Minimize Your Wardrobe: Is a Capsule Wardrobe Right For YOU?If you ever read minimalist blogs, you’ll hear people talking about some extremes. One of those extremes is creating a capsule wardrobe of only 30 items. Steve Jobs was known for wearing the same thing most days and it probably saved him countless minutes (that translated into hours over a lifetime) by not obsessing about what to wear each day. Many people work to emulate that concept in the world of minimalism, and many people do smaller challenges to try to live with just 30 items of apparel for a month or two to see how it goes. 

Why a Capsule Wardrobe is Good:

You might be thinking that wearing only thirty items seems crazy, and actually impossible. If you’re thinking that, you might be right. BUT…doing a challenge to pare your wardrobe down and focus on just a few items clothing could be a really good thing. Let’s say you try this for a month:  you just might realize a few important things. First, the act of evaluating your wardrobe to decide what your core items of clothing are that fit into a capsule wardrobe is a good activity in and of itself. By evaluating your wardrobe, you will inevitably find the clothing that you simply do not wear much. However, if you wear the same thirty items for a month, you might just realize that there are so many outfits and items in your closet that you simply do not need. You will have proven to yourself that you CAN live on a much more minimal wardrobe.

Is a Capsule Wardrobe Right For Me? 

We’re about to have our first kiddo in a few weeks and after wearing the same few clothes for roughly six months when my waistline began to expand, I can tell you that I don’t think a capsule wardrobe is right for my lifestyle. Could I do it? Sure thing. But, I honestly miss having some variety in my wardrobe. I like having a few more options in my daily look. 

I also like having more flexibility around when I do my laundry. When I am limited on what clothes fit me at the moment, I feel like I’m doing laundry every day. Sometimes in life, minimalism does not equal simplicity and this is one of those cases. For me, simplicity in life sometimes comes from having more of an item so that I can go with the flow and always have something ready to use. Clothing is one of those things and I have my pregnancy to thank for it. By having a few more options, I can roll with a crazy few days and not stress about running a load of laundry because I am literally out of clothes to wear. 

Is a Capsule Wardrobe Right For YOU?

Remember that minimalism is a subjective term. What it means for one person is not always the same for another. Just because someone else online has chosen to wear only thirty items of clothing, that does not mean that you have to. If you’ve never evaluated your wardrobe, I’d encourage you to do one of the two things above: pretend like you’re doing a thirty in thirty challenge and look for what those top items of clothing would be, OR do a thirty day challenge where you wear clothes from a capsule wardrobe of only thirty items. Try it out first and see if you like it or if it works with your lifestyle. After my experience with a maternity wardrobe, I think it’s safe to say that you’ll know if this approach to clothing is right for you. 

What You Can Do Instead:

Okay, so you’re like me and you’ve decided that a super minimal wardrobe is just not realistic. While I don’t want to live out of the same thirty items of clothing for my entire life, I still can be aware of my clothing habits. Here are a few things we can all do (talking to myself here) to help keep a simple wardrobe:

  1. Cull regularly: Constantly be looking through your clothing to see if there’s something you really just don’t wear and does not belong in your closet. 
  2. Take notes about how your stuff fits into the space you have. If your closet is busting at the seams and you can barely close your drawers, you might need to get more ruthless about what you are keeping. 
  3. Focus on neutrals you can mix and match. Invest in some really good pieces like pants, jackets, or skirts and buy them in good neutral tones you can mix and match. Then, you can get fun with the other items that you would wear with these staple items. For example, you can wear a patterned top with a pair of black pants and a jacket, but you can also wear that same top with a pair of jeans and a cardigan for a completely different look. 
  4. Focus on quality. Sure, it can be painful to spend more money on an expensive pair of leather boots, or a nice jacket. However, if you consider the garbage waste you create by buying fast fashion, and the amount you inevitably spend over the course of many years by purchasing multiple pairs of cheap boots, you get more out of the higher quality ones. I’ll say the big exception here is if you are able to buy secondhand. 
  5. One in and one out. If you get a new t-shirt and want to keep it, go through your shirts to see if there’s another one you can give away or repurpose into a rag. 
  6. Turn your hangers. Turn all of your hangers the reverse direction. When you use an item of clothing, turn the hanger back to the regular direction. After a few months, you’ll be able to easily see the clothing you don’t wear. 
  7. Create a holding box. Set aside a space where you put clothes you think you want to get rid of. If you don’t go searching for that item of clothing after six months, give it away. 
  8. Focus on your realistic number. If you can’t do life with just thirty articles of clothing, then go for sixty, or ninety. Set yourself a limit or number goal to reach for just to get yourself going. 
  9. Don’t shop for fun. One easy way to keep your closet under control is to only go shopping for clothing when you really need something. When you shop as a social event, for fun, or as a diversion, you end up with a bunch of clothing you may not necessarily need. 

minimize your wardrobe