Trenery is an Australian label that exudes minimalist fashion.

Guest post: The Christian Grey guide to minimalist fashion

Brooke McAlaryFashion 23 Comments

Editor’s note: I’m speaking at the ProBlogger Training Event in Melbourne today and tomorrow so handing over today’s post to Brooke from Slow Your Home. Go check out her blog.

“Christian Grey”.

These two words will elicit one of several reactions – barely contained lust, eye-rolling boredom or complete bewilderment.

For those in the latter camp, Christian Grey is the devilishly handsome, incredibly wealthy main character in E.L. James’ best-seller 50 Shades of Grey and has ignited the blood of many a reader this year.

“Isn’t that a raunchy, BDSM book?” I hear you ask. “What could that possibly teach me about fashion?”

Believe it or not, there is one key fashion lesson that Mr Grey teaches us throughout the trilogy (yes, really)

The man certainly can rock a minimalist wardrobe.

Sartorial talk of Mr Grey in the 50 Shades trilogy hinges on a handful of classics – white linen shirts, black tshirts, black jeans, blue jeans, black leather jacket, chunky knits, black blazer, Chuck Taylors, beautifully-made suits, crisp white business shirts, gorgeous silk ties.

He knows what works and he sticks with it.

Similarly, for you and I, there are a handful of classics that form the foundation of a good, small wardrobe and as predictable as they seem, are worth spending a little extra time and money on.

Trenery is an Australian label that exudes minimalist fashion.

Trenery High Summer 2012-13: Australian minimalist fashion at its most accessible

Minimalist fashion? Sounds boring …

There is an entire movement behind minimalism – intentionally living with less, giving away your possessions, finding a non-materialistic path to happiness etc.

But, let’s face it – clothes are a necessity and if you have to wear them, you may as well look damn good. It’s just a matter of choosing a limited amount of the right clothes, which is where minimalist fashion comes in.

Personally, I am a fan of the small wardrobe. I currently have 35 pieces in my cupboard – including shoes and accessories (not including underwear, gym clothes, pyjamas or gardening clothes).

The beauty of such a small wardrobe is that I spend less on clothes, it takes less time to get ready in the morning and I know everything in there fits and suits me.

But the most valuable lesson I’ve learnt from building a small wardrobe is that having less doesn’t have to mean fewer options. It actually makes getting dressed easier, in part because there is less to choose from, but also because everything fits and most pieces work well together.

Cover the basics first.

You most likely have many of these in your wardrobe already. The classics include:

  • Denim jacket
  • Trench coat
  • Plain t-shirt
  • Striped t-shirt
  • White shirt
  • Black pencil skirt
  • Black pants
  • Dark wash skinny jeans
  • Bootcut jeans
  • Black dress
  • Neutral sandals – flat
  • Neutral heels
  • Neutral boots
  • Neutral belt
  • Black flats
  • Black boots
  • Black heels
  • Black belt

via Zara | Striped T-shirt – Mr Porter | Tan Sandals – Aldo Shoes | Black Dress – Pinterest | Denim Jacket – American Eagle Outfitters | Skinny Jeans – Hollister | Riding Boots – Chloe | Pencil Skirt – Planet

Ask yourself:

      • What of these pieces do you already own?
      • What do you need to add to your wardrobe?
      • Which of these styles suits you?
      • Which fits your lifestyle?
      • Which fits your budget?

Then use these as the foundation for your wardrobe.

Inject your personality

Once the foundation is in place, it’s time to look at your personality pieces. In my wardrobe, for example, I have five or six vintage print dresses, a khaki wool bomber jacket, killer colour-block heels, bright tights, a mustard vintage mini skirt, striped t-shirts, 3 or 4 blousey tops in various patterns and coloured jeans.

Over time I’ve picked colours that work together – olive, burgundy, tans, blacks, whites, navy and mustard – and the beauty of these is that virtually everything works together.

Look at your wardrobe and ask:

      • What do you already own?
      • What colours flatter you most?
      • What clothing pieces are your staples?
      • What works with your lifestyle?
      • What works within your budget?

Once you understand what suits you best, you can add to your personality pieces over time.

