Capsule Wardrobe Q+A

"Reducing your life down to three pairs of jeans, two skirts, a couple of shirts, and a few pairs of shoes was so nice for me. I really loved living in this tiny room where I didn't have space for anything. It sounds really lame, but it made me feel a lot more free, because I just didn't have as many choices."
-Emma Watson (About dorm life, 2011)

When I first encountered the idea of a Capsule Wardrobe, there were some really valid questions that immediately came to mind, and I've been asked some since making my capsule public. I want to take a few minutes to walk through the answers that I have personally arrived at, and hopefully give you some answers as well.

Q: If you have perfectly good clothes, why put them away? What if you need them?

A: You know that feeling you get when you've just bought new clothes? It's invigorating, a feeling of sweet indulgence and refreshment. You feel like you've just scratched an itch that you didn't even know was there. Sometimes, though, it's an emotionally duplicitous moment. Ugh, I love this so much but I shouldn't have spent so much on it or I really shouldn't have gotten 4 of these... Buyer's remorse is quite possibly the most out-putting feeling ever. It snuffs even the most blissful of flames, and turns sour a moment that should have felt gratifying. Setting aside for now the fact that things shouldn't always fill our emotional needs in the first place, there are many true benefits in taking a rest from our stuff. Putting some of your clothes in storage for a season gives you a visual break from them. When the time comes to build your new capsule and you pull out all your stored items, you get that "new clothes" feel all over again. This time, though, buyer's remorse is a non-issue. It's a really helpful way to truly get the most enjoyment out of what you already own.

Q: What if I have leftover pieces in storage that never make it into rotation?

A: Capsule wardrobes help us hone our style by living it out and analyzing after the fact. Since a capsule wardrobe only gives you 37 pieces to work with (or whatever number you settle on), chances are you will use every single piece while that capsule is in effect. This helps eliminate items that you never wear, and lets you keep track of what you do wear a lot easier. After going through a few capsules, I had lots of clothes I had kept, but had never chosen for a capsule. This told me that, apparently, those weren't my favorites. So why keep them? I combine the idea of a capsule wardrobe with minimalism, and I think they all reduce stress and bring intentionality to our lives. If you’re thinking about clearing out some of the things you don’t wear, just keep in mind that you don’t have to do it ALL AT ONCE. It’s always a process and you can take your time.

Q: What if I get halfway through a capsule and one of my items just isn't working or gets irreparably damaged? Do I just have to live with 36 items for the rest of the capsule period?

A: Not according to me! This happened to me just a couple weeks ago. The zipper on my trusty old denim skirt finally gave up on life and can't be repaired. Also, one of my sweaters started falling apart after only a couple wears, and I discovered that I hated the way I felt in one of my shirts. I needed to buy a dress for a big production I was involved in. What to do? I took the opportunity to explore local ethical fashion shops and bought as many items as I had to replace, the dress I needed being one of them. A capsule wardrobe is meant to free up your life, not serve as shackles. If changes need to be made halfway through, make them. If 37 isn't a good number for you, find one that is. No pressure, just fun and liberation!

I hope this helps answer some more common questions about capsule wardrobing. I would love to hear your questions and perspective in the comments