Creating a minimalist wardrobe (or minimalist capsule wardrobe) is a game changer when it comes to reducing stress and overwhelm. Since there won’t be any clutter in your minimalist closet, you can get dressed with more ease, choosing from essentials and quality pieces.
I dress with 33 items or less every 3 months (including clothes, jewelry, accessories, and shoes) and I’ve experienced quite a few unexpected perks. I didn’t know what to expect in 2010 when I created minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 but from the beginning, it was full of pleasant surprises.
This minimalist fashion challenge didn’t just change my closet, it changed my life. You can remove a significant amount of stress simply by removing items from your closet.
7 Perks of a Minimalist Wardrobe
Some of these things really surprised me and I continue to enjoy these perks (and more) the longer I dress with less.
1. You save money with a minimalist wardrobe
Being more mindful about clothes you purchase will help you save money. Even if you are spending more on quality garments, by shopping less overall, you change your shopping habits, spend less money and build a wardrobe that lasts. It’s good for the planet and your bank account. I recommend planning your wardrobe every 3-6 months and building in a shopping ban in between.
Create a checklist of the items you want to include in different categories. For instance: Clothing: blazer, tees, trench coat, little black dress, pants and a skirt. Shoes: sandals, boots, sneakers and heels. Accessories: scarf, hat, purse, sunglasses.
2. A capsule wardrobe invites you to carry less guilt.
Opening my closet used to be a daily reminder of my debt and discontent. Clothes that didn’t fit, clothes I never wore, and even clothes with price tags still hanging on them weighed me down with guilt. Once I began to embrace minimalism and create a lifestyle with less stuff and more peace, it was easier to resist buying new clothes all the time. When I let go of extra t shirts, sweaters and button-ups, I had more space in my closet and I had less mental clutter too. The guilt and other emotions I had been paying with for so long finally faded away. When I let go, I realized I had paid enough. I paid with my money, my time, my attention and emotions. Haven’t you paid enough too?
3. When you make fewer decisions, you have more clarity.
Now that I don’t spend my mornings choosing between pairs of jeans or figuring out which cardigan matches which white t-shirt, I have breathing room. I don’t spend my evenings and weekends shopping so I experience less decision fatigue and have way more clarity. I know what matters to me now, and it’s not more denim jackets or trying to figure out my personal style.
4. You’ll care less about what other people think.
When I started dressing with less, I was working full time in a sales position with frequent staff and client meeting and community events. I was a little worried about what people would say when they noticed I was wearing the same things over and over again but no one even noticed!
When I figured out that people weren’t thinking about me as much as I thought they were, I wondered if there were other areas of my life where I was making decisions based on what I thought other people were thinking. I could finally do what was best for me without concern for other people’s opinions or expectations.
5. Dressing with less frees you.
Now that I’m not interested in the latest trends, or the 40% offers and other sales, I’m not affected by marketing campaigns that tell me to buy now. I buy when I need something new, not when they want me to buy. I’m surprised when I think of all the time and attention I devoted to buying on someone else’s schedule. Now I’m free.
6. A minimalist wardrobe gives you back your time.
I shop for clothes 4 times a year or less. That means I’m not thinking about fashion, clothes, sales or trends anymore. I don’t shop every weekend, or for every event and emotion anymore. If you are thinking … but wait, I love shopping, I’d like to invite you to challenge that idea. Shopping was my go-to distraction from pain; the pain of boredom, disappointment, sadness, exhaustion. I didn’t know what I loved. Take a 3-month time out from shopping and see what you really love.
7. A smaller wardrobe gave me more confidence.
I always thought I needed to wear something new or special to prove myself. I needed the right heels to feel powerful, or a new dress to feel sexy, or a trendy jacket to feel put together and prepared. Once I started dressing with less, I found confidence in who I was instead of what I wore. Today I feel powerful, sexy and prepared from the inside out, instead of the other way around.
How to get started with the minimalist fashion challenge:
- Take an inventory of what you own. I recommend getting all wardrobe items together in one space so you can see what you’ve got.
- Clean out your closet. Here’s a practical guide.
- Get started with this approach or this one.
- Hide everything you aren’t donating or wearing. Get it out of sight.
- Dress with your 33 items (clothes, accessories, jewelry, shoes) for 3 months. During that time, ignore all sales and shopping.
- At the end of 3 months, check in. How did it go? What’s next?
- Let me know how it goes! Share your OOTDs and wardrobe images with #project333 on Instagram.
Resources to help you with your minimalist fashion challenge or capsule wardrobe:
- The Project 333 book – A chapter by chapter guide to creating freedom in your closet and your life.
- Project 333 rules and information – Everything you need to know to start the challenge. Here’s a quick overview: Choose 33 items or less to wear for three months. Include clothing, accessories, jewelry and shoes. Don’t include underwear, socks, sleepwear or workout gear.
- The Dress with Less Course -For extra guidance, motivation and support join the Project 333 Video Course.