With 9 weeks of sticking to a capsule wardrobe under my belt, I have recently spent some time reflecting on the experience. I made the leap to a capsule wardrobe very suddenly and without any real advance thought, really just reacting to ongoing frustration with the difficulty of dressing well despite owning so many clothes. Overall, switching to a 24-item capsule wardrobe has been one of the best decisions I’ve made, but there are definitely some things I would do differently if I had to do it all over again. And since I live in an area with definite seasons, I’m about to have the chance – stay tuned in the next week or two for the fall capsule wardrobe I’m working on now.
I made a list of what I’ve learned over the last nine weeks, and they naturally fell into three areas:
1. Planning Matters!!!
I learned the importance of planning very quickly after getting rid of almost all my clothes, and then realizing that I still couldn’t figure out what to wear. A capsule wardrobe doesn’t change the fact that you still have to create an outfit from your clothes. The capsule is not some magic bullet that makes outfits appear from thin air. Unless you want to just wear a t-shirt and jeans everyday, planning your outfits in advance is vital. Really, this is true whether you have a capsule wardrobe or a closet full of clothes.
What I discovered though was that I could make a large number of outfits from a very small number of clothes. And that has many benefits over making an even larger number of outfits from a large number of clothes.
First, the obvious benefit is the cost of the clothes. I was able to sell many of my clothes at consignment, and donated the rest. But the real savings is reduced spending on clothes going forward.
Second, a capsule allows you to L-O-V-E every item of clothing you have. I feel more able to purchase the more expensive shirt that I love, rather than the clearance one that is just “a good deal”. The total spend on clothes is still very low, because you aren’t buying many items and you tend to buy items that are classics.
The third benefit of the smaller number of clothes is the freedom I feel from the lack of clutter in my closet. I now share my walk-in closet with my two sons, and we still have plenty of space. Between the three of us, the closet isn’t even half full. I’ve seen articles linking depression to clutter and I believe it – when my home is messy, I’m stressed. My closet isn’t part of that stress anymore.
I’m sure I could come up with other benefits of owning fewer clothes (impact on the environment,less laundry, etc.), but I’ll leave that for another day.
2. A Great Outfit = A Great Day
This learning shouldn’t have been a surprise, but it was for some reason. Once I started wearing a great outfit, planned in advance to include accessories and only items of clothing I loved that fit well, I felt so much more confidence. I received more compliments. I felt better about myself. I took better care of myself as a result. I actually even lost ten pounds! I can’t give the credit all to the capsule wardrobe for the weight loss – I did work at it – but I’ve always been a stress-eater, and my stress level was lower and I felt so much better about myself that sticking to a healthy diet and exercise plan was easier than before.
My husband has commented several times over the last nine weeks on how nice I look. He was initially skeptical when I got rid of nearly all my clothes. He was worried about the expense of replacing all those clothes when this capsule wardrobe fad passed. Now he likes how I look, and he likes how organized and clutter-free my closet is, and that our kids can easily put their own clothes away now. He also does the laundry in our family, and likes that we have less clothing to deal with.
3. It’s OK to Adjust
Once I had planned my outfits for the summer, for some reason I felt obligated to stick exactly with what I’d planned. This created some issues for me for a couple reasons. First, the weather and planned activities didn’t always line up with the outfit planned for the day. Second, some outfits just simply look better in paper than they do on me. Third, there were some outfits that I really, really liked, but my outfit plan didn’t allow any repeats. I had planned 63 different outfits to last the 9 weeks left in the summer.
Reflecting on this now, it seems so silly. I’ve created some kind of artificial rules that I felt I had to follow. Going forward, I’m making a few adjustments. I’m only going to plan five outfits per week. The other two days can be pulled from prior week’s plans that I really liked. I’m still confident I’ll have a great outfit everyday, but I’ll also have the chance to wear outifts I like several times. And if I don’t like one of the five planned outfits when I try it on? I just simply won’t wear it!!
I will plan 5 outfits per week, but I won’t assign them to any specific day of the week. Instead, I will think about what I have going on that week and pick the outfit that works best for the activity that day.
These changes are very simple, very obvious. I’m not the only one who struggles with adapting a concept to practical application. In fact, I joined several Facebook groups for women who want to use capsule wardrobes in order to have support through the change. These groups are wonderfully supportive.
Fall weather is almost here in Kentucky, and I’m working hard on planning my fall/winter capsule wardrobe, keeping these learnings in mind as I go. If you are interested in seeing what I included in my summer capsule, check out the links below. Subscribe via email to get updates on the fall capsule as soon as it is ready.
- 24 items in my summer capsule
- week one
- week two
- week three
- week four
- week five
- week six
- week seven
- week eight
- week nine – published next week!