Capsule Wardrobe and Minimalism

Hello friends. We are nearing that special part of the year when the fashion industry transitions to a new “season” and convinces us that without new clothes we will look awful. In response I am going to try to do a no buy challenge and cultivate a capsule wardrobe. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of a capsule wardrobe it is simply paring down your existing wardrobe to 30, 37, 12, whatever number you decide number of pieces in coordinating colours to make choosing an outfit very streamlined and simple. The hope is you will have only items you love of good quality (bonus points for sustainable and ethical choices).

If this is your first foray into trying to create a capsule wardrobe I used the very handy guide by un-fancy here but I simplified even more. She says to do 37 items a season, I did mine a bit more drastic to 15 items a season. I also classified seasons into Spring/Summer Fall/Winter rather that as 4 distinct seasons. I live in Canada, Spring and Fall basically last a week. I do like her idea of separating out your items into the Yes I would wear it right now, maybe one day, and no piles. If you are looking at reducing your wardrobe you should be looking at your clothes with a critical eye and try not to keep things for sentimental reasons, or because you want to be the person who wears that thing but you just don’t. The other benefit of this is when you look at your Yes pile at the end you can identify your true style and identify gaps to make things easier when you do need to make a new purchase.

The purchasing part is a big glaring problem in many capsule wardrobe philosophies that I have found. Many of these blogs advocate buying 5-10 trendy items to stay on trend but the entire point of the capsule wardrobe is to be timeless. While I don’t think it is necessary to put an entire moratorium on buying new clothes I think that the capsule wardrobe philosophy should go into it. Is this going to match with my current curated outfits, does it fill a hole I’ve identified, is it of good quality that will last? Hopefully with these things in mind it will make your purchasing far more mindful and result in a wardrobe that you love, that also makes getting ready in the morning simpler.

Now you may be wondering why bother? Why don’t I just buy it all and donate what I don’t wear anymore? The fashion industry is problematic in many ways. Check out the documentary True Cost that delves into the “true costs” of the fashion industry.

Here are the bullet points:

  • The fashion industry is the worlds second largest polluter overall.
  • The second largest polluter of clean water.
  • 25% of the worlds chemicals are used for the fashion industry.

You may be thinking “I know I have a lot of clothes but I always donate my old clothes”, I respect you trying to do the right thing but that may not necessarily be as good as you hoped.

  • Only 10% of clothing that is donated is resold, the rest ends up in landfills or to third-world countries where it harms the local economy. This is one of the beefs people have with Toms one for one policy.

There is also a human cost to the fast fashion industry. Not only are the factory workers exploited but so are the people that work to get the materials to make the clothes.

  • There has been a rise in cancer rates and birth defects in areas associated with high pesticide use. 250,000 Indian cotton farmers have committed suicide in the past 15 years.
  • We also know the dismal wages of sweatshop workers, part of the reason for that is that we live in a consumerist world so those factories that can offer cheaper labour are the ones most likely to get the work. This directly depletes the already meager wages of the workers.

I hope this post helps inspire you to try a capsule wardrobe. If you aren’t quite ready to part with your items I challenge you to try a capsule wardrobe for a week and just put your other items in a box. Maybe you’ll enjoy your simplified routine and feel more aware of your own style.

If you try it, let me know what you think! I know it’s been a real benefit to me as I feel I look more put together while actually taking less time to get so.