Belt – Asos | Chevron Dress – Dorothy Perkins | Mustard Top – Anthropologie | Mustard Striped Dress – Top Shop (no longer available) | Stripe & Scarf – Pinterest | Navy Shorts – Forever 21(no longer available) | Red Espadrilles – Forever 21 (no longer available)

Getting bang for your buck

Buy the Best You Can Afford

For Christian Grey, that was all high-end. For you and I, that may be Target, Big W, Country Road. Wherever you fit into the sliding scale of fashion expense, you are far better off spending as much as you can on the basics, and forgoing the cheaper versions. It will hold you in better stead over the years.

Make sure everything works together

To follow Christian Grey’s lead once more, virtually everything in his casual wardrobe could be worn together.

For the classics:

      • stick to a similar colour palette – blacks, greys, whites, neutrals, blues, tans – whatever you wear a lot of
      • avoid overly trendy pieces – you can incorporate those into your personality pieces – but the idea is to keep these classics for years.
      • when you find a style that suits you – consider buying it in two in different colours

For your personality pieces:

      • shop vintage for one-of-a-kind goodness
      • be bold – choose a bright colour
      • accessorise – a scarf in an on-trend pattern will immediately lift an outfit of basics to the next level

Follow these Christian Grey-approved guidelines and you too will be rocking a minimal wardrobe with maximum impact.

Are you a follower of minimalist fashion? Do you have a small wardrobe? Or are your cupboards overflowing with fashion goodness?

brooke mcalaryBrooke McAlary is a passionate writer, simple living advocate, big thinker, wife and mother. She is on a mission to help you live the simpler life you want and has created the insanely useful Slow Home BootCamp to do just that.


Comments 23

  1. Fits in perfectly with my Considered Wardrobe philosophy, and great to see I already have ALL the classic items! I’m working on culling multiples (unless they are because I wear them heaps, eg 2 white shirts but in different styles) and on building personality into my wardrobe through select colours mainly in accessories (oh, and my obsession with coloured blazers!). Thanks for the share Nikki 🙂

  2. Missed this first time round, thank goodness I caught it this time, combined with the Boot camp series I think I’m getting somewhere. Thank you, Thank you.

  3. Ummm I have everything in the minimialist wardrobe and the blue shorts in the “colour” section. It might be time to cross to the colour side! Great post..good excuse to go shopping for post baby wardrobe.

  4. Great post! I’m printing out those lists and ticking items off my wardrobe. Anything not already there will be in a list in my handbag so if I see something that I love when I’m shopping, I can make sure it will work with everything else I own.

  5. I am really struggling with my wardrobe at the moment. I’ve lost 10 kgs and nothing fits right, can’t afford new, can’t figure out what is most flattering, it’s all just in the “too hard” basket at the moment. As a result, I look like a mis-matched street riff raff.

    1. There is good there – 10kg is a lot. Do go through and get rid of items that you just can’t see yourself again. Then work on a budget plan to buy new or second hand pieces that fit perfectly for you now.

    2. I lost 12 kgs and was in the same boat as you CS…..took my favourite clothes to a seamstress and had almost all of them successfully altered for minimal cost. Heaps cheaper than replacing them outright!

  6. Great post!
    I am definitely a minimalist! I have the classics in my wardrobe.
    Being a minimalist definitely helps when being pregnant, then you don’t have to buy too much as you get bigger!

  7. I really think you are on to something here ,my wardrobe is overflowing and it does take longer to get ready unless I have chosen something the night before,with more clothes you have more choices and sometimes that is bad,I always think I need options but with an overflowing wardrobe it does not work so well.
    I think I will cull a bit more and only wear the clothes that fit well,look good and I love,I have gotten better this season though If I buy something new it has to go with at least 3 things,so baby steps for me!
    Thank-You Brooke for this guest post.

  8. This is so not me…but I think the basic concept is great. I have over 50 pairs of shoes so minimalist really isnt me!! But I do have a core wardrobe of white shirts, black shirts, black and white shirts, blue and black jeans, linnen shifts, and blazers. I then add different scarves, shoes, hats etc to change their look.
    I love the idea of core and personality pieces, that is a great way to divide up my wardrobe.

  9. Love this, and pleased to note that I have pretty much all the basic minimalist pieces covered. I have always preferred classic styles, bringing them up to date with what is on trend by buying little pieces to add. I shop in my wardrobe, a lot!

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