Saturday, July 27, 2013

Minimalist Wardrobe

Now, this sh*ts hilarious. No, really... there is something severely awry when I feel entitled to blog about ANYTHING to do with style, fashion, or clothing. Yet, I feel like I do have something to share. While I don't claim to dress well, I think I can make the claim that I somehow now dress better after having carefully stripped my wardrobe down to the bare essentials.

Clothing was one of the first things to go in Oregon. I had way too many items that I didn't wear and wasn't willing to haul around anymore. Even worse, nothing went together anymore. It seems since I cut off my magical dreadlocks I've been floundering for a sense of personal style that is both professional, flexible, and expresses who I am.  To add to the mess, I never really have liked shopping, so what I did have was usually bought in an after-work hustle to find something... anything... fast. For example, if my black work pants ripped and needed to be replaced, that meant I would have to come home with the best pair I found that day regardless of how they fit, what they cost... and, sadly, if I even liked them.

A great deal of assistance was provided by reading Miss Minimalist by _____ . The things that rang truest to me were as fallows:

  • It is not everyone's calling in life to be a fashion model. It is just fine to dress nicely, even if you never turn heads with your "style."
  • Don't buy fantasy clothing. Are you a 1960's androgynous mod rocker? No? Maybe you don't need the striped pants and skinny tie then. 
  • It's not actually doing you any good to have it if you don't wear it.
I combined this with advice from one of  Tim Gun's books (give me a break, I was desperate... and I kinda love Tim Gun) and decided to focus on what works for me: a simple monochromatic wardrobe of basics that I can accessorize for different occasions. I took to polyvore and came up with this for inspiration:

Basic wardrobe

Basic wardrobe by kristin-muzzy featuring long pants

Of course, I couldn't just run out and make it happen right away, but over the last year I've slowly been building towards it. Here is what my actually closet includes:


1 kahkis (needs replacing)
1 pair of jeans
1 pair grey wool pants
1 pair black wool pants (needs replacing)
1 pair grey "scrubs" pants


Black Tanktop
V neck white Tshirt
V neck grey Tshirt (needs replacing)
V neck black Tshirt
Crewneck grey, sparkly Tshirt
"nice" crewneck white T shirt
"nice" crewneck black Tshirt
3/4 sleeve white Vneck
3/4 sleeve black Vneck

Sweaters/outer shirts:

Wool Vneck black sweater (light weight)
Teal/Blue wool cardigan (Hand knit- not going anywhere!)
Ferari red zip-up (Handy for hiking, but does not fit with anything else, will replace eventually)
Single button 3/4 sleeve "tux-style" coat, black
Button down over-shirt/coat, black


Red Troentorp clogs (casual)
Black leather Doc Marten Maryjanes (for work)
Black gladiator sandles
Hiking boots

*also some other items for sleeping, working out, and camping not included above

I learned I could live without several things. For one, I only have on pair of jeans. On weekdays, I change out of my work cloths and into athletic capris, so I really only wear jeans on the weekend. On top of this, one pair was always the favorite, so I never really wore more than one pair at a time anyway. When it really mattered, I always went for the favorite pair. The other pair only got worn once the favorites wore out... So why have them at all? That leaves three pairs of pants for work, meaning I have to re-wear or wash 2 pairs during the week, which is fine by me. I'm currently looking to replace the khakis with another pair that A) fit, and B) can work as my other casual pair of pants. Someday I will give up my last pair of scrubs... but for now they stay. I also learned to live without stylish or embellished shirts. I never did like prints, or ruffles, or pleats. I go for clean and monochromatic. If a style does come into season that I like, it's easier (and cheaper) to accessorize for the trend than to try work it into my actual clothing. Consider the following:

Black tee three ways

Black tee three ways by kristin-muzzy featuring slim fit jeans

Basic items can go from girly, to rocker, to business with ease. Not that I am after all of these looks, but it demonstrates the point of flexibility I'm trying to cultivate.  Truthfully, I don't have the variety of accessories to do different "looks," but I'm getting there. I haven't much more than a set of silver jewelry, a set of gold, and some random, favorite pieces I've collected through the years. I do, however, have a pretty good mix  of scarves to play with. I have been delaying buying accessories until I have a basis wardrobe first. Now that that is in place, I have started on the jewelry and accessories.

I'll probably never attain anything like the second photo, but looking at the first one, that seems doable. It's a method of dressing well that makes me feel competent and comfortable. You really can't mess it up... everything matches everything. That's what I need... a foolhardy set of clothing I don't have to think about and that meet my daily needs. Still, this can be adapted. Pick a few basic colors instead of black, white, and grey. Maybe you have a bohemian element to your pieces. This is just what seems to be working for me at this point in my life.... and it all fits in one rubber made ;).


  1. First, I disagree. You dress very well. And I agree with a minimalist wardrobe! Classic always works.

    Second, um, I think EVERY woman can learn from this blog entry :)

  2. I don't proclaim myself to be a fashionista, hell, I've been known for my casual style... Yet your wardrobe scares me.

    As a person who was one of the first adopters of unique pants like faux leather, purple, etc I'm not exactly normal.

    I have no specific style identity either. And while I do pull off most neutrals I look fantastic in jewel tones and other monstrosities that'd be hard to work together.

    That said, you do have a good point and I will try to be more... reasonable with my clothing.

    1. Although... your post brings up a good point. Sometimes this minimalism trend becomes a case of "you're doing it wrong," but isn't the whole point simply to have things that work for you and get rid of things that don't? What about the college kid going for fashion design? Clearly, this would probably not be a fun or rewarding wardrobe for them. That same person, however, might rarely cook at home... so maybe they should strip down their kitchen instead.

      I think it's more about being able to look at every piece and being able to justify how often you wear and like it.

  3. Very interesting blog. Alot of blogs I see these days don't really provide anything that I'm interested in, but I'm most definately interested in this one. Just thought that I would post and let you know.
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