A while back I did a little survey to ask my Instagram followers to chime in on capsule wardrobes. The majority of those who replied said they did not have a capsule wardrobe and there were some reoccurring themes as to why.
- Expense. Purchasing only ethical/sustainable brands felt beyond their reach and their budget.
- Where to start? With a closet full of clothes, where does one even start to pair it down.
- Size fluctuations. It can be hard to get rid of all the things not currently being worn, when your weight is likely to go up or down a few pounds.
- Waste. This one kind of has two parts. The first part is a waste of money. Parting with perfectly good clothes that you spent money on. The other part is what to do with all the purged items from your wardrobe.
- Bordom. Not having options for weather, moods, occasions, and personal style.
There are so many reasons and questions around paring down our closets and I feel there will be more posts to come tackling some of these subjects. Naturally, after this survey, I started receiving some questions like…. Do you have a capsule wardrobe? and How many items do you have in your closet? One other question I got was, What is a capsule wardrobe? This might be helpful for those of you wondering what the heck I’m talking about.
noun: a collection of clothes and accessories that includes only items considered essential. The number of clothing garments is usually in the range of 20-50 items. Total.
I have been spending time learning about how different people interpret this movement to a more minimal wardrobe for themselves. I have learned that the core of any capsule wardrobe consists of quality, neutral coloured, classic, basics based on that persons lifestyle, climate they live in, and preferences. I have found that most people who have capsule wardrobes also practice a more minimalist lifestyle in general. So, back to the question…”Do you have a capsule wardrobe?” No, no I don’t. If fact, for the sake of total transparency (and my own curiosity), I have done a full inventory count of my current wardrobe and broken it down by category. I’m including all seasons in this count.
Closet Inventory Count:
fashion tops: 21
long sleeved tees: 8
tank tops: 11
pullover sweaters: 10
long + short dusters: 6
Vests + Wraps: 3
Clothing Total: 161-ish (possible I miscounted, but it gives the general number)
not counted: footwear, bags, hats, sleepwear, leggings, other accessories
So, how can I possibly claim to have a sustainable wardrobe while having a whole lotta clothes?
No one wardrobe is perfectly sustainable. I use fashion as a creative outlet and truly do wear the clothes I have. I’ve changed my shopping habits drastically over the past several years. Believe it or not, this is less than half of what I used to own. I used to buy things that I felt I “should” own, buy things that would photograph well for the blog, and followed trends way too much. This way of shopping left me feeling discontent with what I had and always wanting more, newer, and the latest thing. Once I slowed down, I started to come into my own style more. I figured out what I actually like to wear and my personal style evolved. If I was to define my style I would say it’s: Casual Simplicity with a twist, and with a slight nod to boho.
So, what are the benefits of a capsule wardrobe? There can be several.
1) It can free up your time. Shopping less will save you time, as will having less to choose between when you’re getting dressed. If all the clothes you own are your favourites, fit you well, feel comfortable on, and fit your lifestyle, getting dressed will be a breeze.
2) There is an opportunity to buy less and buy better. When you shop less often and choose to own less, it can actually allow you to invest in pieces that will last you for years to come. For example, rather than buying three or four pairs of black pants that are cheap and won’t hold up, spend that same amount of money on one classic pair that you wear over and over again.
3) Once you start only purchasing items you truly love, you will find your personal style will emerge. You will feel more confident in your style and less likely to be influenced into buying into a current trend. (Although slip ups can happen.) When you have a style that reflects who you are, you will feel less of an urge to buy to fit in. You will be able to ask yourself first, “How does this fit into my own style? Which of my garments would I be able to style with this piece? Is this something I see myself wearing at least 30 times?”
So whether you choose to have a capsule wardrobe or not, there are ways we can work toward smaller, more sustainable closets. For me it has been about…
– shopping less often, bringing less into my wardrobe, and donating or selling items I no longer wear
– having my wardrobe be a mix of my old items, secondhand finds, and small, sustainable fashion brands
– continuing to keep my focus on quality over quantity and to not get sucked in to every new trend that is a “must have”
henley top: gifted from Buttercream Clothing
blazer: thrifted vintage wool blazer
pants: purchased from Harly Jae
shoes: purchased secondhand from Poshmark
bag: old from Fox + Wit
hat: old from Plenty