I have been sharing my thoughts on minimalism the last year or so, and have made the shift in my business also, to create minimalist staple wardrobe pieces. As my focus is on items that are made to last and surpass trends and fashions, I feel I'd like to share more about this mind shift towards less is more with you.
There is a psychological term called the looking glass-self. This explains how we imagine ourselves to appear to others, we react to what we believe their judgement to be, and we develop our self through this judgement of others. This can be a very distorted way to see yourself because image and beauty is very much influenced by the social norms of the time, and the media greatly controls this trend.
Sociologists believe this affect wears off with age. I would tend to agree with this theory as I have seen a huge shift in my own attitude towards my body issues since turning 30.
Finding your uniform:
First of all, you stop wasting energy on what to wear. I've often had moments where I stood in front of my huge double wardrobe which is literally bursting to the seams and I say to myself 'I have nothing to wear'. All women have experienced this.
But if you take a moment to look at all the most famous style icons through the decades, they all had a very distinct aesthetic. A daily uniform.
You can choose to be classic, futuristic, minimalist, maximalist, ultra feminine or androgynous. This is completely up to you and a personal decision. There is a check list to consider when deciding what your daily uniform will be:
Understand your lifestyle
You can't be wearing 9-inch heels if you are a school teacher. It simply doesn't make sense and it's also not authentic. Your work and career will greatly impact your professional daily uniform. It's important to be mindful and selecting items that fit into your current lifestyle, be it casual or formal.
If you are a mum-of-2 your family time tends to revolve around the kids and comfort would be your number 1 goal when selecting any item of clothing. Having said that, comfort and style can go hand-in-hand with a well considered capsule collection. You are still a woman, and the clothes that you wear project how you feel about yourself, and your confidence.
If you work in a corporate environment but feel that bohemian reflects your personal style, you may even end up having two different uniforms, one for work and one for weekends.
Know your aesthetic
You can create a professional and a casual daily uniform, with a base of simple basics, and then using a variety of accessories, shoes or show pieces which you can wear according to your mood or day.
You can create a capsule wardrobe without being restrained to a minimalist aesthetic, which seems to be the overall assumption when you talk about having a capsule wardrobe. You can be bohemian and still only have a staple 30 or 50 pieces in your wardrobe. Remember, accessories don't count in your final edit.
Stay on budget
Having a capsule closet means you can and should invest in quality products, since you will be buying less items. Obey the one out - one in rule with these basics. How many black pants and white shirts do you really need, if essentially they are the same? What you do need is a well-fitting black trouser and quality white shirt. Less is more.
Before you start making new purchases for your capsule wardrobe, I suggest doing a ruthless edit of what you already have. Unpack your whole closet and separate your items into all the categories. Go thought each item one by one and decide if it ticks all the boxes:
- Does it fit great
- Have you worn it in the last 2 seasons
- Do you still LOVE it
You can then decide which items you need less of because they are low maintenance and something you can wear frequently (eg. jeans) and which items you may need a few pieces of because they are slightly more high maintenance (eg. button shirts which need regular ironing / washing). You'll notice that you will also start to become more mindful of the types of fabrics you will begin to buy when you are looking for capsule pieces. You'll start to opt for fabrics which don't crease and are easy to clean. In the long run, items like these will get the most wear and end up saving you lots of time and money.
Create a Go-To brand list
It's always useful to have a go-list list of brands which you know fit your budget and your style. Once you are familiar with a brand, you can rely on them for replacing any staple items because you know they quality and the fit of that brand suit you best.
With time, as you start to purchase less, you will be comfortable purchasing more expensive items, which are higher quality and will have better craftsmanship too. You money will go a longer way with these items, as a good coat could last you a lifetime, as long as the style and colour is timeless or suits your personal style. Certain items are ideal for more than one season, and will be part of your every day, year round style. That is why these items it may be worth investing in a better quality item, so that the lifespan will be longer, if not eternal.
At first, you may believe people will notice your recycled outfit, but with clever accessorising, by the time anyone does notice, you'll be so confident and comfortable with your new wardrobe, you won't care what anyone thinks.
Decision fatigue is a common phenomenon which affects our ability to effectively make sound decisions, the more smaller decisions we have to make on a daily basis.
You will save yourself so much time and energy getting dressed everyday, and you'll look forward to the excitement of getting dressed for special occasions. Research shows that the more options tend to leave us overwhelmed and prone to irrational choice.
You'll want to keep this going once you start to reap the benefits of a daily uniform. Simplifying your life can become addictive and you'll even start to streamline your home and your workspace. French writer Stendhal once wrote that only great minds can afford a simple style. It's no coincidence that great achievers such as Steve Jobs, Karl Largerfeld, Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn, to name a few kept such a distinct style for decades. Many successful people simplify their wardrobe to free their mind so they can make better and clearer decisions.
Love & light