Saturday 24 September 2016

Starting a capsule wardrobe

This is a bit of a different post today (not exactly food related - it's more of a lifestyle post), but it's something that I've been thinking about quite a bit lately, so thought I'd share it on the blog.


What is a capsule wardrobe?

Since about this time last year, I have been fascinated by the idea of starting a capsule wardrobe. Essentially, a capsule wardrobe is a curated selection of clothes that you absolutely love, where each piece works well together and you would happily wear any item from your wardrobe tomorrow. A lot of the time, a specific number is set for how many pieces should be included in the wardrobe (for example, Caroline from the blog Unfancy originally set her capsule wardrobe number at 37), but it is up to the individual person.

My experience with capsule wardrobes

Over this past year, I have been trying to reduce the contents of my wardrobe, donating anything that doesn't fit quite right, isn't something I wear anymore, or is uncomfortable. However, the idea of jumping straight into a curated 37-piece wardrobe scared me. Over these past few months though, the more I have been decluttering and only holding on to those pieces that I actually wear and love, the more I realise that I do actually have more freedom and choice in being able to experiment with a range of outfit combinations.

One of the main reasons I was attracted to the capsule wardrobe idea was to put an end to my shopping habit. The idea is to go without shopping for 3 months, so that you wear all the pieces in your capsule wardrobe for that particular season, then as the next season comes around, if you feel the need to add a couple of new pieces, or pull some old pieces out from storage, you can do so.

While I wasn't necessarily going over the top with buying new things, I was shopping pretty constantly, and often a month or two later, I'd look at what I had bought and not actually like the item much anymore. So, I'm now trying to buy only those pieces I absolutely love. I try to think carefully about an item before purchasing it, asking questions like:
  • Do I love this piece?
  • Does this work with other items in my wardrobe?
  • Does it fit me well?
  • Is it good quality?
  • Does it suit my lifestyle?
  • Do I already have a similar piece in my wardrobe?

Recently, I watched the documentary True Cost, which really got me thinking about the fast fashion industry, and how we really need to slow down our fashion so that we are buying less, but better quality, pieces that will last a long time.

My current capsule wardrobe and tips

For my spring capsule wardrobe, I have somewhere between 35 and 40 pieces (I'm still debating getting rid or one or two pieces, and I have a couple of potential purchases on my wishlist). This consists of a mixture of jeans, shorts, cami tops, t-shirts, shirts, cardigans, dresses, a skirt, a jacket and some shoes.

My top tips for starting a capsule wardrobe are:
  • Take everything out of your wardrobe, then look through each item and only put back the pieces you love (the yes pieces)
  • If you have a pile of maybe pieces, you can always pop these in a bag or box and if in 3 months you haven't even thought about those items, it's probably a pretty good sign that you don't love them and aren't going to wear them again
  • Donate any no pieces to charity, or sell them (or, if not in good condition, throw them away) 
  • Any off-sesason pieces, or pieces that you want to have a break from for a while, can go into a storage box (I keep a plastic tub under the bed with these pieces)
  • Aim to have about 35-40 pieces after your clearout that you absolutely love (though of course this number can completely differ from person to person)
  • Don't include items like workout clothes, accessories (e.g. jewellry, hats, scarves), pyjamas, underwear, or loungewear (e.g. trackies or hoodies) in your capsule
  • Do include outerwear (e.g. coats and jackets) and shoes
  • If there are key pieces missing from your wardrobe, reward yourself with a little shopping trip to pick up these pieces. Once you are happy with your wardrobe, avoid shopping for 3 months
  • If there is a piece you really want during these 3 months, think about it for a week or two, and if you truly love it and it will work with your wardrobe, then you can buy it, but try to avoid buying any new pieces during this time (probably the thing I struggle with the most...)
  • Repeat this process every 3 months for each season of the year
  • You can create two mini capsule wardrobes if you need to wear more formal clothes to work, as opposed to on the weekends (luckily now that I work from home, I have an all-round pretty casual wardrobe)

As I said earlier, when I first heard about the capsule wardrobe, it scared me a little, and though the process for me has been a slow one (and is still a work in progress), I definitely feel a lot happier and more creative with my wardrobe now.

Also worth checking out...

A few of my favourite blogs that discuss the capsule wardrobe idea are:

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