Make Your Own Style Rules

Make Your Own Rules: Minimal Wardrobe

The trouble with telling people what they should and should not include in their minimal wardrobe is: we’re all different; we like different styles and feel comfortable in different clothes. One-size-fits-all does not, in fact, fit all. Our preferences and lifestyles differ too greatly to sum it up neatly into one list of “things you must own” for a minimal wardrobe to be complete.

Building a practical, functional, interesting and fun wardrobe relies on experimenting and defining over time, it’s not something that can be rushed or taught. A wardrobe should be well-balanced with key basics, everyday staples, statement pieces, and evening standards; it should cover all bases without falling into the realms of excess. It should fit the lifestyle you have not the lifestyle you want.

A minimal wardrobe is thoughtful and its simplicity provides clarity but you’ve got to make your own rules. There are a few rules minimalists would do well to follow when it comes to their wardrobe such as focusing on one dominant colour and supporting colour palette, a consideration for the details, and a strong focus placed on long-term with quality always preceding over quantity. It’s up to you to solidify a personalised rule set for your own wardrobe for satisfying results.

Here are a few of my own rules and perhaps a little inspiration for creating yours.

Clothes Must Be Comfortable, Versatile, and Smart

I enjoy the feeling of being “well dressed” and so my wardrobe reflects this. Whenever I consider something new to add to my wardrobe I look for ease of wear - can I wear it on day trips? to the studio? to dinner dates? - and whether it’s smart yet versatile. The only downside to this rule is I never feel dressy enough on special occasions; everything I own would be considered smart but nothing is really formal or fancy.

If It's Never Worn It's Got To Go

I am ruthless with this rule. Ruling out seasonal clothing, if I haven’t worn something in the last month or so I strike it from my wardrobe by finding someone else who would love it more. There is not enough space to be keeping garments “just in case” and excess, I find, encourages feelings of never having anything to wear.

Focus On Quality and Shop Ethically

Ideally shopping from independent brands where I can trace the manufacturing process or at the very least how the fabrics were made and where they came from. Shopping ethically and searching for quality involves a multitude of questions - who made this? where was it made? how ethical are the practices? what fabrics were used? what is the quality like? how long will it last? - and it’s not always possible to avoid mainstream shops, but I try.

No Trousers or Shorts

I know my body well and I’m neither comfortable nor suited to trousers or shorts, even skirts are a struggle. I’m most comfortable in dresses and they suit my style. I haven’t owned a pair of trousers in years and can’t remember the last time I tried a pair on; avoiding clothes we simply do not feel comfortable in is a major part of building a wardrobe we love.

No Heels

It’s a rare occasion when I need to wear heels and I’ll avoid it if I can. For me, heels are too uncomfortable and restrictive; a smart pair of flats, brogues or boots look just as good and are more than acceptable as a substitute. There is one lonely pair of wedge heels in my wardrobe and it’s likely to stay that way.

Pay Attention To Detail

There's a reason why I own a jewellery brand: details are crucial. I live in dresses, which means I rely on accessories, shoes, and coats to dress up or down an outfit. I find playing with structure, adding delicate jewellery, and switching up my shoes completely changes how I feel about my outfit. Details are everything.