Studies show that clutter, impulse buys and financial problems can lead to high stress levels. The best strategy to decrease stress and regain control of your finances is going minimalist. Doing so doesn’t mean you will look like a scarce crow. On the contrary, learning how to be more minimalist helps you to regain control of your finances, life and closet. It may help to reduce your stress with benefits for your weight and helps to improve your mental health. This post shares tips for a capsule wardrobe that still lets you enjoy being a woman, dress work appropriate and look effortlessly stylish. It also provides reasons why you save when you adopt a minimalist style.
Just think about it. Do you really need 20 cheap T-shirts for $10 each or won’t it be enough to have one in black, one in white and a graphic T-shirt of good quality? The latter may cost $100 all together, while the former add up to $200. Cheap, low quality T-shirts have a short lifetime. You keep buying new ones. On the contrary, the three good quality ones last. In the end over their tenure in your closet, they were cheaper despite the up front higher investment for each of them.
Be honest! How many inexpensive T-shirts did you toss or turn into cleaning supplies because they lost shape after the first wash, got longer or wider with every wash? Been there, done that. In other words, go for quality, not quantity.
In times of financial hardships like those caused, for instance by layoffs or furloughs, cutting back and creating a budget is a natural Do for everyone, not just someone who wants to start a business and stay on budget. Just in case that you get furloughed or laid off. For us over 50, it may even mean to be forced to retire early. To stay on budget requires to avoid impulse buys successfully. In times, where you have a bit more than you need, a couple of impulse buy of a $20 T-shirt seems not to be a big deal. However, it adds up! It’s a big issue when you are on a budget and/or want to increase your retirement contributions or savings.
Therefore, make it a rule that before you hand over your credit card to the cashier to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have already an item with a similar function like this one?
- Is the quality of the piece worth its money?
- Can I make more than three new outfits with this piece?
Being more minimalist means that you only buy when your answers to the first, second and third questions are no, yes and yes, in that order. Otherwise you are just ending up with a closet full of clothes where you even loose oversight of what you own. You can’t find anything and have nothing to wear. Recall not wearing your investment pieces is like tossing them.
Becoming more a minimalist is a lifestyle change. It benefits your wallet, your style and health. Dressing in the morning is less stressful when your closet only contains high quality pieces that you love and that hang well separated. You see what it’s there. No stressful searching for clothes. All items are on display and not squeezed between each other and hence are overlooked or even forgotten.
Our closet can reflect the state of our mind. Too many clothes in all colors of the rainbow and various styles lead to more stress. Literally. Nothing works together. On the contrary, a capsule wardrobe consists of your color palette’s neutrals and some of its fashion colors. As a result, all bottoms go easily with all tops and outerwear. Furthermore, when you focus on your primary and secondary personal style all items go well together.
A capsule wardrobe means you spend no money on pieces you hardly wear. Embracing the concept of a capsule wardrobe requires making good decisions about what and why you buy. You have to think about what you want from an item.
This concept is much easier to implement than an abstract idea of “I need to save money.”
Did you know that many clothing items are produced for sales? They were never intended to be sold for their so-called full price. They are inexpensive, because they are literally cheap. Ironically, this fact what makes them too expensive. Therefore, learning how to be more a minimalist helps you save money and staying on budget.
Instead of spending money on cheap, fast fashion, go for high quality pieces. Splurge on accessories that will be part of your wardrobe for years to come. Get comfortable with the idea that spending more money up front on an item that will last may be cheaper in the long run than many cheap items. Furthermore, a well made dress, blouse, skirt, you name it, in a good quality fabric always looks more stylish than a piece from cheap fabric that looks like being sewn by a six year old. Worse, it may be even true.
Here is a list to start with:
- A winter coat
- A raincoat
- A lightweight jacket/parka (more on a capsule coat wardrobe)
- A pair of summer and winter dress pants; more of them when your office dress code is pants or you love wearing pants (more on how to choose your pants)
- A summer and winter straight skirt in a neutral and fashion color each, one or two printed summer skirts, and one or two pattern winter skirts (herring bone, hounds tooth, glen check are great evergreens to invest in)
- A LBD
- A summer and winter sheath
- A shirt dress
- A weekend dress
- Two or three cardigans that go with everything
- In cold climate regions, three to five cashmere, merino or wool sweaters
- In warm climate, one or two sweaters and a sweater vest
- A pair of straight or boot-cut jeans in a dark wash depending on what’s best for your body shape
- Slacks or chinos when you are an engineer (more on best dress code tips for female engineers)
- A button-down shirts in white and other neutrals of your color palette
- Two or three blouses in your fashion colors
- A black, white and a graphic T-shirt
- Two or three shirts or blouses in a print or pattern. Gingham, plaid, floral, polka dots and stripes are eternal classic patterns that never go out of style unless you go for extreme fashion colors.
- A pair of leather boots. In cold and/or humid climate regions, make that two so they can dry between uses.
- A pair of nude, white, black dress pumps and a pair in a fashion color.
- Strappy sandals
- Depending on your work dress code two summer and three winter blazers if required.
Five shirts and two pair of pants give you already ten different looks assumed you wear the same pair of shoes. Adding two skirts means 20 different outfits. When you also add a sheath, you have 25 outfits. This number excludes all the additional looks you can create by wearing your sheath as a skirt or top. Adding a cardigan you can already make 50 different looks. When you wear the cardigan as a top with your pants, skirts, and sheath you have 55 different looks. Now add a second pair of shoes and you are at 110 different outfits!
When you accessorize with scarves, belts or jewelry, you end up with many variations of the looks. See my guide on how to up your style with scarves as well as my guide on how to accessorize with belts. See the next photo as an example how the same dress makes a different look by just changing the accessories, bag and shoes.
Learning how to be more a minimalist can make your life easier. Despite being more minimalist you can be well dressed (better quality) and look effortlessly stylish. Being more minimalist means having less stress getting dressed because your closet is better organized and you see what you have. It also saves money and you contribute to reducing waste from fashion.
Photos of me: G. Kramm
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