Author Topic: Minimalism in clothing  (Read 6244 times)

k9

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Minimalism in clothing
« on: September 15, 2016, 02:22:45 PM »
Hello fellow mustachian,

I've been losing a lot of weight recently, and most of my clothes are now way too big for me. I need to buy new ones and take this as an opportunity to simplify my wardrobe, to the point of implementing some kind of "uniform" I'd wear almost every day, just like Wall Street guys and cartoon characters do. The concept of "capsule wardrobe" seems to be trendy, but what I want to do seems to be a little bit more radical : I want to have as little different clothes as possible, but with several occurrences of each (yeah, I have to wash them sometimes).

So, I was thinking about buying :
- 5 to 10 white t-shirts,
- 4-5 chambray/denim shirts, to wear on tee-shirts (unless it's really too hot),
- two identical cardigans to wear on shirts + t-shirts on cold days,
- one or two pairs of jeans, plus one or two lighter pair of pants for hot days,
- a navy blazer for special occasions at work or for a wedding,
- a coat for winter.

(All other items (shoes, hats, scarf, underwear), I don't need to buy again since they still fit, so I'll ignore them here.)

The idea behind this is that it would make laundries much easier (all t-shirts are the same color, so I can wash them all together, same thing for shirts, etc.) and dressing up in the morning much easier. I won't have anymore dozens of items I almost never were because they don't fit with each other. The dress code is very relaxed where I work, so such an outfit would not be a problem at all.

What do you think of that idea? Do some of you implement such a technique of dressing almost the same way every day? Do you think it is feasible? Is there some problem I'm overlooking?

Miss Piggy

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2016, 02:25:57 PM »
I really like this idea. However, I believe the chambray/denim shirt is no longer in style, so it may not be your best option.

ZiziPB

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2016, 02:41:31 PM »
If you don't think you will get bored wearing basically the same outfit every day then I don't see any reason not to do it.

Here is an interesting blog post for you on this topic:
http://www.becomingminimalist.com/wear-one/

bobechs

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2016, 03:00:58 PM »
T-shirt, slippahs, shorts.

Es bettah get two each brah, 'cause you gonn' blowout the slippahs pretty often

madgeylou

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2016, 03:10:54 PM »
hmm, miss piggy i'm pretty sure chambray shirts are still happening and probably always will be!

i have adopted a uniform of sorts. i wear a dark tunic and drapey, art-teacher-y linen pants almost every day. some days i switch the trousers out for leggings, and some days i switch the tunic out for a tank top or sweater (if it's hot or cold).

but yeah, makes life pretty easy, especially when traveling. very easy to pack.

TrMama

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2016, 03:12:43 PM »
Good plan. Although I think you'll need more than one pair of pants? Unless the ones you have already still fit? I'd also counsel against solid white shirts. Too hard to keep clean and they're prone to stains. However, a collection of patterned white shirts, or light colored shirts would be fine.

FTR I'm working on a similar plan. I've decided my new uniform will be dark jeans and button down shirts. Shirts will mostly be navy (my favorite) with small patterns to hide the spills. Other dark colors are also permissible. Fabric for shirts will be wrinkle resistant and contain lycra.


lizzzi

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2016, 03:25:09 PM »
Yes agree with poster above that you will need more than one pair of pants. I think your idea is good, and I do pretty much the same thing, but all my clothing, including underwear, is dark. That way everything goes with everything else (my palette is pretty much black, dark gray, and navy, with dark blues, purples, mulberries, and greens in my tee shirts and tunics)...you don't have to separate colors in your laundry loads, you can get dressed in the dark and look fine, and you don't show the dirt.

MsPeacock

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2016, 04:12:09 PM »
There is an old thread I started on this topic a while back. I will try to dig it up. I am essentially doing a uniform of white shirt, dark pants, sweater for my work uniform.   Everything is machine washable and no iron. It's been great. Is there a reason you want the shirts and sweaters to all be identical rather than a little variety (e g a blue sweater and a grey sweater)?

Kiwi Mustache

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2016, 05:15:33 PM »
Steve Jobs and Barack Obama both do this.

Also helps with decision fatigue.

MayDay

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2016, 05:53:08 PM »
Not bad, but chambrey shirts are so dorky that I really cannot imagine voluntarily wearing one at all, et alone every day, and I am probably the least fashionable person I know other than my husband and my brother who thought you could wear plaid shorts and a plaid shirt together as long as they had the same colors in the 2 plaids.

