How To Create A Stylish Minimalist Wardrobe

La mode passé mais le style reste. (Fashion passes, but style remains.) –Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
  In 2012 The Daily Mail reported that women spend on average $125 000 on clothes in their lifetime. Wow that is the price of a small house. Retail therapy has gotten out of hand, it has become big business and many women are drowning in its consequences. Often people associate a minimalism lifestyle with ‘deprivation’. However this is so not the case – minimalism is about having ‘the right balance of enough’. To be fashionable you do not need to have thousands of outfits on hand, instead you can play with colour, texture and timeless design pieces to create a sophisticated yet minimal wardrobe.

Six Basic Pieces

A minimalist wardrobe can consist of anywhere from five to twenty-five pieces of clothing – however there are six key pieces that every woman should own.
  • White cotton shirt
  • Black pants
  • Black dress
  • Little black jacket (see ideas on how to wear the little black jacket in my post here)
  • A good fitting pair of jeans
  • Black pumps/ or black ballet flats

My Basic Wardrobe

While I love quirky thrift shop finds like double breasted woollen grandpa vests and bohemian style kaftans – I also find it necessary to have a few quality and timeless items in my wardrobe for the times that I am not potting around in my garden. Here are my timeless pieces. Take the time to think about yours! 30 Day Simple Living Challenge Day TwentyTwo: Create A Stylish Minimalist Wardrobe 30 Day Simple Living Challenge Day TwentyTwo: Create A Stylish Minimalist Wardrobe 30 Day Simple Living Challenge Day TwentyTwo: Create A Stylish Minimalist Wardrobe 30 Day Simple Living Challenge Day TwentyTwo: Create A Stylish Minimalist Wardrobe 30 Day Simple Living Challenge Day TwentyTwo: Create A Stylish Minimalist Wardrobe 30 Day Simple Living Challenge Day TwentyTwo: Create A Stylish Minimalist Wardrobe Building a wardrobe is like building a house – if you get the bones or structure right you can then accessorise it for seasonal looks. Think Chanel – Black tailored key pieces dressed up with a strand of pearls or gorgeous hat. Coco Chanel is the perfect style icon for minimalism dressing (mind you she probably didn’t have a minimalist wardrobe). Chanel is one of the two early twentieth-century designers credited for freeing women of the elaborate, confining Victorian style. (Paul Poiret was the second.) As a fashion minimalist myself, I’m a huge fan of finding pieces that are durable, versatile, and flattering. The little black dress, arguably Chanel’s most famous contribution to fashion, is an excellent example of this. To simplify your wardrobe à la Coco, opt for comfortable, yet flattering pieces that can be worn different ways for different occasions. Here are some ways to help you create a minimal wardrobe with maximum impact.

Tips on how to create a stylish minimalist wardrobe:

