Decluttering, Exercise, Minimalism

The Minimalist Closet

It’s been a week since I started my minimalist uniform project; it’s going well, but I’ve made a few tweaks into the plan. First, I decided that having fifty cotton t-shirts to wear around the house defeated the purpose of the project. So, I found a deal on an Icebreaker Men’s Anatomica Short Sleeve Crew T-Shirt on Amazon1. The Anatomica is also made from merino wool, with a little lycra to give it a nice form-fitting stretch. The t-shirt in Monsoon gray color (last year’s edition) was on sale for $38.99, which is $30 cheaper than the Wool & Prince t-shirt. Sold. The Icebreaker now goes with the button-down oxford in my rotation of shirts that I’ll wear on a daily basis.

I’m a size small, but I’ll take the medium, please

This Miyajima deer doesn't care for the fact that I have worn baggy and ill-fitted clothes for many years, but I do!

This Miyajima deer doesn’t care for the fact that I have worn baggy clothes the past several years, but I do!

As I looked back on old photos of me from high school, college, and my adult years, I realized I wore a lot of clothes that were often one size too big. As I thought about why I would do this for twenty or more years, I concluded that it was to avoid accepting the fact that I had a small frame. I bought shirts in medium or larger to look bigger, but that decision just made it appear that I either (1) liked baggy clothes or (2) had little fashion sense (probably both!). Sadly, as the years went by and pounds added up, those medium shirts and jackets began to fit better.

Showcasing the Icebreaker Anatomica t-shirt and Bluff Pants combo of my minimalist uniform project.

Showcasing the Icebreaker Anatomica t-shirt and Bluff Pants combo of my minimalist uniform project.

Now that I’m fitter and trimmer, clothing in size small are back as the right choice for me. Forgive my small concession to vanity when I wear the Icebreaker out in public, but I like the way I look now after the past seven months of constant pull-ups, the push-ups, running and portion control!2 As for the multitude of those cotton t-shirts, I’ve placed most of them, along with my pants, buttoned shirts, polos and quarter-zip shirts into two plastic bins that are squirreled away in the closet. Just a handful of cotton t-shirts were spared and will be used around the house and for sleeping. There’s no reason to wear and soil the uniform while cleaning out the gutters or scrubbing the bathroom and kitchen floors!

The reimagined closet

My minimalist closet. On the right are all the clothes that I will wear. On the left are dress clothes and my former clothes.

My minimalist closet. On the right are all the clothes that I will wear. On the left are dress clothes and my former clothes.

Here are two photos of my new closet showing the Levi’s and Bluff Works pants hanging alongside the Icebreaker and Wool & Prince shirts. Above the two plastic bins of my former clothes are my cotton dress shirts and my gray suit from Hong Kong. Not shown are my running and cycling outfits, socks, shoes, and underwear. There’s also a pile of clothes from my weekend triage that’s ready to go to Goodwill for donation.

Two plastic bins hold the majority of the clothes I used to wear.

Two plastic bins hold the majority of the clothes I used to wear.

On pants

Understanding my body shape and size also helps when choosing pants. For the Bluff Works pants that I purchased last week, I ordered the 29 waist and 28 inseam. That’s not a size that is easy to find off the rack at department stores, and this was another reason why the pants I bought never seemed to fit me right. Usually, the smallest waist they have is a 30 with a 30 inseam. Until I started gaining weight, that was the pant size I typically bought.

For me, a 30 inseam creates multiple breaks where the pants meets my shoes. If Bluff Works sold a 29/29, they would have given me nice single break at the pants and shoes. The 29/28 has no break and looks pretty good. I just need to wear long enough socks so my bare legs don’t show when I sit down.

The 28 inseam on the Bluff Works pants means the pants ride up higher when I'm sitting down.

The 28 inseam on the Bluff Works pants means the pants ride up higher when I’m sitting down.

I haven’t worn the Bluff Works pants long enough to give them a proper review, but first impressions are positive. The 29/28 looks nice on me, and the extra pockets in the left-front and right-back will ease the transition away from wearing the Scottevest pants that I like so much. The outer nylon fabric is definitely more scratchy than cotton, but the added durability and wrinkle-resistance will likely prove to be worth it.

Alterations

The Wool & Prince shirt has been getting compliments from people. Those who know about the project wonder how long the shirt will last after repeated uses and no laundering. I’m curious too! The shirt is much more wrinkle-resistant compared with a cotton dress shirt, but it’s by no means wrinkle-free. I alternate between tucking in the shirt and leaving it out, and I frequently roll up my sleeves. Slight wrinkles have formed around the waist and elbow areas. I’ll look into steaming it when I take a shower or giving it a quick iron if it gets too wrinkly. I’m having the sleeves shortened by an inch, so it’ll be out of commission for the rest of the week.

I also got my Scottevest Hidden Cargo Pants back having the waist altered down from a 32 to a 30. Though they fit better now, I could have gone down a little farther to a 29 and tightened up the pants legs, which remain a bit baggy.

The outfit at Moonstar Buffet in Daly City, CA.

The outfit at Moonstar Buffet in Daly City, CA.


1 I sometimes link to affiliate links on Amazon and other retailers. Clicking and purchasing from these links help to support this blog. Thanks!

2 Fortunately, I have no need for these t-shirts.

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5 thoughts on “The Minimalist Closet

  1. I really like your outfits, Adam! Good decision about the sizing too; the clothes look flattering with your improved physique.

    Great photos of your closet too! I have already showed them to a couple people. :)

  2. I’ve been taking a similar approach to what I wear, but more centered around having multiple copies of the things I like (3×1 jeans, Kit & Ace or Jack Spade shirts, icebreaker socks) vs wearing the exact same thing every day. (Though I usually wear the jeans for weeks at a time.) Why not just have 3-4 copies of the button down you like?

    Curious how this experiment is going for you, especially with the weather changing.

  3. Matt – the experiment has been going well thus far; I’ll be writing a three-four month recap soon. As you know, the weather in the South Bay has been warm, so I have been wearing the Icebreaker t-shirt much more than the Wool and Prince button-down.

    I’m all for having multiple copies of the same outfit, but I want to see how far I can go by wearing the exact same things over and over with minimal washing. I dry cleaned the button down shirt once (when I got the sleeves altered). I’ve washed the Bluff Works pants and the Icebreaker a couple of times, but I have yet to wash the blue jeans. I’ve been impressed with the durability of the wool fabrics.

    The red synthetic socks that I have are starting to fall apart. I’ve yet to find a wool crew sock in bright red yet!

    I also haven’t settled on a good jacket/vest for when the weather gets colder. I have a Marmot jacket, but it’s a medium and looks a little big on me following my weight loss.

  4. Nina says:

    Using “TFC” as a promo code on their site will get you a discount on your entire purchase.

    Use promo code TFC and get 10% OFF your entire order on bluffworks.

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