If you follow me on any social media platform, over the last few months you may have noticed that I have been floating the idea incorporating something called a "capsule wardrobe" into my life.
I am currently obsessing over the idea of having a capsule wardrobe. Who knew I'd ever want to have FEWER clothes?! #isthisagrownupthing?— Samantha H Porter (@tartanandthyme) August 20, 2014
It is possibly something you have heard of before: in a nutshell it is a minimalist style concept in which you have a wardrobe of limited items with the intention that these items can mix and match to make a complete and varied "uniform" that will make up your day-to-day style.
I had heard of a capsule wardrobe before, first probably in the "What Not to Wear" days when Stacey and Clinton of TLC fame would overhaul an unsuspecting person with questionable fashion choices and give them a few pieces that were meant to be their only clothes. As a person who has always had a larger-than-normal wardrobe I thought this would be an impossible task - but that's okay because I had a good sense of style!
More recently the beauty blogger ViviannaDoesMakeup has posted seasonal videos of her minimalist capsule wardrobe. I've loved every one of these videos. Her style was accessible, yet still luxurious, and smart, but not "white button-up smart", which is what I think many people think of when you talk about a wardrobe of this kind. But only 10 items? Surely you can't live with that without getting completely bored?
It wasn't until I discovered Un-Fancy that I finally felt like this was something I could do. Perhaps my so-called "sense of style" would even benefit from this project.
Seriously. I have fallen deep into the http://t.co/zjxh84SZCY vortex. This is happening people.— Samantha H Porter (@tartanandthyme) August 20, 2014
Caroline's theory behind a capsule wardrobe is that it can really be whatever you need it to be. Depending on your lifestyle, budget, climate, and countless other factors, your capsule is your own. She has set parameters for her wardrobes and creates seasonal wardrobes, so you don't have to worry about wearing the same clothes all year long. She can carry certain items over into the next season, but there will always only be 37 pieces (not including the "fancy" dresses and shoes that are sometimes necessary to have - the blog is called "un-fancy" after all!) in her wardrobe including shoes and bags.
Sounds managable right?
Well, it's harder than it looks. A quick perusal of my wardrobe showed me I had well over 100 items of clothing alone. But the major thing I noticed was that if I really thought about it, most of those items I hardly wore and some I could not even remember wearing! If I were to get rid of some of my clothes and start over - of course keeping pieces I loved or got a lot of wear out of - then I might be able to do this.
Before I really got into overhauling my wardrobe I dusted off the ol' pinterest to get inspired and start forming a virtual wardrobe of sorts. Hence, my Autumn Capsule began. I still scroll through this board, even though we're well into Autumn now, because it still fills me with this sense of calm. It was incredible, because the simple thought of getting rid of a great portion of my stuff (read: crap) instantly made me feel happier, lighter and less stressed.
I think my stress at the time came from thinking a lot about my eventual move back to Toronto. The date is quickly approaching as we speak and I am not necessarily looking forward to leaving my life here (sidebar: it is interesting to me that I seem to start blogging again when a big locational shift is looming. See shortbread tins, my short-lived blog recapping my first months living abroad. More on that in another blog post.) but at least now I am comforted by the fact that my stuff will now fit easily into one suitcase.
I soon started the process of getting rid of my clothes. Using tips from un-fancy and another great minimalist fashion blog Into Mind I went through every item of clothing I owned, dividing them into "No/Donate," "Maybe" and "Keep" piles. From there separated the "Keep" pile into seasonal selections and then reevaluated the "Maybe" pile. I was quite harsh when it came to this pile. If I couldn't remember the last time I wore that item, no matter how much I liked it, it had to go. I thought this would be very difficult, but they sat in garbage bags in the spare room for about a week before I had a chance to take them to the charity shop and by the time I did I could hardly remember what I put in there. I put the clothes I deemed appropriate for other seasons in Vacuum seal bags and into a suitcase, which is already back in Canada, leaving me only with my Autumn Capsule and some workout/hiking/lounge gear.
The above photograph was a momentous occasion for me. To think that this wardrobe two days previously contained only my dresses but now contained my whole wardrobe was absolutely astonishing and so liberating. And the amazing thing was that I didn't feel any lacking in looking at this wardrobe. I could look at this wardrobe before and think "I have no clothes!" But now I just see my clothes and I am perfectly happy with them.
I am echoing a lot of the sentiments of Caroline of un-fancy with these revelations, but I truly couldn't belive that I, a serial-shopper and impulse buyer, could possibly be happy with what seemed like fewer options.
I'm about half way through my first capsule now and I haven't given up on the idea at all. I am still happy with the majority of items in my wardrobe and I will definitely make it to the end of the season. My first capsule is by no means perfect. There are items that I hardly wear and usually only put on because I feel like I should or it's getting close to laundry day. But this is a learning process and I really want to continue with this. It feels like more than a update to my wardrobe, but a lifestyle change - and a very positive one at that.
This is not the last you'll hear about my adventures in the world of capsule wardrobes. I am currently working on my Winter capsule and reflecting on my Autumn Capsule, so look forward to some musings on how this wardrobe was a success and where I could do better and perhaps posts on what I am going for in my Winter Capsule.
These thoughts have been churning around in my head for quite a while now and I am so glad to have finally written them down! I am feeling all inspired again and am looking forward to minimalising other areas of my life as well. Winter, #getatme.