Capsule wardrobes have been all the rage for the past few years. When I first heard about them, I thought “good for her. not for me.” There’s no way I would be able to do that. Right? Wrong.
I didn’t transition into a capsule wardrobe overnight, and I don’t recommend anyone does. It’s a fairly emotional experience, and some of the decisions take some time to finalize.
While some people have a much more extreme capsule wardrobe than I do, I’m still proud of the progress I’ve made. I’ve probably cut my wardrobe in half over the last year, and I’m actually feeling better about the clothes that I own.
But there must be a catch, right? A little bit. Here are the pros and cons of a capsule wardrobe.
The Pros of a Capsule Wardrobe
Fewer Choices in the Morning
When I had a ton of clothes, my morning would get a little stressful. I had too many options, which made it feel like I had nothing to wear. I didn’t understand the value of each individual piece, and I didn’t have outfits planned out in my head.
Now that I have fewer articles of clothing, I know which pieces go together. I know my gingham shirt goes with both pairs of jeans and one of my skirts. It can also be worn with one of three sweaters over it. Even if I’m half asleep, I can pick out one of many outfits and throw it on.
Spending Less Money on Trendy Clothing
I used to be obsessed with H&M. (Okay, I still am.) Every time a new trendy piece came out (read: always), I had to have it. After all, it’s only $20! But those $20 purchases add up over time.
I try to stick with a $1/wear goal. If I buy a $15 pair of flats, I have to wear them at least 15 times. If I invest in a $250 bag, I have to be able to use it at least 250 times. If I keep getting $20 dresses, I’m not going to have enough days in my life to get each of them down to $1/wear. There’s just no way. So, those purchases have stopped.
A Better Understanding of What Colors I Gravitate Toward
If you look in my closet (oh look! a photo, so you don’t have to creep through my window!), you’ll see a lot of neutrals: white, grey, and black. These are the colors (are they colors?) I gravitate toward. Like it or leave it. You’re only going to see one brown item in there, and very few reds and pinks. Blue, on the other hand? I love it.
This really helps when I go shopping. I might fall in love with a red midi skirt, but it’s just not practical for me. I don’t wear red unless there’s a Wings game on. Sure, red goes with all of the neutrals in my closet, but so does a black midi skirt that I would get much more use out of. I’m more likely to wear black than I am to wear red.
The Cons of a Capsule Wardrobe
Doing Laundry More Often
I’ve heard some say that having a capsule wardrobe has caused them to do less laundry. And I’m calling BS on that. Unless they’re never washing their clothes, I don’t see how that’s possible. I used to be able to get away with putting off laundry until I ran out of clean underwear. Now I have to do it every weekend, no exceptions.
After all, doesn’t that make sense? Fewer clothes = more laundry. Sure, I’ve got a better understanding of how many times I can actually wear a piece of clothing without washing it. I don’t have to wash a skirt after every use unless I’ve spilled something on it. But I’ve still got mo’ laundry mo’ problems.
It’s a Bigger Deal When Clothes Don’t Fit Any More
Going from college to a full-time job meant my body changed quite a bit. I wasn’t walking everywhere any more; I’m sitting at a desk for 40+ hours every week.
Before my capsule wardrobe, it wasn’t a huge deal if a piece of clothing didn’t fit right. I would just shove it in the back of the closet and choose something else to wear. But now that I have a capsule wardrobe, every piece of clothing is important. If my jeans stop fitting right, I don’t really have any other options. I’ve only got two pairs of jeans.
Do you have a capsule wardrobe? Do you love it or hate it? Let me know your tips in the comments!
Sara Strand says
I have a full closet of stuff that does not fit me. Since having Penelope I’m bigger and weight is not coming off like I seriously thought it would. It did with the other two, so this is a disgusting turn of events. LOL. But I am refusing to buy anything in larger sizes so I’m limping along with crappy tshirts and maternity pants. :/
Ugh, that’s seriously the worst! Good luck!
Shann Eva says
I’ve been trying to get rid of stuff in my closet lately. It’s just so hard to let go! Plus, I’m in a bit of a between stage. I’m losing weight, but not sure if it will keep going that way or if I’m at the weight I’m meant to be. I love your tip about the $1/day. That is such an awesome idea, and I will think about that when I shop. I may have to change my clothes 7 or 8 times a day 😉
Ugh, that in-between stage is the WORST. It definitely makes the capsule wardrobe difficult.
I tried a capsule wardrobe last year. It was really tough to do because it made me want to shop more. I would love to try it again
Haha! I was definitely like that at the beginning, too. I promise it gets easier! 🙂
Jess Rey says
I have heard so many people talk about a capsule wardrobe! I have never put much thought into it though. I have nice clothes but I do not wear them daily…”I hate wearing a good outfit on an insignificant day” —I am that chick, but I have downsized a lot with my clothes. This concept might be something I would consider once I buy a house when things become permanent, but for now I do not want to sort through my hoard room to get to my clothes…it is horrific…my clothes are in the back of the room in a 3′ wide closet and getting to it is like training for the olympics. i will not lie, I wear the same thing weekly because of the hoard room situation.
Ooof, that sounds rough! I wear basically the same thing weekly because it’s all I have. 😉
Shobelyn Dayrit says
what an amazing idea to use your item so many times as it costs
It’s seriously a great mentality to have! There are a lot of things I passed up on because I couldn’t see myself wearing it x number of times. 🙂
Trish Nicholas says
This is something I need to work on – badly. I have tons of clothes and I seriously need to pare it down.
You can do it, Trish! 🙂 It’s so worth it once you take the time.
I’m just starting out. When I first read about them I thought 30-40 pieces of clothing sounds like so much. But then I went to my closet and counted and holy cow. I have over 100 items of clothing and I never ever wear most of them. I spent all last night reorganizing and getting rid of a lot of clothes. I usually do this a few times a year, but the idea of a capsule wardrobe has given me some much needed structure for deciding what to keep and what to donate.
I just stumbled across the unfancy blog and love it! I can’t believe I found out about it after she stopped writing for it, so sad. She posts outfit photos, but her writing goes beyond just what she’s wearing. She gives lots of helpful tips, but she also writes about life and how to have fun and find joy in what you do!
Thanks for the insight Caitlin and for giving us a peak inside your closet! Oh and I loved your $1/wear. Definitely going to use that!
Unfancy was so great! I’m hoping she comes back soon. And don’t feel like you have to stick to 30-40! Do whatever works for you. 🙂