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Is a Minimal Closet Stylistically Limiting?

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

Personally, I don’t think so. I felt more stylistically limited when I shopped fast-fashion and overdid thrifting because I would purchase a lot of inexpensive clothing that didn’t suit me, my personal style, and didn’t add to my wardrobe. That’s where the whole “I have nothing to wear” scenarios came from: having a lot of items that weren’t my style.

Once I started to think more consciously about my closet, I found that I actually spent more time thinking about if a piece works for my personal style. After I had built up my current wardrobe enough, it actually felt quite stylistically liberating because everything felt like “me”.

This cocoon cardigan was a bit of a splurge but I feel in love with the simple cut and felted wool material. I was able to spend a bit more money for a piece that has stylistic details that feel more like "me".

To add to that, since I spent less money on a lot of inexpensive stuff, I was able to put more money towards certain key, or investment pieces. Those investment pieces had more stylistic design details and qualities that I appreciated and wanted in my closet. So even though I was bringing in fewer items, the items I brought in were more “me” and reflected my personal style a whole lot better.

But let’s also get into the nitty gritty. There are some grey areas that in a sense, I may “limit” myself, in order to have a more minimal closet (but as I said before, the minimal closet allows for my style to feel more true to myself and “liberated”).

Colour Palettes

I don’t limit myself to purchasing certain colours, but I’m very aware of the colours I prefer to wear and that I feel like flatter me.

For example, I only own one item that is red, but I love that item dearly. Even though red may not be in my “colour palette”, and I don’t have various hues of red, I appreciate that one specific item and it goes well with my otherwise neutral closet.

On the other hand, although navy blue is a great neutral and is super flattering on lot’s of skin tones, I tend to not wear it much because I prefer black or grey and my handbags look better with black and grey items. So when I’m shopping, I appreciate navy pieces but they usually don’t make the cut since I don’t have other items in my closet that I like pairing with that colour.

Cuts and Styles of Garments

I have specific cuts of clothes that I prefer, just like anyone else. I’ve come to learn over the years, that certain cuts work better for me and I feel more comfortable wearing - so those are the styles that I stick to and continually purchase. It’s not a restrictive thing, if I want to try a different cut, I would, but I know what works well for me and I tend to stick to it.

Some of the cuts I love and prefer are:

Tops: crew necks, loose turtlenecks, short or long sleeves and tops that will cover my bra straps. If I go for a crop top, I prefer one that will cover my stomach if I pair it with high-waisted bottoms.

Bottoms: high-waisted, a-line style and midi-length for skirts, cropped style jeans (show my ankles).

Dresses: wrap style, body-con (in comfy stretchy materials), Just above the knee length or midi-length.

Number of Garments

Sure, by pursuing a more minimal closet, that means there are less items of clothing. So in a sense, I'm restricting the amount of pieces I own. That being said, each piece that I choose to purchase needs to serve a purpose and work for various occasions.

Although I might own a lesser number of pieces, those pieces are generally more versatile.

Let me give you an example. I own 3 special occasion dresses. I chose these pieces very deliberately.

The first dress is a body-con grey T-shirt style dress with an exposed zipper on the back. It hits to the knee and has a crew neckline. The material is thicker. Because of all those qualities, this dress can be worn formally, professionally and casually.

For formal occasions I would pair it with heels, a statement necklace and a clutch.

For professional occasions I would pair it with a blazer and flats.

For casual occasions I would pair it with a denim jacket or a cardigan and sandals.

I can dress up or down this black body-con dress by changing my accessories!

The second dress is a body-con black sleeveless dress with a knot detailing at the waist. It is made with a thinner material so it’s more geared to warmer weather. And my last occasion dress is a green wrap-style dress that is made of a chiffon-style fabric and is much more summery but the colour allows it to work for autumn as well (and it looks great with tights).

I can style these other two dresses in the same vein as the first one I described. Because of their cuts and colours, they work for a variety of seasons and settings.

The same idea goes for a lot of items in my wardrobe. Although I may primarily wear something in a casual way (like my trousers), they would work great dressed up for a professional or a fancy occasion. When I shop, I try to choose items that can work in those 3 scenarios so that I always feel that I have something to wear.

What do you think? Is having less items in your wardrobe limiting your style or enhancing it? Let me know in the comments!



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