Last week I introduced the idea of ‘graduating’ from my capsule wardrobes and what my approach to my wardrobe would look like with fewer rules. As I’ve reflected back on my personal style over the past year, I have discovered that the restrictions of the capsule wardrobe have been a double-edged sword.
On one hand, the limited number of items has opened my eyes to how much I can do with less. I always thought that to create different outfits I needed a lot of items. Creating my capsules has really helped me identify my key pieces in my wardrobe – the ones I always choose first. Working with fewer items has also has helped me find ways to get creative with what I already have hanging in my closet.
On the other side though, the restrictions have made me afraid of making mistakes. I always struggle with choosing the last few items to include in my capsule. My absolute must-haves are always easy to select, but filling in the last 5 to 10 items with the optional, statement pieces stresses me out a bit. Why? Because I don’t want to pick the ‘wrong’ thing.
I was trying to create a perfect capsule wardrobe. (Which we all know doesn’t exist.)
Strategy #2: Cease Chasing the Perfect Wardrobe
Focus less on adding on new items to ‘complete’ your wardrobe.
One of my primary goals for starting a capsule wardrobe was to cut back on my impulse purchases and shopping habit. Shopping is a slippery slope and the idea in my mind that there was such a thing as a perfect capsule gave me ‘permission’ to shop in order to obtain it. Each season, I start shopping for pieces that I feel would make my upcoming capsule wardrobe even more perfect. Then, I noticed that as that door opens it quickly turns into something bigger. I start to see fun, new clothes (that weren’t even on my radar) and then they happen to go on sale and before I know it I’m convincing myself I need them, too (when I really don’t).
A more fluid approach to my wardrobe will remove the notion of the perfect capsule. Without the start and end dates for each capsule and the shopping window to prepare each season I can focus less on shopping (and get off the slippery slope). It also removes the pressure I felt of trying to create the most perfect combination of items to complete each capsule, so I can stop searching for the perfect items to complete the (non-existent) perfect wardrobe.
Instead of obsessing over the perfect wardrobe and the next capsule, I can practice (because it doesn’t come easy) being content with where I’m at and enjoying the wardrobe I’ve built. If I’m content with what I have, I won’t be chasing the unrealistic perfect wardrobe. And if I’m not trying to create the perfect wardrobe, I won’t be as focused on needing something more. And if I don’t need anything more, I can stop shopping for the perfect items. See where I’m going with this?
The need to always find something more, something better, something new is exhausting and I look forward to putting that to rest. It is a great feeling to appreciate what I have an stop searching for something else.
I have found that as I fill my closet with clothing I love, the excess and unnecessary items aren’t as appealing anymore. While I will not be as strict with how many items I keep in my wardrobe or when I can add/subtract items, I will be picky about what earns a place in my closet. I won’t settle for items that are less than the most flattering, comfortable, effortless, and that I feel good about buying.
With a smaller wardrobe it’s easier for me to think about the items I already have. It allows me to ask myself if I already have something similar, if the new piece will mix well with my core wardrobe, and if the new item will add value to my closet? If not, it may be that I’m seeking out the ‘rush’ of a new item, which is usually the culprit behind my impulse purchases.
Slowing down and really pondering my purchases is one of the big takeaways from my capsule wardrobes. There have been a number of times I’ve been convinced I needed something, but in my quest to find it secondhand or as I waited to add it into my next capsule, the need has disappeared. I will not rush into purchases, but instead give myself time to process why I think I need to make a wardrobe addition. It also helps to have a like-minded friend to help me process my thoughts with (thanks, Andrea!).
Experiment and allow room for ‘mistakes’.
Another goal when I started my capsules was to discover my personal style. However, the fear of ‘messing up’ my capsule (for lack of a better word) has led me to play it safe. Having a limited number of items made me hesitant to try a new trend or color that may not be the most versatile, so I shied away from pushing myself out of my style comfort zone (which was my goal when I started documenting outfits on Instagram almost three years ago).
My post-capsule wardrobe will be more fluid and have more “wiggle room” for taking risks and making style mistakes. If I try something and don’t love it, I can move it out of my closet at any time instead of feeling like I need to “deal with it” until the end of the capsule season. If a new trend pops up that I’d really love to incorporate into my style, I can add in an item without the guilt of ‘breaking the rules’ or ruining my perfect capsule wardrobe.
In the process of developing my personal style, taking risks and making ‘mistakes’ is just as important as identifying my workhorse items (more on that next week).
The goal is to take the lessons I’ve learned from my capsule wardrobe experience and create a core year-round wardrobe that includes my most loved pieces as the base of my closet. On top of this, there will be another level that includes the clothing that makes a statement. The pieces that standout, that are more trendy and adventurous, that take my basic style up a notch. I’ll think of my wardrobe as a work in progress rather than a end goal.
Capsules have helped me take one step further in developing my personal style, but also set me one step back. By that I mean, my capsule wardrobes have helped me hone in on my true ‘base’ style, but have hindered my discovery of my ‘statement’ style.