A Capsule Wardrobe for the Non-Minimalist: 3 Months Later | dignify
May 07, 2016

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A Capsule Wardrobe for the Non-Minimalist: 3 Months Later


Three months ago, I wrote about my new attempt at minimizing my wardrobe. I'm not really a minimalist, but I do dabble here & there! I called it "a capsule wardrobe for the non-committal".

It's been a full quarter since I tossed half of my clothes in a box... so, what do I think?

Capsule Wardrobe

Overall, I LOVE IT! I have finally just tossed or donated all of the clothes that had been in box-limbo, and I have no regrets. Here's my breakdown:

What I love: 

  • A crack in the laundry case. I do not like laundry. But, this is an upgrade to what I was saying a few months ago (“I loathe laundry”), so I am excited by this progress!
    • There are fewer clothes out there. Less to manage.
    • I can’t put it off as long, so there is less to do to finish the job. Because I don’t like doing it, I am prone to putting laundry off until the last moment necessary. When I had a lot of clothes, this could go on for a long time! By the time I actually had to do it, I was so overwhelmed; it was a bad cycle. Now, I just need to get ‘er done… or I won’t have any clothes to wear!
    • With fewer clothes, there is a much bigger payoff to completing the laundry process in full... a drawer/closet full of clothes again! If I did the darks but left the whites in the laundry room, (unwashed, or clean but unfolded), looking at the 3 shirts in my drawer felt very constrictive and dull. Now, there is a big payoff of seeing the whole process through to the end!
    • If you are one of those rare gems who loves laundry or a boss of a house manager who keeps on top of it by finishing a load every day or every other day, this benefit is wholly irrelevant. Bless you.
  • Unplanned/unintended benefits. I’ve been choosing my clothes each night for the next day, so I like that my emptier dresser drawer leaves a space for me to set apart my clothes so that I can easily grab them in next morning.
  • It really does make it easier to shop & plan for my wardrobe. As the seasons began to change, I needed short sleeves and spring/summer clothes, and when I went shopping, I did it with confidence. I wasn’t tempted to buy anything I didn’t absolutely LOVE and I didn’t worry as much about spending, because I knew that if I could just fill the slots, I wouldn’t be spending any more.
  • Our bedroom has much more clear space; there is margin for my eyes & brain when I look around, and I like it.

 

 

 

Downsides:

  • With a limited wardrobe, losing something is THE WORST. I had a fabulous black & white flecked, cotton, long cardigan and it was a perfect fit in the winter rotation. It worked with a few different combos of shirts, bottoms, & accessories. Then, it disappeared. I have no idea what happened to it. I guess I left it somewhere (I don’t get out much, so I found this hard to believe), or it fell out of my bag, or the laundry room monsters ate it. Same with one of my three jeans that ripped a hole in the knee (not in the stylish, intentional way). I was devastated! I love those jeans! I felt the same when a key t-shirt got a stain and I had to rotate it through the laundry a few times. When you don’t have much, you really do miss the items when they are not available.
  • I did not account for how many layers I wear during the winter! Most days, I was either working in our chilly basement or in a public space like a coffee shop or library (whose centrally controlled heat usually tends to the cool or the unpredictable). As a result, I was often wearing 2 or 3 layers on top: a t-shirt, a chambray-type button-up, a sweater. Tripling up means waaay fewer options to wear as well as unique combinations of the individual pieces. I really like my clothes, but I was SO READY for shifting my wardrobe when the weather began to turn.
  • More limited colour palette. When a wardrobe is so pared down, a piece that is not very flexible just does not seem valuable. You start to resent the space it takes up in the roster when it contributes to little. I have a fun & unique coloured striped sweater that I love. But, it doesn’t really go with anything. I want to send it down to the minors, but the thing is, I really like it! I think that is true for a lot of bold coloured items or unique prints, and why when you look at most capsule wardrobes, you see a lot of grey, black, and monotones.
  • Not much margin for error. If I go through a bout of lots of eating & celebrating and not much exercising, some clothing items, how-you-say, don’t look good. If they are out, there isn’t much left! Not much margin for error. I would NOT recommend this project for anyone in between babies or within a year or two of birthing. Unless, you know, you want to lose your mind.

 

Overall, I am really pleased with this new system. Every time I groan about one of the downsides, I ultimately conclude that I am way happier with fewer clothes. More space, less clutter (physically and mentally), straight up: simpler. I love it.

But, I am SO ready for a new season of clothes. Not that I will get a whole new wardrobe, but my t-shirts will actually see the light of day from beneath the layers, and tanks may start to appear. Eventually, shorts & skirts or dresses. I have never longed for a change in seasons, sartorially, before.

Have you tried this kind of wardrobe planning? What are the key things that make you think "No WAY!"? Any questions about my experience so far? Share your comments with everyone below!

 

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