What I learned from putting a capsule wardrobe in place. How it taught me to shop smarter, style better and keep my spending in check.
WHAT I LEARNED HAVING A CAPSULE WARDROBE
Years ago, I decided to strip back my closet because it was overflowing with bright colourful printed pieces which though beautiful, would tend to give me a bit of anxiety when getting dressed. Nothing worked as I really lacked pieces that tied it all together. A lack of core staples was a huge issue. Huge.
Then I found myself moving states again, which meant I had to reduce what I carried with me. I sold and donated a ton and armed with two suitcases and a list, created a capsule wardrobe shopping list. I blogged about it, because, I’ve been blogging now for over nine years. Yeah, nine. It’s been a while. You can find some of the capsule posts here.
I USED THE CAPSULE WARDROBE AS A GUIDE AND IT TAUGHT ME HOW TO SHOP SMARTER
My pared-back wardrobe did me well for a few years. I will say that I wasn’t strict with it as some people are. There wasn’t a set restriction to 30 something items. The capsule was more of a guide. It was useful when I was looking to fill gaps in my wardrobe with essentials that would be used all the time. Occasionally, I’d add in other fun items. I shopped a whole lot less and found it easier to maintain the sheer volume of pieces I had.
Naturally, being a fashion blogger, I was gifted a lot of wardrobe updates from brands to try and share. First and foremost, I only accepted or shared pieces I actually liked and thought I could share with full confidence. However, once they arrived, nine times out of ten pieces didn’t actually fit me. And I soon found myself with a load of extra clothes that though I liked and was happy to recommend on here, didn’t actually need to keep per se as they didn’t fit well. Hence my big clear out and wardrobe sale last year.
Over the years, having to clear out so much has taught me a few things about how I can shop better. Today I thought I would share a bit of this with you below.
Sales are not an excuse to shop.
Man, that was a big one for me. At times, I used to find out my favourite department store or boutique were having a massive clearance sale and buy things because I loved them and they were on sale. Not because I needed them or taking into account if the fit was right. Those pieces inevitably were either worn once or twice or never at all. I’m not saying buy everything full price, of course. Now, I tend to really ponder an item for weeks or months before I purchase it. And a sale code is usually worth waiting for. Even 20% off an item you love and will wear is better than 60% off something that you like a lot but it’s a little too big.
Create a wish list and stick to it.
I tend to have a wish list with a few pieces most of the time. That way I am not swayed often. I might see something to add to my wish list but I’m less likely to impulse purchase if I could think on it and instead put my hard earned towards a piece I’ve been dreaming of for weeks or months.
Designer is not everything.
Okay, I love a designer piece. Usually, it’s less likely to be everywhere, more likely to have a unique print, cut or design and something special. Often too, the fabric and manufacturing quality is worth investing more in. This is of course, not always the case. I’ve learned over the years how many designer brands can cut corners as they get bigger. Sometimes a brand I once relied on has increased its market and had to change manufacturing processes to meet demands. Great for them, but there are times where the quality can drop, which is a shame.
Some high-street brands are actually manufactured pretty well, with excellent quality fabrics. I appreciate not only the value for money but that by purchasing something of good quality, I overall buy less and wear those items for longer. An example of this is a brand like Everlane or Uniqlo. Personally, I like to mix and match quality high-street brands with designer to make a look my own.
Having less means wearing more.
This is a given really, the less you have the more you wear what you have. I found when I had over 100 dresses in my closet (no exaggeration) I wore them seldom. Now that I have a lot less, what I do have gets rotated and worn more often. By culling down to the dresses I loved and felt more at home in means I get more from them. They make me happy and cover the bases for all of the occasions I need.
‘I have nothing to wear’ is all in your head.
Haha this was literally me every day, staring into an overstuffed wardrobe. Having less made it a lot less overwhelming. It also made me more inclined to stop and try things on and come up with outfits. I snap a mirror pic which I store in a folder on my phone to reference later. Having curated pieces with intention, I know what goes with what.
By curating, I love the pieces I own more.
Seriously, Mario has joked I love my clothes more than him. Haha. He has caught me beaming at my open closet on occasion. Even a simple knit jumper can make me so happy.
No one thing will work for everyone.
Learning what works for you is everything. Keeping a strict 30-piece capsule wardrobe might really work for one person, but not for others. Having tons of options might work super well for you. It didn’t for me, so now while I don’t think you would consider my closet a capsule wardrobe anymore, those key pieces form the foundations of most of my outfits. Those foundations make it much easier for me to get dressed and feel confident in my style. If you are interested in trying it out the capsule wardrobe, let me know below. Have you given it a try? I’d be keen to hear what your thoughts were.
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