The Lean Wardrobe is an ongoing series of articles exploring the ideas and philosophies behind curating a lean wardrobe… Things like cleaning out whats unnecessary, buying only what you’ll use, spending on things that are worth it, etc.
If you’re interested in creating a lean, mean closet with only stuff you love to wear (while getting rid of the crap that’s taking up space) you should subscribe to Effortless Gent (this will open in a new window or tab).
My friends Ryan and Josh from The Minimalists approached me with this article, which I found pretty interesting. It’s on the more extreme end of the Lean Wardrobe philosophy I’ve been exploring, but a great perspective nonetheless.
When I first started re-inventing my wardrobe, I didn’t realize I was doing it. All I knew was that I had three closets full of clothing, and I really only wore a handful of those things. I hate clutter and hanging onto stuff I no longer use, so I set out to get rid of a majority of my clothing. I had also lost a ton of weight and most of the stuff no longer fit me, so this made my decision making easier.
A simple life is a good life. Simplicity frees you and allows you to do the things you want. Having three closets full of barely-used clothing isn’t simple.
It takes work to keep a wardrobe as lean as possible. By the way, I’m far from perfect. I still have shirts (and pants, and jackets, and sweaters) that I don’t wear often enough to justify keeping them, but I look at it as an ongoing process of curation and clearing out.
Check out this article, and I’d love to hear what you think.
What does a minimalist wear? I’m surprised I get this question as often as I do—as if people expect to see me walking around Dayton, Ohio, in a loincloth—but, given the many misconceptions surrounding minimalism, I suppose it’s a valid question.
My answer: a minimalist wears his or her favorite clothes and nothing else.
You might recall I donated over 90% of my clothes this year. Do you know why that’s so exciting? Two reasons:
- I was able to contribute to people who were less fortunate than me.
- I love all of the clothes I kept, so I get to wear what I love every day.
Thus, a minimalist wears his or her favorite clothes every day. Most days I wear jeans, a teeshirt, and a pair of Toms shoes. Or, when I feel like it, I wear a crisp white button-up shirt (pictured above), jeans, a blazer, colorful socks, and a clean pair of dress shoes. And I avoid logos for several reasons (though I still have a couple items with a small horse logo).
I don’t have many clothes now—and I still go to the Goodwill a few times per month and donate an item or two (if I’m not wearing it anymore, it gets donated)—but I thoroughly enjoy the clothes I do own.
But I don’t give sentimental meaning to my clothes. If all of my clothes burned in a house fire tomorrow, it wouldn’t be a big deal to me. I give meaning to the important things in life—to relationships, to health, to pursuing my passions, to growth, to contribution.
I enjoy my clothes, but I am not my wardrobe. To illustrate this fact (i.e., to practice what I preach), I gave away my favorite jeans, my favorite shirt, and my favorite shoes on my buddy Craig’s Simple Black Coffee website in February. What did that mean to me? Well, the same two things as above: (1) a few people got some nice new attire (plus I made a new online friend in David William, a great guy who got my favorite pair of Allen Edmonds dress shoes); and (2) other garments stepped up and became my new favorites.
Let’s hear what you have to say
How do you deal with your wardrobe? Do you have a bunch of clothes sitting in your closet, unworn (or barely worn), yet you feel bad letting them go? Are you emotionally attached to most of the crap you keep?
Are you interested in owning fewer–but better quality–essentials that you can wear for years, and enjoy it every time you put them on?
Let’s hear it in the comments below.