For a while I was associating a capsule wardrobe with minimalism. And although there is a relationship there, the capsule portion never really resonated with me, but the minimal part did. I’m sure I’ve already mentioned this somewhere on this blog, but I have this kind of compulsion to always get rid of things I feel I no longer love or really need. I’ve developed a system of maintaining a small closet, where my clothes have enough space to breathe. For almost a year now, I’ve managed to keep the amount of clothes I own (excluding work out clothes and unmentionables) to about 60 items. Since the average capsule wardrobe seems to be around 20 to 30 clothing items, I felt it wasn’t necessary for me to really downsize further. Instead, I was sold on a minimal and neutral wardrobe, one that contained items I knew I would enjoy for a longer period of time. In reflecting on my spending choices, I had realized how quickly I got rid of clothing that had bold designs or color. The items I held on to longer were usually white, grey, black, and the occasional blue. Therefore, I made a shift in how I approached shopping in order to enjoy a more minimal approach to style.
1. I got rid of clothing I didn’t love and stopped purchasing clothing that contained bold designs or were colorful. I think capsule wardrobes are great, because you can still incorporate these items, but because I wanted an annual wardrobe instead of a seasonal wardrobe, it worked better for me to stop purchasing items that had a bold design or color. This decision also kept me from buying items just because I thought they were cute. Instead, I developed a system of being on the lookout for the 3-5 items on my wish list. However, if colors are your thing, then consider sticking to a specific color palette.
2. I created a small (3-5 items) wish list of basic items that I really wanted and kept them pinned to a secret board. This kept me focused on only looking at items that fit that list. It also was a way for me to decide on whether I really wanted that item. If after a few weeks or months I no longer really liked it, I deleted it from my wish list. This process has helped me take a slower approach to buying clothes and prevented me from going on shopping sprees. Examples of items on this list would be a pair of black skinny ripped jeans, high waisted blue jeans, a cropped linen shirt, and a cream knitted sweater. I would choose items I didn’t have or items that could replace some of the things I owned. For example, I was on the lookout for a good pair of high waisted blue jeans, so I could get rid of the 2 pairs of $10 jeans I kept replacing from Forever 21.
3. I sold clothing I didn’t love in order to purchase fewer items that were of quality, comfort, and had a more timeless design. In trying to be more intentional about my minimalist wardrobe, the pieces I wanted were sometimes more than I would ever really spend. But because I was able to use money from clothing I sold, I was able to further minimize my closet in order to invest in brands or clothing items I really wanted and items that felt more comfortable. If you’re wondering where to sell your clothes, eBay has worked for me, but I’ve also seen people use Instagram as a platform, which seems to work really well. If you’re looking for quality clothing, but can’t quite afford the price tag, eBay or ThredUp can be a good place to look for them at a more reasonable cost.
I realize this type of shift may not be for everyone. Up until last summer, it wasn’t really something I ever considered. I was so used to going to H&M or Forever 21 and walking out with a bag of clothing, feeling successful about the good deals I got and how much I was able to get for so little. Not to mention I was a strong believer in shopping therapy. But after noticing how quick I was in getting rid of clothing and wanting more, I decided there needed to be a change towards a more simple and mindful approach. So far, this process has created a more intentional mindset for me that enjoys a smaller wardrobe, sees simple as beautiful, and invests in quality over quantity.
Have you experimented with a capsule wardrobe or a minimalist approach to style? What do you like or not like about it?