It all started at Minimalist Club, when one of our group happened to mention that she’d had a wardrobe purge since our last meeting and given away some of her old jeans to charity. Seventy-four pairs of jeans, to be exact. Which basically made her the hero of the evening. I think she’s pretty fabulous for that.
Afterwards, amongst trying to decide where I would even keep seventy four pairs of jeans without stacking them up all over the floor, I began to wonder about my own clothes. And so I what any sane person would do, and dragged the whole lot out of the wardrobe to examine it. With one disclaimer, what you see in these photos are all my clothes. The disclaimer is that these are my ‘living-in’ clothes. I also have specialist clothes; one set of running gear, one swimming costume, some walking trousers, a pair of jodhpurs and a set of shabby old things that I wear to the allotment. I put them to one side because they’re not the clothes I wear for everyday. What I was really interested in was my normal clothing.
And here it all is…
Then, because I’m clearly deranged, I decided to set up a spreadsheet with all my clothes recorded in it. I can tell you now, I have one pair of trousers and two pairs of jeans. I have four dresses, two jumpers, three cardigans and three vests. I’ve got one coat, three jackets and a set of black jersey pyjamas. Actually, they’re not in the photo either, because I was wearing them! All my underwear matches in case I get run over by a bus—thanks Mum, for that little obsession—and I’ve only got two pairs of socks that are not thick walking socks ( of which I have three pairs) or running socks (two pairs).
But why should you keep a record of your clothes?
Well, it has helped me to see what I have and what condition its all in. I know what needs repairing, what’s missing a button. I also know what’s in too poor a condition to keep and so needs replacing. Which, in turn means that I know what I need to spend money on. By dragging everything into the daylight, I’ve remembered much-loved clothes that were forgotten that I shall wear again. And I’ve definitely realised that I wear the same colours all the time!
A capsule wardrobe is key to minimalism.
Because I’m trying to live a more minimalist lifestyle—and even though I’ve joked about my nearly-all-blue wardrobe— it’s a good idea to try to build what the more fashionable folk term a ‘capsule’ wardrobe. In a nutshell, this means that you can wear all the clothes you have in a variety of combinations, to suit all occasions, without needing masses of clothing. This doesn’t mean that occasionally you shouldn’t try something new just for fun—my Reiss top is covered in sequins—but it does mean that life becomes simpler because you spend less time in front of an over-filled wardrobe still despairing over what to wear. After all, they say we wear 20% of our wardrobes for 80% of the time…
Quality over quantity.
Having fewer items of clothing means that I prefer to spend more money on each one. Not because I’m driven by labels, far from it, but because clothing that is the best quality I can afford will last longer. I also find that if you pay a bit more money for clothing, you treat it better; cleaning according to instructions, repairing instead of throwing away and not leaving it in a heap on the bedroom floor when you’ve taken it off!
So, I think I definitely have a minimalist’s wardrobe already, though I do plan to make some changes to it, replacing some worn-out items and repairing others. Following Pip Lincolne’s Year of Ethical Fashion rules, I will do my best to make new purchases ethical ones. I’ve already started saving for a pair of Huit denims to replace my worn-out jeans!
Would you ever do a wardrobe audit? Have you? Were you surprised at the results? What’s your key item in a capsule wardrobe?
I’d love to know…