Trend: Minimalist Wardrobe

The sad state of our economy and our increased willingness to be good to Mother Earth has motivated us to think in new ways about our wardrobes. It's a case of less is more. It's a little bit of a scary notion for some of us, to think that maybe only one pair of shoes and less than a dozen garment pieces and and handful of accessories would suffice, but the merits of a minimalist wardrobe need to be considered.

A little over two years ago, we followed The Uniform Project where Sheena Matheiken chose to wear one single dress for an entire year. Certainly she was creative in doing so and made the idea of wearing a single garment a little less painful for the rest of us. She offered the design for sale on her website and it quickly sold out. Since then, other contributors have proposed their own versions of the modular LBD, all of which have sold out as they were released.

There is definite interest in the pared down approach to fashion.

Other designers around the world are playing with this idea too. The Ultra 10 Challenge, who's creators are based in Kuala Lumpur and China, has come up with a 10-piece-wardrobe-for-365-days concept. The collection includes some creative convertible and multifunctional pieces such as the 3-in-1 coat, which converts into both a shirt and a skirt and the 2-in-1 jacket which converts into a vest. Other included wardrobe staples are a white shirt/dress, stretch pants, cotton trousers, a skirt, a dress, a cropped top and a vest. The whole collection is made from organic cotton and recycled materials. Though it appears to no longer be available for sale online, I'm still finding that this concept provokes an inspiring way to think about reformulating my own wardrobe based on multitasking, interchangeable and classic pieces.

What about shoes? Israeli designer Daniela Bekerman has created a convertible shoe concept. Her shoe takes on different styles and heel heights depending on which heel attachment is chosen. The shoe is not available for sale (still in concept stage), but the idea is fantastic and would definitely be a godsend solution for frequent travelers.

I don't think that most of us are there yet, in terms of being ready to adopt the discipline of wearing only 10 garments and one pair of shoes for a whole year. But definitely, visionaries such as the ones mentioned here are helping open our eyes to new ideas to curb over-consumption. There is definitely freedom to be had in such simplicity.

If I could set my vanity aside for a moment, that might help too.

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5 Responses to Trend: Minimalist Wardrobe

  1. The Succulent Wife says:

    It’s a great concept, and really, it’s a return to how things use to be, without the obsessive consumption that holds us prisoners much of the time. I have to say though, that a new pair of shoes does make me a happy camper. I think I could do this minimalist thing (after I wean myself off 3/4 of my wardrobe), but probably for the shoes part…

  2. Chloe says:

    I do like the concept of less is more, except I don’t think I want to wear black EVERY. DAY. I guess that’s where skillful accessorizing would come in.

    The shoe idea would be a godsend for those of us who travel though. And for those who spend a lot of time on their feet, like at a conference or something like that, where you might want a higher heel, but then be able to slip on a lower heel when your feet get tired. I think that idea could have legs. (har har)

    • The Succulent Wife says:

      Agreed. These concepts are perfect for travelers. I might start with that and see if I can migrate to the every day. And now, we need to find someone to finance Daniela so that she can manufacture the shoes!

  3. Caryn P. says:

    I went on a “clothes fast” beginning September, 2010. No new clothes buying for one year. What prompted me to do this was hearing so much how a more sustainable world needed less clothes buying. Also, when I daily looked at my stuffed clothes closet and declared, “I have nothing to wear.” At first, I had bad withdrawals like with any addiction. But then I settled in and could confidently walk past clothing stores without a glance. It really became fun pulling together “old” outfits. I only faltered once near the end of the year. I certainly saved a lot of money and time on this “fast.” It was encouraging to read how this concept of being a wardrobe minimalist is becoming popular around the globe.

    • The Succulent Wife says:

      Thanks for sharing. Too curious: what was the item that made you falter? Certainly a big event would be a good cause. And what was your biggest challenge and how did you finally make it work? I think that for me, it would be a wide choice of accessories to keep things interesting. I’m not sure that I’m ready to make the full jump into 10 pieces of clothing, but I am consciously paring down. Hearing your testimonial is definitely motivating. Will look to do another closet-clean-out this weekend!

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