You won’t see the newest trend on the runway, nor is the fashion industry going to promote it: minimalism. We’re not talking about subdued colors, clean lines, and Jil Sander silhouettes here, but reducing your wardrobe to a few key items. According to studies, Americans only wear about 20 percent of their wardrobe. With everyone going green and encouraging sustainability, doesn’t it make sense to cut down on clothes?
International best-selling author and Japanese organizing consultant, Marie Kondo, recently wrote a book encouraging people to get rid of any clothes that don’t “spark joy” – and the response has been remarkable.
“I love getting dressed in the morning more than ever,” Minimal Millennial blogger, Emily Torres, told Mic. “Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has really given me a new perspective on ownership and getting rid of things that no longer suit me or spark joy in my life.”
Much like the anti-art movement, Dadaism, this new minimalist wardrobe trend is anti-fashion, and it’s shaking the fashion world. Blogger Courtney Carver started an experiment called Project 333. She has pledged to only wear 33 items of clothes, rotated by season. The project now has over 29,000 Facebook followers, and Carver currently speaks at events around the nation teaching others how to be clothing minimalists.
Another approach is finding a look and sticking to it. In a personal essay for Harper’s Bazaar, 27-year-old art director, Matilda Khal, proclaimed she’s been wearing the same outfit to work every day for three years.
“The uniform has to do with being in control over your own life and daring to put your skills and intelligence in the focus,” said Khal. “Since I don’t wear my regular wardrobe as often now, I’ve learned to appreciate it more. I never open my wardrobe on a Saturday and feel like everything is boring,” she added. Her morning routine must be the envy of every career woman.
Not only does this new minimalist fashion method save stress, it also saves money over time. A new documentary called The True Cost, showed how Americans buy over 80 billion items of new clothing per year and dispose of 82 pounds of clothing per person annually. The less-is-more ethos isn’t just sustainable, but also ethical. In many places like Bangladesh and Malaysia, workers are paid slave-like wages, undergo harsh conditions, and are systematically forced into working.
Although the movement is gaining traction, not everyone is a fan. Some women contend it takes the joy out of fashion. “I like the idea of a more purposeful wardrobe … so every piece is one you love, not just something you bought on a whim. However, the shopping side of me sheds a little tear for all the cheap, trendy pieces that could have been,” says Jennifer Assmann, a project manager.
“These movements all seem ‘anti-fashion’ by nature. Isn’t fashion about experimentation and expression? My gut says that the restrictiveness of all of these concepts, while convenient and functional, works against what fashion is all about,” stated Wetherly Collins, 29, a marketing and communications director.
The less-is-more approach is anti-fashion in nature, but is that such a bad thing? When some of the fashion industry uses slave labor, practices discriminatory marketing, and creates insecurity, isn’t it time to give a “middle-finger” to fashion? Though the fashion industry is trying to re-brand the new minimalist movement as “spending more, buying less.” But this approach still requires people to buy new, more expensive clothes instead of keeping what you have and throwing out the rest. It’s always about consumption.
Yes, purchasing a new item of clothing comes with a rush of satisfaction and spikes up our serotonin, but that “satisfaction” is short lived. Much like a drug addict chasing their first high, being a shopaholic will never make you truly content. “The hardest thing is always fear; fear of not having enough, fear of people noticing, and fear of getting bored,” says Carver. “After only a few days though, the fear is usually replaced with ease and joy.” Amen.
How much of your closet do you actually wear, and would you consider reducing it?