Think less, dress better.
My husband and I both decided to hop on the capsule wardrobe bandwagon in January.
Last July we were getting ready to move, and I was hopped up on pregnancy-induced nesting hormones and the Konmari method, and I purged eight big garbage bags of clothes. Hooray!
Fast forward six months. We’re in our new house. I have a one-and-a-half-year-old and a five-month-old. I’m in that awkward post-baby season where everything is either too small or too maternity-ish, But I don’t want to buy new stuff that will (hopefully) be too big in a few months; on top of that, the house we moved into was built a hundred years ago and has tiny closets. The end result: A bunch of clothes I don’t wear crammed everywhere, and me feeling overwhelmed and frumptastic.
I then remembered a conversation I had with my sister-in-law Ashleigh during her last visit, where she mentioned something called a “capsule wardrobe.” She said capsuling helped her make the most of her limited storage space in their small condo right outside of D.C.
After reading a couple of blogs, Unfancy and Project333, I learned about the capsule wardrobe concept.
In a nutshell, a capsule wardrobe is about narrowing down your closet to just a few articles of clothing that are fairly interchangeable and that you really love, rather than having a bunch of clothes that you think are just OK. One approach to building a capsule wardrobe is to start by choosing a set number pieces to wear and a general color scheme, both of which you stick to for a season (although some people keep the same items year-round). You’re not allowed to shop until it’s time for a new capsule; and the clothes that don’t make it into the capsule either get stored or (better yet) sold or given away.
Capsule wardrobes have become popular recently, and I think that’s because of several reasons:
- They allow for more closet space
- They help fight against mindless/emotional shopping
- They clarify personal style by forcing your to wear only clothes you really love
So when January 1 rolled around, Joseph and I were all in. I chose 33 items, and he chose 25. Our capsules included clothes we wear out (so PJs, undies and gymwear didn’t count unless we wore yoga pants as real pants), shoes, outerwear, and accessories.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was a little afraid it would be like that summer in college I vowed to wear only the color yellow as a life-art project (and also to seem cool and interesting); which quickly devolved into me wearing the same tie-dyed yellow shirt over. And over. And over again. Freeing for sure; but also boring and, at times, unsanitary.
But I was pleasantly surprised by the experience! Here are some ways my life was genuinely improved through my capsule-wardrobing experience:
I want to read in my closet
Our closet and dresser went from stress-inducing mess to sigh-inspiring bliss. I followed the folding and hanging advice from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and was delighted by the way my favorite old clothes felt shiny and new when they weren’t awkwardly shoved places.
Also, you know how you’re almost willing to pay $30 for a dishcloth at Anthropologie because all the beautiful things have gotten their aura on it? Well, the reverse can happen too: an otherwise nice article surrounded by “meh” seems less appealing. By cutting out the “meh” and doing a little styling, my wardrobe feels much more exciting.
I thought the downside to wearing fewer items would be the added work of doing laundry more often. And while it is true that I have to wash my clothes more frequently, it actually turns out to be less work overall. Mostly because I am forced to handle my hamper BEFORE it merges with the unfolded clean clothes on the floor and turns into a mountain of questionably dirty chaos. Plus, the whole putting-laundry-away process is way less stressful now that I can do it without cramming.
It’s also nice to for it to be OK for all of my clean clothes to fit comfortably (with room to spare!) in their rightful homes, rather than always needing a certain percentage to be dirty so my dresser isn’t overcrowded.
No more impulse shopping
Setting the three-month “no shopping” rule did great things for our budget. It also helped me recognize my own tendency towards instant gratification when it comes to clothes. I learned that I really don’t have to have that right now! I can be content with less and take time to step back and be strategic before I buy.
Think less, dress better
The most magical part of the capsule wardrobe experience is the joy of not thinking about what to wear. (Unless, of course you want to and then you are faced with the fun challenge of trying to put items together in a way that makes them feel fresh.) Also, because one of the rules is that none of my workout or loungewear can be worn out and about, I was motivated to get out of my spandex and into some real-world clothes. The result? It changed the way I feel about my day in a really good way.
In conclusion, yes, there are moments when I get ready for a date night and think: I. Just. Want. To. Wear. Something. New. But for the most part, our adventure doing the capsule wardrobe has been overwhelmingly positive and has changed the way I think about clothes and shopping (I hope) for good.