Life&Style Writer Katie Norris explains how you can achieve a minimalist wardrobe

Written by Katie Norris
Images by Justynafaliszek

In 2014 Caroline Rector started a buzz in the fashion world when she reduced her wardrobe down to a sole 37 pieces, a process that mimics the Marie Kondo method. This created the concept of a ‘capsule wardrobe’, a solution to our overstuffed wardrobes following a boom in fast fashion. This solved one of the contradictory problems created through fast fashion, our despairing that we have ‘nothing to wear’ looking in our wardrobes in the morning. Capsule wardrobes fix this by being a collection of timeless clothes rather than time-dependent fashion trend pieces. They act as a collection of clothes that you can mix and match to create outfits appropriate for multiple occasions.

Fast fashion is a key contributor to greenhouse gases, water and air pollution

This is possibly more important now than ever, with people actively looking for a more sustainable way of living in order to care for our planet. Fast fashion is a key contributor to greenhouse gases, water and air pollution, creates problematic levels of waste, and is also guilty for poor working conditions for its workers in sweat shops.

In order to make a capsule wardrobe effectively there are a couple of guidelines to make sure you reap its full benefits:

1. Seek out top-quality, long lasting pieces
If you’re going to be spending less on fast fashion pieces you may as well invest in clothes that are higher quality – this is a good way to make sure they last as well – which is important when you’re creating a selection of clothes that you make sure you love.

2. Don’t be too strict with numbers
Rector herself increased her collection from 37 to 50 when she found that she was being too restrictive, and retail therapy is necessary sometimes! Also don’t overdo it, if you have a dress for special occasions that you rarely wear but really like – keep it! Those occasions will always come up and you don’t want to limit your clothes choices, just hone them. If you are concerned about clutter, after building your wardrobe you can have a ‘one in, one out’ rule to be more strict with yourself.

3. Give to charity
When starting out it is easier to just donate some unworn clothes to a charity shop and perhaps even use the Marie Kondo ‘Does it spark joy?’ question to help with this. This also helps with sustainability – even if you rarely use that woolly jumper, someone else could love it!

4. Don’t rush to fill up your wardrobe
Give yourself breathing room after the initial clothes cull to figure out what you’re missing that’s essential, but it’s quite fun at first to see how you cope living with less clothing. An easy outline for the minimum key items of clothing you should have is: t shirts/tops for layering, a pair of jeans, tailored trousers, a coat/jacket, a smart dress/suit for special occasions and a pair of both casual and smart shoes. This doesn’t account for seasonal pieces or lifestyle and will take some trial and error. Just make sure you aren’t left with either jeans or smart trousers to go to the gym in!