I first heard about a capsule wardrobe concept on a fashion blog (don’t remember which) several years ago when I was a much more avid consumer of fashion magazines and blogs. I found the concept interesting, but unattainable for “ordinary” people, so I didn’t look further into it. To the contrary, I wanted to have a variety of clothes, so that I could get dressed easily for every possible occasion in my life.
Looking back, that was a really foolish idea. I had and still have favorites that I wear over and over again, so the variety I need in my clothes is much smaller than I thought. Also, how many different occasions can there possibly be in my life? It’s not like I can’t wear a shirt to work and during the weekend.
After pregnancy I really wanted to wear my pre-pregnancy clothes again. But when I looked at my clothes, most of which I hadn’t worn for a year, I realized that there were actually only a few pieces that I was looking forward to wearing again.
While this realization eventually led to a general decluttering of my closet, it also changed my view on the size of my wardrobe. When I looked into general decluttering, the capsule wardrobe idea kept coming up and this time around, it sounded much more tempting to give it a go. So I decided, after decluttering my closet for good, I would build a capsule wardrobe for fall and winter.
The capsule wardrobe idea
There are several concepts of capsule wardrobes that you can find floating around the Internet. I used the Project333 as a starting point because the concept of wearing only 33 items for 3 months sounded easy and doable. But as I thought about it, I tweaked the rules of Project333 to make the capsule wardrobe more compatible with my lifestyle. So here are my rules for my upcoming capsule wardrobe:
My rules for the capsule wardrobe
Length. I create the wardrobe for 6 months (October to March). If the weather remains as weird as the last couple of years (hello climate change), you can experience 20 degrees Celsius in October, in December, and March. Likewise you can have below 0 temps anywhere from November to February. Most winter seasons we have hardly any snow, other years it’s almost half a meter that sticks around for a few weeks. Therefore, it makes sense for me to have fall and winter clothes ready for the coming 6 months.
Item count. The original Project333 includes accessories, bags, and jewelry, but not sports and lounge wear in the item count. I won’t include any of these 5 categories. I simply don’t accessorize with jewelry. I wear my wedding ring and my engagement ring, and I have a watch and one bracelet that I wear on most occasions outside the house. As for bags, I wear 3 bags more or less all year around. For the colder months, I have two scarfs, one hat, and one pair of gloves, so again, I don’t see a need to account for these items. In terms of the overall item count I want to stay below 40 items.
Swapping. I allow for 5 new items to be swapped into my wardrobe during the 6 months. This is supposed to account for several issues. One, I haven’t done a capsule wardrobe before, so it felt right, playing it safe. Two, and related to one, I will be going back to work with the start of the capsule wardrobe and I haven’t worked for almost a year. So I want to allow for a potential need to adapt my work wardrobe. Third, since I have been staying at home for almost a year, I want to allow some leeway, if my “style-predictions” turn out to be off.
So how did I go about it? After my declutter, I was left with the core of my capsule wardrobe. But I also identified a few gaps in my wardrobe that I wanted to fill before starting the capsule wardrobe challenge. So I prepared a list of things and then researched several online stores trading off different items. I focused (1) only on items that would fill the gaps, nothing else, (2) on items that really fit my style and body, and (3) on items that were a decent quality while not blowing my budget.