I've been updating my capsule wardrobe in preparation for both summer and my move to Maui. I define a capsule wardrobe as a small collection of versatile clothing that I love that can be mixed and matched to create many outfit possibilities. I update my capsule wardrobe each season by shopping from my own wardrobe of other clothing that I store separately from my capsule. And sometimes I make a few key purchases of items that I've identified as a true need to add to my capsule. The weather is mild in the San Francisco Bay Area, so it's really not necessary to update my capsule every season, but I get bored easily.
One of my reasons for having a capsule wardrobe is to create more space and time for the things that I love. Discovering the concept of a capsule wardrobe was the first step in my journey toward minimalism. I have always loved fashion, and my wardrobe used to be quite extensive. Some women my age are buying houses, nice furniture, or fancy cars -- Well, I used to buy clothes, shoes, bags, and jewelry. Shopping was a bad habit that soothed me when I was bored, excited, or sad. I prided myself on finding great deals, and to my credit, I did quite a bit of thrift and consignment store shopping. But all of that resulted in a unwieldy and uncoordinated wardrobe. I had a closet overflowing with clothes, yet nothing to wear. Sound familiar?
I've moved across the United States several times in the past 5 years. Each time, I would let go of more possessions, and I felt good about making progress. But it wasn't until I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area that I finally got fed up with my wardrobe. There was no storage in my apartment, so I had to pay for a storage unit. I was driving myself crazy with frequent trips to the storage unit to find a certain shirt or pair of shoes or a particular skirt. One day, I noticed a friend's Facebook post about how discovering a capsule wardrobe had really simplified things for her. I started following capsule wardrobe bloggers such as Caroline of Un-fancy and Caroline of Be More With Less. That eventually led me to discover Marie Kondo and her book, "The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up".
Today, my wardrobe in general is "intentional" meaning that I strive only to keep and add clothing that I love. When I make the deliberate decision to add an item of clothing, I do so with ethical principles in mind (shopping at thrift/consignment stores or purchasing from ethical fashion companies). When I first started having a capsule wardrobe, I stuck closely to the guidelines on the Un-fancy blog. Now, I'm more lax on how many pieces of clothing and what types I have in my capsule. Even still, my capsule is usually around 30 pieces because that is what works for me!
As time goes on, I continue to trim down the items that I keep in off-season storage, and I could probably drop the "capsule" altogether. My entire wardrobe would fit comfortably in half of a small closet at this point, but I still see benefits to having a capsule. Because I pack the off-season clothing away, I don't look at them everyday and it feels exciting when I update my capsule every season. Kind of like shopping without spending money! Having a smaller number of items to get dressed with means that I experiment with mixing clothes together more than I would otherwise, and that leads to having more fun with fashion.
Having a capsule wardrobe also eliminates stress around getting dressed in the morning or for special outings/events. Because I love every single piece of clothing, I feel good about the way that I look and I feel more put together and fashionable. And there have been financial benefits for me as well! I'm saving a ton of money by not impulsively buying clothing and limiting my shopping. This is an area that I have to be extra vigilant with, because shopping is a difficult habit to break.
In the process of updating my capsule for Summer 2017, I re-discovered (by shopping my own wardrobe) a black and white, glass bead vintage necklace. This was a thrift store find from several years ago. It is a heavy, high quality piece and it's one of my favorites. I thought it would look great paired with a yellow, summer sweater. The sweater was gifted to me by a friend earlier this year, and my guess is that it is from the late 80s/early 90s. It didn't have a tag, so I'm not sure of the brand.
Do you have a capsule wardrobe? If so, I'd love to hear the benefits that you've discovered. Leave your comments below!