Are You A Minimalist Or A Maximalist?

This is a post from the archives, as I am at the fabulous
Vancouver Blogger Meet-up today. Hope you don’t mind a re-run from

I have read many books, articles and blogs
about simplifying one’s wardrobe, minimalism, de-cluttering and
“pruning” the closet. And I’ve done quite a bit of this, especially when
we’ve moved house. It always feels good, and I love the feeling of a
cleaned-out space with fewer, better options.

So why
does it seem so difficult to stick to the pared down wardrobe? I truly
enjoy having “just a few well-loved items”, and a “closet of gems”.
Getting dressed is easy, the family budget is relieved. But I am still
adding to my wardrobe, albeit at a far slower rate than in my 30’s and
40’s. Here are some of my theories:

  • “Dithering” purchases: these are the quick stops into Ross,
    Marshalls and TJ Maxx on my way home from work, or tacked on to another
    errand. I see an attractive blouse or scarf, it’s (always) less than $25
    and suddenly it’s mine. Did I need it? Certainly not. I wanted it, it
    looked good, I can afford it, and wardrobe philosophy be cursed.
  • Thrifting. A blessing and a millstone. Like many
    fashion-lovers I enjoy the hunt, the hope of a score, the “OMG this is a
    real Marc Jacobs!” moment. And it’s a social time too, when I chat with
    other women and we trade stories, advise each other. But sometimes I
    come home with STUFF that now needs: cleaning, pressing, arranging and
  • The mythology of “this one will be perfect.” For example, I
    have four pairs of great jeans. That’s enough for my lifestyle, by far. I
    have dark and medium denim, two straights and two bootcuts. If I wore
    jeans every day, and at three wears each, that would be twelve days
    before laundry was due. PLENTY. But I still long for what magazines call
    the “perfect pair of dark denims”. Well, at age 60, I think I would
    have found them by now.

Of course there are good reasons to add to my wardrobe: those
great jeans will wear out and need replacing. All my favorites (shoes,
boots, bras) will need to be replaced over time. And I like to add a
bunch of fresh tee shirts every spring, new tights, a few new necklaces,
a new belt and a nightshirt. The challenge is to be wise in my
purchases, and keep the pleasure of the simple closet in the front of my

What about you? I think all approaches are good, if they give you joy. Do you like to have a little or a lot?

Stay fabulous,

There’s always room for a great pair of jeans, cute flats or a yummy nightgown:

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