Beauty & Style Musings & Life

Less Is More: Tales From a Recovering Clothes Horse

Less is More - Minimalist Fashion

It’s been a few years now since I wore the same little black dress everyday for a month as part of the LBDD Challenge. As someone that tends to overshop it was a pretty eye opening experiment that helped me a lot in parring back what I was buying.

My goal after the challenge to try and shift where I spent my money, from fast-fashion giants to independent businesses has been successful for the most part.

However I do have a bad habit of holding onto things, and though I’ve drastically changed how I shop, I’m still hauling around a ton of stuff that though pretty, is rather impractical for me now.

Impractical BeautyIt makes me think about what my brother once said:

“It’s a sunk cost”.

Meaning – ‘a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered. Sunk costs should not affect the rational decision-maker’s best choice‘.

The context for this comment was that we had met up to see a concert together that we’d bought tickets for months ago (ohGr for the curious). However on the day, the weather was so humid it triggered migraines for both of us. We felt clammy, nauseated and like knitting needles were being poked into our brains with any little sound.

I remember holding an ice cold pop-can to my head trying to will myself better, he looked at me in this state and suggested we should really forget the concert.

Yes we had spent money on concert tickets, but why force ourselves to go when we were sick and wouldn’t enjoy it? The best choice was to go home and hide in dark rooms until we felt better.

Searching for styleHis words have stuck with me since. Applied to the situation of an overflowing closet, rationally the clothes are a sunk cost. Why hold onto them when I won’t wear them, they’re taking up space, creating a mess and making it difficult to cut through the clutter to get to what I’ll actually use.

Enter a minimal wardrobe.

I’ve followed along with Xandra Burn’s adventures in minimalism on her blog. Delighted by her commitment and creativity in expressing her personal style with interesting outfits, all the while liberated by leading a minimalist lifestyle.

She proves a limited wardrobe is far from boring.

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of a minimal wardrobe for some time, but never thought I could manage it. It’s funny how much emotional weight physical possessions take on. I always had a romantic notion of having an incredible wardrobe of costumes to pull from at a moments notice, but in reality I was just building a collection of things doomed to hang like museum pieces in my closet for the rest of eternity.

Dark desert styleMy subsequent lazy go-to became black jeans & band tees, a long way from my once upon time spooky thrift shop & vintage style.

So, I finally started the process of really decluttering and creating a capsule wardrobe with what I currently have as a way to dip my toes into the minimal world. This was 3 months ago now.

Dressing from a capsule wardrobe the past three months has been pretty awesome (of course not without some challenges but I’m still figuring it out). My style has been evolving over the past while and it’s felt so refreshing overhauling everything. Don’t worry though, I’ll always be a weirdo no matter what. Weirdos forever right?

Weirdos Forever(Off topic, but how awesome are these enamel pins from Louise Androlia? Love, love, love them!)  

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure where I’ll wind up with this and just how ‘minimal’ I can go, but it’s a positive start in becoming recovering clothes horse. I’ll be posting a bit in future about the experience and things I’ve found useful in building a smaller alternative wardrobe.

If you’re interested as well, the following posts are immensely helpful:

Minimalist Wardrobe FAQ: Common Pitfalls + How To Get Started

How To Pare Down Your Wardrobe ~ Getting Started

What Is A Capsule Wardrobe

How To Create A Capsule Wardrobe

And in particular this is a great piece from The Minimal Closet about how to be realistic with all the capsule wardrobe hype, and some tips on how to effectively work with a capsule wardrobe – What’s Wrong with Capsule Wardrobes?

Do you dress with a minimalist approach? Or are you considering doing so to combat a shopping hangover? I’d love to know what works well for you!

Image Credit: Edie Campbell by David Sims for Vogue March 2014, Weirdos Forever by Louise Androlia

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    anonymousfbl
    September 22, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    ” having an incredible wardrobe of costumes to pull from at a moments notice, but in reality I was just building a collection of things doomed to hang like museum pieces in my closet for the rest of eternity.” – that is me! i dont know whether i could ever transition to a minimalist wardrobe though. I always end up thinking of a “what if” situation lol.

    • Reply
      Jamie
      October 15, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      Completely 🙂 It’s taken me awhile to come to grips with this, and even then there are a few things I’m not ready to part with just yet!

  • Reply
    Miranda
    September 24, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    I have been wanting to change my wardrobe (esp. my work wardrobe) into a minimal one for the better part of this year…but haven’t done it. Why? Because everytime I look in my closet, I think, “Oh, but if it’s lasted this long, I should hang on to it,” or “But I might need that exact thing some day.”

    So your point about clothes being a sunk cost really hit home for me. It’s giving me the chance to look at my closet yet again with fresh eyes and see my clothing for what it is: pieces a younger, trying-to-be-professional me purchased and will never wear again.

    Here’s to an exciting new adventure cleaning out my own closet!

    • Reply
      Jamie
      October 15, 2015 at 9:53 pm

      I find the work wardrobe the hardest to deal with too, especially in trying to find a happy medium between what I like and what’s appropriate. Glad to hear the sunk cost idea has given you a new light at looking at dealing with past purchases! It’s helped me a lot I’ve found. Here’s to adventures in closet clearing! Perfect excuse to throw on some music and have a glass of wine while sorting through everything IMO 😉

  • Reply
    Margot Meanie
    October 2, 2015 at 3:13 am

    I am currently looking at clearing out a HUGE portion of my wardrobe. I suffer from holding on to far too many things ‘just in case”, but I’m also intimidated, what do I do with it all once I’m done? donate? closet sale? probably both, but it’s a daunting task of going through it all and then photographing and post all the decent pieces. Instead, I opt for keeping it on my “to do” list.

    • Reply
      Jamie
      October 15, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      I hear you! I broke stuff down by having “Donate”, “Throw Out” and “Sell” piles which worked well initially going through stuff. Realistically, though once upon a time items seemed to revolve in and out of my wardrobe through eBay, I now find that process rather daunting as well. So for the longest time I’ve just had bags full of items to sell just gathering dust. In the end I wound up donating them to be honest, as I got sick of having them around and knew I didn’t want to deal with eBay. Have you seen depop though? It would still require a quick pic and description, but might be a bit easier going giving it’s listing easily directly from your phone. Best of luck with the clear out as well!

  • Reply
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