Over the last few years, there has been an explosion of bloggers writing about the capsule wardrobe: so much, that I’d wager a guess that you’ve been under a digital rock if you’ve never heard of a capsule wardrobe. I first attempted to build a capsule about two years ago with moderate success, though I eventually abandoned it after a while. My wardrobe expanded again, but after a while, I began to narrow it down and I feel like my closet has hit a happy place over the last several months.
I wouldn’t call the clothes currently in my closet a “capsule wardrobe” but I’m aiming to steer it back in that direction. There’s so much freedom in having an intentionally selected wardrobe, so that I’m not so easily swayed by the “good deals” and trends I find in every store. The key to creating a successful capsule wardrobe seems to be knowing what style of clothes actually make you feel confident, knowing what you’re comfortable wearing most of the time, being honest about your real lifestyle- and then using this knowledge to frame your purchasing choices.
The original capsule I built was great for a woman who spends a lot of time away from home, but most of the pieces I’d chosen were not good for the kind of life I actually live. I am a homebody, a homemaker and a homeschool mom. My husband and I only attempt one date night every other month or so, and we eat most of our meals at home. Other than weekly runs to the library and the grocery store, the kids and I usually don’t go anywhere during the day. We have Cub Scouts meetings one night a week, worship services and small groups with our church, and we spend time with our family regularly. Our lifestyle is fairly low-key!
The one thing that hung me up most while constructing my first capsule was our budget. In that season, we had more money that usual in the budget but it still wasn’t enough to buy true capsule quality clothing. I bought some new clothes that fall, and I was very intentional. Unfortunately, most of the items I purchased began to show wear around the same time, and then I was left to replace the worn out items in rapid succession. I began to feel like trying to maintain this wardrobe on our actual budget would be impossible- how can I afford to gradually replace each item with true quality pieces if they are wearing out faster than I could maintain?
I still don’t have a solution for this problem other than “earn more money”, because I can understand the logic behind investing in quality clothes that will last a long time, but still can’t reconcile the cost with our actual budget and all the other ways that we must allocate our income. Obviously, this will be a gradual process. Most likely, I’ll never have a “perfect capsule”, but I can make better purchasing choices based on that ideal because I have clearly defined the items I actually need and will actually wear.
I just cleaned out the kids’ closet this week and established a winter capsule for each of them, and now I’d like to revisit my closet. I don’t feel the urgent need to buy new clothes, but I could stand to replace some worn out jeans (I’m putting that off as long as I can!). Still, I’d like to more clearly define the contents of my wardrobe and shape it up around the edges. It feels kind of like a bob haircut that has lost its bounce and needs to be trimmed, if that analogy makes sense for anyone?
My goal for the coming year is to tune out all the voices of distraction and make very intentional purchasing choices. I’ll be freezing all spending for a while in the month of January as a part of a season of fasting with my church family, but in the future I want to stick to a strict budget and choke out the urge to spend more- growing discipline and willpower while I learn to clearly define my clothing wants vs. needs. I’m moving mindfully towards a better understanding of minimalism and simple living in the new year!