I’ve become a minimalist and now my favorite outfit is a pair of jeans, a white v-neck t-shirt, and some Birkenstocks. Sometimes I wear a grey a t-shirt and tennis shoes instead. That’s about the extent of my wardrobe because I only wear neutrals and I have about 15 items in my closet that are interchangeable.
None of that is true of me. In fact, even the idea of a white t-shirt terrifies me. But if I do like to keep things simple so I had to learn how to dress like a minimalist, and then I had to break all the rules!
If you are like me, you look at the classic minimalist wardrobe and you think the following:
- I am not capable of wearing a white shirt without spilling coffee on it within minutes.
- Every capsule wardrobe I see on Pinterest is crazy expensive!
- I need more color in my life.
- Is something really that versatile if every outfit looks exactly the same?
- What about the clothes I already have?
- How about weather extremes?
- Sometimes I need to look fancy and sometimes I need painting clothes.
I get you! I am on the exact same page. And that’s why, for years, I had a ridiculous amount of clothes! But then I had to simplify and learn how to dress like a minimalist without losing my unique style!
7 Old Minimalist Fashion Rules:
- Everything has to be versatile.
- Wear only neutral colors.
- Keep only a certain number of items.
- Wear simple accessories.
- Buy only high quality clothing.
- Be an outfit repeater.
- Keep all your clothes in your closet at the same time.
Why Would You Want to Learn How to Dress Like a Minimalist?
I love clothes. My flare for the dramatic is probably talked about behind my back. I swing between retro and boho, sometimes both. I don’t shop much but sewing clothing is one of my favorite hobbies and clothes just seem to find me. So why would I want to dress like a minimalist?
Simply put, my collection of clothing was drowning me. I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment and keeping my closet in order was becoming a full time job. Also, I ironically felt like I had nothing to wear.
When I read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I knew that a lot of my clothes did not spark joy. That helped me get rid of a lot of clothes I wasn’t wearing. Then I tried Project 333 and I learned that you need a lot less than you think.
In fact, the less I have in my closet the more stylish I feel! Do you want more time in the morning? Are you confused about your personal style? Then you need to learn how to dress like a minimalist. And then you need to learn how to break the rules!
1: Everything Has to Be Versatile
When you are learning how to dress like a minimalist one of the first rules you will hear is that everything needs to be versatile. If you can’t match every item you own to every other item you own then you need to get rid of it.
But that doesn’t really work. First of all, everything doesn’t have to look good together to have a versatile wardrobe. As long as each piece you own matches at least 2 or 3 other pieces you can create lots of outfit combinations!
Second, you have a diverse life. Sometimes you need to look professional and sometimes you need your paint clothes. You go to fancy events and you also go camping. Your clothes have to serve you in all these ways.
So instead of looking for maximum versatility in your minimalist wardrobe, try looking for maximum usability. Can you use these shorts for camping and the baseball game and that dress for church and the party?
Find clothing that is balanced and works for you! That’s how to dress minimalist in real life.
2: A Minimalist Wardrobe Only Has Room For Neutral Colors
When I first heard of capsule wardrobes the first thing I did was search Pinterest for ideas. And guess what? I was soon depressed and completely uninterested. The problem? Well, minimalist fashion colors. From the pictures it was clear that “minimalists” like tan, grey, black, white, and that’s about it. Gag.
I like bright colors! What about you? Do you like to mix and match colors and patterns? Does that mean you can’t have a minimalist capsule wardrobe? Absolutely not!
I encourage you to break this ridiculous minimalist fashion colors rule and enjoy color again!
But how can you dress like a minimalist and have a colorful minimalist wardrobe too? The key is to pick your favorite colors! Could it really be so simple? Yes. I encourage you to chose 3 favorite colors for each season and stick to them. And only keep 2 or 3 items of each of those colors.
Neutral bottoms like black, grey, or tan pants don’t count and neither do jeans. Those are the things you might put your favorite colors with.
You will be amazed how colorful your minimalist wardrobe can be when you choose your favorites. Things that you love will naturally go with the other things you love!
Forget minimalist fashion colors like grey and white. You can dress like a minimalist and have a colorful capsule wardrobe you love! Find your personal style and make your capsule wardrobe work with it!
3: Keep Only A Certain Number of Items
Another rule that you will hear when you start to learn how to dress like a minimalist is that you can only keep a certain number of items. That’s what a “capsule wardrobe” is after all.
Some people will tell you to keep 33 items per season, some have an even lower number. Others will tell you that you shouldn’t have so many clothes they don’t all fit in your closet at one time and that you should not have to rotate your closet with the seasons.
I, on the other hand, have done it all and I can tell you that it’s not about the number.
I did Project 333 last year and actually enjoyed living with a 33 item wardrobe. I have also changed out my closet every season, or every other season, for years because I had a tiny closet in my 300 square foot studio apartment.
I can tell you right now, don’t worry too much about the number of items. Worry about your boundary instead. Choose a boundary and work within that boundary.
If your boundary is you dresser get rid of clothes when your squeezing the drawers closed. And if your finding that it’s taking more than a minute to decide what to wear in the morning that could be a boundary too. That could tell you it’s time to simplify your closet.
Basically, you will be able to keep your closet clean and tidy as long as your clothes fit in it and you will be able to keep your wardrobe stylish and simple as long as you can easily choose an outfit you love to wear!
If you want to dress like a minimalist worry less about numbers and more about boundaries.
