Thursday, May 14, 2015

Why I Can’t Do a Capsule Wardrobe (See also: My dumb first world problem.)

Simplification is all the rage. But it gets kind of complicated.

Capsule Wardrobes are the thing right now. Basically, the idea is to limit yourself to a certain number of versatile clothing items for each season. You wear the same 37 (or so) articles of clothing/shoes in different combinations for 3 months, then pull everything else out of storage and remix your wardrobe for the next season. (That doesn’t include undies/socks, workout clothes, pajamas, etc.) The idea is to only purchase things you love and will work well with things you already have. Given the blog posts and Facebook links I’ve seen on this topic lately, it’s a brand new idea no one’s ever thought of before.

But here’s the thing. The Capsule Wardrobe is supposed to simplify your daily life. And I love that. But switching out clothes from storage every three months? No way. Talk about un-simplifying things.  Let’s be honest. I do good to move my kids’ shoes and clothes out of their closet when they’ve been too small for 3 months. There’s no way I’m going to voluntarily decide to “remix” my own clothes four times a year. Go ahead and think, “that’s not that often.” And then smack yourself. Because remember when Caedmon was having laser treatments every 3 months? Something you have to do every 3 months comes around too fast. Every single time.

It’s also supposed to help simplify your laundry. I don’t know about you, but no matter how many articles of clothing I own, I only wear a certain number of clothes each day. So the laundry burden wouldn’t change for me.

I also wear a lot of the same things in every season. Sure, shorts and sandals are pretty much a summer thing. And a few sweaters are only worn in winter. But jeans? V-neck t-shirts? Boyfriend cardigans? Chucks? Most of my long sleeve shirts? All year. (I’m cold natured…and it’s the same temperature inside all year long.)  So it really wouldn’t do me much good to switch out even half of my 37-ish items every 3 months.

And let’s talk about how many articles of clothing/shoes 37 x 4 actually is. (Not counting your workout clothes, swimwear, undies, and the jeans you wear to paint the living room.) Sure, there are a few that would cross over. Let’s say that you have 10 things you wear all year long or would cross over to multiple seasons. The other 27 items are switched out every 3 months. That’s 118 items. And actually a lot of clothes. At any given time, you’re required to store 81 articles of clothing/shoes. Where are you supposed to put that stuff? It’s not supposed to be in your closet. It’s supposed to be in “storage”. I don’t have that kind of extra space lying around for stuff that could actually fit in my closet.

Sure, I keep things I should get rid of. Just today, I went through my side of the closet and donated quite a few items.  My general rule is that if I didn’t wear it in the past year, it’s gone. And I haven’t been diligent in that the past couple of years. Generally, if I’m buying something new, it’s probably replacing something I’ve gotten rid of or filling a gap. Just for fun, I counted the items in my closet – including a few quality pieces I’ve chosen to hold onto even though I haven’t worn them in a while. I have about 100 items. That officially leaves me 18 items short. Yet I don’t feel the need to run out and buy 18 new things. 

I think the main point in the whole Capsule Wardrobe endeavor is to only buy things you love and will wear a lot. With very few exceptions, I already do that. And I always have. So that means I leave a lot of things on the rack at the store. If I don’t love it, or I don’t see myself wearing it a lot, I don’t buy it. It’s pretty simple. I’ve also been known to visit clothes in the store. If I really like something, I’ll keep going back to it each time I’m in the store…usually waiting for it to go on sale. If I really love it every time I see it, I know it would be a good purchase. If I don’t, I know it might not be the best idea, no matter the price.

If the official Capsule Wardrobe works for you, then by all means, go for it. I get what it’s trying to do. It’s just not my thing.
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