It takes a lot to have a minimal wardrobe

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Author: Abby Rose

Recently, I tracked everything I wore for 10 days.
I wanted to see how few clothing items I could comfortably live with.
In winter.
In Michigan.


I wore a total of 35 items over 10 days.

I Counted "pairs" as one thing. So a pair of shoes would be one item. I was kind of surprised how many items it took to keep my life going for 10 days.

This was sort of like a 10x10 challenge, with a few tweaks:

1.  I counted every single thing. This meant no exceptions for active wear, pajamas, or accessories of any kind. I'm not sure why so many minimal wardrobe challenges decide certain things don't "count." When it comes to the impact on our planet, and your wallet, and space in your closet, everything counts. 

2.  I didn't have the goal of styling and taking selfies of an entirely new outfit every single day. I wore the exact same outfit a few times, actually. You don't have to wear a totally unique outfit every day of your life. Marketing campaigns may tell you otherwise, but the people in your life may not even notice if you wear the same clothes repeatedly. That isn't to say people don't notice your clothes. People will notice if you look nice.




I'm glad I did this challenge. I liked the change of pace, and it gave me a chance to really bring forward and appreciate my favorite pieces of winter clothing. I took over the guest closet for this 10 days, and kept the 35 items I used separate from my other clothes. It was so much easier to have less to choose from! It is true that simplifying makes things simpler :) There are a few points this process brought up for me, that I want to share.

Hemp is Dope.

I used two bras in 10 days. One was my Teal Bailey Bra by Yana Dee. The other was a new(ish), higher end, thin, synthetic, wire free bra. I felt like I could easily wear the Hemp bra a few times between washing, but I noticed that after only one day in the synthetic bra, it felt sticky and started to smell. Hemp's amazing properties are perfect for clothes. Hemp is naturally antimicrobial, durable, and breathable. These are great qualities in a bra, and just about any other piece of clothing. 

Things Fall Apart

By using fewer items, I started to get more in touch with how long items actually last. It is so important to pay attention to what happens to our clothes when they pass their prime. Do they turn into toxic dust, or can they easily be repaired with accessible tools and basic sewing skills? This wardrobe challenge inspired me to mend items that I didn't even wear in the 10 days. It is satisfying to have clothing that can be mended, and to take care of loved clothing. 

Lounge-wear is Actually Important

Even if you wear clothing that is comfortable enough to sleep in, changing your clothes to match your environment feels so good. When I get home at the end of a long day, a whole relaxation routine can be set in motion by the right pair of pajama pants.

Another perk of PJ's is that they keep your "good" clothes in "good" condition. By having a stellar set or two of house clothes, you can maximize the lifespan of dressier pieces while you treat yourself to the luxury of comfort.

I've been wearing my purple hemp pants and hoody a lot at home. I know the thick hemp fabric will last for many, many wears. Plus, it can be patched, if needed. I can even wear the hoody as "real" clothes, and the pants for cool weather active wear. When I wash these pieces, they always spring back to like-new.  Like I said before, Hemp is great for clothes.

Black Clothes are Too Easy

I thought my mini wardrobe would feature more colorful clothes. Turns out, Black is a natural and easy default. No wonder black is a staple for so many people. I guess I need to try harder if I want to brighten it up in the winter.


What I Wore

Here are all the items I mixed and matched over 10 days. I almost got through with 33 items, but then my boyfriend invited me to a Sauna at the Y, so I had to add my swimsuit. Many of these items are made by Yana Dee. If the Yana Dee design below is still in production, you can click on the picture to shop current options. You may want add these items to your wardrobe, minimal or not!


Look at how well my one pair of salvaged leather earrings match all my favorite winter boots!

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