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minimalist female digital nomad wardrobe defined and beaten to death

You know, the world is ripe with crap that can be misinterpreted including what is a minimalist wardrobe. Exhibit A: having a Napoleon complex doesn't mean you're short... because dude was actually above average height for the time period. It's called context people! Exhibit B: Monsanto can air as many bullshit commercials as they want, but their company is built on chemicals and mental slavery, so no, they do not really care about the health of your next meal. Exhibit C: Taylor Swift's latest album is not about your ex boyfriend, so don't take it so personally. I mean honestly.

But this minimalist wardrobe business, man, that's the most controversial of them all. Is it aesthetic, is it consumerism, is it mindfulness, is it social awareness? Could be a bird or a plane; who knows! Some fashion bloggers, who are otherwise completely rational, think a minimalist wardrobe is buying 30 new pieces every season. (UPDATE: Oh what do you know, said irrational fashion blogger has now closed down her blog, go figure...) In lamen terms, that's ten pieces in three categories, or three pieces for the freak who thinks they need ten categories of clothing every season. Real minimal ya'll.

Why so harsh Lola? Well just think about how much of a hedonist I am while shopping, as many of you are. Striving for perfection- the perfect white tee, jeans that fit like a glove, a cozy winter sweater. To buy that many pieces, 30 or above (because the free crap sent to bloggers needs to be included too!) is eluding to a certain air of mindlessness while shopping. It takes me days, if not weeks, to track down a covetable piece at a price point I am willing to suffer through at any given moment. So if I bought ten pairs of pants and jeans in one gosh darn season, something is wrong there. Don't you think? Isn't it beside the whole point to buy enough so you have a new item every single day for an entire month?

Then there is the flip side. The intellectual folk who are like, so mega. They dress in black death and goth purity. They sip blood for breakfast and salute an altar honoring Martin Margiela, Prada, Celine and Madewell. Don't take offense. I was there too. In a scurry to indulge in minimal style, I completely sterilized my entire sense of being by becoming a plain Jane in all neutrals. Shit happens, and it happened to me. Then I did this post, and remembered, holy crap, I'm actually Kim Kardashian deep down. Why the hell would Jessica Rabbit wear only black and white to appease the undefined trend of the masses? I am unabashedly feminine at heart, mixed with a bit of unshakable high glam-New Yorker all black/all day DNA, sprinkled with whatever is as easy to wear as a mumu.

We're trying to be minimalist, not average.

But I guess that's the problem. What is minimalist? There isn't one answer, because funny enough, I fell into the trap of curating bore-me-to-pieces, monochromatic, architectural items after deciding to become a minimalist. It seems like quite a common phenomenon. You lose your identity a bit when you try a new lifestyle and cleanse yourself. You pray that it will happen easily. It does not. Because for me, a minimalist wardrobe is about mindfulness and this can come in innumerable forms. Fair trade and ethical production overseas, organic or sustainable raw materials that don't harm my skin or the air I breathe and ground I walk on, supporting local designers and homegrown brands who stay in America no matter the cost and lack of private jets for the CEOs, and most of all the minimalist lean wardrobe is about consuming less to prioritize priceless experiences over materialism and conspicuous consumption for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses, both online and in our minds. And let's be clear, we can't judge and we can't boycott. Dollars are votes. Whether its the lying wasteful giants H&M or vegan protesting Stella McCartney, each shopping excursion is a chance to show the world what you expect of it. We all have to stop bitching and just do something. You deserve to know what material is seeping into your bloodstream each hour of the day, what's the name of the child who made your Gap jeans, how little the Indian was paid to farm your cotton for that designer dress. Did you hear they commit suicide because they are hostage to debt from farming cotton? Yeah.

On the other hand, the one thing I learned is, creating a minimalist wardrobe is so much easier after buying quite a bit of crap you end up hating. Sounds counterproductive, but being in a new lifestyle and constantly evolving as a person shines focus on your needs, quirks, personality, comfort level, and ideal look since moping around on Pinterest all day, idolizing meticulously curated boards, doesn't do anything for real life. I hack through this oxymoron by thrifting my way through the process. I absolutely went without buying anything new for months and months. Thrift and vintage became my best friend. Unfortunately I ended up looking like a bland version of an Eileen Fisher model, which is pretty freakin bland. And now I know what I do not want to look like ever again. And it only cost me about $300 to learn, then off to the donation pile they went to benefit families of veterans. Win win.

So now here we are. Redefining, or perhaps, defining for the first time, just exactly what is a minimalist wardrobe. I'd love to hear your comments on what it means to you. I think for me, its been gradually answered in my lean wardrobe series which I should finish off soon. I put that one on pause to continue the Fashion CEO series which you all seem to be nosy and into, so for the sake of vanity as a profession, I decided to stop being shy and come out of the closet. Is that a figurative pun? I'm not sure.

