*Gets up, opens the closet, desperately concludes not having anything to wear*
—Any girl, at least once a week.
Do you too have a spontaneous shopping spree every once in a while, only to come home with a relief that you FINALLY have stuff to wear, which you then justify to yourself by wearing those pieces exclusively for the next week? Yet again, eventually you’re right back to where you started—having nothing to wear. And the process starts all over again.
It’s silly, exhausting, and not to mention pricey. You keep spending your hard earned money on clothes, and seem to never be fully satisfied with your wardrobe anyway.
What if we told you that having something to wear actually doesn’t have much to do with the quantity of pieces you have?
Take a look at your closet right now, or mentally recall the majority of its contents. How many things do you wear on a regular basis? How much stuff is there, on the other hand, waiting for the perfect occasion, or for you to lose or gain a few pounds so it looks just right? I bet it’s a lot. And let me make a confession here: Before I did this exercise, I thought I was using most of my closet. But when I actually counted all my pieces, it appeared that I was wearing less than 60 percent of it. Holy moly!
I realized how badly things needed to change. A few minutes later, I was browsing the Internet in search of a solution. (Good thing we live in the twenty-first century, right?)
There seems to be a clear fix for never having anything to wear, and it might sound counter-intuitive. But it totally works. I am telling you, the Internet is telling you, and common sense is well: The key is owning less and building a capsule wardrobe.
Are you still with me?
“Capsule wardrobe” is a term coined by Susie Faux, a London boutique owner in the 1970s. According to her, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces. And not only that: it’s a collection of garments you absolutely love. Now do you see the difference between that and your packed closet?
One of the most popular capsule wardrobe endorsers is Caroline, whose blog Unfancy started as a way to document her minimalistic style—wearing only 37 clothing pieces for three straight months. After three months, she’d pick new pieces to add to her rotation. Not only does this completely de-stress the whole idea of getting dressed, but it also saves a lot of money (no shopping for three months!) and she says it has completely changed her outlook on life.
“To me, a capsule wardrobe represents more time and energy for what really matters (less time spent deciding what to wear/less time spent shopping/less time doing laundry or caring for clothes) more money for our dreams and helping others (less money spent on clothes that never get worn) and more contentment and happiness,” Caroline wrote. So how on Earth did she manage?
Typically, she starts with shoes since they can make the biggest impact on an outfit. She likes having about nine pairs of shoes: for example, three pairs of flats, three pairs of heels and three pairs of boots. She also recommends nine bottoms—for example: three pairs of jeans, three pairs of shorts and three skirts. “A ‘3 of each’ rule is good because I like having one casual pair, one statement pair, and one in-between pair,” Caroline wrote.
After all that, Caroline still has room for 15 tops. Since the “three of each” rule seems to be working just fine, she recommends sticking to it here too. That can be, for example, three sweaters, three t-shirts, three button-up shirts, three tank tops and three vests. So when you add everything together, it leaves room for four more items: that can include jackets or dresses, and their ratio should depend on the season. You want to have choices when it comes to the jackets in winter, while in summer it’s enough to only have one, and three dresses.
Interested? Here’s how you can do it too:
Step 1: Empty your closet. No, don’t just take out some stuff. Empty it completely.
Step 2: Take a look at what you have and sort EVERYTHING into four piles:
- “Love it and would wear it right now” pile. It fits, it’s right for you and you don’t need to wait to put it in use. So put it back in the closet.
- “Maybe” pile. These things you kind of love, but can’t remember the last time you wore them. Or they don’t fit perfectly, but you don’t want to get rid of them just yet. Okay, don’t. Store them away, in a garage or an attic, for example. You may go get some stuff from there, but you probably won’t, and that’s fine. Six months from now, get rid of the things you didn’t use from this pile.
- “Nope” pile. Donate, swap with a friend or sell it to fund new purchases.
- “Seasonal” pile. Your bathing suit would go there—the summer is over, but you won’t get rid of it. Store it away and take it back out next summer.
Step 3: LOVE what you stored back in the closet.
Step 4: Refrain from shopping for a while. Learn to live with what you have—that way you’ll learn about your own style and what you need. When you go shopping, give it a lot of thought. What do you need to complement the pieces you have? When and where will you wear it? Does it fit your style and your life?
It might seem complicated at first, but after some practice, you can really get into the whole mindset of “less is more.” A capsule wardrobe can help you gain a much smarter perspective when it comes to shopping and your style in general. It’s worth the effort, don’t you think?