One of the goals I set for myself this year was to embrace minimalism in part by simplifying the items in my life. When I established that goal nearly 4 months ago I don’t even think I knew how I was going to approach it. I imagine my only idea was to go through each room in our house deciding exactly what I wanted to keep and donating/trashing the rest. Not a bad approach I suppose, but definitely easier said than done, right?
One area that I’ve attempted to de-clutter many times in the last few years is my wardrobe. It’s overwhelming to me. It always seems so simple- I’ll go through my closet and get rid of the things that I haven’t worn for a long time and then promise myself that for every new item I purchase I’ll donate an old item. Despite the best of intentions this never happens and before I know it I once again have more clothes than I can deal with. With this in mind I knew I was in need of a new method to simplify my life when it came to clothing.
This is where a creating capsule wardrobe has come in. Even though capsule wardrobes have been around for awhile, I only recently stumbled across this idea while listening to a Jess Lively podcast
with Caroline Rector from Unfancy
. Today I wanted to talk about my experience of pulling my wardrobe of 40 pieces together and what I learned through the process. This is my first attempt at creating a capsule so I really don’t know if this is a long-term solution. However, what I do know is that in only 2 weeks I’ve noticed major benefits taking place in my life . . . reduced stress, more time, improved confidence- who knew all of this could come from minimizing a wardrobe?!!
Where I started: Overstuffed drawers and piles of shoes in the closet could pretty much sum up my wardrobe before I created my capsule. I knew that I was spending too much time searching through my clothes to pull out pieces I liked. On top of that I was bored with my clothes- bored with my outfits. I was in a bit of a slump.
Why I created a capsule: Creating a capsule seemed like a pretty straightforward way to simplify my wardrobe by pulling out the pieces I really liked and removing the rest of the items from my closet.
How I created my capsule: I started by removing everything from my closet and dresser (gasp!) Yes, the gigantic pile of clothing on my bed . .. and the floor . .. was very scary, but it had to be done! I had a donation pile, a pile I wanted to save for another season, and the pile I wanted to use for Fall. For my fall capsule I selected mostly neutral colors because I know they can be easily paired and accessorized (especially with colorful scarves!) The donation pile went out the door, and I’m currently storing all of my “keep for another season” clothing in a giant tub at the bottom of my closet. It was really important for me to get my non capsule items out of sight because I knew I would grab for them if I saw them which would defeat the purpose of this exercise. If you don’t have another closet or storage space to move your “keep but don’t use” items to, I would recommend hanging them up and putting a plastic/garment bag over them. This will keep them separated and out of sight, but still accessible when you need them for the next season.
What I chose for my capsule wardrobe: 40 pieces which includes tops, pants, a skirt, and shoes. Not included here are 5 jackets I switch out depending on the weather, 2 formal skirts and several blouses in case I need them for meetings at work, and my workout clothing. I also have accessories (such as scarves and jewelry) that are not included here.
Tops: I chose mostly neutral tops that could be paired and accessorized easily. I managed to fit in a couple of colorful tops as well to mix things up.
Bottoms: SoCal weather is not typical. While the rest of the country is going through a freeze, we’ve got sunshine and 70 degree temperatures. I’m definitely not complaining, but it does make selecting clothes for 3 months a little tricky. Therefore, I chose a bit of everything- a pair of shorts and capri pants, a skirt that can be worn on it’s own or with tights, and several pairs of pants.
Shoes: Same principle here as well. I knew I should include equal parts sandals, boots, and flats for the weather variation. Check, check, and check :-)
The Rules I’m Following: I’m only wearing items from my capsule (except for the jacket and dressy clothing exceptions mentioned above). Also, I’m not buying any new clothing during this time. I’ve made a pact with myself to only purchase new clothing items when I’m ready to create my new capsule. At that time I’ll shop my own closet first and then possibly purchase some additional items.
I was able to make some obvious observations through this process, like the fact that I own too many cardigans and striped tops and have only one pair of jeans that I truly love, but I also reinstated some facts that I already sort of knew about myself but hadn’t called out any proof on, like the fact that I gravitate towards quality over quantity (it’s taken A LOT of time to get to that point). By making those two simple observations, I have something to work with while moving forward with clothing shopping and the way that I think about my wardrobe. I know that I can invest a little more money on a good pair of jeans or a nice cardigan because it’s something I’ll grab for year after year. I also realized the pieces I need to stay away from like basic tops that lose their shape/shrink after two or three washes . .. you know what I’m talking about- totally not worth it! Or the uncomfortable shoes that I think I’ll break in but always give up on when I realize its not worth the pain. Moving forward I hope to only purchase items I know I’ll wear for a long time and minimize the clutter. It’s a process, but I feel like I’m going in the right direction.
How about you? Have you ever put together a capsule wardrobe? Or this something you would ever want to try?