“Minimalism,” “capsule closet,” and “sustainability”; we’ve been hearing a lot about these buzzwords. When you take a closer look at these buzzwords and get behind the propaganda, there’s a lot that we can learn from the core concepts of sustainability and minimalism in their various forms. Popular shopping destinations are businesses that survive and thrive off people spending their money on clothing. This, in turn, contributes to the economy and keeps things turning, but we have to keep each aspect of our lives functioning sustainably for the bigger picture to be sustainable as well.
Sustainability in clothing, shopping, and the fashion industry is a sprawling topic. Still, for the purposes of this article, we’ll keep things as succinct as we can. Sustainability in fashion is not only crucial in the short term (getting us garments that last and are made well and responsibly) but also for the long term. Fashion waste accounts for a massive amount of the waste in the world. Inequitable and unsafe fast fashion manufacturing procedures contribute directly to the oppression of the people who make our garments and keep oppressive and unhealthy systems in place to drive profits. Choosing sustainable garments to build a well-made and ethically sourced wardrobe directly contributes to the opposite of all these issues. Working minimalism into your purchases does the same.
If you’re ready to start your sustainability journey by shopping responsibly, we’ve got some amazing tips for you. Check out our list of nine tips for building a minimalist, sustainable wardrobe.
1. Understand Minimalism
Minimalism isn’t throwing out everything except one of each item; it’s thinking before you purchase and keeping items on hand that bring you joy and serve a function. Many people have an outdated or misunderstood version of the concept of minimalism stamped into their minds, and it’s essential that we turn this perception around to embrace an attitude of considered and sensible purchasing to curb bad habits and ensure that we buy what we need, not what the media tells us we should want.
2. Pare Down
Again, we aren’t advocating getting rid of your whole wardrobe. What we are advocating is a cleanout session. Everyone has their “thing”; for some people, it’s anime figurines; for some, it’s cars; for some, it’s jeans. Don’t pare down on things that you adore and things that you use; pare down on items that have outlived their usefulness, things that no longer fit, or things that have been in your wardrobe for longer than 6 months (not including formal or seasonal wear) without being worn.
3. Exercise Restraint
In a world where advertising is everywhere, think before you buy. These days in the fashion world there are 52 new seasons every year and we are constantly being bombarded with messages to buy buy buy more more more. Exercise restraint and take the time to think before making an impulse purchase that you might later regret. Sleep on it, and if you still feel that an item is functional and practical for you, then go for it! Head down to your favorite fashion spot or click on that link and buy the item. Don’t feel guilty about purchasing things, but think before making the call.
4. Go for Style, Not trends.
Figure out what your style is and stick to it. We aren’t saying you shouldn’t evolve, we certainly have! What we’re saying is; don’t be taken in by trends. Figure out what you like and what works for your wardrobe, and go for that.
5. Go for Versatile Items
When you shop, consider the rest of your wardrobe. Will the item that you’re eyeing out work well with the rest of what you own? Statement pieces can be beautiful and are great if you know you’ll get a lot of wear out of them, but they aren’t very versatile. Buying pieces that you know will fit in with the rest of what you own will maximize the use and the value for money-per-wear that you get out of your garments, and will allow you to create more looks with the pieces that you have on hand.
6. Shop Small
If you buy from small businesses you’re contributing to a worthwhile economy. Shopping with smaller companies also often allows you a lot more insight into the ethos of the brand and its manufacturing practices.
7. Abandon Sentimentality
We aren’t saying get rid of your Gran’s mint condition velvet 70s blazer. What we are saying is, with the exception of a FEW special items, clothes are just clothes. If you don’t wear it, it should go. If you love the memories these pieces bring back, cut a swatch from a few of them and save your swatches up to make something practical like a quilt.
8. Wear What You Have
After taking careful note of steps 1, 2, 3, and 7, work with what you’ve already got. If you have a big wardrobe and you’ve just pared it down, you’ve probably just re-discovered a bunch of really great items that you’d forgotten about. Think of new ways to style them before you shop for anything else.
Image by Shvets Production via Pexels
9. Remember This Is A Process
Building and maintaining a sustainable, versatile capsule closet is the work of a lifetime. This will be a princess for as long as you wear clothes! Don’t be too hard on yourself if you aren’t the king or queen of sustainability overnight.
These steps should be enough to get you into the sustainable, minimalist mindset and get you well on your way!