Jan 212012


What you are looking at is the fritter closet. My entire wardrobe at the moment, and if you look close you may spot a cat or two somewhere in the shot. But, there it is, essentially all the clothes I need to get through the year. Roughly a dozen shirts, half a dozen shorts, a pair of jeans, and a couple minor extras…I don’t accessorize very much, but that’s it. Just for comparison, all the shoes that my mother owns wouldn’t fit in that closet. Anyways, I am adding to the pile. I got some BassPro gift cards and replaced a shirt and a couple pair of older shorts with new ones and added an extra pair of shoes for a spare. But, what you see there is pretty much it.

I do have a distinct advantage in living here in Key West. The weather is pretty much the same all year round so the same clothes work for all seasons. I do have a couple heavy shirts for cold weather, at least cold by our standards, but cold none the less. Everything else is designed for hot and humid sunny weather. Light in color and fabric, comfortable to wear, and casual in look.

Oh, I do have pure winter clothes. I have another complete wardrobe up north with family. Heavy dark shirts, long pants, etc. it stays up there and gets used once or twice a year when I visit. Beyond that those clothes are worthless and have no use down here.

As you can also see I’m not much into fancy stuff. No bright colors, nothing any more exotic than earth tones. All year round down here and especially in the summer you can work up a major sweat just by standing outside in the sun for ten minutes. I see men in full three piece suits sometimes and wonder how they manage to suffer through a day down here. Obviously air conditioning plays a major role. But light, cooler fabrics and colors are the norm on the islands.

Speaking of suits, the one thing you will never, ever see the Capt. wearing is a suit and tie. Never. I despise the look and feel of a suit. It is too restricting, confining, and personally I’m not one who is impressed by a suit. I realize it’s the uniform dujour for particular careers and industries, but it has no place in my life if it is not functional. The last time I actually wore a suit was sometime in the early 1980’s when I was still in the sport diving industry. The company I worked for made us all wear the damn things to work a convention. The day I quit that job I threw the suit in the garbage and vowed to never wear one again.

And speaking of which, I cannot think of a more worthless article of clothing than a tie. It serves no function. It has no usefulness. I am not impressed by a tie design. And they are the most uncomfortable piece of clothing on the planet. Nothing like walking around being slowly strangled to death all day. Nope, never again.

When I was into the whole motorcycle gig, as you might expect, my wardrobe was a lot darker. Jeans, black shirts, boots. Even when I was working in the industry it was the same theme. Virtually ever article of clothing I owned had the Harley-Davidson logo on it. Yes, including underwear and socks. That orange flannel shirt you see in the picture is one of the last holdovers. When I finally started to purge all that stuff I found I had three large boxes filled with just Harley tshirts, many of which I had never even worn.

From a minimalist point of view clothing is probably the one aspect where we could all stand to cut back on. Sure, there are a ton of factors involved in how many articles of clothing we each need: climate, career, kids, functionality. Fashion and style also come into play. And not to sound sexist here, but you wimmen folk tend to put more emphasis on clothing than us men do…and don’t try to deny it. You know it’s true. Exactly how many pairs of black shoes do you actually need? For us guys, a single pair of boots, sneakers, and loafers is all we need. Anyways, it’s real easy to acquire a closet full of clothing. Clothes make an easy gift. They are always on sale and make for a quick impulse buy. Fashions change over time and fads come and go. Designer labels or celebrity endorsed brands become popular. It’s quite a huge market and expensive for the consumer while profitable for the designer.

Different situations call for different clothes. The workplace, the weather, the occasion. In my case, I live in a hot, humid, wet, and very laid back environment and you can see that in my wardrobe. If I lived up north my wardrobe would be very different. It varies for each person but it can get out of hand. This blogger…Kristy Powell even took fashion to the minimalist extreme and wore the same outfit everyday for a year to protest the obsession we have with clothes and fashion. Click the link for more on that story.

How big of wardrobe you decide you need is strictly up to you and your situation. Everyone’s situation is different. But, if you have adopted a minimalist lifestyle, the clothes closet is an excellent place to start. Go root through your clothes closet now, along with those extra storage boxes you have with more clothes, you know the ones, under the bed, in back of the closet. Start looking at what you have. Duplicates? Stuff that doesn’t fit anymore? Clothes with rips, tears, or stains in them? Clothes you haven’t worn in the past year? Get rid of them. Donate them, hand them down, tear them up and re sew them into something useful. Reducing your wardrobe down and using functionality and comfort over fashion will save you some money, space, and trust me on this one, make laundry a much easier chore.

There’s nothing wrong with breaking out the fancy duds now and then and getting’ all gussied up. But it’s way to easy to over do it and break the clothing budget. While you may never reduce down to a single outfit like Kristy, or a small pile of rags like what’s in my closet, you should be able to cut back on the clutter and eliminate the need to fill up closets and boxes with clothing. It will save you some money, space, and make the decisions on what to wear everyday a lot easier.

Less is more.

Capt. Fritter

  4 Responses to “Minimalism…clothing…”

  1. This is one of the ares where I succeeded. When we lived in our RV traveling with the weather I owned three pair of cotton casual slacks with roll-up legs, nine t-shirts, six long-sleeve shirts for desert evenings, one polar fleece jacket, one windbreaker, one pair of pajama pants (which I wore with that day’s t-shirt), and a swim suit. Then we moved back north for a year and I had to buy two pair of jeans, another fleece, and a winter coat. Not bad for a woman, hey? I didn’t even buy boots because my partly wool socks worn with my Crocs are working just fine. Oh, I do own one pants suit for those events where I can’t wear a t-shirt–funerals do happen you know.

  2. I’d like to pare my closet contents down pretty close to yours. I don’t really care about clothes the way I used to; so my wardrobe grail is to have a few simple pieces that all match (to dress in the dark half asleep without ending up in mis-matched outfits), are comfortable and easily maintained (no dry cleaning), polished enough for work, and can transition to outside-of-work clothes once they start getting worn out. And I have to like them. Ideally, I would shop only once in a great while to replace an item. A waste-free wardrobe. However….. I still spend way too much time and energy thinking about and looking for clothes. In fact, until I read your post I planned on shopping for black shoes over lunch today – to add to the several pairs of black shoes I already own. This is why I read minimalist blogs.

    Achieving a simple wardrobe shouldn’t be such a hassle. I don’t want to be hassled by my clothes anymore!