I have recently become obsessed with the idea of a capsule wardrobe. Well, to be honest, I have always been in search of the perfect simple wardrobe where every item goes with everything else (more or less), and you are never at a loss for what to wear because your choices are limited. It’s just that now I know the name for it.
Also, I’ve learned that to have the perfect capsule wardrobe I don’t have to get rid of everything I own and just live with a few key pieces – I mean, honestly, how could you even pare down like that? And of course, there are special occasions, and vacations where you change climate zones, etc, ad nauseum, which require more selection and that of course is how we all end up with overstuffed closets in the first place.
Instead, I’ve learned that the ideal is to approach each capsule seasonally. Choose roughly 30-40 items that you can easily mix and match, and commit to them for the next 3 months. Pack everything else away to “shop” through after the 3 months are over when you are ready to create your next capsule. I cannot tell you how much I love this concept.
I have always been a shopper, but I tend to pick up items on a whim or fall in love with something I see online regardless of whether it actually meshes with my existing clothes. I am forever having to buy an entire outfit, because I can’t mix and match what I already own into different cohesive outfits. I’m hoping that this exercise will not only give me more practice with combining clothes in multiple ways, but also help guide me in seeing where I have deficiencies in my closet, and how I can smartly fill them.
My hope is that using a capsule system will not only help me develop a cohesive personal style, but also learn to be a better shopper. I’m in my late 30s now, and I would like to focus on buying quality rather than quantity. Limiting myself to a certain number of items in my closet should not only cut down on indiscriminate shopping (no more tossing random stuff in that cart at Target), but also help in budgetingbecause I know I’m only going to pick up one or two new things each season (if that). The expense of a good quality piece isn’t such a burden when you know you are going to wear it every day and you aren’t also wasting money on tons of less useful things.
Now, having said all that, let me tell you that getting started is A LOT of work!! This is what my room has looked like for the past 3 days:
Because the focus is on shopping your existing clothes rather than going out and buying an entirely new wardrobe, it involves going through everything you own and winnowing down to the ideal number of things. What that number is does not have to be set in stone – everything I’ve seen is in the 30-40 range, which may or may not include shoes. It does NOT include: workout clothes, jammies, bras/underwear/socks, or accessories (I’m going to really do my best not to let the workout clothes loophole totally derail me since I live in t-shirts and yoga leggings). I have not quite finished sorting and trying on everything, but I can already tell you that my end tally is probably going to be closer to 50 than 30. But I’m a beginner at this, and I live in a climate where the end of my 3 month season is likely to be 30-40 degrees warmer than the beginning. Counting the coats I need now and the sandals I’m going to need later, I don’t think I could keep a healthy rotation (ie, not wearing the same thing every week) and still say in the 30 range. For summer I’m hoping to be better able to keep the number low, although I’ll probably have to expand it again to accommodate variations in weather for fall.
I had originally hoped to get together a finished list (and photos!) of my spring capsule in time for this post. But it is taking longer than I had hoped to really organize and test outfits so I’m not at that stage yet (I’ve been half working on summer simultaneously which probably isn’t helping my time management). But of course, my spring season doesn’t technically start until March 1st anyway, so I have a few days left. Consider this your introfuctory post, because I just HAD to talk to someone about my exciting new wardrobe adventures and my husband was really not feeling it.