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Minimalist Style - Clothing, Home and Lifestyle

Updated on March 24, 2013

Minimalist style is a holistic approach to living that is about paring everything back to the bare essentials. It is about having enough. In today's complicated and consumerist society, many people are attracted to minimalist style and wish to incorporate it into their lives. Maybe you are one of them.

Are you looking to declutter and simplify your home, your clothes and your lifestyle? Are you interested in minimalist style as a style aesthetic? if so, this article is for you.

This article covers:

  • Minimalist Lifestyle, what it is, how to create it and the benefits.
  • How to create a minimalist home and the benefits
  • Minimalist style clothes, how to create a minimalist wardrobe and the benefits

Minimalist Lifestyle

The aim of a minimalist is to strip their lifestyle back to the bare essentials and eliminate the clutter in their homes, routines, and lifestyle.

For work, as a result of having lower household expenses, they may work part-time.

Their household routines are simplified and they may even employ a cleaner to take care of the weekly cleaning, freeing up their time.

Their diet may be simple, focusing on simple meals, prepared from the freshest, most nutritious ingredients.

Their finances are simplified, with no credit card debt, one savings account and one long term investment account such as a simple Stock Market Tracker Fund.

They may choose just one hobby to pursue at a time.

A minimalist lifestyle is one that is spacious, balanced and uncluttered.

A spacious lifestyle is one where you have a lot of free time and are not over scheduled. You have lots of time to just be. It is not about being lazy, it is about having space and time to breath in your life.

Minimalist Lifestyle - The benefits

There are many benefits to pursuing a minimalist lifestyle.

  • Life becomes a lot simpler.
  • You focus on what is important to you.
  • Have a greater ability to say no to things that are not important.
  • Your schedule is not packed.
  • If an interesting opportunity arises, you have the time to say yes to it.
  • Life is lived in a more calm and relaxed way.
  • You have time to think and review your life.
  • Time becomes more important than money and possessions.

The minimalist style home

When people think of a minimalist home, it conjures up many different types of images.

For some people, it is a very large modern home, painted white throughout and containing a few, but simple and modern pieces of furniture.

For others, a minimalist home is a smaller home, such as a flat or a small house, furnished and decorated sparingly, but in a very comfortable way.

For some they visualise an oriental Japanese Zen style home as their version of minimalism.

For extreme minimalists, their home has a definite back to nature feel and may be a beach shack, log cabin in the forest or a caravan.

Whatever your taste in a minimalist style home, they all share one common element - Space.

What many minimalists appreciate is space. They enjoy being out in natural places, and want to have a sense of space within their homes too. Open space brings a sense of peace, calm and freedom. It is almost a spiritual thing. Therefore, a minimalist chooses a home which has enough space for them and then only introduces the barest essentials of furniture and equipment to meet their needs. They try their best to keep the sense of space in their homes.

Minimalist Style Home - The benefits

Apart from a sense of space, the benefits of a smaller and more minimalist home are numerous:

  • Cheaper to buy - a smaller home is cheaper to buy, requires a smaller deposit and has lower monthly mortgage payments.
  • Smaller bills - A smaller home is cheaper to heat and insure.
  • Smaller property taxes - For example, in the UK, on smaller homes you pay less stamp duty and council tax.
  • Less cleaning, decorating and maintenance - A smaller, more minimalist home is easier to clean, decorate and maintain. Therefore, you have more time for other interests.
  • Less stress at work - many people who buy homes larger than they need, often need to have a high paying and stressful jobs to pay for it. If you buy a smaller home that costs less to buy and run, you can work in a lesser paid, less stressful job.
  • Less time spent shopping for "stuff" - A large home needs a lot of furniture and home accessories to fill it, so a lot of time is spent shopping for "stuff". A smaller, more minimalist home needs less, so less time is needed for shopping.
  • Less clutter, more space - A minimalist home ideally contains less clutter and may even appear more spacious than larger, more cluttered homes.
  • A calming, relaxing and peaceful environment. A clutter free home is calming.
  • An organised home - It is easy to organise a few possessions and to find them easily.
  • More time to enjoy your home - A minimalist lifestyle can mean more time to be at home and enjoy it.
  • Be mortgage free earlier - with a smaller mortgage, you may be able to pay it off earlier.
  • More money for savings, investments and pensions - with lower housing costs, you may have more spare money available for savings, investments and pensions. Semi-retire or retire earlier - With the mortgage paid off and/or smaller bills to pay, you may be able to semi-retire or completely retire earlier than most people.
  • Easy and quick to sell or rent out - if you need to sell it or rent it out, it should sell or rent out fairly quickly as it will be affordable for many people.

