How to Architect your Minimalist Wardrobe

January 18, 2017 0 Comments

How to architect your minimalist capsule wardrobe with 10 of your must have items

Last week, I walked you through step two of our Minimalist Wardrobe Workbook which is the dreaded (but so fulfilling, no?) closet audit. How did that go?

I'm fully expecting that most people get stuck at this point. Auditing your closet takes an immense amount of mental (and physical) energy. If you haven't done this step yet, put a date in your calendar right now on which you'll dig in.

If you're caught up on the workbook,  you've also created your dream 'uniforms' through that process too.
Through that process, you may have realized that you are missing a few key items that will round out the wardrobe of your dreams. 

The last section of the workbook is creating a list of the 10 items you need. The final step in architecting your minimalist wardrobe.

For the true minimalists, this is 10 items you need in 2017.

 

How to Architect your Minimalist Wardrobe

 

In this week's post, I'm going to my process of creating that 10 items list, and also some of our favourite resources (stores, blogs, books) for crafting a minimalist wardrobe.

It's not enough to just have a minimalist closet. It's important to take it one step further and fill that closet with only high quality, high-vibe clothing. Buying a $6 t-shirt that you'll have to toss at the end of the season totally defeats the purpose of having a curated closet. It's not curated if it's constantly a revolving door of fast fashion crap.

The first step of this is to make sure you've done step two - finished your closet audit and created your dream uniforms.

Now, it's time to fill the gaps (if there are any) in your dream minimalist wardrobe.

 

Create your 10 Things I Need List

 

How to architect your minimalist capsule wardrobe with 10 of your must have items

Take a look at your dream outfits and the closet audit results and ask yourself these questions:

Are there any items that are overly worn and need to be replaced?
These are things that are classic items but may be worn, pilling, stretched, or stained. Think about that classic white tee. If you wear it a lot, but it looks awful, you'll want to upgrade that item. Add it to the list.

Are there any items that I'm missing that would add or amplify my wardrobe utility?
Looking at your dream uniforms, and overall closet, are there any items missing that would allow you to create MORE outfits out of your existing pieces? I'm not talking about that floral pair of jeans, but classic, everlasting and timeless items.
For example, you've got a couple of winter jackets, but none of them are dressy. Or, perhaps you have 5 pairs of blue jeans, but no pair of black jeans. Or you have all pants, and no skirts. Think of key items that when interchanged into existing outfits they can change the look, style, or appropriateness of the style.

Are there any items that don't fit?
Up until I was 35, I was the same weight that I was in college. Then, all of a sudden my whole wardrobe was tight. It's totally normal to go through seasons with your shape and body. There's no sense in keeping items in your wardrobe that don't fit (unless they are heirlooms or egregiously expensive - see our previous post for more on that). 
If you have a pair of black skinny jeans, but they're too small and you never wear them, hence your outfits combinations are reduced, then you need to replace them with ones that fit you right now.

Are there any items that could up your style or make you feel more like you? 
This last question is the most dangerous as it leaves much open for interpretation. Shopping is a very emotional experience for many of us. Some of us (myself included at one point), used to use it as a way to relieve stress. 
If you're in a different season of your life, or perhaps you feel like you're due for a style reinvention of sorts, then this category is for you. Maybe you want to try wearing a moto jacket, or trade in your heels for flats. Whatever it is, this is a good question to ask if you're feeling restless or like you're in need for a personal style pivot.

Based on your responses above, work to create your 10 things you need list.
If you're committing to making it ONLY 10 things you buy in 2017, great.
If not, no pressure, but try to think when you are purchasing new things for your wardrobe in the mindset that everything you buy is additive, and in my opinion, it's one in, one out (after your 10 items!).

 

Resources for Creating a Minimalist Wardrobe  

 

I think our minimalist wardrobe workbook is pretty awesome but I've compiled a few of our fav blogs, books and brands for shopping ethical, sustainable and for capsule wardrobe essentials. 

ethical and eco conscious clothing resource list of books, blogs and more

 

Brands
DSTLD - ethically-made, sustainable denim for women and men without department store markups.
Spirit of Vera - up-cycled, and sustainably sourced gorgeous minimalist silver jewelry
Cuyana - fewer, better things. Ethically and sustainably sourced luxury items. 
Encircled - us, what's better than a shameless plug for our ethical basics and versatile travel essentials.
Naja - Fair-trade, ethically-made lingerie made for all women.
Eileen Fisher - ethically-made responsibly sourced work and leisurewear
Vaute - made in NYC, vegan winter coats
Elizabeth Suzann - made in Nashville, natural-fibre womenswear
Brook there - ethically-made in USA lingerie and loungewear
Teeki - recycled pop bottle leggings and activewear, made in the USA
Michi - fancy activewear for fitness gurus, made in Canada
Copious Fashions - party dresses, made in Toronto, Canada
NAU - Jackets made from synthetic insulation and recycled down
Poppy Barley - Shoes ethically made in Mexico

