What I Learned from Making 50 Capsule Wardrobes
I know what you’re thinking. No, I haven’t been doing capsule wardrobes since the 1930s. In fact, I only started in the past year. Yep, you’re reading that right. In the past year, I’ve created over 50 capsule wardrobes. I call it my One Week Wardrobe.
If you’re just tuning in, let me catch you up on what that is real quick. Each week I choose 5 pieces of clothing and I only wear those pieces for the week. I typically end up with five different outfits, occasionally six. Pretty simple, huh!
How it started
I like to say I’ll follow any rule, as long as I didn’t make it. I just can’t seem to place restrictions on myself. So, I struggled with my wardrobe and spending. I would buy just about anything that caught my eye and was on sale. Being on sale was KEY. I had a humongous closet. My clothes were spread in three different closets and various boxes and dresser drawers around the house. It was prettyyyy bad. If you wanted it, I had it. But the thing was, I didn’t even wear 25% of my closet. My friends and family always commented on how I wore the same thing all the time, yet I had a closet they all envies. I pretty much lived in athletic shorts and baggy tees, because I was so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choices. I finally had my fill of this and came across the magical book that is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you haven’t gotten in on the cult following yet, do. It’s worth it. I cleaned out my closet and ended up with maybe a third of what I had previously.
You would think that’s where that story ends...sadly I have no self control. I just continued to shop and not wear most of what I had. After going down a deep internet rabbit hole, I discovered capsule wardrobes and thought “Alas!!! All my problems are solved!!” Ya know, like eighteenth century nobility speaks. So, I did that whole thing. I chose my color palette. I picked out my absolute favorite 33 pieces. I told everyone about how the capsule wardrobe would change my life, because capsule wardrobes are the CrossFit of the style world.
Anyone want to take a stab at how long that lasted? Or how much money I spent acquiring the perfect capsule wardrobe items? Let’s not talk figures….just keep the cost of a small used car in mind. And it lasted about as long as a lemon car. I STILL couldn’t make myself wear most of what I picked out, because it wasn’t me. I was trying to emulate someone else. And to top it off, I’m the kind of girl who would never dare be photographed in the same outfit twice. Which is problematic and I’m working on it, but that meant only having a possibility of say 50ish outfits. Knowing people would see me wear the same thing many, many times just didn’t sit right with me. Thus, I gave up on the capsule wardrobe and went back to my good friend, KonMari, which is the clean out method from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
I re-evaluated and cleaned out once again. This is really a recurring theme, isn’t it? What a dull movie my life would be. Who am I kidding, it’d win an Oscar. Getting back on track, I decided I needed to figure out some way to make myself actually WANT to wear my clothes and not have a tiny wardrobe forcing me to wear it all. After weeks of labor, I courageously gave birth to the One Week Wardrobe. And now that my child has survived the year, I think I deserve a “Mother of the Closet” award. On this journey of closet motherhood, I learned a few things. As cheesy at it may sound, it wasn’t just about style. I learned a little about myself too.
What I learned
It only lasts a week
My absolute favorite part about the One Week Wardrobe is in the title. It only lasts one week!! So, whenever I had a capsule that I wasn’t pleased with, it didn’t bother me, because I knew it was just a learning experience that I could quickly move on from. With a regular capsule wardrobe that is typically seasonal, I would have felt stuck for months and made myself feel bad for not liking the things I chose. Frankly, it would and did cause me a lot of stress. Since each capsule is so short, I was able to quickly learn my lessons. Like, these skirts don’t look good with that, you look awful in orange, and loungewear doesn’t count as real clothes (okay, sometimes). I joke, but it took a lot of stress off of me and took away the strong possibility that my best-laid seasonal wardrobe plans would go wrong.
Some weeks are harder than most
Building on that, every week wasn’t easy. I made a lot of mistakes. But, I learned a ton about what things look good on my body, because I so quickly went through outfits and opened myself up to new possibilities. Some weeks I felt like I was just repeating an old capsule or that there was no way I could make even three good outfits. Sometimes, I was right. But, sometimes, I got some of my best outfits out of those weeks.
Lounge days freedom
I mentioned earlier that I only did about 5 outfits each week, which is not a copout in the least. I wasn’t trying to make it easy, in fact I started out doing more outfits than that. I quickly found that, while I liked having my outfits somewhat planned, I needed free days. With only five outfits I had the freedom to repeat an outfit I loved, or just lounge around, or wear something not even in my capsule for the week. Having a stringent schedule of outfits never worked for me, so it was and still is important that I have free days.
If you’ve been around here long enough, you’ll know that I consistently complain about the weather, and with good reason, I think. I live in the Deep South, which means there are multiple parts of the year where the temperature fluctuates as much as 40 degrees from day to day. So good for my allergies. A typical capsule wardrobe didn’t really work, because, well, we don’t have seasons. Having a capsule for only one week let me check the weather and plan appropriately and include booty shorts and a sweater, because that is an actual outfit. Sadly, that’s not a joke.
Boy, you’d like to hear I saved a bunch of money, wouldn’t ya? Hahahaha, don’t make me think about my bank account. I haven’t developed THAT much self control. However, I can say this made me much more conscious of how I actually used what I bought and how frequently I wore it. I think it is a lesson that is slowly, slowlyyyy taking effect. In the past few months I have been much less tempted by sales, and I’ve spent somewhat less. It’s harder for me now to incorporate pieces that aren’t 1000% my style. Which just means I make about 98593005 returns each month. Send help in the form of an accountant to sort out my credit card bill.
Whoa! You made it this far! Time to wrap-up this wrap-up. And for the news you’ve been anxiously awaiting: I am NOT stopping this. For the foreseeable future, I will continue to make One Week Wardrobes. I want to always be evolving and growing in my style, because style is an expression of who I am. So, I will do this as long as it works for my life.
However, I share about this because I know I’m not the only one who struggles with the typical style prescriptions. I want to make more options for people, and I want to share my unique style inspiration. Meaning, this blog is for y’all. Share with me what you want to see more or less of. What changes you’d like to see, improvements, things you love! I am open to any and all ideas. Until next week, lovelies.