Minimalist Style Clothing and Minimalist Wardrobe

For many people the words minimalist clothing usually conjures up an image of a small wardrobe or clothes rail containing a small selection of very simple clothes.

Minimalist clothing is usually very simple and classic in style, in neutral colours, such as black, white, grey, navy, cream, brown, camel, beige and denim. Fabrics are plain, not patterned.

Examples of minimalist clothes include: a plain little black dress, black pencil skirt, white t-shirt, white shirt, pair of jeans, classic trench coat,

Examples of minimalist accessories include: black ballet flat shoes, black high heels, long black boots, black wool winter coat, black gloves, plain black handbag.

Many people wish to declutter their wardrobe and create a minimalist wardrobe. Here is how to do it:

How to create a minimalist wardrobe:

The aim is to create a small mix and match wardrobe using the types of minimalist style clothing that are mentioned above. Here's how:

  • 1. Decide your best neutral colours. Many of the clothes mentioned above are black and black doesn't suit everyone, so choose the neutral colours that suit you best. For example, you could choose from navy, grey, beige, soft white, tan, camel, chocolate and denim.
  • 2. Work out what type of clothes you need for your lifestyle. What type of clothes do you need for each aspect of your life for example for work, the week-ends and social events you attend.
  • 3. Work out how many clothes you need for each activity.

Here is an example of a traditional minimalist wardrobe.

Sarah's wardrobe - Sarah works full-time in a corporate environment and has to wear a suit for work. At week-ends she likes to relax and be casual.

  • Work - Three skirts, five tops and one jacket
  • Week-ends - One pair of jeans and two tops
  • Special Occasions - Two dresses, one black, such as a black wrap dress, which can can be worn on a dinner date or to a party, the other, a mid-tone basic colour such as raspberry or turquoise, which can be worn on a lunch date or dressed up for a wedding.

Minimalist Style wardrobe - The Benefits

There are many benefits to dressing in a more minimalist way and having a small, minimalist wardrobe:

  • You become less concerned with fashion and more concerned about the quality and usefulness of your clothes.
  • Less time shopping for clothes, but more time thinking about what you really need.
  • Less storage space needed for clothes
  • Your clothes are easier to organise and find.
  • Less decision making - every morning you no longer need to agonise over what you are going to wear as you have less choice, but always something to wear.
  • Spend less money on clothes and when you do spend money, it is spent wisely.
  • Look better dressed as you only keep clothes that fit you and that you look good in.
  • Challenged to be more creative in creating outfits.
  • Use accessories to ring the changes, which are cheaper to buy and take up less space.

Minimalist Fashion Designers

If you are interested in minimalist fashion designers, you may like to look up the work of the following:

Coco Chanel - One of the first minimalist fashion designers was Coco Chanel. She is responsible for designing the very simple little black dress, in an era when women still wore elaborate evening dresses. She is also responsible for designing the very simple iconic Chanel suit, comprising of a knee length skirt and short fitted matching jacket.

Jill Sander - Jill Sander is leading minimalist fashion designer at the moment. Her designs are very simple.

Both designers create clothes that are stripped back to the bare essentials.

As you can see, minimalism is a whole approach to living. Once you start applying it to one area of your life and see the benefits, you want to apply it to other areas of your life.


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    • rontlog profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from England

      Thank you Delores.

      We downsized 6 months ago to a small 2 bedroom home. Getting rid of stuff has been a challenge, but we are slowly getting there and starting to see and enjoy the benefits of a more minimalist lifestyle.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I love the whole minimalist concept. But I just don't know where to put all my crap. Clean spaces, simple food, simple classic clothes seem like they'd make life easier. Great hub.


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