4 Easy Ways to Jazz Up a Lean Wardrobe

Do you consider yourself a minimalist?

Have you purged your wardrobe down to the essentials?

Were you ecstatic at first? But now your clothes seem stale and boring? Do you feel like your outfits never quite hit the mark?


You may be a Stage 4 Minimalist. Help is just a scroll away.



(STAGE 1)    REALIZATION: “Why do I have 14 party shirts? How did it come to this? Time to cut back.”

(STAGE 2)    THE FIRST GREAT PURGE: “Donating my belongings feels so good!”

(STAGE 3)    FREEDOM/ECSTASY: “OMG Yay! It’s so easy to get dressed! Ugh, my life feels light and uncluttered!”

(STAGE 4)    BOREDOM. Ya, I don’t need to describe this.

(STAGE 5)    THE SECOND REALIZATION. In which you learn all the cool ways to mix up your capsule wardrobe & how to take joy in the things you have.

(STAGE 6)    ONGOING JOY. Heck Yes.



FIRST OFF, it’s either fall or spring right now, depending on your hemisphere, so please DO NOT PANIC and DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR CLOTHES. Did that seem like an unnatural response to the changing of the seasons? It is not. Here is why.

You have been wearing the same warm-weather or cold-weather clothes for probably six months. It is natural to come to hate the things that you look at every day. (I guarantee I am not the only one who gets irrationally angry at a sweater when I have to look at it for the 179th day in a row.) Do not act in anger! Just take all the clothes that you can’t stand anymore, but that you know you will likely want next winter, put them all in a box or a garment bag, and hide it deep in your closet/under your bed/in the guest room. This should ease those feelings of bitterness.

Okay, look at what’s left and make yourself a nice simple outfit. Pick out your snazziest white tee and jeans. Good!

Since minimalist looks tend to be simple, the trick is nailing the DETAILS. The fabric of the garments matter, the cuts matter. Accessories matter! Today, we’re just going to cover accessorizing.

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The shoes need to be clean, stylish, and preferably beautiful. Yes, I started with clean! You can spot clean your sneakers - or if they are really beat, you can try putting them through the wash (do this at your own risk). A cobbler will also be able to help clean your shoes.

Stylish and beautiful. I feel ridiculous writing this, but you honestly would not believe how often someone tells me they can’t understand why their outfits don’t look like the ones they like on Instagram, and it turns out they’re swapping the gorgeous brogues in the photo for a pair of nursing clogs. Ya, that might be the reason. :) I totally understand needing flats - I wear flats and sneakers almost every day - but there are tons of beautiful flats in the world.

Brands I love:
Nisolo (veggie tanned leather, fair trade, minimalist aesthetic, men/women)
Filippa K (ethical leather boots & shoes, soooo pretty!, women)
Will’s Vegan Shoes (vegan boots & shoes, men/women)
Veerah (vegan heels, women)
Love Sofie (vegan fashion, women)
Veja (vegan sneakers, men/women/kids)
All Birds (vegan sneakers, men/women/kids)
Alice & Whittles (vegan rain boots, women)
Taylor & Thomas LA (vegan fashion, women),



This also goes for guys! Jewelry can be a watch, it can be a ring, it can be a thin leather bracelet - wear what makes you happy! I would never suggest that you run out and buy a ton of jewelry- I wear the same stuff every day. Just put something on!

The most sustainable option is to wear what you already own. The second most sustainable option is to raid your mom’s jewelry box. The third most sustainable option is to check Rick’s Olde Gold on Willy St. The fourth most sustainable option is one of the following brands, all of which I have vetted for cuteness:
31 Bits
Ten Thousand Villages
Almost Anything on Etsy


Makeup is your secret weapon!! How did your mom get ready for PTA meetings? How did that lady in Game of Thrones kill the other lady? How did Fran Fine prepare herself for any and all social occasions? Makeup is a LEWK. USE IT. I’ve been dabbling in natural makeup, and I love a bold lip for fall! My favorites are BeautyCounter’s Color Intense Lipstick in Twilight and Little Black Dress, and 100% Pure’s Cocoa Matte Lipstick in Currant.



Selfies are actually incredible at giving you perspective on an outfit. Get dressed, finish the look with shoes, jewelry, and makeup - then go to the mirror and take a selfie. Look at the photo as if a friend had texted it to you asking “What do you think?” Adjust as necessary!

If you are currently a Stage 4 Bored Minimalist, I hope this helps you break through to Stage 5! Let me know how it goes!!


Blog PostLauren Engelke