Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What I Learned from Trying a Capsule Wardrobe

I recently decided that my wardrobe needed an update. With limited space and plenty of moves in our future, I felt that my wardrobe could use another makeover (I donated a large pile of clothes during the moving process). A few months ago, I started browsing Pinterest for ideas and came across the concept of a "capsule wardrobe." I started pinning to a new board and eventually decided to give it a try for fall. Last month, I set out to create a capsule wardrobe for fall and after a month of working with it, I'm ready to share my experience with my readers.


Setting up my capsule wardrobe was pretty easy. I used the tips I found on Unfancy as starting point. I decided on how many tops, bottoms, dresses, and shoes I would keep in my wardrobe. Then, I started emptying my closet and divided everything into those categories. I used my bed as a sorting location. (I have to apologize for the terrible lighting created by the window. It was a problem that couldn't be solved and this wasn't a picture I could stage.)


After dividing all of my clothes, I returned to my closet and saw exactly why I needed to downsize. The number of hangers lingering on the rod was astronomical. The picture below shows you what I'm talking about. I now understand why my husband complained about all of my hangers when we loaded them into the uHaul for the cross country move.


I assigned each category a color and kept the appropriate number of hangers in each color. (I put the extra hangers at the end of the closet in case we needed them later.) Then came the fun (read: tough) part of selecting which clothes went into the closet, which were donated, and which ones were packed away in a drawer.


I started by folding the clothes that would go into drawers. Out of season clothes were the first ones selected for the drawer. Since I was planning for fall, tank tops and sweaters were quickly packed away. Short sleeves and layering pieces would be the primary focus of my fall wardrobe. (I later discovered that this was a mistake, but I'll share that in the learning section of this post.)


As I picked out my favorites from the remaining pile, I also created a pile of clothes that I no longer LOVED. I tried to make LOVE the focus of my decisions. If a piece of clothing didn't make me feel my best, I tried not to include it in my wardrobe. There were a few pieces that I included that were in the LIKE category instead of the LOVE category and that is another problem I'll discuss later. Eventually, I had my closet narrowed down to a small set of items all color coded by hangers.


After I completed the clothes in my closet, I set out to downsize my shoes. This was actually harder than downsizing my clothes. Who knew I was a shoe lover? I tried to keep a variety of shoes since the weather was sure to be quite varied during autumn.


When I finished my wardrobe update, I felt pretty good about myself. It even inspired me to sort through my socks and downsize them. This made me even happier because I had a lot of socks and ended up with more drawer space after downsizing. The picture below is the ones I got rid of.


I was extremely excited about my wardrobe update. I was looking forward to getting creative with my closet. It had been a long time since I was creative with my wardrobe. This post was supposed to be all about what I learned from my capsule wardrobe though. I've shared the process. Now it's time to share what I learned from it.


I learned that my closet wasn't quite prepared for this makeover. The pieces I picked were my favorite of what I owned. I though that I had created a wardrobe I would love. It was small, minimalistic and contained the best of my clothing pieces. It seemed like the perfect wardrobe at the time until I discovered a few things along the way.

Remember when I said that some fell in the LIKE category and not the LOVE category? This was a problem. When I started making outfits from the clothes I selected, I discovered that I was picking the same ones over and over again. I discovered that I needed more items to LOVE instead of LIKE. I was constantly selecting things from the LOVE category.

Remember when I said putting away my tank tops was a mistake? Well, I underestimated how hot it could get in California in September and October. With temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s, I have gotten into my drawer of rejects more than once to get a tank top due to the weather. So far, I haven't pulled out any of the sweaters. We haven't exactly had fall or winter weather.

Overall, I don't feel like the capsule wardrobe worked for me due to the clothing I own. I have a bad habit of buying things because they are cheap rather than investing in items that I love. This experiment was an eye opener and showed me that. It has taught me to look at my purchases in a new light. I'm still using the wardrobe I created but my goal is to slowly replace the items in my closet with new ones for the LOVE category.

I love the fact that I have fewer clothes to pick from. I will be keeping with the concept of a minimal wardrobe. I simply need to update the items that are included in this wardrobe. (On a side note, my shoe choices have been absolutely perfect. I haven't gotten to wear my boots much yet but I'm hoping I get to enjoy them soon!)

Have you ever tried a minimalistic or capsule wardrobe? Would you ever downsize your closet to such a small scale?

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