For almost three years I’ve been keeping a pretty small wardrobe…at least in comparison to my former ways. And while being selective about what I buy and letting go of items that no longer work for me is much easier now, it wasn’t always that way. Recently, it occurred to me that I haven’t written a full post about my ‘journey’ in a long time and a lot of my posts are now buried pages and pages back. I thought it would be nice if I ‘introduced’ myself and gave more of my wardrobe history.
My love of style
I subscribed to all the teen magazines and saved every issue to comb through over and over again. Eventually I graduated to magazines like Marie Claire, In Style, and Glamour. I also graduated from college and had to pack up everything I owned to move across the country. I realized lugging years worth of fashion magazines wasn’t an option, so I tore out the pages of my favorite outfits and created a binder for style inspiration. I still have that binder and I still love most of the outfits.
Fast forward to 2011 and I joined Pinterest, which was a magazine-hoarders dream. I pinned hundreds and hundreds of images to my Style Inspiration board and discovered many bloggers who made those magazine looks I loved more accessible for every day. Each year, I had intentions of creating great outfits every day, but life (and early morning indecision) often got in the way. I had a lot of cute clothes, but I rarely put in the time to create great outfits from them.
In Fall 2013, my daughter was one, I was back to my pre-pregnancy size and I decided this was the year I was going to get my style game together. I created my Instagram account in secret and decided I would share daily outfits as a ‘journal’ of my efforts to look good. Instagram was amazing back then. There was a small community of women doing exactly what I was doing and we bonded together. It was casual, not staged, fun, and inspirational.
Little by little the community grew, but so did the temptation to shop. Even before liketoknow.it started, everyone shared their ‘hauls’ and the cute outfits and I got totally sucked in. I shopped clearance racks, I thrifted most weekends, I scored great deals and my closet was stuffed! I honestly could go most of the school year without wearing the same outfit twice.
Time for a change
Fast forward to Fall 2014 when I found out I was pregnant again (surprise!!). Suddenly everything in life seemed overwhelming and a little out of control. I decided I had to take charge of something and the easiest thing was my wardrobe. I had to build a maternity wardrobe from scratch (remember, the surprise), so I decided to approach my pregnancy wardrobe shopping with a plan and created a maternity capsule. I never thought in a million years I’d be able to ‘do’ the capsule wardrobe thing, but my maternity wardrobe seemed like harmless time to try.
Eventually, my maternity capsule turned into a postpartum capsule and I’ve never turned back. I fell in love with my small wardrobe. It looked better, it felt better, and it was easier.
Part of my change required doing a major closet cleanout. Oh my gosh, I just cringe looking at that closet! How did I live like that?!
I am not in a constant state of purging my wardrobe and letting go of things that are no longer serving me well. And while I don’t keep a strict count on items and set windows of time when I allow shopping, those strict rules were so helpful in the start. I have around 40-50 items in my wardrobe at the moment and about 15 of those are rarely worn.
Starting a capsule wardrobe has changed so much in my life
1) I started this blog.
Once I committed to the maternity capsule wardrobe I knew I wanted to document the experience. I also figured the accountability would help me slow down my impulse shopping and stick to the capsule ‘rules’. Writing and taking photos are not my strengths, but it has been fun to share my ups and downs through this process. It has also allowed me an avenue to take an in-depth look at my outfits and what I like to wear and really hone in on my personal style.
2) I became a more ethical shopper.
Along the way, I learned more about the harmful impact of fast fashion. I struggled with the decision to commit to ethical fashion, but created a plan that I felt comfortable with. It’s not something I’m 100% perfect with, but I feel great about being a mindful consumer and changing the way I view clothes and shopping. Browsing the Target clearance racks used to be a regular Saturday activity and these days I’m not even tempted to stroll through the clothing department.
3) I am simplifying and purging other areas of my life.
Reducing my wardrobe showed me how much I desire that simplicity in life. In the past couple of year I have completely purged our home (more here). My kids’ wardrobes are smaller, we have less furniture and home decor, the kitchen cabinets only hold what we actually use, the toys are thinned out regularly, and I only have one of each type of makeup/skincare product in my bathroom cabinet. I am so much more aware of buying or bringing things into our home and always consider if they will add any value.
I’ve also started to be more aware of our family schedule and commitments. At work, I have started saying ‘no’ to the extra committees and meetings. While life with four kids will inevitably be busy, identifying the things we want to be doing and prioritizing those has become our norm.
I am currently working on simplifying my online life by taking a social media break. My goal is to be more present in my real life and detach a bit from my online connection. I hope to be less distracted and more able to just be rather than always scrolling to the next pretty picture.