 

Blogs
Into-mind - loads of advice, worksheets and frameworks for your wardrobe
The art of Simple - Tsh's blog/podcast about the simple life, with a family
Sustainably chic - Natalie's style blog is a go-to for discovering new ethical brands
The Style Bee - Style blogger focused on ethical and sustainable life
Light by coco - Ultra-light and stylish world traveler and capsule wardrobe maven
Un-Fancy - Caroline essentially started the capsule wardrobe movement. 'Nuff said.
Simply Liv + Co - Blogger Olivia has created a mindful community focused on capsule wardrobes, and ethical fashion.

 

Books
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo
Essentialism: The disciplined pursuit of less by Greg Mckeown
The joy of less: A minimalist guide to declutter, organize and simplify by Francine Guy
Slow fashion: Aesthetics meets ethics by Safia Minney
The more of less: finding the life you want under everything you own by Joshua Becker
The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees

 

If you haven't already grabbed your copy, get it now when you sign up.

sign up for email updates to learn how to curate a minimalist closet

Questions? Comments? I'd love to connect. Leave them in the comments below. I'd love to see how you're progressing with step three of the minimalist wardrobe workbook.

I also welcome you to post your fav links to ethical brands, blogs and books below so we can all share and grow together.

With gratitude,

Kristi
Founder + CEO, Encircled
 

@encircled_ instagramencircled facebookencircled pinterestencircled twitter

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Please scroll down to find the size chart for each design. If you have any questions on sizing, please try out our online size recommender or click here to contact us with questions prior to ordering. Size charts are in alphabetical order based on design name.
If you're on our product page viewing the size chart, click anywhere outside of the pop-up (or on the X in the top right corner) to close the size charts, or click here to surf back to our main collection page.

The Adiona Maxi Dress

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 14 - 16 (XL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
Front Length 45" 45" 45" 45" 45"
Back Length 55" 55" 55" 55" 55"

Fit Advice: The Adiona Maxi Dress fits true to size, but we recommend to size up if you are in between sizes. The length can be hemmed by a tailor, or adjusted by  bringing the waist higher up the body to accommodate many different heights. The elasticized waist will flex to fit different waist sizes within ~1-2" of the measurements shown. 

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in the basic product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S), is wearing a size Extra Small in The Adiona Maxi Dress. Our model Kristi, shown in the styling shots is approximately 5'9" and a size 6-8 (M), wearing size Medium in the Adiona Maxi Dress.

 

The Chameleon Maxi Skirt

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M)
10 - 12(L)
14 - 16 (XL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
Length 39.5" 39.75" 40" 40.25" 40.5"

Fit Advice: The Chameleon Maxi Skirt fits true to size. The wide waistband ensures no ‘muffin top’. However, if you are a bit smaller on the top and wish to wear it as a strapless dress, we recommend sizing down because the drawstring to adjust the length is in the hem. Hemming The Chameleon Maxi Skirt would be difficult. 

Model's Measurements: Marah is shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'11", and a size 6-8 (M), is wearing a size Medium in The Chameleon Maxi Skirt. 

The Chrysalis Cardi

Size
Garment Length (Laid Flat) Garment Width (Laid Flat) Bust 
(inches)
Waist 
(inches)
Hip 
(inches)
Height 

Regular

(xs - xxl)

38" 39.5" 32"-41" 25"-34" 35"-44" 5'2"-6'0"

Petite

(xxs - m)

35" 34.5" 27"-35" 23"-28" 30"-38" >5'4"

Maxi

(xl - xxxl)

43" 41.5" 41"-52" 33"-45" 44"-56" >6'0"

Fit Advice: The Regular Chrysalis Cardi is a one size fits most garment ranging from sizes XS-XXL or 2-14. It can be easily belted in multiple ways, however the Regular is not recommended for petite or shorter woman due to the volume of fabric - See Petite Cardi. The Regular is also not recommended for curvier/taller women due to fabric pulling around the bust or bottom - See Maxi Cardi.

We recommend watching the how-to wear videos to see how much fabric drape and length you would like in your finished garment. If you are in between sizes, it is best to size up and the garment can always be tailored shorter to better suit your look - you cannot add more fabric unfortunately!

The Petite is best suited for women 5'4" and under with a smaller frame, although it will also work on women above this height (depending on preferred length when styled). 

