What I Learned From My First Capsule Wardrobe

In winter of 2017/18, I took part in my very first ‘official’ capsule wardrobe. Up until then I had been slowly working to declutter and downsize my closet, but this was the first time that I actually planned a set number of pieces that I would wear for a span of 3 months. Today I wanted to share what I learned from my first experience, as it might help you if you are thinking of starting a capsule wardrobe yourself!

1. I could probably use less items.

My winter capsule wardrobe was 43 pieces, which is relatively small especially compared to what my closet used to look like. But I still felt like it was somehow a lot, and I didn’t get much wear out of some of the items. I think it will be a continual game of figuring out what feels right – 43 pieces was a bit much for me, whereas for someone it might be way too much, or too little. Finding the perfect balance between having a closet that suits your needs but has limited clutter is key.

2. It doesn’t feel that much different from a regular wardrobe.

By this I mean that I didn’t feel extremely restricted in any way. I still felt like I had a lot of variety and options, which is important to me. And I wasn’t having to do laundry too often, either! But the difference was that there was no more clutter. I used to open my wardrobe and see it stuffed with clothes and still feel like I had nothing to wear. I felt guilty for spending so much money on expensive clothes that didn’t fit me right or that I didn’t enjoy wearing. Those feelings were gone, and seemingly without any negative consequences. This is the point that has permanently changed how I view my closet and shopping habits.

3. I wear a lot of black.

Black is a way of staying in my comfort zone and also ensuring that I’ll be able to get a lot of wear out of a given item because it’s such a classic, neutral colour that works in any setting. But I started to realize that especially in my winter wardrobe, I had a lot of black! It’s a good place to start from, but I’m also looking forward to branching out a bit colour-wise in my 2018 spring capsule wardrobe.

First Capsule Wardrobe

4. I don’t really have a strong sense of my personal style.

Building on top of point #3 above, I realized that my current wardrobe is a very classic and basic style. I started out with that because it’s easy, comfortable, and there is a pretty simple formula. If you have all of the classic ‘basic’ items a wardrobe needs (i.e. a pair of black trousers, a white tee, a blazer, etc.) then you are pretty much guaranteed to be able to dress appropriately and look nice for any occasion.

But I realized this is not necessarily what I like. I enjoy experimenting with different styles and expressing myself through what I wear. In this sense, it was a good exercise for me to have a blank canvas to work from, because it showed me that I need to work on developing my true personal style. It’s something that takes time, but taking it back to the minimum was the first step to finding out what that is.

5. I tend to wear the same thing every day.

I do love a good chunky knit sweater and comfortable denim, especially in winter. What I actually found the most difficult about my capsule wardrobe was trying to come up with a new outfit every day to show you on my instagram. I wanted to show you that you can still have a lot of variety and versatility with a capsule wardrobe, and give you some inspiration. But I had to get really creative!

I think it comes down to the fact that I value comfort and functionality, and I also like having a routine. When I find something that works, I tend to stick to it. So while I do like to experiment and try new things, I know I will alway have a core set of basics (my ‘uniform’) which really takes the guesswork out of getting dressed in the morning and ensures I’m always comfortable and feeling good in what I wear.

So to summarize, here are the most important lessons I think I’ve learned from my first capsule wardrobe experience:

  • There are no hard and fast rules – try a few things and find what feels good for you!
  • You can have the best of both worlds when it comes to your closet not feeling too cluttered but still offering you enough versatility to suit your lifestyle.
  • Developing your personal style takes time and effort, but in the meantime there are certain classics and basic items that you can rely on to make getting dressed a whole lot easier.
  • Having a ‘uniform’ that you feel most comfortable in is really useful for days when you’re rushed or feel like you have nothing to wear.

I hope you enjoyed this article! Thanks for reading,

Emily xx

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What I Learned From My First Capsule Wardrobe

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  • This is my first visit to your website. Love your classic style. I’m looking forward to purging my closet, as I have similar taste but also a lot of nonsense. Look forward to simplifying and setting myself free. I have always loved fashion since I was a little girl and wanted to wear my mom’s clothes to kindergarten. I’ll share my surprise, I will be 70 next month and feel and look much much younger. My secret…a good sense of humour and don’t take yourself too seriously. All the best to you and good luck.
    June bug in PHOENIX

    • Thank you so much! I love your philosophy on life. Good luck with simplifying your wardrobe – I’m sure you’ll feel a lot more free after! 🙂