I own very few things (3 drawers full total, plus about 6 dressy things hanging up) but I have no desire to make them all match.  The dressy stuff does all match so that I can mix and match a full work week out of 3 tops and 3 bottoms.  The casual stuff, eh, why do I want 5 identical t shirts when I can wear 5 different colored t-shirts with my same 2 pairs of shorts and not look.....  strange.

In summary:  mix and match or same colored work clothes = sensible, same colored casual t-shirts = weird. 

HappierAtHome

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2016, 05:59:54 PM »
I like this idea. I've done something similar - I limited my colours to blue, black and grey, with occasional purple or red items, and everyday I wear black tights, one out of a bunch of near-identical black and grey dresses, and one out of a bunch of near-identical black, grey and blue cardigans. Getting dressed is EASY and people tell me I am better dressed now that I have a distinctive 'look'.

FIFoFum

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2016, 06:27:02 PM »
This is basically what I have done. I just pared down what I had that worked and limited new stuff in.

Agree that you want to go with dark or grey, not with white. They look crisp and neat longer, need to be washed less often, and don't have to be sorted.

Also for matching purposes, most things either go with black or brown for shoes/belts. Pick one and stick with I across the board. Most of my stuff is in neutral tones (grey, blue, dark green, khaki) so I went with brown. No need to keep around things that match black, black jeans, etc.

Get something so you have "a" pair of pants that fits. But wait to be stable at a specific size for months before it's worth getting more. You may still lose weight, lose fat and inches (without losing weight), and so on.


MsPeacock

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2016, 06:41:12 PM »

MoonLiteNite

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2016, 02:22:41 AM »
I am 29 years old.
Since i moved out of my parents at age 18, i have paid a few jeans, and a few dozen socks/underwear.

All tshirts i own are from volunteer work and from blood donations :D Awesome to wear those things every day!

My tip, volunteer at events for free shirts and donate blood!

CanuckExpat

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2016, 02:48:21 AM »
I fell into this at work accidently and I liked it.
I would bike to work and keep some clothes there. At some point it just became jeans and black tshirts that I had in the locker. Worked out surprisingly well. Very versatile, quick and easy to grab the clothes and get dressed. Nobody notices or asks. So I never went back to having variety in the locker.

norabird

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2016, 07:37:52 AM »
Just want to defend chambray! I think it's still great.

k9

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2016, 08:40:31 AM »
Thanks for all answers so far.

Why chambray, some asked? I like it, it's at the same time comfortable, solid, cheap (for equivalent quality), and more iron-friendly than non-casual shirts, and at the same time looks more professional than other casual shirts (I like flannel/tartan too, but wearing one every day does not give a very professional image, IMO).

Well, however, maybe I'll go on light gray for t-shirts, as suggested above, and maybe even (gasp) "medium" gray, which will give a little variety, and, for sure, will be easier to clean than white. But no black for me, black tends to tarnish too quickly. Different shades of grey are cool, they can go with everything, so I can pick the first one from the drawer and not look *exactly* the same every day.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2016, 09:00:49 AM »
Bathrobe x 2
Slippers x 2
.....done! :)

Red Beard

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2016, 09:08:33 AM »
I am in the process of phasing in this exact approach with a few more items to hopefully extend the life of what I own. I am also VERY hard on clothes (especially for having a desk job), so I have decided to buy more "fancy pants" clothes that tend to be more expensive but should last me about four times as long. Instead of buying clothes around twice a year, I anticipate I will have to now only buy things every 2-3 years - at least that is the hope.

My Uniform -
4 pairs of pants (same brand - khaki, navy, olive, gray)
1 pair of blue jeans
2 pairs of shorts
10 undershirts
14 pairs of underwear/socks
7 long sleeve button up shirts; 2 short sleeve button up shirts (same brand, different colors)
Rain Jacket, Winter Coat
Athletic Gear

This approach as already started saving money, even with buying pricier clothes. It has reduced laundry from every week to every other week for the unders and every month for the other stuff. It has also completely eliminated the "I might wear this" purchases that I made (which were infrequent, but still happened)or gifts I got, and has cleared out a TON of space. My only regret is not going this route sooner.

snogirl

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2016, 09:19:12 AM »

Laserjet3051

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2016, 09:47:58 AM »
I have a minimalist wardrobe, for years. In the true spirit, bathrobes and slippers are completely unecessary so I dont/have not bought these at all, ever. Zero cost, zero maintenance.  Have never bought or ever worn an undershirt below my work shirts, ever. Own ZERO of these. I do own colored t-shirts that I wear around the house or when not at work, many of these have been FREEBIES obtained over the years from vendor exhibits, and as such, often have advertisement logos on them. The rate at which I acquire free t-shirts is faster than the rate I burn through them, so never need to buy t-shirts.

