Five lessons I’ve learned from my capsule wardrobe

minimal capsule wardrobe lessons

I’ve been living with less, or should I say, with a capsule wardrobe, for a good 18 months now. I’ve streamlined my closet, I’ve discovery my personal style, and seldom find myself feeling like I’ve got nothing to wear. But, it hasn’t been without its hurdles, so I thought today I’d share with you the five lessons that I’ve learned from having a capsule wardrobe.

ONE: Black, white and grey aren’t the only colours
It’s all too easy to get caught up in the trap of sticking to the big three; black, white and grey, but I think that a capsule wardrobe can encompass so many more options (and choices) than that, when it comes to colour schemes. Personally, I like to throw in a smattering of navy, cornflower blue and blush pink – not only does it help to break up the monotony of a largely neutral wardrobe, it also helps to make things a little bit fun.

If wearing black, white and grey are your thing, then that’s great, but if not, don’t be deterred by the largely monochromatic capsule wardrobes out there. Planning a colour palette is key; it may take some time to perfect, but it’ll mean a world of difference if you can’t bear to think of going three months without a bit of colour or a playful print.

TWO: Having a go-to look or uniform is e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g
If you’d told me five years ago that I’d be repeating outfits on a weekly (or sometimes daily) basis, there is no chance that I would have believed you. My wardrobe was borderline excessive (okay, real talk: it was excessive), and it’d be a good month or two before I wore the same piece a second, third, or fourth time. These days, I’m a serial outfit repeater. I know which looks complement my figure, while remaining true to my personal style, and it’s helped me to develop a ‘uniform’ that I can reach for on mornings where I don’t want to think too much about what I’m wearing.

Making the decision to downsize can be scary, particularly if you’re used to having a closet full of options to choose from. Creating a uniform (or two, or three) based around your favourite outfits is a great way to soften the blow, while developing a signature look which can have you out of the door in less than five minutes (shower time not included).

THREE: It’s okay to repeat outfits, even in the same week
While on the topic of wardrobe uniforms, I started to realise that outfit repeating – whether that be the head to toe look or combination of pieces – was not a sin. In reality, few people notice (unless you’re a fully-fledged fashion blogger and let’s face it, most of us aren’t!) and on reflection, to me it seemed silly not to wear the pieces (and outfits) that I loved to death.

FOUR: You don’t miss what you don’t have
If there’s one thing that downsizing my wardrobe has taught me, it’s that you don’t miss what you don’t have. Same can be said for capsule wardrobes, as you get into the rhythm of wearing those 30 (or 33, or 37) pieces only over the course of a season. My mindset always quickly shifts to thinking solely about the items I have access to, rather than my wardrobe as a whole, which has always made the transition that. much. easier.

Placing a lot of weight – emotional or material – on your belongings isn’t healthy, and streamlining my closet and keeping a capsule wardrobe has really instilled that in me. Your wardrobe should be functional and have a role in your day-to-day life, in so much that it’s practical, keeps you warm (or cool!), and reflects the way that you want to present yourself to the world. It’s cliché to say this, but less definitely equals more.

FIVE: There’s no such thing as a perfect capsule wardrobe
Finally, while I think you can get pretty close, there’s no such thing as the perfect capsule wardrobe. I’m a good six seasonal capsules in, and I still find that there’ll be something I’m lacking (but can make do without), or something that I regret including in my capsule (whether it be that it just doesn’t ‘fit’ the style, or is impractical).

Rather than let that define my experience, I’ve come to embrace it and think about what learnings I can take away from these so-called imperfections, which in truth, are usually pretty minor. Perhaps also just as important is not letting the confines of the challenge rules dictate what you can and can’t change; if something isn’t working for you, then find something that does.

Let’s face it, capsule wardrobes aren’t for everyone, and questions to think about if you’re planning on giving it a go are things like: is a capsule wardrobe right for you? Will it live up to your expectations? Will it work for you or against you? Will it be an experience that you will enjoy, or not?

And for those of you who are seasoned in the capsuling experience, I’d love to know what your key takeaways and lessons have been! x

6 Comments

  1. Meep March 23, 2016 / 9:07 am

    Great points! I’m new to doing a capsule wardrobe and I’m doing one capsule for fall/winter and one for spring/summer with an average of 30 to 40 items since my work life varies. What I’ve noticed is that sometimes, during those odd transitional months when it’s cold one day and blazing hot the next, I pull an item that I’ve tucked away for the season. At first it was frustrating that I was “cheating” but realized that you can only plan so much with the weather! Has this happened to you and what are your tips on transitional periods?

    Xoxo, love your blog!

    Instagram:meeperlovesluxe

    • jamie-lee March 25, 2016 / 8:44 am

      I’ve found the same thing, which is part of the reason why I tend to plan out only part of my capsule – sometimes I’ll add in the pieces with one month to go, but it definitely helps to add in a little extra variety and keep things interesting, almost like an incremental capsule? I think it can be hard to deviate form the rules, particularly if you like to follow them to a tee, but if you have mostly cold weather and then one hot day all of a sudden, I would be doing the same thing as you! Hope that helps and thank you xx

  2. Jessie March 23, 2016 / 9:39 am

    Love this! I had the opposite color problem, I had too many colorful items and no neutrals. I scaled back and realized that I felt most comfortable in black, white, and gray as a foundation and then I add in navy, hunter/army green, or burgandy and lots of texture for interest. I 100% agree about having a uniform. I have to be at work at 6:30 am (so early!) so creating a uniform helps maximize my sleep, I can just grab and go and know that whatever combination I select will work together.

    • jamie-lee March 25, 2016 / 8:42 am

      That’s so interesting to hear as I feel like 9 times out of 10, it’s the other way round. 6.30am?!!!! Yikes! I can imagine that having some outfits you love would make life so much easier xx

    • jamie-lee March 25, 2016 / 8:41 am

      Thank you! It’s not always like this though (and this is just a small section of it!) x

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