by Margaret Cabaniss
Capsule wardrobe, conscious closet…whatever you call it, it seems like everyone’s doing it. Something about the changing seasons apparently makes everyone want to throw out all their clothes and start over with a smaller but more versatile, well-chosen wardrobe.
And I am definitely one of those people: I realized when I was (over)packing for a trip recently that the reason I brought way too much stuff was because I didn’t really love any of the clothes I had, so I could never be sure I’d want to wear anything I’d packed (or that it would go with anything else), and therefore I had to bring a ton of options — and on and on it goes. But for all those choices, I end up wearing the same five things anyway, so why not just clear out the clutter and stick to what I actually like? It would mean less waste — of money, time, and rarely worn or cheaply made clothes — less laundry, less clutter…it’s kind of hard to see the downside here.
Anyway, it’s a project I’ve been meaning to take on for a while, but as it’s suddenly popular on every blog I read these days, I’ve found lots of handy guides to help me think through the whole process — not just what to get rid of, but what (if anything) to replace it with when I’m done.
This post at Everygirl is a great way to start thinking through the closet-cleaning part. Going down the list of questions to ask yourself about every item — does it fit? Is it damaged, and will you repair it? — makes me realize that there are lots of pieces in my own wardrobe that wouldn’t pass the keeper test. (A pilled and stretched-out t-shirt I bought on sale five years ago? Why do I still even have this?) If you’re not quite ready to get rid of something for good, try boxing it up and putting it away for a few months. If you don’t pull it out before the end of the season, you didn’t need it or love it anyway.
(If this looks like your closet, you might have a problem, is all I’m saying.)
Once you’ve cleared out the mess, how do you keep it from growing back? That’s where the idea of a capsule wardrobe comes in: limiting yourself to 30 (or 40 or 50) pieces — pants, tops, dresses, everything — that you wear throughout a whole season, and nothing else. Frankly, I’m not sure I currently own 50 pieces to rotate through, but the important part is to pick a number that makes sense for you and then try to work within it.
Caroline at Un-Fancy has a free wardrobe planner to help you think about your own style, your daily activities, the colors you’re drawn to, etc. — at which point you can figure out what’s still missing from your basic wardrobe and how much money you have to fill the holes. But then, once you’re done shopping, you’re done. (Honestly, the “no more shopping” thing might actually be my favorite part of all.)
Looking for some more ideas? I like some of the wardrobe essentials laid out over at Say Yes and In Honor of Design — but your mileage may vary. And, of course, there’s always Pinterest… But before disappearing down that rabbit hole, I try to remind myself: The goal, as Caroline puts it, is to “be really happy with a lot less.” I can get behind that.
Have you done something like this before? I want to hear all your tips! Anyone interested in trying it out with me?
Images: Vintage pipe clothing rack via Pinterest. The fancy, open display means you have to keep it organized. Wall o’ jeans via Pinterest, too.