I have worked hard to ensure that each and every piece in my wardrobe has been carefully curated and selected to reflect my own personal style. This guarantees that all my wearables have been purchased because I know I will be able to wear and enjoy them again and again, and because they serve a purpose.
My personal style can be defined as Vintage & Safe Neutrals. I like delicate neutral clothing, in more traditional and formal cuts, that often have a vintage feel about them. It might be the cut, fabric or the way I obtained it, but I personally love a retro inspired wardrobe.
I no longer collect drawers full of clothing that I bought on a whim, purchased because they were on sale, or have in case one day I might wear them again.
I now spend less time in the morning worrying and wasting time on deciding what to wear. I don’t feel uncomfortable in any of my outfits (I used to regularly panic about wearing a too bright colour, too tight dress or fuller skirts) because now I only buy clothes that I know suit my body shape.
By having a personal style, you are well on your way to having a minimalist wardrobe, as every item within there will have a function and have been purchased with thought and purpose, and be worn again and again.
To refine my personal style I followed a number of practices along a period of weeks, however that wasn’t the end of my journey. To this day I am still working to develop my look, tastes and clothing palette to ensure it is functional, fashionable but also still exciting and reflects my personality.
Each month I review the steps below to ensure that I have a well-defined style, and it is still meeting my needs.
Step One: Declutter
Follow the de-cluttering process as described in this previous post here. You want to begin in a good place, and therefore you need to avoid sorting through clothes that don’t have a place in your closet.
I know many people see minimalism as a process of removing and reducing to clear space, only to begin collecting again until you need to repeat the decluttering down the line. I see a minimalist wardrobe as a way of removing the waste once, and shopping smartly going forward to ensure that clutter never collects again.
Step Two: 11 piece wardrobe
Go into your closet, wardrobe or drawers and pick out your favourite eleven items that you wear regularly and can be easily mixed and matched. Lay them out on your bed or floor and take a photo of them.
I did this yesterday, as you can see here:
For the next week, I want you to wear these items and these items only and whilst doing so fill out this free printable style defining matrix.
I want you to ask yourself:
- What do these items all have in common? Are they a similar fabric, shape or colour?
- Are they practical and is this why you wear them so regularly?
- How did you obtain these pieces? Were they investments or did you just happen across them and buy them almost instantaneously?
To fill out the matrix, enter what top fabrics, shapes, colours and brands feature in your 11 favourite items. If you can, think of some key adjectives to describe what you’ve gathered to wear for the week.
When you have filled out the matrix you should have some key components already for what your personal style should look like.
Step Three: Favourite Items
Now go into your wardrobe again and pick out your three favourite items. The only rules here is that you need to have worn the items in the last six months. You might have more sentimental pieces, but right now we are looking for key influencers for your personal trend.
- Add to the bottom of the printable style defining matrix one reason why you love each item. Try to be specific. Is it the fit, the colour or the reason you own it?
Step Four: Put together your own defined personal style
From the above exercises, I want you to make a personal style chart (free printable at the bottom of the page) that sums up you own personal style. Use this sheet to capture your thoughts and influence future purchasing decisions. By only buying from these guidelines, your wardrobe will reflect what styles, shapes and colours suit you best.
This means that you no longer need to waste precious time and money on those instant gratification buys, and can instead invest your earnings into something that enriches your life. Even if fashion is the thing that makes you happy, make sure you are buying pieces you’ll regularly wear by buying according to your defined style guide.
Step Five: Create and collaborate
Using your defined style, you can now plan for future purchases and developments in your own personal look by creating inspirational idea boards. Top tip – Pinterest is great for this however if you are more hands-on and creative the old cut out of magazines and stick into a scrapbook method never gets old.
Step Six: Document your personal minimalist style
When you have finally been through all of the above steps, I am pretty certain you will have discovered some great trends about the clothes you love, suit and are practical for your day-to-day life.
Document these findings in this final personal style matrix, and keep a copy to refer to for your future shopping adventures. It might differ from your one above as you will include ideas from your inspiration boards and scrapbooks and your three favourite items.