The Maxi is best suited for all women under 6’0” with a curvier shape to eliminate any uncomfortable fabric pulling, although it will also work on women who are a bit less curvy (depending on preferred length when styled). 

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in the Black Petite Chrysalis Cardi product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S). Mandy shown in the Slate Grey + Navy Petite Chrysalis Cardi product shots is approximately 5'2" tall and a size 0-2 (XS). Anthea shown in the beach shot is 5'4" tall and a size 2-4 (S).

*If you have any questions on sizing, please contact us - Remember it is best to provide us with your height and size range of garments that you already own! 

The Dressy Sweatpant

HIGH RISE FIT

Worn higher up with rise sitting at natural waist. Straight leg tapers from the hip to ankle opening.

Size XS (0-2) S (2-4) M (6-8) L (10-12) XL (14-16)
Waist (inches)
23" - 25"
25" - 28"
28" - 32"
32" - 34"
34" - 37"
Hip (inches)
32" - 34"
35" - 38"
38" - 41"
41" - 44"
44" - 47"
Inseam (inches) 28.5"
RELAXED FIT
Slight drop-crotch look with rise sitting just above natural hip. Straight leg tapers to ankle opening.
Size XS (0-2) S (2-4) M (6-8) L (10-12) XL (14-16)
Waist (inches)
25" - 28"
28" - 32"
32" - 34"
34" - 37"
36" - 39"
Hip (inches)
35" - 38"
38" - 41"
41" - 44"
44" - 47"
46" - 49"
Inseam (inches) 28.5"

Fit Advice: We recommend staying with your usual size if you are in between sizes. The cut on The Dressy Sweatpants is more generous and the fit is meant to be drapey and slightly harem. Therefore, it's better if they don't fit snug. 

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in the product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S) is wearing a size small in Black, Navy, and Smoke Dressy Sweatpant. Daria is 5'4" tall and a size 0-2 (XS) and is wearing an extra small in the Slate Grey Dressy Sweatpant.

 

The Essential Long Sleeve Top

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14-16 (XXL)
Bust 28 - 30" 30 - 33" 33 - 36" 36 - 39" 39 - 42"
42 - 45"
Waist 23 - 25" 25 - 27" 28 - 30" 30 - 33" 34 - 36"
36 - 38"
Hips 30 - 32" 33 - 36" 36 - 38" 38 - 41" 41 - 44"
44 - 47"
Front Length / Back Length 24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"
24 - 31"

 

Fit Advice: The Essential Long Sleeve Top fits a bit larger than our usual Tees. We suggest to order true to your normal size, however since the styling is more flowy and forgiving than our other Encircled Tees it is suggested to size down if you prefer a tighter look. If you want a tighter fit, size down. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

Models Measurements: Kristi shown in the product shots is approximately 5'9" tall and a size 6-8 (M) is wearing a size Medium in The Essential Long Sleeve Top. 

 

The Evolve Top

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M)
10 - 12 (L)
14 - 16 (XL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
Waist 20-22" 23-25" 26-28" 32-34" 35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
Fit Advice: The fit of The Evolve top is drapey but tapers towards the hip. It tends to fit large. We recommend for you to size down from your normal size if you are unsure. The fabric on The Evolve top has a natural stretch that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown. 
Model's Measurements: 
Isabel shown in the product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S) wearing a size extra small in The Evolve Top.

 

 

The Flipside Legging 

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 14 - 16 (XL)
Waist 20-24" 25-28" 28-32" 32-34" 34-37"
Hips 30-34" 35-38" 38-41" 41-44" 44-47"
Inseam 28" 28"
28"
28"
28"

Fit Advice: We recommend sizing down if you are in between sizes with your measurements. The Modal fabric on The Flipside Leggings is not as 'taut' as synthetic fabrics like polyester, so if you prefer a snugger fit with your leggings, size down. The Flipside Leggings are pre-shrunk.

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in the product shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S) wearing a size XS.

 

 The Minimalist Legging

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 14 - 16 (XL)
Waist 20-24" 25-28" 28-32" 32-34" 34-37"
Hips 30-34" 35-38" 38-41" 41-44" 44-47"
Inseam 28" 28"
28"
28"
28"

Fit Advice: We recommend sizing down if you are in between sizes with your measurements. The Bamboo fabric on The Minimalist Leggings is tighter than the Flipside Leggings. The Minimalist Leggings are pre-shrunk.

Model's Measurements: Kristi, shown in the product shots is approximately 5'9" and a size 6-8 (M), wearing size Medium in the Minimalist Leggings.

 

The Nomadic Crew Neck

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14 - 16 (XXL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
42.5 - 44.5"
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
45-47"
Length 28" 28" 28" 28" 28"
28"

 Fit Advice: The Nomadic Crew Neck fits true to size. If you want a more relaxed fit, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

Model's Measurements: Jamie shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'4" tall and a size 2 (XS) is wearing a size extra small in The Nomadic Crew Neck.

