Minimalism and the Paradox of Choice

The “Paradox of Choice” is fairly straightforward.  Too many choices can increase anxiety and then after the choice has been made, there is a sinking feeling that a better choice could have been made.  That just explained the state of my closet.  For a human with a naturally anxious predisposition, the discovery that my wardrobe was adding to the problem was a revelation.  It also presented a problem and how best to solve said problem?  Enter minimalism…

Although there is no one solitary definition for the minimalist phenomenon in personal style, it’s general concept is becoming more prolific than I had thought.  At first it sounded like a niche market.  A blip in the normalcy of consumerism and even though it is easy to fall back into the trap under the guise of needing to find your “classics” or your flesh out your post-purge wardrobe, it’s foundations are fairly sound.  As far as I can tell, the general definition for the minimalist wardrobe is this: a closet rooted in functionality.  Everything is your closet is worn on regular rotation (some people use the 80/20 rule in that you use 80% of your shit all the time) and nothing collects dust.  Realistically, this requires cutting back.  A removal of clutter to focus on what’s more important. As a side effect, you begin to implement this into other areas of life as well.

Now my roommate would never have to use something like this to get her wardrobe in order as she essentially already operates with a closet which is much more (editor’s note: she’s a weirdo who hates shopping) conservative in the sheer number of garments.  It’s almost monk-like in comparison to mine.  Mine looked like Forever 21 and H&M had blown up inside with various casualties spilling out onto the floor and infesting my drawers.  In short, it was a lot.  Way too many choices.  Stressors on hangers.

It also revealed yet another fact of life: I spend way too much on clothes. Apparently, everyone else knew this but me.  But when $150.00 worth of assorted fast fashion garments that you never plan to wear again lie at your feet immediately after you happen to glance at your current student loan balance and notice it hasn’t lessened by much, the message gets through.  That $150.00 dollars could have gone towards the interest on those loans instead of a tight dress that was “needed” for a party and will never be touched again, let alone worn.  That being said, the little experiment has been going on off and on for a year now and I think it might have worked.  There was no adherence to any one strategy, be it the 10 piece French closet or capsule wardrobes for each season.  My closet functions now and when i do “go shopping” or stop by online shops, it’s much harder to say, “Oh, well I need that,” and actually buy it.

The Paradox of choice is real.  The “minimalist closet” requires the removal of so many choices.  There we always options and there was no deprivation, just less.  I streamlined my wardrobe choices and it’s paid off.  There’s a bit less stress involved when it comes to clothes and thusly, less anxiety.   Sure, I wear the same things over and over again, but realistically I did that already.  Now there’s more room to show for it.  Not to mention, my savings account is looking a bit more voluptuous as of late.  Hey sexy!



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