I’ve recently discovered minimalism and the less- is- more approach to life.
It all started when I moved to San Francisco and wanted to travel with just two suitcases. Knowing me well, Bex told me it was impossible. I just had too much stuff. And she was right, my wardrobes were spilling at the seams with clothes, running kit and other miscellaneous items I didn’t need. How on earth could I move to the other side of the world with so much less? The odds were against me, but I was resolute that I wanted to move with as little as possible and get rid of everything else. To help me on my way, I read Marie Kondo, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and was instantly hooked. The concept of owning less made perfect sense, and I wondered why I’d kept hold of the clutter for so long.
During the mammoth clear out I was faced with the stark realisation that I didn’t like the majority of what I owned and that I’d accumulated an excessive amount for one person. The clothes either didn’t fit properly or didn’t reflect my true style. I wondered how much money I’d wasted and why I’d lived with wardrobes stuffed full of clothes I didn’t like. The minimalist in me was born and before I knew it, I was heading to San Francisco with just two suitcases.
So, why did I have so much? The truth is, I was addicted to buying things. I was addicted to fast fashion, and more specifically fast fitness fashion. I was sucked into flash sales and monthly subscriptions to Fabletics. I would joke that I could justify any purchase- and frequently did.
After donating 80% of my wardrobe I’ve been careful to keep it small which has made me both happier and more stylish (I think.) During this time I’ve learnt more about minimalism (The Minimalists on Netflix is great place to start) but also about the wider impact of our consumer culture and fast fashion on a human and environmental level. The more I learn, the more dedicated I am.
For example, the fashion industry is second only to the oil industry in its negative impact on the environment. It creates greenhouse gas emissions of 1.2bn tonnes a year, larger than international flights and shipping combined. It also costs the UK economy around £82million a year to landfill clothing and household textiles. If this isn’t shocking enough, it’s important to think about why clothing prices have become so low over the last few decades. An easy way to reduce prices is to reduce labour costs, which unfortunately often means exploitation of the world’s most vulnerable people. A cheap bargain for you is cheap for a reason.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love shopping. I’m just much more mindful about what I buy. The result is a wardrobe I love which reflects my true style- simple, chic, and now I’m a Mum- practical.
Switching to a more minimalist running wardrobe could benefit anyone. It could save you money, declutter your home and make you more stylish, too.
(Photo Cred-The Runner Beans)
Here are the basic principles I follow when shopping. I’ll keep it running kit related, but I basically apply the same principles to my normal wardrobe too. Adapt them to suit your style and needs 🙂
- Instead of shopping on a whim, notice what’s missing in your running wardrobe and shop specifically for that item. Spend time finding the best possible option- for me, it needs to be functional and flattering. It can take a while to land on the right option, but when you do you’ll wear it over and over again.
- Stay away from flash trends and focus on classic items. It’s easy to get blinded by current trends, such as bright prints or mesh panels. These come into fashion as quickly as they go out so it’s likely they’ll end up in the back of your wardrobe before you know it.
- Choose a colour palate and only buy items which compliment this. Sticking to a few key colours means it’s easy to mix and match your kit. You’ll look more stylish too.
- Spend more on quality items which wear and wash well. Investing more upfront is likely to save money in the long run. I buy most of my kit from Lululemon, but all of it was bought at sample sales, an outlet or when travelling to America where it’s cheaper.
- Think about where the items were manufactured and the ethics behind the company before you invest. This is a work in progress for me but something I’m trying to be more mindful of. I love Patagonia for outdoor clothing, and I’ve recently come across Ninety Percent for everyday wear.
So, that’s it! One capsule wardrobe can’t save the world, but millions of them could. Have you ever thought about decluttering your wardrobe? I’d love to hear your thoughts.