Simple Style: Starting a Capsule Wardrobe
Capsule Wardrobe is the buzzword (er... buzzphrase?) right now in minimalist fashion. It's a great way to pare down your closet, while also maintaining an eye-catching, stylish selection of clothes. Personally, I'm drawn to the capsule wardrobe's popular appeal because it seems like the perfect way to balance efficiency with laziness.
Let me explain myself...
I'm not the most fashion savvy person out there. My go-to outfit is usually a pair of sweat pants and either a tank or t-shirt. Some would call my style aesthetic sloppy, but I prefer to justify it as frumpy chic. (Is that a thing?? I hope so...)
Despite my best intentions, my closet somehow always seems to get overrun with clothes - partly because I never throw anything away, but mostly because I'm terrible at doing laundry on a regular basis. I'll go shopping for clothes I "need" when really I should put a load of clothes on to wash.
A capsule wardrobe would allow, strike that, force me to be conscientious of the amount of clothes I own + be a cleaner person...
SO WHAT IS A CAPSULE WARDROBE?
When I first heard the expression "capsule wardrobe" I pictured a futuristic pod in outer space holding me and all of my belongings (yes, I'm a strange individual). However, the term was first coined by 1970's London boutique owner Susie Faux, who started a trend of owning fewer than a dozen items consisting of classic staple pieces. That sounds much more elegant and practical than a space pod.
The goal of a capsule wardrobe is to own only enough clothing to fit into a small box. If practiced properly, this method of wardrobe maintenance is supposed to save money, space, and time (yes please).
In general, there are five principles of a solid capsule wardrobe:
- Composed of interchangeable items only
- Contains basic essentials augmented with seasonal pieces
- Must be timeless (never goes out of style)
- Includes clothing, handbags, shoes, scarves, and hats
- Stylish with a focus on practicality
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INITIAL CONCERNS AND REASONING
Is a capsule wardrobe too limiting? How can I be creative and convey my true sense of style and personality if the goal is to only own a few select items? - Well, I usually only wear sweat pants as it is, so maybe a capsule wardrobe might actually help me to be more expressive and unique.
Will I ever get to go shopping again? - Confession: I love to go shopping. I genuinely get excited about spending a day looking for a new outfit either for myself or my son. However, I realize excessive shopping and consumerism is an unhealthy practice. It wastes money, space, time... A capsule wardrobe seems like an appropriate safeguard against my spendthrift ways.
Am I stylish enough to pull off a capsule wardrobe? - Probably not. But that's ok! As long as I'm comfortable in my clothes, have a more eco-friendly closet, and spend less time doing laundry... I'll be happy.
CAPSULE WARDROBE PSYCHOLOGY
There are a ton of blogs dedicated to the subject of fashion, wardrobes, and outfit planning. However, a majority of the content about starting a capsule wardrobe involves either separating your clothing into piles of "keep" or "trash" or placing a numerical value on how many pieces to own. I've tried these methods many times, but I've never found the popular advice sustainable.
I liken it to yo-yo dieting. I'm supposed to drastically reduce the belongings in my closet (cut calories), quit shopping cold turkey (stop buying unhealthy food), and then just be content with the immediate results (bask in my healthful glory). Then, just like a fad diet I find myself binge shopping at the mall, purchasing outfits I'll wear only once or twice, while embracing denial of failure with justifications like "I needed it."
My excuses are more of a critique of myself rather than a negation of other writers' methods. Thousands of people have found Project 333 and minimalist decluttering advice to be extremely helpful and life changing. However, this time around I'm starting a capsule wardrobe in a new way... with all of my personal weaknesses and faults in mind.
STARTING A CAPSULE WARDROBE
Create an empty space in my closet. As I wear and wash clothing, instead of putting it back in the main part of my closet, I'll put it in the space I cleared. At the end of the month, I'm going to look at what I haven't worn and ask myself the following questions:
- Which pieces are out of season?
- Am I no longer comfortable wearing certain items?
- Did anything become too small or too big to wear?
- Are any clothes too formal for everyday use? If so, do I anticipate wearing these pieces anytime in the near future?
Declutter. Based on the answers to my questions, I'll know whether I need to move an item into storage, donate, or keep on hand for any upcoming events. Rather than making piles and trying to decide what stays and what goes all at once (which is overwhelming), my goal is to process, filter, and eliminate clothes throughout the month. By implementing changes slowly over time, my hope is to create a positive habit versus a one time decluttering spree.
Evaluate my current wardrobe. Of the items I am wearing regularly:
- Are any clothes in need of repair or replacing?
- During the month of filtering pieces, did I notice a real gap in clothing needs?
- Make plans to complete and maintain my new wardrobe.
For the month of April I'm going to be focusing heavily on building the foundation for my capsule wardrobe. Next month I'll post a follow up with how it all went + a look into my Spring/Summer capsule wardrobe - because let's be honest, in Texas these two seasons are essentially the same.
What about you? Do you currently have a capsule wardrobe? If so, how'd you build it? Leave me a comment below, I'd love to know!
P.S. Some capsule wardrobe inspiration...