When I first discovered the capsule wardrobe, it was a result of the movement towards being a minimalist movement. There was this idea that having less was ideal, and our wardrobe was a natural extension of that. I loved the idea behind minimalism, having less stuff created room for more creativity and less stress. As I did more research, I realized that many minimalists were very rigid in their thinking. For some, that was the point. Their desire for things had taken over their lives and they needed relief. For me, I’ve realized that more than anything, I want a sense of freedom in life. I don’t want to be held down by rules of living and by the scrutiny of others. I want to have the freedom to follow my own intuition and to explore the unknown. Duality, the idea that one way is bad and the other way is good, is an issue that has muddied my thinking throughout my entire life. The freedom from that type of thinking first came from my journey through the 12 steps and continued through other spiritual practices like my conversion to Catholicism and yoga. I found that the minimalist life was too rigid for my taste. That being said, there were some general themes that I felt important when building a wardrobe, and I wanted to share how I incorporated those in my own closet, and how I left out all of the other stuff.
The Good About Being a Minimalist
What originally attracted me to this idea of being a minimalist is
1. less clutter in the house because clutter stresses me out,
2. being more intentional about the things I buy which is better for the environment AND better for my wallet
3. through having things that work together, I can be creative
The Bad Thing About Being a Minimalist
As I watched all of the YouTube videos, read the blogs, looked at Pinterest, I found a couple of things that turned me off from this idea.
1. Overall, minimalists seems to be extremely rigid and even critical of others for not being minimalist enough
2. Things are only functional – This can be good, we shouldn’t be too attached to things BUT I also believe things can help bring a sense of warmth and comfort as well.
3. It doesn’t allow for spontaneity
Building a wardrobe and putting together outfits is my creative outlet. I love finding beautiful clothing that makes me feel good. I cherish and appreciate a piece of clothing that fits well. I began to follow a lot of influencers who had beautifully curated wardrobes and weren’t minimalists. The turning point was when I watched a video by Alexa Chung about how to dress the french way. I loved this idea of curating a wardrobe like you would an art gallery. As one finds beautiful pieces that inspire them, they slowly add them to their wardrobe and care for them like they would a piece of art or a jewelry collection.
I love Marie Kondo and how she inspired us to cleanse our closets of the things we don’t love. Where the challenge lies is when we do this repeatedly because it means we’re still over consuming. That creates so much waste and honestly, just continues to perpetuate throw away culture. What I would hope for us as a society is to only buy things that we really love. That doesn’t mean we’ll never buy something and realize it isn’t really what we want, but it does mean that we take more time to explore and investigate our purchases. Maybe we skip that sale and instead, buy something FULL PRICE just because we love it. I know that’s shocking to some, but if we buy less, we have more money to buy the things we really love.
How Do You Build A Wardrobe?
If you’d like to read more about how to build a capsule wardrobe, check out this post. In order to create a wardrobe that will last for years, you have to let go of the desire to be on trend. Styles will come and go, but you can have classic items and style them in a way that keeps your current. Style doesn’t come from the items themselves, but more from how you put it all together. As you develop your own personal style, it will be something that transcends time and is more of an expression of your own life experiences. You don’t have to buy things straight from the runway to be trendy, and you don’t have to have trendy items to be considered stylish. One of the things I do as a personal stylist is try to help you discover your own personal style. We all have one, no matter how helpless you may feel. You just have to learn to find what you like verses what is popular. While I love tools like Pinterest, I find that it can also become a place of comparison vs listening to your own inner voice. I encourage you to look around your home and in your existing closet to help you discover the things you like. Do you like more neutral colors or do you fancy yourself eclectic? Do you go for more traditional items or do you like things hand made? Take some time to look through magazines or even your friend’s homes to see what inspires you. You’ll know it because it will light you up inside.
Invest in quality. I know that it’s a privilege to buy expensive things. I promise, though, if you take the time to save money to invest in a special item, you will care for it and have it longer than buying cheap items that don’t last through a season. I recently purchased a beautiful pair of black boots from a company called Nisolo. They are more expensive but they are timeless and can be repaired if needed. When pieces are made of high quality materials, they can be mended and used for years. Invest in your items. It may be hard at first, but as time goes on, you will come to understand why high quality items are better and more affordable in the long run. When buying high quality items, focus on classic cuts and colors. Focus on things that you like vs what’s on trend. I love neutrals and muted earth tones, so my closet has a lot of black, camel, gray, olive green, and rose/blush. Those colors go together well and will probably be modern looking forever. Lastly, if you are tired of an item that you spent a lot of money on, you have a couple of options.
- You can pack it up and revisit the item at a later time. You may find that you missed it and will gladly rework it back into your wardrobe
- Sell it. You can sell it on facebook marketplace, poshmark, or even at a local clothing store
- Donate it. Make sure it’s washed and depilled so that they will actually use it instead of throw it away
Lastly, care for your items. Make sure to follow wash instructions, hang them to dry, and don’t wash them until they are actually dirty. Keep your loads small because oversized loads will destroy your clothing and use a gentle detergent. Hang your clothes back up when done (or fold them) and place them where they belong. Put your shoes in a shoe rack and protect them from the elements. Treat your clothes as though you value them and they will last a long time.
So much of this is new to me, so who knows where I will be in 5 years. Maybe I will have abandoned it all for something new. For now, though, I have enjoyed learning to cherish each piece in my closet. And I have enjoyed finding new companies that make beautiful clothing even more. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so please feel free to message me or leave a comment. As always, thanks for reading!