Did you know that in the industrialized world, women in the 1930s typically had about 30 pieces in their wardrobe, while today the number has risen to over 120? If you counted every article of clothing you own, what would your number be?
By now, most of us have heard about “capsule wardrobes,” and the impact they are having on the fashion world. The capsule wardrobe is a mini wardrobe, a versatile collection that mixes and matches, of approximately 30-40 pieces that are chosen according to season and color palette.
The idea resonates with so many consumers for at least one of the following reasons:
- Owning less is better for the environment, with less packaging and manufacturing.
- Having fewer outfit choices frees up mental space for other decisions, alleviating what is called “decision fatigue”
- Capsule wardrobes halt the movement of fast fashion, the idea that workers’ rights don’t matter and that clothing that has passed out of trend is simply disposable purchases are made carefully, choosing quality and longevity over cheap, mediocre choices.
Paring down our closets seems like such a logical choice, doesn’t it? There are a great number of blog posts, videos, and checklists for creating your capsule wardobe- there is plenty of information out there on the topic.
So why does living every day with a capsule wardrobe sometimes fail, even if the woman (or man!) is completely sold on the idea?
- Reason Number 1: “my capsule feels boring and restrictive”
- Reason Number 2: “the items are too basic with little creativity”
- Reason Number 3: “I’m continually counting, trying to stay within the 35 items…it seems like a law”
Rather than give up altogether, we’ve put together a few tips to make your capsule wardrobe a success!
- Don’t be so focused on the numbers. Remember the reason you are having this type of closet in the first place- to make life easier. The number of items is really just a guideline, not a law. So what if you have 50, rather than 45? If you used to have 120, that’s still a huge accomplishment and will make life much easier for you.
- Let items be dictated by your sense of style, not just practicality. Maybe you have a top that doesn’t fit with the rest of your color palette, but you feel so amazing and like your natural self when you wear it…just keep it! Remember that clothing can reflect who you are, and give a sense of your personality.
- Try the “3 of Each” rule from Caroline at the Unfancy blog. For each type of clothing, she uses this rule to have one casual pair, one statement pair, and one in-between pair. Then you have 3 pants, 3 sweaters, etc. This gives more options than only having one of each type, but it still gives you freedom by not having too many choices. Consider the different roles you have in life, making sure that you have outfits for each.
- Keep items that are high quality and special. Ask yourself, “If I were to go shopping today, would I still buy this item?” If the answer is no, switch it out, donate it, or give it to a friend. It’s not a crime to change your mind on an item. Don’t wear things out of guilt or obligation. Life is too short for that, and unless you are a celebrity, people aren’t paying as close of attention to your fashion choices as you may think!
- Allow yourself some extras. Don’t count your special occasion dress or swimsuit cover-up. It’s okay to have items you only wear once in a while. Surround yourself with things that bring you joy.
- * Bonus: Remember those around the world who have so much less than you, who would give anything to just have ten items to choose from. Serve and share, and before you know it, living with less becomes a natural lifestyle.
Do you have other tips for success for capsule wardrobes? Feel free to add them in the comments below!
About the Author
Rhonda LaBatt is the founder of Redemption Market, a fair trade boutique based in Phoenix, Arizona. Starting with a small partnership helping young women rescued from trafficking, it’s now grown to provide aid for more than a dozen organizations, providing clean water, building schools, and securing employment for some of the most vulnerable of the earth. She lives with her husband Kerry and three amazing teenage daughters, the youngest they adopted from Peru when she was ten years old. Rhonda loves to teach others about ways to fight human trafficking, the joys of adoption, and the sweetness of enjoying life.