Is it Capsule-Worthy?

Through exploring Minimalism, I've been intrigued by a Capsule Wardrobe for quite some time.
A Capsule Wardrobe aka "Minimalist Closet" is a small collection of quality clothing that works cohesively to create a variety of outfits.

As someone who still has clothing items from high school, I questioned my ability to part with these articles. I searched for guides, watched tutorials and attempted to find rules of a Capsule Wardrobe that would force me to purge. I felt intimidated starting the process and my inner dialogue took over... "I wore that dress on my first date with Andrew... these pants will look great when I lose 5 pounds... you can never have toooo many scarves..."

I then decided to pull inspiration from my own life. When I think about a minimalist closet, I think of growing up with an incredibly practical German Opa. He invested in good quality, timeless pieces, always impeccably dressed when we went to the ballet, smartly adorned for dinners, tea visits and mushroom picking. But then I'd catch him in his garden clothes, holes in seams, stained, comfortable garden clothes that were used for just that purpose. Softening into those memories of simple living, my rules & process became a lot clearer.

My 7 "Rules" of a Capsule Wardrobe

  1. Firstly, there are no rules. Everyone wears clothing differently based on lifestyle and expression of personal style.
  2. Take good care of your clothing. Hang up those sweaters, polish shoes, fix ripped seams and broken zippers in a timely manner. You don't need to wash your clothes after every individual use, but instead wear underclothes that allow you to extend the wear. 
    Follow tag instructions for cleaning and opt for cold-washing and hanging your garments to dry (the environment will thank you too).
  3. Your wardrobe doesn't have to "match", but ideally items work cohesively to extend the variety of outfits.
  4. Accessorizing and layering can increase the variety of outfits and bring more personality to your pieces.
  5. "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good."
    Let your capsule evolve with you. Allow a Capsule to be organic self-growth and change, rather than using it as an excuse to pitch your clothing and go on a shopping spree for "perfect" articles. First, use what you have.
  6. Resist quick trends and fast fashion.
    Can you see yourself wearing this item in another 10 years?
  7. Allow yourself wiggle-room for high-performance clothes you LIVE in. 
    Practice yoga religiously? On your feet all day? Be okay spending a little extra coin for clothing that keeps up to you. 
  8. Buy new clothing sparingly and consciously.
    Do a clothing swap with your friends. Try consignment and thrift stores before new. Lastly, support local artisans and ethical clothing companies.

As mentioned above, I believe that building a Capsule Wardrobe is a valuable form of self-growth on a more material level and should evolve naturally over time.
Here is how I got started:

PROCESS

1. Reflect on your buying patterns.
This is the most important part of building a Capsule Wardrobe and practicing Minimalism. While the next steps are incredibly cleansing, this is the cornerstone of making your Capsule Wardrobe a lasting sustainable change. Every time you consider adding a new article of clothing to your wardrobe ask the question, "Is it Capsule-worthy?"
If you're seduced by flashy store-fronts, discount signs and online-shopping, alter your routine and change your habits (... it may be easier said than done).

2. Define your personal style and opt for "signature looks".
Knowing my personal style and how my clothing needs to fit into my lifestyle was invaluable. I chose three words of how I wanted to look and feel in my clothing: classic, romantic and playful/artistic.
Classic:
Clean lines and timeless silhouettes are staple items. It makes my workwear professional, and sophisticates my daily outfits.
Romantic: Peter-pan collars, antique buttons, and islets, oh my! I have a soft spot for skirts and dresses, sheer and layered fabrics, and warm cuddly sweaters.  These are my swoon-worthy items.
Playful/artistic: Funky prints, noteworthy details and atypical cuts accent my playful side and set these clothing items apart, making my wardrobe incredibly unique.
These items usually have a story-- a blouse I bought in Mexico, a purse I bartered for in Thailand, or earrings I had made in India.

3. ACTION! Pull all of your clothing out.
Empty that busting closet and those overflowing drawers. This will give you the illusion of a clean slate to work from. I found this step incredibly helpful in seeing all of my clothing items.
You can break this up into sections to not feel overwhelmed. Try starting with your sock and underwear drawer. Ditch items that have stains, holes (unless you'll repair it), those underwear that ride up and socks that slip down. 

4. Keep your must-haves.
Slowly start to put one item at a time back into your closet, BUT the article must say "hell yes!" to four questions.
1) Do I love it? 2) Does it fit (now)? 3) Does it embody my personal style? 4) Does it work with other articles in my wardrobe?

5. Bag the items to get rid of.
Determine where these items would be better loved.

  • Are they designer items with zero-minimal wear? Consider consigning them.
  • Think your friends would enjoy them? Host a clothing swap or offer your friends to pick through them.
  • Donate to charitable second-hand stores or women's shelters. 

6. Box the questionables. 
By this point you may have piles of clothing that aren't "capsule-worthy" that you aren't inclined to part with.

I found a way to strike a happy balance and drop my fear of committing to such a foreign concept.
I put my questionable items in a storage basket away from my capsule wardrobe. Over the next 6-8 weeks, if I don't wear these items, it may be safe to say I'll never wear them. Keep in mind seasonable items-- these are still in the storage basket.

7. Revisit your wardrobe periodically.
Evaluate what's working, tweak your style, tailor items that don't fit. This process cuts down on clutter and will create more clarity in your wardrobe.
Dressing becomes second-nature and eventually your focus can shift to more valuable ways to spend your time and money.

Inspired? Have you experimented with a Capsule Wardrobe?
Comment below to let me know your thoughts.

Here's to having more, living with less!

 ♥ B.