8 In Sustainable Living

Minimalist Wardrobe Checklist + 8 Steps to a Better Wardrobe

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Last Updated on February 18, 2021 by Nina Ahmedow

​When it comes to clothes, people tend to own far more than they actually wear. Stylists say the average woman wears about 20% of the clothes she owns on a regular basis. And yet, people, especially women, often get ready in the morning feeling like they have nothing to wear. At the end of the day, most people go back to the same clothes most of the time, despite going shopping on a regular basis. Here’s a minimalist wardrobe checklist that helps solve the problem.

When I got into minimalism, I understood how liberating it would be to get rid of all the clothes that don’t fit me or that I don’t even wear. In order to let go of stuff, I examined my closet to get rid of clothes I didn’t absolutely love. There are so many articles on the different types of minimalist wardrobes – capsule wardrobes, 30-piece wardrobes, etc. But what they all have in common is that you own fewer clothes but wear them on a regular basis.

In the process, I have realized that there are eight major steps to a minimalist wardrobe, and I have created a minimalist wardrobe checklist with my must-have pieces.

​The Eight Steps to a Minimalist Wardrobe

  1. Wondering what to buy for a minimalist wardrobe? Actually, you have to get rid of the clothes that don’t fit you. The clothes that don’t look good on you. The clothes you don’t wear on a regular basis. And the clothes you don’t love.
  2. When you go shopping don’t buy clothes just because they are in fashion or on sale. Look for items that fit and suit you well so that you feel good when you wear them. That way they will be worth the money you spent on them. Get higher quality clothes but by fewer of them. They will last you longer and because you will buy fewer clothes you will be able to shop ethically and quit fast fashion.
  3. The main point when creating a minimalist wardrobe is that items must be wearable in different combinations – your minimalist wardrobe essentials. If a shirt can be worn alone and under a cardigan, tucked into skinny jeans, with rolled-up sleeves, and with or without a belt it’s a good piece to buy. The key is that you will be able to wear it in many ways without getting bored of it.
  4. Another important aspect is color. Many people think that a minimalist wardrobe consists only of blacks, grays, and whites. But personally, I love colors. You simply have to find out which colors suit you and buy matching clothes. Blues, reds, yellows, there’s no problem in buying all of these as long as the shades go well with each other.
  5. You also have to pay attention to your lifestyle. You might love heels but if you work in a restaurant and love to go hiking in your free time you’re barely ever going to wear them. In that case there’s no point in owning more than one pair.
  6. Ordering online can be very helpful. I like to shop on sites that list the measurements. We all know that a size such as “S” doesn’t really guarantee that an item is going to fit us. Try to look for clothes that fit your measurements, or, if needed, have them taken in. That way you will enjoy your clothes more.
  7. Although I don’t believe it’s necessary to set a limit such as “30 items” it can be helpful to check back every once in a while. That way you can avoid too many new items ending up on your minimalist closet list. My minimalist wardrobe checklist can help you with that.
  8. Only shop when you actually need something! This one is key because it will help you avoid the temptation of buying something simply because it seemed like a good bargain. An item being on sale isn’t a reason for you to buy it. Are you really going to wear orange pants because they’re 40% off?

Minimalist Wardrobe Checklist (6 Must-Have Pieces)

  1. A nice skirt. A nice colorful skirt with a bold print can be combined with different simple tops and will always stand out.
  2. A summer dress. Dresses are the perfect clothing item because you don’t have to worry too much about what to pair them with. You may need a cardigan if it gets chilly but other than that you’re pretty much set with a pair of shoes and some nice accessories.
  3. A cardigan. If you prefer black or white clothes a colorful cardigan can change your look completely. Alternatively, if your clothes are usually bright, a black or white cardigan will go well with almost any outfit. Or you can simply combine a colorful cardigan with matching colors in the rest of your outfit.
  4. A simple t-shirt. At least one of your t-shirts should be in a color that goes with everything else you own so you can style an outfit.
  5. A winter coat. You need a winter coat that is long enough to cover any skirts or dresses during the colder seasons. Nothing is more dreadful than a dress or skirt peeking out from underneath a coat.
  6. A pair of flat shoes. It totally depends on what you prefer – sneakers or ballet flats. But you need at least one pair of flat shoes on your minimalist clothing list that are comfortable for when you will be on your feet all day.

Traveling and not sure what to do? I have an effective packing list for a long weekend city trip.​

One thing to keep in mind with this minimalist wardrobe list is that you will need to do laundry more frequently. You should have at least a week’s worth of clothes so you can do your laundry on the weekend. It’s also worth finding out what the worst fabrics in fashion are so you can avoid them for a more eco-friendly approach to shopping.

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What do you think about this minimalist wardrobe checklist? Are you convinced that a minimalist clothing checklist will benefit you?


  • Reply
    January 21, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    What a lovely thought.We really need to avoid fast fashion.Less is good

    • Reply
      Nina | Lemons and Luggage
      January 22, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      Yes, fast fashion is a major problem for humans, animals, and the environment.

  • Reply
    Brittany Nicole
    January 21, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    Loved these tips! The 6 pieces you mention are definitely staples in any closet.

    • Reply
      Nina | Lemons and Luggage
      January 22, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      Thank you, Brittany! I’m glad it was helpful.

  • Reply
    Heather LeGuilloux
    January 21, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    I love all of your suggestions.. I have been trying to be more intentional with my wardrobe first by getting rid of any items I haven’t worn for awhile but also thinking about purchasing clothes as a set rather than just buying something on sale. It’s much more likely to be worn that way. Thanks for the tips!

    • Reply
      Nina | Lemons and Luggage
      January 22, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Heather! I think getting rid of clothes you don’t wear is already a big step because it also makes you realize what happens when you buy clothes you don’t wear and that they all used to be money at one point.

  • Reply
    January 22, 2019 at 11:02 am

    I used to own lots of clothes. Now I have a more minimalist approach and I only buy what I need.

    • Reply
      Nina | Lemons and Luggage
      January 22, 2019 at 5:50 pm

      That’s great, Melissa! I really believe that spending less money on clothes also makes us happier as we can do other things with that money.

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