about how many shirts you may own, or what colors you must wear. Having more pairs of shoes than someone else doesn’t disqualify you from being a minimalist.
A minimalist wardrobe follows only a few guidelines:
- Only wear clothes that you like.
If you don’t like the way an item feels when you wear it, or you don’t like the way it looks on you and it doesn’t instill you with confidence, then why would you wear it? This may seem like a no brainer yet you will inevitably come across items in your closet with a pattern you don’t like or with a collar that is too large or small to be comfortable. Maybe a t-shirt or two that have stretched out, lost their shape or are just the wrong size all together.
- Wear everything you own.
This is pretty self explanatory, if you have clothes that you don’t wear, then why do you have them? There are a couple caveats with this though of course. Season specific clothing, I don’t expect you to be slapping on sweaters and jackets in the middle of August. On a cold February morning however… Secondly, the obligatory wedding/funeral formal wear. Minimalism is no excuse for showing up at a wedding or funeral in a t-shirt and ripped pair of jeans. On the other hand, the occasional wedding or funeral is not an excuse to own five different suits either. One suit will typically cover both occasions, two at the most. In addition to this, if you are in an occupation that requires business attire, you may have killed two birds with one stone.
- When acquiring new clothes, do it responsibly.
A big part of minimalism is living intentionally and responsibly, peoples style and tastes change with time, clothes wear out, it’s inevitable. Invest some time and thought into what you are buying, quality over quantity. Replacing a stretched out t-shirt with one made in the cheapest way possible, in a place with questionable labor laws, in an effort to save a dollar will only empower the cheap, disposable, fast fashion industry.
Now that we have covered the what, let’s look at the how. Minimizing your wardrobe does not have to be an all or nothing approach. In fact, it will be a longer lasting more rewarding experience if you approach it with patience and consideration.
Taking everything that you own, dumping it on your bed, trying to sort it all and deciding then and there whether or not it’s worth keeping may be how you picture attacking this project. This path would result in a satisfying pile of clothes earmarked for donation and a dramatically more organized and roomy look to your closet, but will be immediately followed by remorse and second thoughts about your snap decisions.
I encourage more of a time release method. I will reference everyday clothes for this example, if you have work clothes that are separate from your everyday clothes it will apply the same, you will just have two different pools of clothes to apply it to.
- Hang or fold and stack your clothes into two categories, shirts and pants. Only include the clothes that you wear in the season that you are in.
- Every morning – put on the shirt and pants that are on the top of the pile, or hanging on the furthest right side of the closet if you hang your clothes.
- Return washed clothes to the bottom of the pile or hang them at the furthest left side of your closet.
If you take an item off the top of the pile or from the furthest right hanger and you don’t want to wear it, ask yourself why. If it doesn’t fit quite right, it’s worn out, it’s not your style anymore or you just don’t like it, then donate it.
If you wear an item, but by the end of the day you realize that you didn’t feel comfortable or confidant in it, or maybe you just didn’t like how you looked in it, then donate it.
If you wore it and you liked it. Wash it, and return it to the bottom of the pile or the left side of the closet.
Continue this process indefinitely, with the exception of special occasions requiring specific articles of clothing.
It is that simple.
Duplicate the above process with your work clothes, jackets, shoes etc. When the seasons change, inject the applicable clothing items.
The end result will be a minimalist wardrobe consisting of only clothes that you enjoy, feel comfortable in, and are confident wearing.
Where does the Hygge of hygge-lism fall into this? Warm colors, soft fabrics, comfortable fits. Every piece of clothing can spark memories of good times and inspire confidence. Need I say more…?