When I hear the term “capsule wardrobe”, I immediately think of it as a “time capsule” wardrobe. Not in a weird way – I don’t imagine putting all of my clothes into a box and digging it up in fifty years. But there’s something about the idea of a “capsule” that makes it feel timeless. Like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly. Not so much ‘the trends’ – just a classic, elegant style.
I’ll tell you that’s what I strive for – a ‘timeless, classic’ look – but what I’m not telling you is that I’ve been on a mad hunt over the past three weeks for one of those winter beanies with the fur pom. Or as I’ve been calling them “you know those hats with the fuzzy ball? Yea, I want one of those.” I don’t know if that look falls under “timeless” or “classic”, but I LIKE IT. Even though I’ll be looking back at pictures with my grandchildren in fifty years and they will ask, “Why does your hat have a fuzzy ball hanging from it?”, and I’ll be like, “I don’t know. That was the style back then.” *Shrugs*
For the record, I couldn’t find one. The department stores swept those winter hats clean in January when they made room for their Spring collections. So, I’ll just have to stick with my regular, old, BORING, non-fuzzy-ball winter apparel until next year.
Maybe by then I’ll have a better handle on this whole “capsule wardrobe” thing. Or will have at least worked my way up to, “no more piles”, “put the clothes BACK on the hangers after trying them on”, “stop buying eight dollar t-shirts at Target when you went there for a lightbulb, YOU DO NOT NEED ANOTHER T-SHIRT.”
It’s the little things, you know.
Creating a capsule wardrobe can be tough if you do not already have a “minimalist” mentality. The idea of getting rid of half your closet? Yikes. What about that sweater that I never wear but “someday I might!” Or worse — “You know what would be cute with this? Black jeans. Ugh, but the black jeans that I have are pretty faded… I should probably go out and buy new. But also, I should keep these – you know, as a back-up.”
Yea, see? That. That’s why it’s hard for me to get rid of clothes. I tell myself “you know what would be cute with this?”…and then I go out and buy “the thing that would be cute with this”. I’m basically the anti-capsule-wardrobe.
My minimalist mentality is… in need of some improvement. Any improvement. Really, at this point, I just need to stop buying more stuff. But I’m trying. I am. The idea of decluttering, and getting rid of things that I don’t use/wear/need?
Oh, the possibilities.
In my imagination: Minimalist-me doesn’t have to dig through piles of clothes in our bedroom to find “that one shirt? You know? With the thing? No, not that one – the OTHER one.” Minimalist-me doesn’t have piles of clothes. She has an organized closet, an organized desk, an organized everything. I imagine that she answers emails in a timely fashion, wakes up earlier, drinks more water, and doesn’t spend $150 dollars during an impromptu trip to Target on fake plants and marble paper-towel holders and “Oh my gosh, these t-shirts are only EIGHT DOLLARS?! I should buy three. You can never have too many t-shirts.”
Minimalist-me would argue that you CAN, in fact, have “too many” t-shirts.
But I’m not there yet. Instead I went on a shopping spree for a hat with a fuzzy ball on it. So, you can see how well things are going.
To create a capsule wardrobe, the Internet recommends: “A small collection of 33 items including clothing, jewelry, accessories, and shoes.”
Including accessories and shoes.
Is that even POSSIBLE? That’s like, packing to go on a trip. Right? Who in their right mind is able to downsize that much in their entire closet? Their ENTIRE closet. INCLUDING ACCESSORIES AND SHOES.
I don’t buy it. No, sir. No way.
But the angel on my other shoulder, my inner-minimalist-almost-I’m-trying, says: “OF COURSE you could do that! Think about what you actually wear, and what you actually DON’T… it’s probably only thirty-three items anyway! A couple of jackets, a couple of scarves, those four pairs of jeans that you wear on repeat? And the same shirts that you wear over and over again? Yea, that’s it. That’s basically your wardrobe anyway. Get rid of the stuff you don’t wear, and THINK OF THE POSSIBILITIES. You’d have so much extra space! Your boyfriend wouldn’t have to store his clothes under the bed anymore!”
That’s the other thing about Minimalist-me. She’s SUCH an optimist.
But what about the clothes that I *might* wear, I just haven’t yet!? Some of them still have the tags on them! I just forgot they were in my closet! Sure. You “might” wear them. Put them in the “Maybe” pile. In two weeks, check back and see if you remember they still exist.
You should always have a “Maybe” pile when sorting clothes, right between the “Yes”s and the “No”s, which are obvious. But “maaaaybe…?” Maybe is the pile for clothes that you want to keep, but you don’t know why. Sentimental reasons, maybe the tags are still on it and you’re like “Ugh. I spent MONEY on this. I can’t just give it away!” (I’ve had several clothes like this, by the way. And every time I think this, I feel like a non-charitable-asshole.) Or maybe you see something and have some strange, little fashion epiphany. This was how a faux fur vest ended up in my Maybe pile last summer. I’d been re-living my teenage years and binged a season of Gossip Girl, and thought to myself, “This looks like something Serena Van Der Woodsen would wear”… and, in that moment, decided that I should “Start dressing more like Serena Van Der Woodsen”.
Look, I didn’t say I was proud of it, okay? I could have lied and said a more recent fictional character, like Olivia Pope or… some other well-dressed female character in her late twenties. But, whatever, it was Blake Lively’s character on Gossip Girl. She always looked great and – in my mind – we have similar body types. So. Whatever.
Once your Yes’s, No’s, and Maybe’s are all sorted out – here are the questions that you’re supposed to ask yourself to dissect your Maybe pile:
- “Would I go to the store and buy this today?”
- “Will I wear this in the next 3-6 months?” (Or ever)
And one more that I’m throwing in, specifically for people like myself who are desperate enough to answer those questions, “Yes! Because I am going to start dressing more like so-and-so. This will be the NEW ME!”
- “Am I keeping this piece because I’ve decided that this piece is going to be centered around MY NEW STYLE, THE NEW ME. I AM GOING TO BASE MY ENTIRE WARDROBE AROUND THIS PIECE.”…. Are you doing that? Is that what’s happening with this ugly faux fur vest that you’re trying to convince yourself will make you look like Blake Lively?
If the answer is YES, get rid of it. You don’t need to dress like Blake Lively, you need to dress like you.
Once you’ve weeded through your Maybe’s and gotten rid of your No’s, it’s time to dive in. Deep. Real deep. This is the Capsule Wardrobe elimination process time. The Internet recommends choosing “your FAVORITE thirty-two items”, but I recommend breaking things down the best you can and sorting through what you can wear seasonally. If you can’t get down to thirty-two, sort through what you have and put things into categories.
I don’t know if this is the way you’re “supposed” to do it (probably not), but I recommend having several capsule wardrobes. One for each season – Summer, Spring, Winter, Fall. And, depending on where you work, have one for “business clothes”. I don’t think it’s cheating, as long as you’re only pulling out the clothes for THAT season. The others should be stored.
And – while it may go without saying – don’t count underwear, sleepwear, or work-out clothes.
In case you’re interested in where I got the information for building a capsule wardrobe, the article that I referenced can be found here: https://bemorewithless.com/how-to-build-a-capsule-wardrobe/
Have any of you created a capsule wardrobe? What did you think? Was it as easy or as difficult as you thought? Share your thoughts in the comment section!!