My Capsule Encounter
I don't know exactly how I came to type 'capsule wardrobe' into Pinterest a 18 months ago. I do know I'd been feeling very uninspired by my wardrobe for some time. I felt like a frumpy Mum rather than the quirky fashionista I once considered myself to be. Money has become really tight since having children. Naturally, all personal spending other than bare essentials is non-existent. Truthfully, I don't mind, its a small sacrifice to make and one I would do again without a second thought.
My spending habits in my twenties were ridiculous. Buying 'stuff' made me feel happy and filled a void. Fast forward ten years, shopping is no longer 'therapy'. Due to financial circumstance my wardrobe was, until recently, a mixture of bright, bold and expensive throwbacks from my twenties combined with the practical, comfortable second-hand purchases of my thirties. The resulting look was confusing verging on frumpy and didn't reflect the trendy mum and businesswoman I considered myself to be. I decided it was time for a wardrobe overhaul. As I searched Pinterest for 'capsule wardrobe' inspiration Project 333 kept recurring throughout my feed. I was curious so looked into it further. 'Project 333 is the minimalist fashion challenge that invites you to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months' (courtesy of bemorewithless.com). Tens of thousands of people have accepted creator Courtney Carver's invitation since its inception in 2010. I was scared but I committed to the challenge anyway as intuitively it felt right. I carefully cleaned out my wardrobe and donated the 'definite no' pile to my local charity shop. I kept the 'I'm not ready to let go of you yet' pile in plastic bags in our spare room and the few items that I actually loved took pride of place in my minimalist wardrobe. I'm not gonna lie, I felt quite exposed without my armour of clothes. I imagined what friends and colleagues would think seeing me in the same clothes all the time. I needn't have worried. NOBODY has noticed. As I write this now I've been committed to Project 333 for sometime now and honestly it has been a COMPLETELY liberating experience. I've reduced my 'I'm not ready to get rid of you yet' pile to non existent and I plan to continue my minimalist wardrobe journey.
Here's a summary of the benefits I have experienced:
- I actually love every item in my wardrobe
- Every item goes with each other. I've chosen to wear only a few neutral (ish) colours that I know suit me and go well together rather than the technicolor ensembles I use to wear.
- Because of the first two points getting dressed each morning is EASY! No more morning 'what am I going to wear' angst for me!
- This is my absolute favourite benefit and as a busy mum I know you'll appreciate it too: it has SIGNIFICANTLY reduced my washing.
- Along the same lines as reducing washing it is significantly easier to tidy up my bedroom because I don't have mountains of clothes lying everywhere.
- Ive realised that I was probably only wearing a very small percentage of my clothes on a regular basis anyway because I don't feel like i wear the same outfits all that often.
- I've become more creative with what and how I wear the clothes I have.
- It has rekindled my love of sewing and I am committed to making as many of my own clothes as possible or to buy locally produced garments.
- It has encouraged me to be a more globally conscious citizen and consumer. The thought that some beautiful young girl/mother (like you or I) in Bangladesh or China is making my fast fashion garments for next to no pay in horrible working conditions to help support her family saddens me more than words can express. And what about the environmental impact? The fashion industry is the second largest contributor to global warming from the chemicals used intextile production to the carbon footprint of exporting these garments all over the world. When I think of it in those terms I can no longer support the fast fashion industry. Refusing to buy such garments is a powerful statement in supporting the rights of our fellow women and mothers of the world. I can recommend Elizabeth Cline's book 'Overdressed' if you would like to know more about the true cost of cheap fashion.
- You might say that you don't have the money to buy locally because local costs more. Well neither do I, but when you combine being a globally conscious consumer with a capsule wardrobe concept like Project 333 you get a match made in heaven. I no longer need twenty cheap tops. Instead I choose to spend the same or less money on 2 or 3 locally made, high quality garments. And I'm also no stranger to a good secondhand store.
Most importantly, having a capsule wardrobe has helped me refocus on the things that matter!
I encourage you to explore whether downsizing your wardrobe is the right fit for you. Maybe it could help take the stress out of your crazy, busy morning routine and reduce the amount of time you spend washing, folding and putting away your clothes. Maybe you too are concerned about humanitarian and environmental issues. Maybe you like the idea of a capsule wardrobe but you're not quite there yet or it's not you at all, and that's absolutely ok. Be kind and accept yourself exactly as you are.
Courtney Carver nailed it when she said 'simplicity is love'. Amen.
Til next time