Invest In The Fashion of the 21st Century: Sustainable fashion is a hot trend – and with good reason. More and more consumers are demanding ethical and sustainable items – and fashion is no exception. Every day more and more companies are stepping up to the challenge and launching some wonderful collections that are both fashionable and sustainable. The use of natural materials, fibres, minimal dyes, recycled materials and the guarantee of fair work conditions – makes sustainable fashion more costly. However, it is important to remember that these items are made with both quality and integrity, and they are garments to last a life time – so really when you break down the cost per wear – they actually become a cost effective option. Have a ‘capsule’ wardrobe:  A capsule wardrobe is a collection of coordinating clothes combined with your six key pieces that can be used in any outfit for any occasion. One way to do this is to choose a colour scheme, and a style. Think about your personality and skin-tone, and what colours suit you. Don’t be afraid of experimenting when trying to find what fits you. Say you suit peachy pinks, baby blues and creams. All these colours go together. And say your style is casual, and girly. Now, invest in a few key items that adhere to these two rules. You will find that every top you own will go with every pair of trousers or skirt, and you will also be known for a distinct, consistent style. This rule goes for all accessories, jewellery and shoes, too! Accessorise with Scarves: Quality scarves (not the ones you buy at Kmart/target/H&M) are a woman’s best friend and they are the best investment. They are easy to store away -a drawer or trunk is suffice – and they really add a dash of colour to any outfit. By tying scarves a different way you can create so many different looks using that same black dress or white shirt. I love buying hand painted scarves on my travels as it gives an outfit an edge of difference. If you don’t already have some, invest in some accessories. For a bit of scarf inspiration see my photo board of six ways to wear a scarf. Layer your necklaces: When it comes to teaming accessories with basic key items – Coco Chanel’s more-is-more approach still makes a statement today. You can do multiples of the same material, or better yet, go for contrast: Try a femme piece with edgy chains, feathers with beads, or pearls with diamanté’s. The key for it to look great is you need to have a basic outfit so that the necklace accessory demands all the attention.   Stick with key pieces in solid colours: Solid colours make mix and matching far easier. The more solid colours you have the more likely you are to be able to creatively put together new outfits (using your scarves and accessories) without having to take a trip to the shopping mall. Choose quality clothing: I suggest buying high quality and timeless pieces that will last for more than two seasons. When you spend less money on cheap fashion buys you can afford to invest in higher quality and more expensive clothing. Constantly cycling through those bargain bins of cheap clothes is bad for your wallet. I understand that sometimes you can get bored with your wardrobe and crave something new – this is where I suggest you check out the local thrift stores. I have a collection of floral garden skirts and grandpa woollen jackets that I purchased from various thrift stores – I just adore them. Stop impulse spending: Don’t go to the mall and don’t browse any of your favourite online stores.  Impulse shopping is a serious issue for a lot of consumers, and if you’re one of them going to the mall all of the time will not help you with your new minimalist lifestyle no matter how much you have already cut it down. Choose practical fabrics: Choose comfort over constriction, for the elegance in a garment is the freedom of movement. Whether wearing a soft cotton jacket or a skirt, choose fabrics and designs that allow you to walk, rather than totter. Chanel was known for using fabrics that were so practical and low-end that they were unheard of in the high-end fashion world. Before she used it in her designs, jersey fabric was used mainly in men’s underwear, while Chanel staples like wool and tweed were formerly associated with the lower class. Thanks to her, tweed jackets, wool coats, and jersey-knit pieces became — and remained — luxe, mainstream, and fashionable. And today, things just keep getting better; now you can  buy recycled fabric and hemp which looks as luxurious as tweed. Look effortless: You don’t want to appear as though you have spent hours styling your hair and getting your look ‘just right.’ This is where quality tailored clothing makes an impact, for all you need to do is tie your hair back in a sleek ponytail or bun and finish off the look with a pop of colour by applying your favourite shade of lipstick. Overall -you want to look as though style comes naturally to you. Keep it simple: You’ll look more chic and polished if you have only one or two key accessories. So choose either  a scarf, earrings or layered necklaces – and keep it at that.  Otherwise you look too overdone – plus it then becomes uncomfortable. Forget fashion trends: Stick with styles and shapes that look good on you. Wear clothes that fit you well. This will add class in itself. Don’t squeeze yourself into a too-small dress, or drown your figure in a big, baggy top. Choose a well cut dress over a tight one.  

A Resource I Recommend

I have a copy of The Stylish Minimalist Wardrobe in my ibooks and it makes for great light reading in-between meetings, on the train or whenever I am sitting around waiting for something.

How Contaminated Is Your Indoor Air?

How Contaminated Is Your Indoor Air?

All the major air pollutants (car fumes, sidewalk smokers) are outside, right? Unfortunately this is not so much the case. Some of the grimiest air can be lurking in the walls of our own office or home. 
Studies show that things like candles, printers, and even shoes can fill your space with harmful pollutants, says Ted Myatt, Sc.D., an environmental scientist in Boston. However there’s no need to escape to some remote island – simply arm yourself with knowledge and follow these easy steps to lighten the air in your home or workspace. 


Candles are often linked to wellness and tranquility; however they can be detrimental to your health. Today most candles are made from paraffin wax, according to researchers at South Carolina State University, paraffin candles emit chemicals that are linked to liver damage, neurological problems, and leukemia. 

 How to prevent or reduce it: Buy 100 percent soy candles. 



According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one of the problems that can cause air pollution issues in a home comes from the outside elements. Radon is a gaseous substance that is released from rocks and soil as it breaks down. Usually, this gas is released into an open, outdoor area where it is not a direct harm to people. However, in a home, this gaseous substance can be very toxic. 

