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Minimalist Closet Challenge: Only The Essentials

Creating wardrobes that help you embody your truest self, care for the Earth, and live the good life.
February 29, 2024
By Lia Klinchik

Closets For The Future

Welcome to the second part of my 3-part blog series on how to curate a wardrobe to fit your personal style, intentional decluttering, and clothing as a part of slow living.

I will take you along with me for two wardrobe challenges and one investigation into how what you choose to wear can be the key to living more consciously.

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For this post, I took the Oliver Charles Minimalist Closet Challenge to explore intentional decluttering. It entailed crafting a closet of 30 pieces to wear for 30 days. It seemed daunting at first, but I wanted to generate looks that felt meditative and were assembled with awareness. I wanted the looks to feel like me. And that is just what I was able to do.

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Why Start A Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of compatible clothing that can be swapped and repeated, making for stress-free outfit creation (and a variety of them at that).

Building a capsule wardrobe is all about simplification, organization, and thoughtfulness. 30 items may seem small, but I promise it’s way more than you’re imagining.

Here are the basics of a capsule wardrobe that I compiled after taking the challenge, and how to build one for yourself!

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Benefits Of A Capsule Wardrobe

Have you ever looked at your spending for the month and wondered why so much has gone towards shopping? Or why everything feels so expensive nowadays? How about tearing through your closet before heading out for the day and feeling like you have “nothing to wear”? I felt that way too.

Capsule wardrobes and Oliver Charles sweaters have many things in common, including an emphasis on making the process of outfit selection smooth and incorporating resilient, beautiful pieces.

Less Impact on Personal Finances
You’re going to spend less. It’s as uncomplicated as that. This begins with putting extra purchases on pause. Of course, it can take more than 21 days to form a habit, but doing (or not doing) something for any period of time can support the development of healthier patterns or routines.

Instead of purchasing excess and buying more of what you already have, you might find yourself thinking a little bit more when you feel the urge to buy that “must-have” item. Putting your funds towards classic, long-lasting materials means more adventure and savings towards a bigger goal.

Reduce Waste
Individual decisions have a massive impact. By focusing your energy on a capsule wardrobe, you’re not only outputting less waste from your home, but you stop feeding into fast fashion- a major culprit of pollution and mounds of discarded low-quality clothing.

Less Overthinking
A capsule wardrobe makes for moments without frustration when it comes to planning outfits. You can relax knowing that with whatever outfit you choose, you’ll feel like yourself.

Plus, you can actually see what you have and make adjustments as needed if it’s not working for you. Your outfits will always feel fresh.

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Elements Of A Successful Capsule Wardrobe

Intentional means being conscious about what you add in and what you have. To build a successful capsule wardrobe, you must first outline the basics.

This will help you identify goals to reach your needs. Use the elements below to rule out what you will and won’t be keeping in your wardrobe.

Season And Climate
The season and climate you live in will ultimately affect what you wear. We all know the discomfort of getting dressed in the spring.

Mornings are cold, then it’s 80 degrees in the afternoon, and you’re trying to melt out of your long-sleeved shirt. Developing your capsule wardrobe around what you expect for the season or year temperature-wise will give you the upper hand.

Pro-tip: Invest in the All-Season Sweater or Cardigan for comfortable, adaptable, year-round wear and a layer you can depend on.

Lifestyle
Take your everyday life into account.

What are your workweek activities?

What do you enjoy doing on the weekends?

Are you super athletic?

Do you travel a ton?

Do you have frequent special occasions?

Name those major pillars in your life and let those influence the bulk of your wardrobe. Your additional pieces can address those not-so-frequent events.

Versatility and Durability
Clothing should last. You shouldn’t have to go to the store monthly to buy a new shirt because your old one is pilling or falling apart.

Having garments that are versatile makes for effortless swaps. And so long as your clothing is durable, you can go on adventures, go to work, and lounge at home without a single worry. Think sustainable here with wool (yak and merino), linen, organic cotton, and SeaCell.

Color
Choose colors that go with everything. Some go for earthy colors as they are more neutral and match with a range of pieces.

If pastel colors are more your thing, then choose that. Or if you’d rather add in plenty of patterns or colors that pop, go with those.