I do laundry once a week, so no need for 14 pairs of whatever. 7 will do just fine.

Just how minimalist are you willing to go?

historienne

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #21 on: September 16, 2016, 10:02:00 AM »
I'm not sure of your gender, so this advice may or may not resonate.  I think it's a good plan, but I'd go with Oxford-cloth shirts over chambray if your standard pants will be jeans.  I don't mind the chambray+denim look, but it's a little too much of a specific look for me to want to wear it every day.  Oxford cloth (in blue or white) reads more classic to me, while still retaining many of the same advantages: pretty sturdy, will become quite soft with wear, doesn't require regular ironing. Alternatively, if you want to stick to chambray, maybe navy or khaki chinos for the standard pants?

If you are a dude, oxford+denim will read more cowboy than trendy.  As long as cowboy is appropriate for your work environment, though, it would be classic enough for daily wear.

FWIW, I have a similar uniform except that I use nicer tees (Ibex merino wool) as my standard top, under cardigans.  I have the tees in a variety of colors; I like the ability not to wear *exactly* the same thing every day, while still minimizing decision-making.  But I get the appeal of total uniformity as well.  One of the things that I like about the tees is that they work equally well as business casual (with merino cardigan, wool pants, and ballet flats - that's my work uniform) and as weekend wear (with the same cardigans, but jeans and boots).

k9

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2016, 06:57:41 AM »
Ha, just saw that I didn't say I was a man. Yes, Historienne, you're right, maybe Oxford is a good-idea too, hadn't thought of it. I'm with you on the limits of total-denim look. I will definitely wear chinos too, for hot days, and this would not be a problem, but for jeans days, maybe somtheing more classical yet sturdy and casual would be better.

Hmm, I guess I will end with two kinds of uniforms, actually. There would be "jeans days" and "chinos days". Well, that's okay anyway, as long as it keeps ultra-simple for me.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this subject.

rothwem

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2016, 08:12:11 AM »
I "sort of" do this. 

I've been all about the Levi's 541 jeans/chinos...basically they're jeans that are made with chino fabric, so they're technically not blue jeans and they pass the dress code at work.  I've got three pairs: a dark grey pair, a khaki pair, and an olive drab pair.  The 541s have some stretch in them so they're comfortable, and the blue jeans construction is more durable than a regular set of khakis/chinos.

I pair the pants with land-end button ups, and I make an effort to pick fairly plain patterns and colors that will go with any of my pants.  The Lands-End shirts are a bit pricey, but they go on sale every couple months for ~$20-30 a piece, and they're really durable shirts. 

When I first started doing this, I was working a lab job where my stuff could get ruined at any point by splashed acid or grease from a machine, so I went cheap on my shirts and just got some Old Navy polos--bad plan, they ended up shrinking and falling apart before I had the chance to ruin them with nitric acid at work. 

I end up wearing most of these clothes all the time, not just when I'm at work.  I've got a couple nicer Jcrew buttonups for "going out", but I don't usually "go out" a whole lot.  I've got a Banana Republic suit for the 2-3 times a year where I need one, and a couple ties.  The BR suit is typical BR stuff--great fitting, terrible construction and material.  If I had to wear this thing every day, it would fall apart in <6 months, but since its worn so infrequently, its lasted 6 years. 

For working around the house and doing dirty stuff, I've got a pair of ruined Levi's khaki jean that I got grease on and a 6-pack of Hanes grey pocket tees from Walmart.  I've also got a large collection of free t-shirts from when I was in college still.  A lot of them have been cut into rags when they get too worn, but a solid amount of them remain somewhat wear-able. 

I'd estimate that my whole wardrobe is ~$500, and the suit was another $500.  I've always got clothes that look okay together and I rarely have to think about what I need to wear. Is that considered minimalist?

Fishindude

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2016, 08:23:49 AM »
Farmers invented this idea.
Work clothes, your go to town clothes, and your church duds.