The EPA warns that as radon gas seeps into a home, it can become trapped and become toxic as it is inhaled. It is a cause of lung cancer and is extremely harmful, even fatal, to those with lung issues. 

 How to prevent or reduce it: Radon can show up in homes that are not well ventilated. Most of the radon inside a home, usually gets in through the floor, you can reduce the level of radon indoors by increasing the ventilation space under the floor. It is advisable that homes be tested yearly in order to ensure that they are radon free and that they remain that way. For more detailed information about Radon and how to treat it, read the facts sheet over at the Arpansa Website Mold Mold is essential in the outdoors, it helps organic matter decompose. However when mold makes its way indoors it can wreak havoc with your health, it can induce itchy eyes, red rashes and breathing problems. There are also a few strains of mold that can weaken your immune system. How to prevent or reduce it: To deter mold keep the indoor humidity at around 30 to 50 percent, go to your local hardware store and buy a hygrometer to check your room levels. Spores grow in dark, damp corners, so keep your rooms well ventilated and once a week mop around your fridge, sinks, and toilets with a mild detergent. Printers Believe it or not printers are one of the greatest pollutants. Every time you print a page, micro particles of ink and toner spray out, which can irritate the lungs and cause breathing problems. According to a recent Australian study, about one-third of printers are “high emitters,” This means that the airbourne particles churned out from printers can cause just as much harm as the thick fumes on a busy city street. How to prevent or reduce it: Set up your printer in a well-ventilated area, and when it is printing lengthy jobs make an effort to stand at least 10 feet away from it. Since colour ink produces more noxious debris, try and print in black and white when possible. Also choose vegetable based printing inks, they are not only better for the planet; they cause less harm to your health. Shoe Debris Your sneakers and stilettos come face to face with all kinds of nasties that lurk on the sidewalk. Lawns and pavements are littered with pollutants like lead dust, fertilisers and paint specs etc. According to the Environmental Protection Agency 80 percent of our exposure to pesticides happens indoors, all because they get tracked in by our shoes. How to prevent or reduce it: Never wear shoes indoors, keep a box at your front door to put all shoes in. Stoves and Heaters Stoves and heaters can be very problematic in a home. Fire and burning in a home releases a wealth of gases that can be fatal if inhaled. Not only do fires cause smoke, which can be detrimental to the lungs and the brain, they also release several chemicals as well. Aerosols are often released which can be fatal if inhaled in large amounts as well as cause damage and tears to the linings of the lungs. Because of studies showing the damage that can be caused, many modern cooking companies are now developing safer cooking mechanisms in order to minimise risk. However, no matter how modern the technologies, it is better to be safe than sorry. How to prevent or reduce it: Whether for entertainment or for cooking, there needs to be a strong ventilation system either built in to the device or through the opening of a window in order to ensure air keeps moving and does not remain stagnate. Household Products In today’s modern world, there seems to be a cleaning product for every surface. From the kitchen stove to the bathroom, these advancements in cleaning have helped to clean dangerous bacteria and stop disease from spreading as rapidly as it once did. There is, however, a downside. These products utilise chemicals which can be extremely dangerous if inhaled consistently. The American Lung Association warns that modern cleaning products often use what are known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs. These chemicals are often combined with other harmful substances like bleach and ammonia. How to prevent or reduce it: Open up the windows and let the room get accurate ventilation. Wear a face mask, goggles and gloves. Tread lightly and buy natural products that are not only less harmful to you, but also to the planet. In today’s environmentally conscious world, there are many accessible products that are natural and still powerful in cleaning. While natural products minimise the chance of damage, it is still best to use them in ventilated areas and always wear protection. Smoke Smoke in the home can be a big concern. Specifically, secondhand smoke is among the top contributors of pollutants in homes where individuals smoke. The release of chemicals from burning tobacco emits about four thousand different and harmful substances alone. For that reason, avoiding smoking in the home can lessen the amount of pollutants in the atmosphere. With so many chemicals in cigarettes whether through direct absorption into the body or secondhand being linked to diseases ranging from cancer to learning disabilities, it is best to eliminate all chances of having cigarette or cigar smoke in the house at any time. How to prevent or reduce it: Those who smoke should consider quitting in order to protect their own health. If that is not an option, then put a stop on all tobacco smoke by having a designated smoking area outside, one which is well away from open windows and doors.

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