How to know when to shift your capsule wardrobe
By Leziga Barikor
So you’ve already completed your journey of minimalism and have an amazing capsule wardrobe. Your life feels less hectic, and your closet is finally order. But as the seasons change, and your life changes too, you might begin to question the reliable of your capsule wardrobe.
Maybe you don’t even see it as that. Perhaps you’ve noticed yourself using less and less of your clothes and doing your laundry more and more. Perhaps the old shopaholic twinge suddenly goes into overdrive now whenever you see a new trend piece. You may push the thought away and remind yourself how French women didn’t become style icons through following trends.
But these all may be signs that your capsule wardrobe has now reached time-capsule status. Simply old memories of the fashionista turned minimalist that you used to know.
Maybe it’s time to bring your shopping totes out of retirement.
Sparks Joy? The New Closet Purge
You might’ve already realized that you needed to re-Marie Kondo your closest, but depending on your lifestyle that can still be a difficult process all over again. Me being ever the early adopter, created my capsule wardrobe in 2016 before starting my sophomore year of college. I’ve always loved fashion, but I loved it even more as I recognized people consistently giving me compliments on outfits they’d already seen me wear!
If you’re still new to minimalism and the whole capsule wardrobe idea, let me assure you it definitely works. No one notices that you only have 2 pairs of jeans and 4 rotating tops. They’re far too busy worried about their own appearances. But after merely three years with my own wardrobe, I’ve begun to recognize a lack of love for my old go-to items.
That was just one tell-tale sign that things needed to go a new route. Along with big life changes (hello graduation!), job changes and natural wear and tear, it was clear I’d let my small wardrobe once again turn into a huge hassle. Here’s a list of questions to ask while you consider purging through your own capsule wardrobe.
- What clothes do you avoid wearing?
- What has the most visible signs of wear and tear?
- Has your figure change?
- Has your career/lifestyle changed?
- Do you even like it anymore?
- Was this a maybe item you still hadn’t gotten rid of?
- Has your taste/color pallet changed?
After you go through and find all the items that you no longer want in your capsule wardrobe, set them aside for donation or trash if they’re not resalable.
Get in loser, you’re going shopping!
Does it make me a bad minimalist to enjoy shopping, even a little? If you’ve ever questioned that, rest assured its less the action of accumulating things and more the experience of something new. The best part of a good capsule wardrobe is it allows you to try new outfit ideas often without buying new things. But if you’re jeans got a little too tight or baggy, then it’s time to treat yourself to something new again.
I did my best to mainly subtract and fill gaps when it came to having base clothing. The basic white tee and blue jeans haven’t failed me yet. But my far too trustee green jeans just weren’t looking as bright as they used to. Take this time to really plan out what you want to wear and subsequently buy. Remember that you only need to fill in gaps left by getting rid of your main items whether it’s a new office blouse or a nicer pair of slacks.
If you decided your statement pieces or accent colors are too outdated for your tastes, this is the perfect opportunity to redefine your style. Try out new colors in the changing room. Remember the rule of versatility and basics. Don’t get sucked into whatever the current trend is, but if you do find something trendier catches your eye don’t be afraid to see how you could incorporate it long term.
Sustainability for life and your lifestyle
One great natural benefit to minimalism is that it allows you to lower your carbon footprint by consuming less and throwing away less. But it can be easy to get sucked into a self- sacrificing pit of holding on to things far too long just for the sake of not throwing things away.
I am not living a zero waste lifestyle currently, but I commend those who do. It’s a worthwhile long-term goal as a global citizen of planet earth. Sometimes despite our best efforts, the journey of personal style discovery isn’t a straight line. Even though I essentially crafted my capsule wardrobe three years ago, I’ve added and subtracted different types of dresses in the mix. Why? One reason is I love dresses, and find it difficult to attend multiple major life events wearing the same one. But I’ve also switched career paths and gone from a student to young professional which necessitates some wardrobe changes.
Your personal style is just that. Personal. So taking the time to figure it out may not be as sustainable as you would like in the moment, but it will get there once you do. Being honest with yourself during the process will help as you can be quicker to donate or possibly gift items gently used so they get another chance.
You should also take responsibility for your shopping habits when it comes to human trafficking. At this point, it’s textbook knowledge that the people working on your iPhones are working in conditions so mentally horrible that suicide is a common workplace occurrence, but don’t let other brands fool you into thinking that’s simply an Apple problem. Consider shopping secondhand consignment, locally or from sustainable brands who are clear about their business practices.
The beauty of minimalism isn’t just for what it does for you in simplifying your life. But it’s the beauty in what it fights against. Fast fashion and consumerism culture has a negative global impact, but your choice to step out of that absolutely matters and has an impact too.