How Living with Vitiligo Led Me to Minimalist Style

I like to say that I accidently stumbled into minimalist style. It wasn’t a fashion choice that I consciously made, but rather a look that I slowly adopted as a way to cope with my vitiligo and an increasing lack of confidence in my appearance. It wasn’t until later that I realized that my way of dressing was actually a style.

Using My Closet to Cope with My Vitiligo

I’ve had vitiligo since I was seven years old and my spots have slowly spread across my body over the past twenty years. A few years ago, my vitiligo had covered me in patches from head to toe, making me look like a Dalmatian. With my natural skin color disappearing at an alarming rate, I started to lose confidence and feel uncomfortable being seen in public. So I turned to clothes to fill the gap in my confidence.

Do you know the feeling you get when you walk out of the house in an outfit that you know you look good in? You walk taller, smile bigger and just have a better day. That was the result I was looking for in my closet, a way to feel beautiful on the days I couldn’t love my skin.

So I looked through my closet and came to a big realization – that I had more clothes than I could fit in my drawers and yet nothing to wear. If I didn’t actually like any of these clothes and none of them gave me that “feeling,” then why did I still have them? I decided to donate the majority of my closet and keep just the few pieces that actually made me feel good. And that was the start of my path to minimalist style.

How Minimalist Style Works

So what is minimalist style? I’ve heard it explained multiple ways, but the definition I identify most with is based on a limited wardrobe. For those of you who want a specific example, here is Project 333’s description: 33 pieces for 3 months including accessories, shoes and outerwear and excluding workout wear, intimates and lounge wear.

Limiting your wardrobe to 33 pieces is hard – I’m more flexible with mine, but my wardrobe is still small. My closet is one 32-inch black rack of clothes, plus three drawers that I have for cotton shirts, pants and workout clothes. Most of my clothes fit in the mild weather category and my entire off-season wardrobe fits into one plastic storage bin.

Why Minimalist Style Works for Me

If you wear the same clothes all the time, don’t people notice? Nope! And here’s why. First, people are going to remember that you are always well-dressed, but they typically don’t pay attention to what you are actually wearing. Second, when you have a minimalist closet, every piece has to be able to mix and match with the others. So while you might only have ten shirts and three pairs of pants, you actually have the potential for thirty different outfits.

Here’s what does happen – people compliment me! And when I tell them about my style strategy, they’re usually surprised and say something about how they don’t see me wearing the same things repeatedly. Even better, it doesn’t take me long to get dressed in the morning because my options are so limited – and I know I’ll look good and feel good in anything I put on.

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Erika Page

Erika Page is a writer and blogger with universal vitiligo. Her first spots appeared on her spine when she was seven years old and today vitiligo covers her entire body. Based just south of Washington, D.C., Erika founded Living Dappled to create a community of inspiration and hope for girls and women living with vitiligo.

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