How To Master The Art Of Wabi-Sabi | Clozette

Perfectionism is on the rise, more than ever, and it’s becoming a hidden epidemic, especially among millennials. Studies show that millennials strive for perfection more than the previous generations and it’s also driving our generation deeper into anxiety and depression. So it’s high time that we take a step back and look at life with the help of the age-old philosophy of wabi-sabi.

Wabi-sabi is an ancient Japanese philosophy with roots in Zen Buddhism and Japanese tea ceremony. Simply put, it is a philosophy of embracing the truth that life is imperfect and transient. And here are easy ways to adapt wabi-sabi in three aspects of our daily life.


In terms of aesthetics, wabi-sabi is characterised by rustic charm and minimalism. One way to adapt this into our lifestyle is by investing in sustainable and high-quality pieces that age well over time, be it a piece of furniture for our home or our wardrobe. A pragmatic approach to living a wabi-sabi lifestyle is to appreciate the beauty in something old and ordinary and making full use of what we currently have. So the next time the itch to shop kicks in, consider the wabi-sabi principle instead of falling into the trap of constantly yearning for something new and contributing to today's throw-away culture.


Meanwhile, a wabi-sabi approach to beauty doesn't necessarily mean disregarding the pursuit of self-care. As Richard Powell, author of Wabi Sabi Simple puts it, "It is unrealistic to change our hardwired preference for smooth skin and firm bodies, but it's possible to broaden our perspective and open up to seeing new kinds of beauty." 

Wabi-sabi reminds us to honour the transient nature of beauty and to appreciate the beauty of the imperfect. So instead of stressing over our wrinkles, let us cherish the laughter and the tears that caused them for they helped shape the person that we are today. And instead of hiding the scars we got from our adventures and misadventures in life, let's use them as a beautiful reminder that, indeed, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."


This worldview can be applied in relationships, too. In this era of perfectionism and throw-away culture, it seems that our reflex action when something gets broken is to dispose of it rather than go through the painstaking process of fixing it. To apply the principle of wabi-sabi to our relationships, we can use the concept of Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery, as a guide.

In this concept, broken pieces of pottery are not thrown away but instead mended back together not by simply glueing it together back to its original state but instead repaired with a lacquer mixed with gold or silver. Kintsugi turns the scars of the break into something new and something even more beautiful. The cracks & flaws are not hidden but in fact, highlighted exquisitely. In essence, to be wabi-sabi in a relationship means to accept the people that we love for who they are, warts and all, to accept their flaws or cracks and to find the good in those imperfections.

To better illustrate its relevance to our relationships, Arielle Ford, author of Wabi Sabi Love suggests that "When you start being critical, imagine filling your partner’s cracks with 24-karat gold. Remember to find beauty and perfection in the imperfection. It is there if you are willing to peer through the cracks we all possess.”

When we learn to be more forgiving and accepting, we stop setting ourselves up for disappointments and frustrations. This, however, doesn't mean turning a blind eye but rather choosing to work with the other person rather than against. It's about changing our perspective about the things that annoy or frustrate us about the other.

In the same way, we must apply this wabi-sabi principle to our relationship with ourselves, the most challenging of all, considering how we tend to be more unforgiving of our own mistakes and imperfections. We should learn to embrace our flaws and come to terms with our own failures because doing so creates a ripple effect and allows us also to look at others with less judgment and expectations.

Wabi-sabi is a state of mindfulness and it teaches us to find beauty despite the incomplete, impermanent and imperfect nature of life. It also reminds us to not be afraid to be vulnerable and make mistakes because we all break. In fact, it is in breaking open that we become stronger in the broken places. And remember that we can turn the scars of the break into something even more beautiful.



Here's a secret every fashionista should know: there's plenty of awesome pieces in the men's section that we can totally rock. We've been confined to just shopping in the women's department but little did we know that we're missing out on a lot of good stuff. It's really just a matter of styling so you can still look chic and feminine even while wearing a masculine piece. Take, for example, the button-down shirt that your man wears to the office. When paired with his trousers, it will look very formal, but once it's matched with your floral shorts or a cute skirt it suddenly looks fun and casual. Here are other ways you can style his button-down shirt to make it look chic.

With skinny jeans

By far, the easiest way to style a button-down shirt is to just style it with your favourite pair of skinny jeans. You can leave it tucked out or you can do the half-tuck technique if you want. To do the latter, unbutton the shirt all the way to your navel then carefully tuck half the shirt leaving the back portion untucked so it looks deliberate and stylish.

Layer with a dress

Lately, the dress over shirt trend is really picking up. You can try the trend by layering your man's button-down dress with a floral sundress or a spaghetti-strapped top. It's a cute and easy-to-cop look that will fool everyone into thinking that you've put more effort into your ensemble than you actually did. 

Wear it as an off-shoulder top

This one is a little tricky to pull off and you'll need to stretch your creative muscles a bit. First, you need to fold the collar inwards and position it as an off-shoulder. Fasten three or four buttons up to your navel, and tie the excess into a knot. If need be, secure everything with pins and that's it!

Wear it as a knotty top

It's a little similar to the off-shoulder styling but with this one, you're gonna just tie the knot in the front instead of buttoning it down. To do this, again, fold the collar inwards and once you're already positioning it, button at least two in the front just to be sure it won't unravel at random times. Then, tie the knot carefully and afterwards you can secure it with safety pins.

Wear it as a dress

If it's long enough for your liking, you can actually wear it as a cute dress and just wear a third piece to add more coverage for warmth. Since the weather is getting breezier these days, pairing knee-high boots won't look out of place with this look. Don't forget to add accessories to make the ensemble more interesting.

(Cover photo from: @beallagas) 

Next, check out our Steal Her Style series.



When style comes a-knockin', it can either be in the grandest or the simplest of forms. For casual looks, a simple twist and knot to your usual top can make all the chicest difference. Not convinced? These knotty looks will definitely change your mind. 

Daisy doll

(Photo from: MargaSayson)


(Photo from: Theskinniestjean)