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Last week, I talked about finding your “aesthetic” in your identity in Jesus. Defining your identity sometimes feels pretty easy. We have to do it for surveys all the time.
– I’m a married Christian woman and a member of a local church.
– I’m a 25-30 year old Caucasian woman with lower-middle-class income bracket with a college education.
– I’m an ENFP hipster, Hufflepuff, and dog lover.
Easy, right? I’m sure if you tried to write down some of the ways to define your identity, it wouldn’t take you all that long.
A personal aesthetic, especially one that has to do with the way we dress, is often much harder to define. Some of the reason is that we’re not really thinking about these things. We see a dress, we like it, we wear it. There isn’t a lot of thinking beyond “I feel good in this.”
But if you took your favorite pieces and put them all together, you might start to see a pattern emerge. For some of my friends, it’s the color black and attention-grabbing jewelry or cute shoes. For my mom, it’s beautiful shades of green, pinks, and browns, along with gemstone jewelry and amazing handbags. My closet is full of deep reds, greens, and black. I also have an extensive collection of earrings and scarves.
These things are a part of our personal aesthetics, but it also goes into how we wear them. My mom, again, wears cute tailored pants, shirts, and jackets. She loves classic cuts and clean lines. I, however, love oversized tops and big sleeves, the “whooshier” the better. In fact, the more my outfit makes me feel like a high school drama teacher, the better.
Your wardrobe aesthetic is a combination of what you wear and how you wear it. It communicates to others your attitudes and beliefs about the world, even if you don’t intend to.
Finding Your Aesthetics: The Basics
Now, if I had my way, every day would be a costume ball. There’s a part of me that doesn’t understand why I can’t find dresses from Gustav Klimt paintings and wear them everywhere I go.
But that’s not practical, and the thing about clothing is that it always has to be practical to your surroundings. So before you can revamp your minimalist wardrobe, you need to ask yourself a few things such as
-Where do I spend most of my time, and how do I need to dress while I’m there? (Are you at work? With your kids? Running around town?)
– What is the most important thing for you in an outfit: comfort or presentation? (If you’re lucky, you can find both!)
– What kind of time and money do you have for cleaning? (I love silk and cashmere, but dry cleaning adds up)
My minimalist wardrobe as a married 20-something blogger with no kids is going to look vastly different from my older friend with two kids and a full-time job.
With these things in mind, you can start looking around for inspiration. When I decided to start putting together a capsule wardrobe, I went online and started collecting the looks that I loved.
Pinterest and Instagram are Your New Friends
I’ve been a Pinterest user since the beginning of 2010. Since then I’ve gotten pretty savvy at searching for keywords, finding exactly what I’m looking for, and organizing it in a way that works for me. I’m at that point when I’ll search on Pinterest before I ever open Google.
Part of it is that Pinterest is a visual platform and that it’s really easy to search for pretty much everything. It’s also really easy to use it for a “Style board,” so if’ I’m looking for minimalist wardrobe inspiration, that’s where I’ll land.
First I look up styles and pin whatever catches my eye to a Secret Board. Mine is called My Definitive Late 20s Fashion Mood Board because I’ve done this a few times already. After I pin whatever suits my fancy, I go back and analyze what I have. In doing this I’ve discovered I like:
– Tucked in shirts and defined waists.
– Button up shirts
– Flowy sleeves with lots of jewelry and scarves
– Rings, bracelets, sunglasses, and earrings
– Pointed flats
Pinterest is also nice because it lets you edit the description of the pin. You can look at each picture and edit the caption to say things like “I like this color and this style of pant.”
While Pinterest is my minimalist wardrobe bread and butter, another blogger told me she’s gotten a lot of her inspiration from Instagram. She’ll search the tags (#fashionblogger for example) and screen cap all the looks she likes. Then she organized them and proceeded with those.
Find Inspiration From Your Favorite Movies and TV
Costume design is a thing for a reason; the designers want the clothes you see on-screen to reflect the movie or show that it’s in. As someone who loves costumes, movies are a perfect place for me to get inspiration.
But it can also be more complicated than that. I know I like the costumes in Never Let Me Go because they’re cozy looking, with lots of earth tones, knits, and cotton fabrics. Those are things I can look for when developing my own minimalist wardrobe.
I also know the reason I love how Dorothy dresses on Pilot (The Golden Girls) is that she looks larger than life. She has lots of long, sweeping, dramatic silhouettes plus the same jewelry and bracelets I know I like from before. Again, I can take those aspects and try to put them in my own minimalist wardrobe.
Find Inspiration from Everywhere!
Honestly, you can take your inspiration for how you dress from anywhere and everywhere. I love the gold and jewel-tones I see in paintings, so I’m attracted to that in real life. My friend loves nature, so she’s attracted to floral prints and colors.
You can also take your inspiration from other cultures! I hate dressing for summer here, so I’ll see how the girls in the Middle East are handling the heat. I’ll look up French fashion, or Italian, and see if there’s anything I like.
The idea behind all of this is that you want to create a cohesive aesthetic for your minimalist wardrobe. That way, you’re not only saving money by buying things you’ll actually wear, you’re also more in charge of what you’re communicating with other people.
What Do You Think Your Wardrobe Aesthetic Is?
Just for fun, think about what you wear on a daily basis. Think about how it reflects your occupation, your personality, and your spending habits. Are these true to who you actually are? To the person God made you to be?