My 2nd month wearing only 10 items of clothing held some decent adventures. For one we headed out on our first family vacation to check out some Caribbean Islands and spend a couple of days in New York City. Travelling with such little amounts of clothing was both liberating and challenging. It’s amusing to know that I actually pack less than The Minimalists.
I wore my pants, boots, and button-down on the plane and only had my lightweight Strike-MVMT runners, Outlier shorts, two tees, Apolis jacket, and some socks and pullWool undies in my luggage. I could almost fit everything in a fanny pack, which meant that even travelling with a baby we were able to get along with just two small suitcases. This was the liberating part of travelling light.
The challenging part comes from having no spares. The idea of possibly delaying or ruining my vacation due to some unforeseeable disastrous wardrobe failure terrified me at first. I was even initially convinced that I would bring a spare change of clothes in the case that this unfortunate event came to fruition.
I came to my senses when I realized that through all of my travels I have never had any of my clothes suddenly fall to unwearable tatters. I packed only what I needed and ended up only needing what I packed.
This article from the Art of Manliness espouses the idea that Minimalism is only for the wealthy, those people that can replace their stuff at the drop of a hat or buy what they need on the go. I disagree to an extent, as carrying less actually saved me the checked baggage fees and I never had any need to purchase items on the run. As far as packing other goods, I left behind the laptop and iPad, instead bringing only a Kindle and a paper notebook.
The downside to having an all-season 10 item wardrobe is that when faced with an extreme one sided season like the heat of a Caribbean summer you don’t have much to wear.My Outlier New Way Shorts did double duty as my swim trunks and daytime bottoms. In the sunny heat they were dry in less than 30 mins and didn’t hold me back in any way. It is multi-use items like these shorts that make this minimal wardrobe work so well, I couldn’t imagine wearing cotton shorts swimming or wearing swimming trunks to lunch.
I packed a laundry kit made up of a bar of laundry soap, a latex clothesline, and a travel drain stopper. These items were essential in keeping my clothes fresh and I just dedicated a few minutes every night to scrubbing up that day’s clothes. The soap worked really well and rinsed easily, which is essential when you only have a sinkful of water. The clothesline took some creativity to place it in different locations, but once up it worked well: you just weave pieces of fabric between the latex strands so you don’t require clothespins. I even used the drain stopper once when one of the hotel sinks was missing it’s plug.
My tops were a little less suited to the warm climate. While merino does a great job of wicking sweat, my tees needed nightly washing due to my increased perspiration and they also took all night to dry. I missed having a slightly dressier short sleeve shirt as my long sleeve Outlier button-down was unwearable during the hot days.
The other items I missed having were a blazer and tie for a formal night we had. I was far from the most casually dressed person at dinner, but there were people wearing suits and I personally felt underdressed. I’m sure I’ll run into this issue a couple more times before the year is up.
Versatility of Clothing
My wardrobe was a little more suited to the climate in New York. I think you can tell what kind of people you are when the first place you go to upon your arrival in one of the most iconic cities in the world is Central Park. We enjoyed our time strolling around the city, poked our head in a few shops, and of course stopped in for a tour of the Outlier studio.
I learned a lot about the versatility of clothing over the second month of wearing my minimal wardrobe. I left my sweatshirt and raincoat at home so it was beach to city with less than 10 items of clothing. Sure I could pack a little more and I’m starting to identify some of the items I would like to have in my closet. But the main thing I’ve taken away from this experiment is not knowing what I would like to live with, but rather what I can comfortably live without.