Day 4: Pursuing a Minimalist Wardrobe

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My goal: focus on fit, quality, and complimentary/interchangeable items that make good outfits. (PC: Real Men Real Style)

How do I make this work?

This is a topic on minimalism that I’ve seen some people do amazing things with (Here’s a fellow blogger for example). I am actually quite in awe of some of the folks who are able to get the maximum mileage out of the fewest number of articles of clothing. I, on the other hand, have an abundance of clothing. There are plenty of great resources I’ve browsed through already, like Project 333. It’s absolutely wonderful, and I found usefulness in their quick start guide for newcomers. For men’s wardrobes, I’ve seen some value in the article 32 Essential Wardrobe Items for Men. That seems to be in the same school of thought as project 333. So I think my practical approach will be to experiment within the Project 333 guidelines and make it work!

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Somewhere, sitting on his fashionable throne in the fashion kingdom, His Royal Majesty, King Tim Gunn is cheering for me. Thank you Tim! I will make you proud!

What is the aspiration?

I want to get to a sweet spot that is comfortably close to 33 items of clothing.  We have four seasons here, so having clothing that’s usable across all seasons is an important consideration. I want at least ten items minimum from each season to overlap. I will use a capsule building method to do this. To get there, I will pull everything out of my drawers and closet, and I will play them on my bed (this might sound familiar). From there, I will try everything on, sort into love, like, doesn’t fit, and trash piles, and make decisions on what to keep, getting as close to 33 items as I possibly can. I’ll also stick to the packing party method, so if it stays in the box for 30 days and I don’t use it, off it goes. I also don’t want to feel a rush to buy anything to replace something I’m getting rid of, so that’s the only lens of conservatism I’ll adhere to here.

How did it turn out?

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The aftermath.

This actually proved to be quite difficult! It took a lot of time, and required some objectivity to sort things out from what I own. There was a lot of stuff that didn’t fit. After much deliberation and a couple hours of trying everything on, here’s where I ended up:

  • 1 Slate Gray Suit
  • 1 Winter Coat
  • 1 Leather Jacket (it’s super awesome, have had it for a long time, and it fits nice plus has weathered really nicely)
  • 1 Sport Jacket
  • 1 Kuhl Half-zip Pullover
  • 1 Pair Slate Dress Slacks
  • 1 Pair Khakis
  • 1 Pair Gray/Light Gray Slacks
  • 1 Pair Jeans
  • 2 Pair Kuhl Pants
  • 5 Pairs Shoes
  • 2 Belts
  • 3 Ties
  • 2 Knit Henley Thermals
  • 2 Regular Thermals
  • 7 Button Down Shirts
  • 2 Polo Shirts
  • 2 Sweaters
  • 2 Hooded Sweatshirts
  • 6 Plain T-Shirts
  • 12 Casual Printed T-Shirts

56 Items of clothing. It’s a work in progress. I boxed up over 40 items the first night we did the packing party, and I was able to trim down another 30-40 this evening after trying everything on. It feels good to have virtually everything in my wardrobe hanging, and in a couple of drawers too. That’s a relief, because most of the things pictured are clothes I absolutely love.

A couple of these button down shirts will need to be replaced — the neck no longer fits and/or the print isn’t particularly suited for the ties I own. A lot of my shirts are patterned and I’ll need one solid and one gingham shirt to round out my shirts. So as time goes on and as I phase them out, I hope I’ll find something that’s more fitting and suited for my needs.

Bonus Round, Workout Clothes Minimalism!

My summer routine consists of weightlifting and conditioning, running, but most importantly, soccer. I try to play 2-3 days a week on average in the summer, and once a week when Fall arrives. That carries with it (at least to me) a need for a well-equipped set of athletic apparel, so that I’m not being irresponsible doing frequent washes. Currently, I think I have a surplus of what I actually need.

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Here you can find Blu in his natural summer habitat. Sometimes nearly falling over. Photo credit: Mom. 🙂

At the bare minimum, I probably need:

  • 3 Shorts
  • 3 Shirts
  • 3 Soccer Socks
  • 2 Thermal, breathable undershirts (for cool or cold days, and to warm up)
  • 1 Pair of Athletic Warm-up pants
  • 1 Pair Running Shoes
  • 1 Pair Soccer Boots

I’m curious for others that live an active lifestyle, how do you find the right number of athletic clothing pieces without going into excess? How do you also keep sustainability in mind while also being sanitary? I want to make sure I have enough to get me through the busiest moments in the summer without stinking up the house in between washes.

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