But since I haven't done an outfit post in a while, how about a peek behind the scenes of my photo shoot from Monday for my new brand launching on, well, Monday. Yes, this coming cyber Monday. That is how behind I am on sharing the 12 steps it took me to launch a designer lifestyle collection, but all is forgiven right? I come bearing outfits! Yay, me in outfits! So original, I can hardly bare it. But jokes aside, this is my minimalist, french capsule, lean (enter-other-ways-to-call-it-here) wardrobe that I have been curating for the last year purely and ONLY through thrifting and vintage. I didn't spend more than a thousand dollars for the year on what I have in my closet now, and I'm pretty proud of it. I still supported designers I would have given my hard earned dollars were I wealthy. The vintage pieces are French, and from a time when paying a fair wage to the artisan meant something. The leather pieces are pre-animal cruelty for the sake of beating on living things that can't speak for themselves. Then I ended up with a capsule I can actually wear for a photoshoot, because um, being a minimalist means not using everything as an excuse to purchase more shit. Build a capsule wardrobe you're actually proud of. And through all of this, I sort of learned what it means to be a minimalist. So shopping can reach beyond the superficial, trust me.

Oh and I gained some of that bad relationship weight we chatted about a few posts back, and just like Jezebel, I'm pretty anti-photoshop from the neck down, so forgive me if this is too much real woman curves for ya'll. I can't keep up with those skinny girls on other blogs. I tried to do the diet where you just drink lattes and pray for your remaining nutrition to manifest, but it didn't work out too well.

So dolls, its a long winter ahead of us for some cities. And now I am left to plan a winter refresher wardrobe on a budget. I have an uber exciting eco shopping guide that you have asked me to do for months now, so even I don't know all the places I should be supporting with my own money. Until that happens, I am still thrifting and this is what I got lined up. What do you think I should keep and toss from the list?

 I'm edgy biatches

rock steady knit top
vera wang cape
kate spade tailored wool blazer

 God is in the details, even if you don't believe in him

vintage lace back jacket in blush
j. crew silk ruffle blazer
peanut butter perforated leather coat

I'm a basic bitch too

a bunch of draped cozy goodness from rag & bone + others

photography Honey Lake Studio


  1. Leti.....what a thought provoking post! I've come to expect nothing less from you ! For ME, minimalism is a minimum number of clothes in my closet. I know that's subjective....minimal to me may be superfluous to someone else. I think of minimalism as using what's in my closet often or getting rid of it. It's second haND first. And it's being mindful of my possessions. Do I own them or are they owing me? How mucheck STUFF do I really need? Wardrobe wise, I see minimalism as having pieces I love, mix and wear often. I don't NEED a ginormous walk in closet. I can only one dress at a time!!
    Anyway, thand for the food for thought and also, you look great! Bad relationship pounds or not, you look fabulous!


    1. Thank you Serene!! That means so much to me, I appreciate it. Food for thought is sometimes the best kind :)
      I agree with most of what you commented for sure. Its hard to be a part of this movement and deduce it to simply a number in your closet, but sometimes I feel its just a good psychological strategy to keep me on track and not over consuming for no reason. It keeps me mindful and to me that is really what minimalism has become for me, a way to ask questions and know what goes into things I purchase with my hard earned money. Restraining myself from indulging in fast fashion simply because its on every corner has changed my life and aided in me being a person that now rather sacrifice rather than have someone suffer due to my dollar voting for horrible standards.

      You're so welcome!!

  2. Anonymous10:17 PM

    You look seriously gorgeous! I'll have what you're having :-) Minimalism for me is having just what I need and being honest about what that is. Sure, I can't justify a barload of beautiful cocktail attire in my closet, but that just means I'll try to inject the glamour into my everyday - appropriate wardrobe. Takes more thought and creativity, I figure.

    1. Thanks anonymous! Wish I knew who you were so I could give a virtual hug. Love hearing the word "gorgeous", thats a rare but appreciated one haha. I love the part of your comment about honesty. I'd want to explore that more myself and see what it really means. Come again!!

  3. Hahahaha! "holy crap, I'm actually Kim Kardashian deep down". LOVE IT. I haven't even finished your post, but I had to stop and comment.

