My minimalist summer wardrobe is extreme, I know. Not very many people can realistically dress like I do. My simple, casual lifestyle allows me the freedom of having few clothes. This is my summer wardrobe: two pairs of conservative-length shorts, three t-shirts.
If both my shorts and all all of my tees are in the above picture, then yes, that means I was standing in my skivvies to take the photo, and no, you don’t get to see my under things, but they are basic—a few bras in pretty colors with matching undies, plus a few ordinary undies.
I no longer have regular work hours, but when I am called in, I put on my work uniform which is what the boss gently declared would be “a team t-shirt and khaki-like shorts.”
If my work uniform looks familiar, it’s because when team tees and shorts start looking worn, they get reassigned to my everyday clothes. So my non-working wardrobe is mostly made up from old work clothes.
I have been blessed for years with an active job where it’s a must that I wear clothes in which I can run and move and sweat. (Ew, I know.) If I still worked in an office setting like I did right out of college, I’d have to come up with some other sort of simple wardrobe. Renata Briggman is a working mom who was profiled in the Washingtonian. I like her office outfit. She wears black pants, a white shirt, and a grey blazer EVERY SINGLE DAY (with a handful of duplicates as backups). She says adopting this wardrobe approach has changed her life. If you want the details, here’s a link to the Washingtonian story: https://www.washingtonian.com/2017/03/30/what-its-really-like-to-wear-a-style-uniform-every-day-renata-briggman/.
I also have a pair of running shorts and a quick-dry t-shirt. The running shorts are 10 years old. I’m very careful with them, so I hope they’ll last another 5 years because I looked all over, and no one makes longer-inseam running shorts anymore. (Listen up manufacturers! If you’re on the far side of 50, you don’t feel like running in micro-shorts like a teenager. Make some shorts for us older folk!)
Because Dear Husband and I exercise every day and work up quite a stink, we wash a load of laundry every day. Fortunately, our washer is an Energy Star appliance, plus it adjusts to very small loads. Washing so frequently is how I can manage with so few clothes.
As for shoes, I have a smelly pair of exercise sneakers (the blue ones), a non-smelly pair of sneakers I can wear in public without getting banned from local businesses because of foul foot odor, and a pair of “dressy” shoes which are my cowboy boots.
I have three wonderful pairs of densely knit athletic socks plus some threadbare pairs that are on their way out. With all the time I spend jogging and walking, I tend to go through socks as if they were made from tissue paper. DH says I have razors for toenails . . . maybe, but I sure feel bad for constantly sending the remains of my synthetic socks to the landfill. I’ve decided my next socks will be a responsible purchase: made from biodegradable, natural fibers or recycled synthetic fibers. I just hope I can find them in a sturdy, athletic version.
What’s missing from my summer wardrobe? A nice dress. I had two summer-weight dresses, one in a light color for practicality and one in a dark color for serious occasions, but I outgrew them both! Let’s blame menopausal hormonal changes–yeah, that sounds good. I’m working on a dress solution. I have a sewing pattern for a full skirted shirt dress with a little more room through the middle.:-) When the right fabric comes along, I’ll get busy sewing.
I said at the beginning of this post that my simple, casual lifestyle allows for such an extreme summer wardrobe, but there are other reasons you might want or need a super minimal wardrobe:
• Your body is undergoing drastic changes and nothing fits anymore. Anyone who’s gone through a pregnancy understands that sentence!
• You’re recovering from a tragic event that left you with few resources and no job. You have only the clothes on your back plus an interview outfit.
• You’re overweight and nothing fits. (I get it, really I do. My former nickname was “Fatso.” I had a pair of green stretch pants I wore again and again.)
• You constantly travel for work.
• You have a “fast fashion” shopping habit that you want to break.
• You are inspired by Renata Briggman’s story in the Washingtonian, or by the clothing adventures of other minimalists like “Max, the Cyclist” or Nadia Eghbal. (Google their names some time. Interesting people.)
Make this day even better. Consider:
• Join Verena Erin’s summertime challenge, the Fast Fashion Fast, at http://verenaerin.ca/fast-fashion-fast/, and learn about fast vs slow fashion. I don’t claim to be green, but I don’t want to buy unethically produced products, either. It’s pretty darn easy for me as a minimalist to refrain from buying cheaply made clothes for a summer, but I wanted to support Erin’s efforts, so I signed up.