This may seem like a trivial topic, but of course everyone must wear clothes and having a good relationship with them can really affect our life. This topic is important to me because clothing is so over-consumed and wasted in the western world. I’m hoping that this article could be useful to everyone, not just digital nomads. Statistics show that most people in the UK waste a lot of clothing, so minimizing your wardrobe could save you money, time, and help the environment.
As a vagrant and minimalist (one causes the other), my wardrobe has to fulfill specific criteria, whilst being a performer also requires me to have range of interesting things to wear. Clothing is the bulky and takes up room. I literally have to choose between keeping an extra jumper or a few more tins of food in my van. So I end up blog-trawling to find how minimalists/travelers solve these problems. I’ve noticed the following about those who have very few clothes:
- They usually dress in a boring way
- They don’t seem to live in cold buildings or go outside much – where are all their layers?
- They obviously have constant access to washing & drying facilities. How else can someone only own 1 set of sports clothes?
So, those of you who it may help, here’s the inventory of my wardrobe. It works for a wide range of climates, situations and activities. There are 60 items in total, covering all seasons from -2C to 35C. Things like socks and pants are counted as 1. In bold are my 10 core items for winter, which obviously change in summer. In italics are things I’m considering giving away.
On an environmental note, apart from underwear and sports-clothes, 95% of my wardrobe is 2nd hand or home made. Since I’m able to sew, I repair things, extending their life by more than half. My hope is that posting my 60 item wardrobe will help to show more people, not just minimalists, how to keep a smaller collection of garments.
Here are few of the systems and methods that make this wardrobe work. Even though it’s big my minimalist standards, it’s minimal.
- Two week’s supply of everything for each season: This tides me over when I can’t get to wash my clothes.
- Very temperature specific clothes: I even have different thicknesses of t-shirts for summer and winter. Basically I can’t afford to get too hot or cold. Too cold & if I’m in my van, I won’t have a source of heat to get warm again. Too hot and I’ll sweat more meaning having to change my clothes more often, causing a washing crisis.
- Clothes for every occasion: I used to shun smart clothes, sports clothes, or pyjamas, but over the years I’ve recognised them as necessities. Owning a few smart clothes stops people from thinking I’m a dysfunctional vagrant. Since I exercise a few times a week, sports clothes do the job better and help avoid a washing crisis. Pyjamas are necessary for when I stay with friends.
- Avoid Synthetic Fabrics: They aren’t warm or breathable. They also smell quickly. I’ve shelled out the extra cash to buy merino wool clothes for winter. Wool doesn’t need washing often, dries quick and is very warm. It wears faster if layered directly, so cotton has to go in-between. Where I’ve chosen synthetics, such as for sports clothes, they must say “breathable” on the label. I have 1 synthetic outfit that dries so fast it can be worn straight out of the washing machine – for emergencies.
- Pockets: Travellers tend to carry a lot of stuff about their person. Clothes need lots of pockets, and should be the same on everything I own otherwise I’ll ruin the habits I’ve formed, and lose things (4 pockets on trousers, 2 in jackets.)
- Exciting clothes, all the time: As a performer, I think it’s important to look interesting & different, but I don’t have separate clothes to perform in so this becomes how I always look. I like bright, strong colours and it boosts my mood to wear them. Although I always wear trousers, what I wear on my top half can be very versatile. I dress like a box of crayons. However, once my folk band played at a very formal wedding and stood out a mile! So I got myself a discreet pinstripe suit and white shirt for such events.
So that’s it – my token practical minimalist post.
Kimwei.com , youtube.com/kimweidotcom , facebook.com/kimweidotcom
Here are all the clothes I own – Total 60 items.
|Trousers||1. Blue Cords
2. Burgundy Cords
|3. Homemade Red & Black Trousers
4. Blue Wraparound Trousers
5. Brown Wraparound Trousers
|Shorts||6. Purple Shorts
7. Red Wraparound Shorts
|T-shirts||8. Cotton Black & Red
9. Cotton Black & White Tie-Dye
10. Cotton Rainbow Hooded T-shirt
|11. Thin Batik, Purple
12. Thin Batik, Orange
13. Thin Batik, Red
|Long Sleeved||14. Rainbow Crayola|
15. Synthetic Striped Shirt
16. Red Shirt
17. Black Pinstripe Shirt.
|18. Blue & White Duck Patterned Shirt|
|Jumpers||19. Wool Blue & Blue Striped Jumper
20. Wool Red & Yellow Heart Jumper
|21. Red & Pink Cotton Blend Jumper
22. Red Merino Wool Professor Jumper
23. Blue & Black Striped Cotton Hoody
|Coats||24. Blue & Red Wool Overcoat|
|Waistcoats||25. Black Wool Waistcoat||26. Black Sleeveless Shirt|
|Shoes||27. Red Leather Calf boots||28. Purple Leather ankle boots
|Accessories||30. Red Wool Hat
31. Extra Thick Red & Black Wool Hat
32. 2 pairs Wool fingerless gloves
33. Blue sparkly cotton scarf
34. Black wool neck-warmers x2
|35. Red Chequered scarf
36. Black Leather Belt
37. Starfish hat & liner
38. Pinstripe Lapels (as an alternative to a formal jacket)
|Socks||1. 5 pairs black merino wool, 2 pairs cotton, 1 pair waterproof (sealskin), 2 pairs thick wool|
|Pants||2. 10-12 pairs cotton, 2 pairs quick-drying synthetic travel pants|
|Vests||3. Merino Wool Long Sleeved Vest||4. white
5. red & black striped
|Thermals||7. Merino Wool Leggings
8. Synthetic Leggings
9. Purple & Black Striped Onesie
|Pyjamas||10. Yellow Cotton Pyjama top
11. Black Cotton Shorts
12. Black Eyemask (Buff)
|Formal Gig-wear (such as for weddings)||1. Synthetic Pinstripe Trousers
2. Synthetic Pinstripe Jacket
3. Smart Leather Belt
4. White Shirt
5. Blue Tie
|Sports: Cycling||1. Cycling Leggings
2. Cycling Leggings
3. Extreme Winter Cycling Leggings
4. Summer Cycle Shorts
5. Long Distance Padded Summer Cycle Shorts
6. Summer Cycle Jersey
7. Winter Cycle Jersey
8. Tight Merino Wool Thermal Top
9. Tight Cycling Raincoat
10. Clip-less Cycle Shoes + 2x waterproof overshoes
11. 2 Pairs Extreme Winter Gloves + 2 Pairs black wool gloves, padded gloves
|Sports: Running||12. Cool-max Black T-shirt
13. Black cotton shorts
14. Running Shoes
15. Burgundy Cotton Hoodie