If you're real poor, you go to town clothes and church duds are one in the same.

alewpanda

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2016, 09:49:46 AM »
I have what I would call a "capsule" wardrobe...and its year round. 

I operate by this rule: my tops are primarily black and gray, with a purple tshirt and 2 longsleeve shirts that are different (one burnt orange, one plaid button down).  All bottoms must match the black tops, and all layers must match the black tops.  All accesories match black also.

I own:
3 pairs of jeans (my primary bottom of choice)
2 pairs khaki shorts
mustard skirt
black skirt
Pink skirt

2 black wide strap tanks (appropriate pretty much anywhere  regularly frequent)
1 black undershirt
2 black shortsleeve tops
1 gray shortsleeve
1 purple shortsleeve
black and gray striped shortsleeve

black longsleeve
black collared shirt
plaid button down
burnt orange sweater

black moto jacket
camel leather jacket
maroon cardigan
jean jacket
navy zip up sweatshirt

navy sundress
black sheath dress
black and white striped dress

black flats, boots, sandals, sports sandals, converse
maroon converse


Separate items include several scarves, all matching black tops
a set of dog walking clothes for hot weather and a set for cold
a few sets of exercise clothing
winter coat
swimsuit
running shoes
slippers
set of paint clothes
undergarments (most are black....I know what I like)



I trade out an item here and there as I wear them out or get bored of them.  I thrift 99% of my clothing... I can even thrift brand new undergarments with tags.  I bought the maroon converse and the sports sandals new or new on ebay...thats it.  I keep a careful list of needed items in my purse and don't deviate.  If an item IS NOT black...then I need to be able to think through my wardrobe and know I can wear it with a variety of items.  Long sleeve is easier to deviate with because I can generally wear them sans another layer.  The shortsleeve items and tanks get worn all year round...on their own in the summer an layered in the winter.  And yes, I wear the navy zippered sweatshirt over black...Its slouchy and in those circumstances, I am casual enough that I don't care....lol. 


Hope my experience helps :D  I have way too much fun maintaining and organizing my capsule wardrobe.  I can generally share the list of items above without even looking in my closet......

tonysemail

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2016, 02:47:49 PM »
I do something similar because I'm OCD about laundry.
my favorite clothes get washed quickly enough that I rarely need more than 3-4 items.
I have 3 pairs of shorts for warm months, 2 pairs of jeans for cold months, and about 10 t-shirts.
a light jacket, a few medium jackets, and a water proof jacket.
socks, underwear, and pajamas too.
that covers 90% of my needs.

I kind of stumbled upon this wardrobe after listening to the paradox of choice.
instead of donating all my unused clothing, i'm trying to wear out each of my favorite pieces of clothing.
It's become a kind of a game for me... how many years will it be before I buy new clothes?
I guess it's gonna be a decade or more.

edit:
There is one cool side effect of having a minimalist wardrobe.
you can pack light when travelling ... it's really no different than being home!
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 03:26:17 PM by tonysemail »

ketchup

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2016, 03:16:45 PM »
I've fallen into a lazy version of this simple routine.  I just went on an 8 night mostly-business trip and essentially brought all my clothes with me.

I have:

~8 "niceish" button-up or polo shirts
2 pairs of jeans
1 pair of "business casual" pants

Usually have casual (=jeans) dress code at work with a few days a month "business casual" if we have a visitor/auditor around and this fills it pretty well.  I'll wear the same thing whether I'm going to work or not.

Add my jacket in the winter (everything else is year-round).  Add funny hat on really cold days.

One pair of $20 good-enough shoes from Costco.  Had "nice" dress shoes before I ruined them like an idiot but I'll probably get new ones eventually.

Plus 2-3 old shitty Tshirts and ratty jeans for exercise/housework/carwork.  Secondary old falling-apart shoes for yard work.

Laundry about once a week, pooled in with my GF's clothes and towels/etc.

lizzzi

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Re: Minimalism in clothing
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2016, 08:33:20 AM »


edit:
There is one cool side effect of having a minimalist wardrobe.
you can pack light when travelling ... it's really no different than being home!

I agree with this 100%. As you're planning your wardrobe and buying the items, try to get things that will also work well for travel. I've found the comfortable, dark, easy-care things that work well at home function just as well for travel. There is no need for separate "travel" clothes if you are thoughtful about what you buy and wear for the day-to-day.