It’s been quite a while since I gave up the capsule wardrobe, in favour of a more relaxed approach (or some might just say normal) to my closet, however I do still get the occasional person asking me if I’d ever consider reverting back to a capsule wardrobe. In part, I wonder if it’s mostly due to the fact that my closet has been riddled with purchases which I’ve later come to realise just aren’t right (or that I have multiples of), and while I may have made more wardrobe mistakes than most, I’m relatively happy with the current contents, and the direction that I’m hoping to take my style in this year.
ON WHY I TRIED THE CAPSULE WARDROBE
I’ve always considered myself to be quite an analytical person, and given my interest in personal style and fashion in general, that analytical approach becomes two-fold where my closet is concerned. Before I embarked on my capsule wardrobe journey, I used to keep a list which detailed each item in my wardrobe by category, which I frequently updated with each new purchase or cull. I would use this list to mark out how many times I wore each piece, with the aim of getting at least 30 wears per item; only naturally, I would refer to this in the morning to ensure that my closet was in regular rotation. There’s that common adage that we use just 20% of our wardrobe, 80% of the time, and I was so focused on debunking that ‘myth’ – I wanted my wardrobe to be perfect, and full of staple pieces that I felt excited to wear.
It was during this time of deep analysis of my belongings that I started to feel inspired to try a capsule wardrobe. They weren’t quite as popular as they are today, but the 30×30 Wardrobe Challenge seemed like a good option for someone wanting to dip their toe in. Thirty pieces for a whole month is actually a pretty generous amount – I found it difficult filling up my quota for my recent 30×30 Capsule Wardrobe video – but for a girl who was wearing at least double that number of items each month, it seemed relatively reasonable. It meant I’d have to re-wear pieces; be more creative with my outfits if I don’t want to repeat a look, and I’d have to carefully select my items so that they fell within a cohesive colour scheme.
It wasn’t until we’d moved to Sydney that I took it a step further; 33 items for three months. It was a time in my life when I was quite stressed out, and shopping emotionally, and I thought the reduced focus on purchasing new items (and instead shopping my wardrobe) would help ensure I lived within my means, and could set money aside for other savings goals. And, for the most part, it worked. While I was still shopping, I was spending less time agonising over the shops or thinking about potential new purchases. Instead, I spent more of this time poring over my wardrobe. What could I sell? What gaps were there in my closet? What new combinations could I come up with? What items would secure a coveted space in my next seasonal capsule?
Essentially, I became obsessed. The process might have been fun at first, but it quickly became a chore – especially after having a capsule wardrobe for about 18 months. I started to miss the spontaneity of getting dressed in something because I felt like it, rather than in items I had to wear because they were in my capsule. I began to follow these rigid rules and restrictions I’d placed on what I could (and couldn’t) wear, and I wasn’t enjoying it at all anymore.
REFINING MY STYLE
But, if there’s one thing that the capsule wardrobe taught me, it was how to refine my style. I could identify what I felt good in and what I didn’t, and I started to develop some style rules that were front of mind when getting dressed in the morning. I’ve written a whole post on how to find your personal style, yet this past year has taught me that it’s in a constant state of change. While I do know what I like, and what will never feel quite ‘me’, there still seems to be a bit of a disconnect. Defining your style is hard, and I still find myself buying or investing in items that are absolutely gorgeous, only to later come to the realisation that they aren’t for me.
My style has never been ground-breaking, and it’s never been complicated. I feel most comfortable wearing something basic – a simple tee and a denim skirt has literally become my summer uniform, though it doesn’t quite make for interesting blog content! If there’s one thing I’m looking forward to this year, it’s making the most of my winter wardrobe. I’ve been pinning like mad recently, and have been feeling quite inspired by so many looks on Pinterest, which I’m planning to translate into my own wardrobe, and outfits, this year. Wish me luck!
THE STYLE UNIFORM
Perhaps the one thing I came to rely on, after giving up the capsule wardrobe, was a few uniform looks that I knew just worked. I’ve thrown around the word style recipe, which let’s face it, is just another word for a style uniform, but essentially, it’s a combination of key wardrobe ingredients which when combined, make a tidy-looking outfit that epitomises your style, and that you also feel great in.
I’m still working on my style uniforms (there’s a couple I’d like to try for autumn/winter), but for summer, this generally involves a silk top, denim skirt, and low mid heels, or a loose fitting tee paired with a denim skirt and some sandals. I like to balance out my proportions by pairing something loose with something more fitted, which is something I’m working on as there are some really interesting silhouettes that I’d love to get into regular rotation, I’m just looking for that Goldilocks effect from the right mix, which I know I’ll feel truly confident in.
These style uniforms are what now typically tend to form the basis of my day-to-day outfits. I’m less reliant on a carefully edited selection of my wardrobe, and more on a silhouette of key pieces, which can easily slot into each function, regardless of the ‘colour palette’ or texture. A style uniform might not inspire as much ‘forced’ creativity as a capsule wardrobe can, and while I still find myself reaching for those old favourites, I don’t feel restricted when I want to mix things up a little. My colour palette is still mostly comprised of black, grey, white, tan, blush, red (!!! I know!) and denim hues, but these subtle changes and breadth of options make me feel like I have a lot more choice and variety at my fingertips – something completely lacking from a capsule wardrobe.
So, are you a capsule wardrobe kind of girl, or is a style uniform more your speed? x