Capsule Wardrobe Series pt. 1 - What IS a capsule wardrobe?
Hello lovely people! I've been wanting to start a series on capsule wardrobes for awhile now, because the concept has really become the cornerstone of my purchasing habits. For anyone who may not have read my original post on having less things, I'm going to include the pertinent points here that ultimately led me to doing the whole capsule thing (feel free to skip if you've already read!).
I definitely have a history with stuff. During my high school years, I worked for the things I wanted to buy. Babysitting and teaching tennis lessons resulted in newfound cash in my pocket and the freedom to go out with my friends. After landing a corporate job a few years later, I found that I had even more spending money than before. In retrospect, maybe I went a little crazy. I bought myself new work-appropriate outfits and fresh beauty products, feeling confident that these sparkly new things were going to fix the anxiety and apprehension about the major life changes that I was going through. And while I tried to cull my wardrobe on a couple of occasions over those first couple of years, I still found myself moving a very full closet of clothes with me when my husband and I made the drive back from Pennsylvania to Boston. Bless his heart for helping me to carry all of the boxes into our new apartment. It wasn't until I read Marie Kondo's "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" that it truly struck me a) how many things I had in general and b) how many things I had around me that didn't actually make me happy.
After my Kondo-inspired cleanout, it was overwhelmingly apparent how critical it was to change my purchasing habits. Now, let's be clear -- this was a slow process for me and is something that I'm still working on today. But, with the help of the capsule wardrobe concept, I've been able to conciously shift my purchasing habits. Before something new makes its way into my life, I try to ensure that my purchase sparks joy and I can visualize it as an integral part of my wardrobe.
What is a "capsule wardrobe" you might be wondering? I originally learned about this concept through Caroline at un-fancy.com (which is an absolutely amazing blog that you need to check out if you haven't!) Basically, a capsule wardrobe is a strict number of items that you can have in your closet for each season. Essentially, you work with, say, 40 pieces (in total) for the season, and then put them away and rotate with a new capsule wardrobe for the following season. Your wardrobe is made up of no more and no less than this number of pieces you select.
In my opinion, the first KEY step of capsule wardrobing is doing a massive clean-out and assessment of your current wardrobe. Ohhhh, I LOVE this part SO much (just ask my friends...I talk about it a lot!). It doesn't matter what method you use (I used the Marie Kondo method) but you NEED to do an honest, thorough, and complete assessment of ALL the clothes you currently own. I'm talking stuff that's under your bed, in the coat closet, and in your car. Believe me, I know this is daunting, but think about the amazing progress you are making towards streamlining your wardrobe (and therefore your life!) Post Marie-Kondo cleanout, I had basically no clothing left in my closet...and it was kind of liberating. Bear with me -- Step 1 is the toughest but most satisfying and rewarding part!
Next, you should assess how many pieces you want to stick to in your capsule wardrobe (or not). When I first decided I wanted to try this out, I soon realized that it would be hard (in my current situation) to stick to a strict number of pieces for each season. So, I've adapted this concept slightly to fit my personal needs. When I first gave it a stab, I found that it was going to be challenging to have enough options for both work and casual wear. So at this point in my life, I'd argue that I actually have two capsule wardrobes - one for work, and a MUCH smaller/curated selection for casual wear. In future posts, I'll give you some peaks into each of these. This adapted method works for me because I work in a corporate environment for five days each week. However, I DO try to make purchases that can be interchangeable between the two environments. All this to say - you should make the capsule wardrobe concept work for YOU and your daily life, and not be obsessed with sticking to a very specific number of items, just because that's what works for someone else (just my $0.02).
With that being said, I'll pick up next week with the next steps in my capsule process -- finding my personal style, making a shopping list, and conquering the mall!
I hope that this was a helpful intro to capsule wardrobes for you! I'm excited to continue sharing this process with you all.
Do any of you have capsule wardrobes? What are your key pieces this winter (capsule wardrobe or not!)