Your colors should be reflective of your personal style but have the ability to be paired with anything in your closet. Trying the color palette challenge first might be a good place to start if you feel stuck.

Clothing You Feel Good In
The most important part of any capsule wardrobe is choosing pieces you feel good in.

Minimizing is great, but what moving towards a minimalist closet really means is making more room in your life for what feels fulfilling and supports confidence. The wardrobe is the foundation.

Having many options for colors and styles for an Oliver Charles sweater makes all of these points easy to fill. You can find exactly what fits your lifestyle.

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How To Participate In A Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge

It’s time to create your collection! To start, follow and return to these gentle steps.

  • Set your goals. Choose 1-3 intentions for yourself while piecing together the capsule wardrobe. This will help you stay on task when sorting through your clothes. Here are a few examples of my own:

    - Reduce my closet size; keep what really matters.
    - Stay within my color palette.
    - Embody my personal style.
    - Curate a closet with more organic, sustainable clothing.
  • Audit your closet. Now you’ll begin organizing, categorizing, and/or assessing your clothing. Don’t forget to take everything out of wherever it’s hiding and take inventory (I had 17 sweaters!).

    You can do this by looking and inspecting each piece or by trying them on. This helps test how you feel, the quality, and if there are any rips, tears, or malfunctions.
  • Choose your 30 pieces. To do this, you can make a checklist or use the one below as a guide. Remember to keep an open mind. You can make endless outfits with 30 individual pieces.
  • Bottoms:
    - 2 pants
    - 1 pair of jeans
    - 1 pair of overalls
  • Shirts:
    - 3 long sleeve shirts
    - 2 casual short sleeves
    - 2 dressy short sleeves
    - 3 tank tops
    - 3 blouses
  • Activewear:
    - 2 pairs of leggings
    - 3 active shirts
  • Outerwear/Sweaters:
    - The OC Sweater
    - 1 jacket
    - 2 casual sweatshirts
    - 1 flannel
  • Dresses:
    - 2 dresses
    - 1 jumpsuit

A Note on Shoes: I personally did not include shoes in my wardrobe because I’ve stuck to three quality pairs (1 pair of boots, 1 pair of sneakers, and 1 pair of sandals). If you find yourself with an abundance of shoes, try narrowing it down to 3-4 pairs.

  • Plan your core outfits. These are outfits you’ll wear the most. Having foundational ensembles will make it easier to swap between sweaters or jackets.
  • Evaluate after 30 days. You don’t have to get rid of everything all at once. Putting them in a bin and placing them elsewhere will tell you over the course of the month if you ever actually think about certain articles of clothing. What did you need or want? At the end of the challenge, you can decide to donate or sell the rest.
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Tips For Reaching Your Goals With The Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge

  • Base your decisions on how things fit, how old they are, the types of fabric you’re wearing, and how you feel about them. Avoid decisions based on emotional attachment or excuses.
  • Set a little reminder on your calendar for when the 30 days are up.
  • Keep an open mind for outfit repeating if you’re new to it, and review the benefits of why you’re doing this.
  • Get creative about swapping pieces to make new outfits.
  • If you feel like buying an article of clothing, tell yourself that if you feel like thinking about it in the next month, you can go get it. If you forget, it looks like you didn’t need it!
  • Explore why you keep certain items around.
  • If you’re feeling stuck, look to Pinterest or who inspires you on Instagram for ideas!
  • Choose an Oliver Charles Sweater that works best for your lifestyle and craft your wardrobe around that!
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Opt for a Capsule Wardrobe, Mark Your Life With Intention

Capsule wardrobes give you the space to let go and invite insight in the most delightful of ways.

Sure, refining your attire can feel tough at times, but it’s so rewarding. Take a step back and look at what’s in your closet from an impartial perspective. You’ll be able to recognize what you already gravitate towards.

The Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge is truly what you make it. Initiating the journey with an Oliver Charles Sweater sets a standard: nothing less than high-quality, conscious clothing.

Lia Klinchik is a freelance blogger and Clinical Herbalist, focusing on our relationship to nature and sustainability. Through her writing, she hopes to help people truly enjoy life and leave a positive impact on the planet.

If you believe that every good wardrobe starts with owning less and owning better, consider buying yourself an OLIVER CHARLES sweater.
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