I have just completed the first week of my twelve-week capsule wardrobe experiment...
So far, I am absolutely thrilled with the process!
I began this challenge last Monday, September 14th, with 45 items.
When I began planning in early August, I originally planned for 40 items.
Labor Day Weekend, I went back through my closet and pulled two more items that I wanted to use in this capsule. I also went to a fave consignment shop and bought a beautiful red skirt and matching sweater.
Then, because I can never leave well enough alone, I bought a fancypants Byron Lars blouse at my local thrift shop.
Three days into the capsule - I went back to my favorite consignment store, and came home with another skirt and sweater.
I am currently at 47 items. That's where I am staying. End of story.
My Outfits for this Past Week:
There are only six outfits pictured here. I went to ballet class one day and stayed in my gear while working from home for the rest. Dance and exercise gear are not counted in my capsule.
These outfits ran the gamut from dressy to casual: from an upscale networking social, to working from home. Dressing was so easy! Grab a top, grab a bottom, add some shoes and a bag, and get on with my day!
The best part about getting dressed, was that everything is a favorite in this capsule. So there has been no fidgeting, or second-guessing my choices, or wishing I'd worn something else.
I felt amazing in these outfits, like I could conquer the world.
Why I undertook this experiment, and what I have learned so far:
I decided to try a capsule wardrobe because...
1). ....Clothing and fashion have, stupidly, taken over so much of my mental energy. I don't want my life to be bogged down thinking about what I'm going to wear.
2). ....I am trying to declutter and reduce the overall number of superfluous, unused belongings in my home. Clothing is a huge part of this.
3). ...I want to spend less money overall, and stop buying things I don't need.
After four weeks of planning, and one week into the execution, I have learned...
1). ...How to be a more mindful shopper. I gave every new item I purchased for this capsule a good deal of consideration, about where I would wear it, and how it would work with the other pieces.
2). ...That a capsule wardrobe is not stopping the urge to shop.
This was a bit of a surprise, to be honest. While I have no regrets about the pieces I bought, I know, moving forward, that I have triggers that bring on an inpulse to shop.
Stress, hunger, a feeling of 'reward' or 'entitlement', procrastination, potentially confrontational situations... these are all triggers for me.
My 'emergency' contingency plan, if the urge to shop becomes overwhelming, is to shop my closet.
3). ...I have enough. This wardrobe covers nearly all the contingencies of my life! I can put together a very fancy outfit for the symphony or ballet from this capsule.
Moving forward, my goals are:
1). Start assessing, in the weeks to come, which pieces I am already not reaching for, and why. Any piece not worn by mid-October will either be stored for a future capsule, or purged from my closet.
Admittedly, it is still too warm outside for some of the jackets.
2) Look at which pieces are being over-worn, and why. I pulled out my black zip cardigan three times this week. I wore it once, and took it with me, twice, into venues that I expected to be chilly. It may be that I need to bring in one more casual sweater piece, and remove something fancier from the lineup.
3) I am already thinking about my next capsule. I originally planned to start my next capsule the second week of December. I've since decided to start my next capsule closer to the Winter Solstice (December 22nd), and take that next capsule through the Spring Equinox.
I know already there will be some overlap in skirts, jeans, and jackets from the Fall capsule to the Winter one. In addition, I have clothing items that I know I will wear at Christmas, but probably won't want to wear after.
My plan is to extend the Fall capsule two more weeks, and add a mini-capsule of around six items, to wear during the holidays.
4) I want to set a budget and an item limit for future capsules. I plan to try setting a shopping window that begins in mid-December, and ends closer to New Year's. Since I will be setting limits on what I can spend and the number of items I can buy, I think this will work very well for me.
I am so glad I am doing this challenge! It has brought me peace, and it has freed up a good bit of my time. If you have ever thought you might like to try a capsule wardrobe, there are a lot of great resources on my inspiration page. At the end of the day, mine is just a twelve-week experiment. Yours can be six weeks, or four weeks, or seven days! It isn't forever.
You never know until you try!