Capsule wardrobes have been quite the buzzword lately, often paired with minimalist movements. If you’re like me, you had never heard of these concepts, or maybe you scoffed at the idea. I have found that the capsule wardrobe really has made a significant impact on my life, and I’m lucky enough to get to write a series on my experience with a capsule wardrobe, from the beginning of this journey, to making more ethical shopping decisions.
What is a capsule wardrobe? It’s the same story millions of women face every day. Looking into a full closet and feeling like “I have nothing to wear.” I had tried repeatedly to clean out my closet and give away clothes that I no longer wanted. I still felt like I was drowning in clothes. I knew that I was addicted to shopping- it was my drug of choice for the good times, the bad times, the fights, the stress, and everything else. But almost nothing I had felt like me. I was such a victim of a bargain. Even if I didn’t really care for something, if it was cheap enough, I would buy one (or sometimes two or three). I had a closet full of clothes I didn’t care for, and I felt trapped.
One day, everything changed. I was lucky enough to stumble on a blog called “Unfancy” that has really changed my perspective on my clothes, my spending habits, and my life. It introduced me to the world of the capsule wardrobe. I was instantly hooked by this wonderful girl’s insanely cool and easy style. I spent a few hours that day reading every post she had on capsule wardrobes, and I knew that was what I needed in my life. I went home that night, and dove into my own closet and the scary world of capsule wardrobes.
To quote Caroline, the founder of the blog Unfancy, a capsule wardrobe is “a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear.” Caroline has 4 capsules, one for each season, each made up of 37 pieces. This includes tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, and shoes. It does not include undergarments, work-out clothes, pajamas, or accessories. She does however, stress a minimal approach in those areas of her life. For me, it just meant paring down to a smaller number- I didn’t have a particular number in mind, but I figured I would recognize what felt right. You keep the other seasons in storage so that they stay fresh and out of sight. Some clothes from your current capsule can carry over into the next, but the point is to let your clothes take a break so that they last longer, and you don’t grow tired of your clothes too soon. Those beloved clothes will be just as loved when you see them next time.
Dani’s Capsule Wardrobe Advice:
What goes into your capsule is clothes that make you feel happiest and the most like yourself. Wear clothes that you like, not necessarily what’s trendy. Once the gaps in your closet are filled, you stop shopping for the whole season. That part was an especially hard pill to swallow. As I said before, I love to shop. But I was spending so much money, and not even realizing it. $20 here, $50 there, and all of a sudden, I’m drowning. Doing a capsule wardrobe forces you to set a budget and stay focused. It’s so easy to go into a store and be wooed by the cheap sale prices on items that you don’t really like, but that you felt you couldn’t pass up because it was “too good of a deal.” A capsule wardrobe takes a lot of planning not only with a budget, but also what you want to wear. It takes a lot of patience to search slowly for the perfect item that fits your vision and your budget. But getting the item that you truly love, instead of something that you just settled, is definitely worth the wait.
You also want to start buying items that are well made, so that they will last for many years. The point is to not have to buy new clothes every single year. Once you are able to complete your capsules, you should be able to go whole seasons without having to buy anything new (unless something wears out). Spending a lot of money upfront may sound contradictory, but if you spend more on items that will last a longer time, instead of cheap items that you have to replace every year, you will be better off.
A lot of people feel that a capsule wardrobe is limiting. I have found the opposite to be true. Even with a closet stuffed full of clothes, I tended to reach for the same handful of items that I loved, over and over again. I had my go to outfits, colors, and styles. In a capsule wardrobe, ALL of your clothes are your favorite items. They are clothes that are supposed to make you feel like you, clothes that you feel your best in. Because you have a smaller wardrobe, I find that you become more creative with what you do have, finding and wearing combinations that you might not have thought of before, and that could become your new favorites. Accessories become your best friend- an outfit can take on a completely different look and feel with the right shoes, bag, scarf, or even a statement necklace. Because every piece in your wardrobe is chosen with love and care, having less truly makes you feel like you have more.
If you’re convinced this trend is for you. I would absolutely start by spending some time on Caroline’s blog (http://www.un-fancy.com/). She has a wonderful way of explaining the concept, and shares all of her looks. She also has a free capsule wardrobe planner, which has been instrumental in helping me figure my own closets out. If you’re still not convinced, maybe my next article on my own personal experience will help shed some light on why I think capsule wardrobes are the greatest.
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