I wasn’t sure with my lifestyle, experiencing all four seasons, and my (ahem) “personal fashion sense,” that I would be able to create an adequate capsule wardrobe. However, in my quest to simplify, I was not able to let this whole idea go altogether. First of all, it fascinated me. And it makes such common sense in living a simple lifestyle to have less to worry about and from which to choose (and store, and wash…)
Kind of reminds me of our old turn-of-the-20th-century apartment, with the shallow closets, and learning that when the building was constructed people lived with less. They only had so many clothing items from which to choose. Going to church or a social gathering? Wear your Sunday best. Cleaning the house or gardening? Wear your common clothes. In mourning? Get out your black dress. It was as simple as that for middle class society. So, why not for us? I have to admit, imagining only 5 outfits to choose from for work each week sounded pretty inviting.
So, after doing a bit more research, I dove in. Turns out everyone living with a capsule wardrobe is not a trendy twenty-something up-and-comer with a fast-paced New York City lifestyle. That is, of course the glamourized version of a minimal wardrobe that can be found in social media and makes us think – “I love that!… I could never pull off that look” in the same breath. So, instead of using those guidelines, I began thinking of my personal stash of clothing and my own lifestyle. What sort of clothing do I wear, use and need?
Right away there were some big differences for me. I do work in an office, but my personal life requires very different clothing. And there is the matter of the four seasons – coats and “wraps” as they used to call them when I was in elementary school – warm sweaters and snow boots, layers in the spring and fall, and cool clothing for the hot, summer months. I live in the Northeast and we can go from temperatures below zero in winter, to hovering close to 100 in summer. Not wearing the same sets of clothing for those two extremes!
Before and after, sweaters. From 15 down to 6.
So, I have been working on creating more of a multiple-pod wardrobe than a capsule. Lol! But it is working for me. And, I have managed to shave my wardrobe down by half so far. It is a work in progress as I’ll go through each season and see what works. Some items I may choose to replace with one of higher quality that will last longer and be more versatile. Some I may decide were not appropriate or used often enough to justify keeping.
In conclusion, if this idea interests you, but has seemed too daunting, don’t allow it to intimidate you. The idea of downsizing a wardrobe can definitely be done. It may work for you to have 10-30 pieces total. And if it does, go for it! That is a true capsule wardrobe by definition. If 3-4 smaller “pods” work better for you, by all means give it a try. Don’t be afraid to give some of your pieces away and store the rest for 6 months to be sure this is for you. Or rotate out your seasonal clothes if you have some place to store them. Play with it. See what works for you. Have fun and keep it simple!