4: Simple Accessories Only
Another pet-peeve of mine is that minimalists want to tell you want jewelry to wear. They say that you have to wear extremely simple barely there gold or silver pieces if you wear anything at all.
In fact all your accessories have to be simple, AKA boring, if you want to dress like a minimalist.
Now this is the time to understand the difference between the minimalist aesthetic and the minimalist lifestyle. Obviously, if you are going for the minimalist aesthetic or style it is important that you buy minimalist jewelry and accessories. You will also need to keep to neutral colors and ultra basic styles. That’s the LOOK of minimalist fashion.
But if you just want to live the minimalist lifestyle the point of that is to strip away everything that isn’t YOU so you can see what makes you happy. The point of minimalism is not to pretend we live in a futuristic time when everyone dresses the same. It’s to make life easy and perfect for you!
So if you want fun and funky jewelry that matches your colorful minimalist wardrobe and lifestyle then do it! I make jewelry and run an Etsy jewelry shop. It’s part of me. If I stripped it away I wouldn’t be being true to myself.
It’s important to know how to dress like a minimalist without losing yourself. You won’t be happy if you do that! Your minimalist fashion should fit you.
5: Buy Only High Quality
When you are trying to learn how to dress like the minimalist and you Google it or check out Pinterest you may find that the idea of only buying high quality items is prominent in minimalist fashion.
This idea alienated me for a long time. It made me feel like I could never be a minimalist because I just didn’t have that budget.
But again, it’s ironic that a movement about owning less would promote buying anything. You don’t have to buy new clothes or furniture to be a minimalist.
In fact, you should probably look at what you have and find the hidden gems you can use or repurpose before you buy anything.
And if you do buy something, well, it might be at a thrift store or you might choose to invest in something of higher quality. Honestly, there is so much fast fashion and cardboard furniture being sold that you would probably do yourself a favor if you did invest in a few nicer pieces. And you might be able to do that if you aren’t buying stuff very often. But you don’t have to buy fancy stuff to be a minimalist.
You don’t have to BUY IN to minimalist fashion to dress like a minimalist. If anything focus on perfect fit clothing rather than a certain style or price point.
6: Be an Outfit Repeater
When you own a traditional capsule wardobe consisting of very similar neutral items you need to be an outfit repeater. You will see this rule over and over when you look up how to dress like a minimalist.
In fact, if you want to learn how to dress like a minimalist you need to look up to people who had a personal uniform like Steve Jobs. He always wore a black turtleneck and jeans. Mark Zuckerberg also wears almost the same thing every day, a grey t-shirt and jeans.
But do you have to wear the same outfit over and over again to dress like a minimalist?
Not really. While you may have certain outfit combinations you like to fall back on, when you have different colors and styles in your simple wardrobe it’s easy to make tons of different outfit combinations.
When I did Project 333 I had neutral bottoms and 3 colors of tops. Those tops also were different in formality and cut. This allowed me to make so many outfits I didn’t actually wear the exact same outfit for a month and a half!
So if you want to know how to dress like a minimalist, you can be an outfit repeater. You can even wear the same thing for 100 days. But if you find that boring try being an outfit mixologist! You can be a clothing artist that knows how to dress minimalist and still have fun.
7: All Your Clothes Should Stay Available
Last but not least, some minimalists will say that you shouldn’t have so many clothes that you have to switch out your closets with the seasons. I have found that these minimalists also tend to live in places like California and Florida where there’s no real winter. But that’s not the point.
I lived in a 300 square foot studio apartment and shared my closet with my husband. While we were there I got in the habit of changing out my clothes for Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter because I just didn’t need to deal with sweaters and coats in July!
This year I’ve been loosely following Project 333 and I changed my clothes in April, July and again at the beginning of Oct. I wouldn’t normally change in the middle of summer but I was playing with keeping my closet simple and choosing a new color palette for the late summer and then the fall.
What I love about seasonal closet organization is that it helps me scratch the itch that makes me want new clothes. Every few months I get new clothes! And they are already my favorite clothes.
Seasonal closet organization also keeps me honest. I know what I haven’t worn for a whole season and I can let it go! Letting go is a key ingredient in knowing how to dress like a minimalist
Learn How to Dress Like a Minimalist, Your Way!
I hope this article has broken down all the barriers that may have stopped you from trying to dress like a minimalist. Now that you know the rules and how to break them I hope you can find the simple wardrobe of your dreams hiding in your closet!
I also hope that you don’t worry about minimalist fashion colors or minimalist fashion prices. The whole point of learning how to dress like a minimalist is to simplify your life! And that’s why it’s a huge part of the minimalist lifestyle!
The benefits of knowing how to dress minimalist are too good to miss out on cause of things like that colors or prices. Make a capsule wardrobe that fits you!
How Do You Dress Like a Minimalist? 7 New Rules:
- Choose clothing that is versatile for your lifestyle and daily activities.
- Make a colorful minimalist wardrobe with your 2-3 of your favorite colors.
- Instead of worrying about a certain number of clothes stay within boundaries.
- Have fun with your accessories if that’s your style.
- Buy clothes that you can afford but that are going to serve you a long time.
- Have fun creating different outfit combinations with the clothes you own.
- Switch out your clothes with the seasons.
Need more help with your closet?
If your closet looks more like a monstrous heap of clothes and your scared to open your dresser drawers don’t worry! I can help you clean out your closet and find you colorful minimalist wardrobe inside it.
You can find closet simplicity and the most fashionable wardrobe of your life hiding inside that mess.