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In search of the perfect capsule wardrobe

by Clare Mansell
In search of the perfect capsule wardrobe

One of the things I loved about being pregnant was my capsule maternity wardrobe. Every item of maternity wear I owned got worn and got worn often. Every morning I reached into the wardrobe and plucked something out, I knew it would fit and if I needed a dress for an event, I had a choice of two or three all of which I liked. It’s the same on holiday, restricted by what fits in the suitcase, you wear what you have and life is simpler and choices faster.


I’ve been thinking a lot about capsule wardrobes recently, partly after watching videos of people who have joined the tiny house movement in the States (and slimmed down their possessions accordingly) and partly because of the amazing people who take on the challenge of buying no new clothes for a year. I think we all probably have too many clothes, if you are wearing some, some are in the ironing pile and some are in the wash and you still have a full rail, that’s probably more than you really need, right?

The more I have been thinking about it, the more I have started to realise that buying new clothes isn’t actually about solving a problem of what to wear, it was more about an incessant consumerist tic. Even though I try my best, I literally can’t go for a week without thinking of just one more item I need for my wardrobe or browsing websites to check (usually after an email) that I’m not missing an essential sales bargain. As bloggers we play a small part in fueling this hunger, a few days ago a post popped up on my Facebook timeline about a blogger’s new outfit which I then spent 15 minutes browsing online, when honestly I don’t need any of it… or frankly suit that blogger’s style.

I’m not quite sure where all this thinking is taking me, but in the last two months my more thoughtful approach to clothes has already started to pay dividends. Although I’m quite systematic with clearing out things, a few weeks ago I did a massive clear out of what’s on my rail. Lovely tops which were too short to wear, dresses which just aren’t my style anymore and trousers that looked great on the hanger, but rubbish on me. I’ve listed or donated about 30 items already and bought only three since June. The result is that I’m rediscovering pieces and wearing things I had forgotten and everything seems to go together better.

I’m still not quite at the capsule wardrobe stage (I counted and I reckon I have about 12 summer tops and most capsule wardrobes including this one are around 8 0r 9) but even my moderate wardrobe slim down has been an interesting experience, helping me realise that against all logic, reducing how many items of clothing I have, has actually made me feel like it’s increased the options of things I have to wear and I’m much happier with what I own.

Next year I’ve been thinking about a challenge to take on and part of me is intrigued by the idea of buying no new clothes in 2017 and if not no new clothes, could I manage for instance, just one item a month? Or could I be brave enough to decide on a capsule wardrobe at the beginning of a season and never add to it? The thought is scary and liberating all at once….

PS – Caroline of the Unfancy blog sums up what moving to a capsule wardrobe has done for her brilliantly. “The more I’ve limited my choices in my wardrobe, the happier and more creative I’ve felt. It’s so refreshing to open my closet door and find a clutter-free zone, filled with all I need and nothing I don’t.”

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1 comment

karen August 14, 2016 - 8:21 pm

Now thats what I need! It would be lovely to look in my wardrobe and just see stuff that goes together effortlessly. The girls all mix and match together in a lovely way but I tend to neglect myself. Hoping to change that though when Daisy starts school in September. More time to get fit and to shop!


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