Capsule Wardrobe and Letting Go

Have you heard of a “Capsule Wardrobe”? I first heard this term about two weeks ago and was on Google within minutes trying to figure out what exactly a capsule wardrobe is. So what is it ? Capsule wardrobe is a term coined in the 1970s by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe”. Faux said a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing (I’ve seen a variety of numbers, but most seem to say 37-40 pieces) that will never go out of fashion. Items such as skirts, dress pants, sweaters, blazers ect, which can be augmented with seasonal pieces. Meaning you add tops or dresses and remove sweaters and coats depending on the season. Interestingly, this idea was popularized by an American designer Donna Karan, who released an influential capsule collection in 1985 which consisted of seven interchangeable work-wear pieces. Crazy small line, right?

The whole concept is intriguing to me and while in theory I love it, in reality it’s not something I could do. I read this blog post on The Every Girl, which is basically an interview with a woman named Caroline (blogger behind Unfancy)  who has embraced the capsule wardrobe, and how and why she decided to embark on this new lifestyle.  Caroline’s decision seems to be related to wanting to spend less time trying to figure out what to wear, spend less money on shopping, and develop a greater sense of fulfillment. I can totally relate to Caroline when she says “Recently, I had noticed that I had a bad habit of using shopping as a way to jolt myself out of a bad mood with a little instant gratification”. Who among us hasn’t done this, even if it’s just a trip to the ice cream parlor. But Caroline goes on to say she felt she was shopping for happiness and not things she needed and she wanted to change this. (read the blog post for her whole story).

Over the next two weeks, I read many webpages, articles, and a few blogs that are designated to living the capsule wardrobe lifestyle and I thought, I like it, but it’s not for me. I know the advocates for this lifestyle say they have options and love everything in their closet, and to just try it. But me, I have way more than 37 pieces in my closet and I love it all. As I’ve said on this blog before, I tend to get rid of items regularly. When I am getting dressed and find something I realize I don’t like or haven’t worn in a while, I sell it, see if my sister wants it, or donate it. That simple. I can literally walk to the mobile Goodwill truck on Saturday so it’s not like donating is even out of the way.

My point,  this wardrobe is good for some, those who like the simplicity, no clutter, no muss no fuss lifestyle, and even for those like Caroline who feel more fulfilled having less. Me? I have tons of clothes but I don’t feel like my closet is cluttered, it’s actually very organized. I like having lots of options and I feel that getting rid of clothes regularly instead of all at once helps. During our last two moves, John and I got rid of probably half of our furniture and that did feel really good. Then this last move we got rid of all the junk and little items we don’t use. In theory, I think the purging we did here is similar to that of the capsule wardrobe; get rid of what you don’t need or use. After getting rid of all the junk and extra furniture I noticed my mind didn’t feel cluttered and stressed and my soul felt clean…lighter. It took me many years to realize, it’s ok to let material things go. My parents aren’t going to ask me where some dress they bought me in high school is. I doubt John’s friends are going to wonder where that awful beer game they gave him freshman year of college is.  Frozen got it right, just “Let it Go”.


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