 

 

The Nomadic V-Neck

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L 12 - 14 (XL) 14 - 16 (XXL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
42.5 - 44.5
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
45-47"
Length 28" 28" 28" 28" 28"
28"

Fit Advice: The Nomadic V-Neck fits true to size. If you want a more relaxed fit, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

Model's Measurements: Anissa shown in the product shots is approximately 5'2" tall and a size 0 (XS) is wearing a size extra small in The Nomadic V-Neck.

 

The Retrograde Kimono Dress

Size
XS (0-2) S (2-4) M (6-8) L (10-12) XL (14-16) 
Bust (Inches)
28 - 32"
31" - 34"
34 - 37"
36 - 40"
40 - 49"
Waist (Inches)
23" - 25"
24" - 27"
27" - 30"
30" - 34"
35" - 40"
Hip (Inches)
30" - 34"
34" - 37"
36" - 39"
39" - 44"
44" - 49"
Length (Inches)
At longest, 30"
At longest, 31"
At longest, 32"
At longest, 33"
At longest, 34"

 

Fit Advice: The Retrograde Kimono Dress runs larger than our other Encircled designs and is our most "oversized" piece in the collection. We suggest to order true to your normal size to get the intended look. If you prefer a slimmer or tighter look, we suggest choosing a size down than your usual Encircled size.

Model's Measurements: Andrea shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'7" tall and a size 0-2 (XS) is wearing a size Extra Small. 

The Reversible Pencil Skirt

Size
XS (0-2)
S (2-4)
M (6-8)
L (10-12)
XL (14-16)

Waist (inches)

23" - 26"
26" - 29"
29" - 32"
32" - 34"
35" - 37"

Hip (inches)

32" - 34"
35" - 38"
38" - 41"
41" - 44"
45" - 47"

Length Total (inches)

20"
21"
22"
23"
24"

Fit Advice: The Reversible Pencil Skirt fits true to size, but it's suggested to size up if you fall between sizes. The pencil skirt offers a smooth silhouette that slightly tapers from waist to hips and down through to the hem, hitting just at knee length. A pencil skirt should smoothly skim your curves, so to get a perfect fit, first identify your largest measurement then choose the size offering that range while still allowing for some stretch. The fabric on The Reversible Pencil skirt has a natural stretch, that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown.

Model's Measurements: Monica shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'6" tall and a size 2-4 (S) is wearing a size extra small. 

 

The Revolve Dress

 
Size
0-2 (XS)
2-4 (S)
6-8 (M) 10-12 (L) 14-16 (XL)
Bust (inches)
27.5 - 29.5 "
30.5 - 32.5 "
33.5 - 35.5 "
36.5 - 38.5 "
39.5 - 41.5 "
Waist (inches)
23-24 "
25-26 "
28-29 "
30-31 "
32-34 "
Hips (inches)
30-32 "
33-35 "
36-38 "
39-41 "
42-44 "
Length (inches)
At longest, 38.5" Adjustable
At longest, 39" Adjustable
At longest, 39.25" Adjustable
At longest, 39.5" Adjustable
At longest, 39.5" Adjustable

Fit Advice: The Revolve Dress is designed to fit drapey that tapers towards the hip. We recommend staying with your typical dress size. If your hip measurements are above the guide, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. The fabric on The Revolve Dress has a natural stretch, that will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown.

Model's Measurements: Isabel shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'10" tall and a size 2-4 (S) is wearing a size extra small. 

 

The Wanderer Sleeveless T 

Size
0 - 2 (XS) 2 - 4 (S) 6 - 8 (M) 10 - 12 (L) 12 - 14 (XL) 14 - 16 (XXL)
Bust 27.5 - 29.5 " 30.5 - 32.5 " 33.5 - 35.5 " 36.5 - 38.5" 39.5 - 41.5 "
42.5 - 44.5"
Waist 23-24" 25-26" 28-29" 30-31" 32-34"
35-37"
Hips 30-32" 33-35" 36-38" 39-41" 42-44"
45-47"
Length 28" 28" 28" 28" 28"
28"

Fit Advice: The Wanderer Sleeveless T fits true to size. If you want a more relaxed fit, size up. The length can be hemmed by a tailor. As the fabric has a natural stretch, it will stretch to fit within ~1-2" of the measurements shown around the chest and hips. 

Model's Measurements: Jamie shown in the product and styling shots is approximately 5'4" tall and a size 2 (XS) is wearing a size extra small in The Wanderer Sleeveless T.