Shortly after I posted that I would share my fall/winter ten-item wardrobe, I thought, why did I write that? My wardrobe this year, like last year, is very basic and on the sparse side, even for a ten-item wardrobe. I felt like I would need to spruce it up quite a bit if I was going to share it. Then I reminded myself of my personal top five reasons for keeping a minimalist wardrobe:
- I have a budget.
- I want to minimize the time I spend shopping, so I can spend time on other things.
- I’m avoiding fast fashion as much as possible (the documentary The True Cost really impacted me, when I watched it last year, and I highly recommend it if you are curious about the impetus behind the slow fashion movement—currently available on Netflix), making an effort to wear second-hand or ethically made, as the budget allows.
- I share a small closet with three other people.
- I want getting dressed to be simple and stress-free.
With those things in mind, I was able to regain perspective and set aside trying to impress anyone. I’m not sharing my wardrobe to show how cool my clothes are, but rather to share how I keep myself feeling presentable with a tiny closet, hopefully encouraging others who are trying to do the same. To be sure, if money were no object, it would look a bit different, but I’m grateful for the things I have.
“Your wardrobe should consist of ten core items, give or take a few, but those items do not include outerwear (coats, jackets, blazers), occasionwear (cocktail dresses, evening gowns, special day dresses, etc.), accessories (scarves, gloves, hats, wraps), shoes, and what I call under shirts—mainly tee shirts, tank tops, or chemises that you wear as layers or underneath a sweater or blazer.”
Of course, you can easily adjust these guidelines to suit your lifestyle and organizational preferences. In my ten-item wardrobe, I count pullover sweaters as core items, since I wear them so much, living in a cold winter climate. Also, my wardrobe is quite casual overall, as I live in the mountains and spend a good deal of my time playing outside with my daughters.
Ten Core Items:
- Imogene + Willie Imogene Slim Indigo Jeans (Made in the USA). I purchased these in March, as I needed new jeans last spring. I’m a big fan of the high-waisted resurgence and I really love the cut of these and that they keep me covered when I’m chasing after my little daughters. High-waisted jeans really are great for moms! I think they’ve come a long way since the 80’s and actually have a classic appeal. These have a high-waisted look without being too high.
- Imogene + Willie Imogene Slim Black Jeans (Made in USA). I liked the cut of the indigo pair so much, I bought a black pair for fall. The black has spandex for added stretch. Note: If you sign up for their mailing list, Imogene + Willie sends out discount codes fairly regularly. I purchased both of my pairs with a discount.
- Men’s Cognac Sweater (Second-hand from my husband). I’ve been wearing this regularly this fall and it might actually be my favorite thing right now, because it’s cozy and easy.
- Cream & Black Collared Button-Up Shirt (Second-hand). I’ve been liking this under the cognac sweater.
- Everlane Heavyweight Tee in Grey / Cream (Made Responsibly). This shirt could fall into the Extras category, as a t-shirt, but I’ve been wearing it so much, it seemed silly to me to not put it under Core Items. I bought it last spring and have worn it so many times and it has held up well, with no pilling. It is indeed a thick weight, which makes it great for fall.
- Everlane Silk Long-Sleeve Tee in Black (Made Responsibly). This is a favorite and my one top that feels a little dressier. The material feels so nice and comfortable, while lending a subtle elegance.
- Black Cashmere Turtleneck (Second-hand).
- Everlane Cashmere Crew Sweater in Black (Made Responsibly). As I mentioned in my last ten-item wardrobe post, after trying it, I don’t recommend black cashmere, as it shows every speck of fuzz (grey seems more practical), but I’m making these two work for another year, per the budget. And they are cozy to wear.
- Land’s End Felted Grey Cowl-Neck Sweater (Second-hand). Keeping me warm for almost fourteen years! Purchased at Buffalo Exchange in Denver, when I went shopping with my high school art teacher.
- TBD. I have a credit at Elizabeth Suzann, for a pair of pants that I returned, because the material felt too fancy and I didn’t think I would actually wear them often enough. Elizabeth Suzann pays for return shipping, but I want to take my time and assess what would be most practical before I order something else. I love the flowy, sculptural shapes in her collection and the fact that she primarily uses natural fibers. Also, everything is ethically produced in Tennessee. This dress is particularly gorgeous, but I don’t know that it’s practical for my mountain mama lifestyle! Again, I always watch for discounts when I am considering buying something specific. I like having room in my ten-item wardrobe to take a little time to evaluate if I do feel the need for something particular, further into the cold weather season.
- Everlane Cotton V in Navy (Made Responsibly). The perfect v-neck t-shirt! So soft and a comfortable fit. I wore it for Zeal Living’s jewelry photo shoot, here and here.
- Everlane French Terry in Mauve (Made Responsibly). I bought this long-sleeved shirt last December and it has pilled, which is one of my pet-peeves, but I love the color, it’s still comfortable to wear, and I’m trying to limit my wastefulness, so I still wear it at home.
- Everlane Ryan Long-Sleeve in Navy (Made Responsibly).
- Everlane Crew Sweatshirt Light Grey Marled (Made Responsibly). A favorite.
- Everlane Crew Sweatshirt Grey Marled (Made Responsibly).
- Everlane Cotton Drop-Shoulder Tee in Heather Grey (Made Responsibly). This one is a bit short. It works tucked into high-waisted jeans.
- Banana Republic Dark Grey Long-Sleeve Tee. A basic long-sleeve tee, a couple years old.
Most of my tops happen to be from Everlane because they offer a large variety of affordable basics and I appreciate that they are transparent about the factories their products are produced in. Also, I primarily shop online, as I don’t live near a mall, and Everlane makes exchanges easy. I didn’t realize what a high percentage of my clothes were from them until I organized this post! I’ve accumulated them a couple at a time, over the past few years.
- ECCO Touch 15 Buckle Boot in Black. I bought these on sale the summer before last and they have been completely comfortable and stayed nice through last winter.
- Sam Edelman Black Ballerina Flats. Soft ballet flats, good for warmer fall days.
- Born Lace-Up Shearling Boots. These were given to me second-hand and they’re pretty crazy looking, but good for playing out in the snow with my daughters.
Admittedly, there are a few kinds of shoes on my wish list: high-tops, fancy clog boots, pretty oxfords. Shoes can change up the look of an outfit so much. Yet, I’m trying to make do with what I already have. Indeed, I managed through last winter with the exact same skeleton crew I have this year.
- Wooden Bracelets. All gifts from my lovely mother-in-law.
- Scarf. Purchased at Whole Foods a few years ago.
That is everything in my closet for fall and winter, aside from exercise clothes and pajamas. Other than perhaps using the Elizabeth Suzann credit, I plan to not shop for clothes again until spring. It feels freeing to have made that decision—no need to waste time window shopping for the rest of the season. For me, that is a major benefit of consciously choosing to keep a minimalist wardrobe.
I hope you enjoyed this post and I would love to hear any further tips or thoughts you might have on dressing with minimalism or slow fashion in mind!
Note: If you sign up for an Everlane account and make a purchase through this Everlane link or purchase an item through an Amazon link, I will get a credit for the referral. Thank you for supporting Cedar & Bloom.