    1. Hahaha, Maja you're so silly! I haven't seen you here in a good minute, I was so thrilled you enjoyed the post. I am still kind of wrestling with the whole basic thing you know, not knowing whether I should embrace it or deny it. Thats why I despise trends and "movements" sometimes. It used to be all about being comfortable, but now basic and minimalism is a THING, so its like, do I identify with that and be labeled a basic bitch? Or do I have to now wear color all day and ruffles and prints even though its harder to shop for that persona. But lol, your Freja comparison was hilarious. You do NOT have nerd face haha. Not even close :)

      PS- choking on tea is not advised btw

    2. For me personally it feels right because I have been pretty much raised to value timeless clothes. Of course I didn't always subscribe to it - in my teens and early twenties I experimented with ALL the trends - but as I got older (and had to pay for my own clothes, haha) I started to see the value in good fabrics and shapes that would look "right" for a long time. That's not to say that ruffles and bright colors can't be classic and timeless though, so that part is probably better explained by my introverted personality. Plus, I LOVE makeup. A wallflower wardrobe means I can dive into my MAC palette head first ;)

  4. Also, amen to everything (yes, I did finish the whole post)! I'm a lot more #basic in my clothing choices than you are, but then again I don't have an inner Kim K. I've got more of an inner Freja Beha Erichsen, if Freja was 20 pounds heavier and a boring couch potato nerd face. I honestly had no idea these "30 brand new pieces every season" minimalists even existed up until recently, and I nearly choked on my tea when I discovered them. I mean, WHAT?! I might shop a lot for someone for claims to have minimalist ideals, but at least I fess up about the fucked-up ness of it instead of trying to pass it off as minimalist method :)

    And you look great!!

    1. Thank you so much sweetheart. Don't know why it moved my response up there, but amen amen!!

  5. jenna9:57 PM

    just found your blog and I already love it!!! I completely agree with you about minimalist blogs who buy 30 things every 3 months....or 1 certain blog *cough* who buys about 8 new pieces with each new 'capsule' how is that at all minimal? Pretty sure that is just called (excessive) shopping. Also I am OBSESSED with your first outfit pic, flawless :)

    1. Hi Jenna!! Thanks for stopping by, so glad you found me. Yes cough cough one certain blog shall lay to shame haha. But we can try to be strong and see them for what they are, just advertising vehicles. Thank you for the kind words. That yellow dress was a major vintage shop score for me. Its like my essence!

  6. Anonymous11:48 AM

    Hey Leti just found your blog and love it! First off you look freaking amazing - all of those outfits look fab on you! Glad to find your blog .. it's so fresh compared to the other boring "minimalist" blogs where they keep shopping for new shit every season. Love your take on minimalism and your style is perfect (you show the being a minimalist doesn't have to be sooo basic.. I like the personality in your style). Keep the outfit posts coming and excited to see your designs.

    1. WOW thank you sooo much, this was beyond sweet. Its hard to imagine nice commenters do still exist. Means a lot what you said because there are indeed a plethora of blog options now and I try hard to stay true to myself on here. Really hope you come back again soon! Will be sharing more of my designs too ;)

  7. My minimalist wardrobe is basic and neutral, though I didn't plan it that way. It just so happened that every time I decluttered the colored stuff looked less appealing to me. I haven't bought anything new in at least two years and I supplement my wardrobe with thrifts finds. I'm new to minimalism as a label and I'm already starting to hate it's trendy-ness. Also, I had no idea that "minimalist" bloggers were buying new collections every season, wtf. Anyways, thanks for sharing your thoughts per usual.

    1. Exactly. Its incredible. You're welcome!!

  8. Anonymous5:15 AM

    I'm just in the biginning to become a minimalist, so I try to read every article and blog post to help me. I really liked this post, but then you mentioned you "only" spent 300 or I don't know how much dollars in a year, just for clothes. I converted it for Hungarian forints, and I almost choked. And you wrote that you didn't buy anything new for months, just thrift clothes. Yeah, most of the people I know (including myself) don't buy anything for months, because we just don't need it.
    I'm not hating, and I accept that in my country it's really different, we don't make that much money. I just expected an article about being mindful and not buying anything at all, or just the necessities.
    Sorry if I misunderstood something, as you can see my English is not the best.

    1. Thanks for commenting! Wish I had your name. But yes, its definitely probably a shocker for someone outside of America because here in America you can buy 2 things and already have spent $300. If I am choosing to support Made In America clothing, the prices are very high. If I choose true vintage, the price is very high. Its not about price, its about quantity of quality and I have not bought more than a dozen pieces. And YES I for sure needed them. I had no wardrobe to speak of :)


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Letitia Elizabeth is the author of EUROPE NOMAD, the travel blog for daydreaming fellow travelers who love cheap countries in Europe, beautiful countrysides, and magical quality of life. Here you'll receive packing lists + guides, Europe travel tips, digital nomad working life advice & living in Europe as an American stories. Welcome!