The idea of a capsule wardrobe is a simple one, it rests on the notion that we simply don’t need as many clothes as we have – something we can all agree on. A capsule wardrobe is a curated collection of good quality, age appropriate clothing which is versatile enough for any occasion. Experimenting with a capsule wardrobe for just over a year has completely transformed my attitude to clothing and my belongings. Here’s how it has worked for me:
- Focusing on a small collection of clothes shifts the focus to quality.
To make the final edit, items need to really impress you. My personal criteria for good quality clothes focuses predominantly on material and craftsmanship. I enjoy more longevity from natural, good quality materials (such as silk, cotton and linen) as they are less likely to shrink and be damaged by continuous wear so my wardrobe is made mostly of these materials. Good quality materials are less likely to make you sweat (which is particularly important here in Hong Kong) as well as requiring less ironing. Since shifting to a capsule wardrobe I have only bought quality items from brands I trust. I’ve recently invested in a range of good quality basics from Grana, an online store based in Hong Kong which delivers high quality fabrics at reasonable prices.
2. The laundry pile shrinks before your eyes.
Having less clothes = less laundry. At least, it feels like it. I still wash my clothes at the end of the week, but the laundry never piles up. You could say that I feel compelled to keep on top of the laundry for fear of running out of clothes but it doesn’t feel like this at all. Instead of reaching for another T-shirt because I already have 10 dirty ones, I simply wash the few I own and return them to the drawers. The result is less mess and more time spent doing the things you love (drinking coffee on the sofa, taking up a new hobby or even just taking a nap).
- You save tons of money.
Buying low cost clothes might be cheaper in the beginning but we all know this is a false economy. Quality over quantity as the age old saying goes. If you have three weddings to go to don’t be tempted to buy three separate outfits for each event. Buy one, beautiful, good quality dress that you truly love, and you won’t mind wearing it to all three. Once you start paying attention to quality you’ll find it less tempting to splurge on impulse buys in the high street. Each item has to really impress you in terms of look, quality and feel – most won’t come anywhere near and you won’t settle for less. Perhaps a little more specific to Hong Kong, but the humidity can really shorted the lifespan of clothes especially if they are stuffed into a wardrobe together. Having less to hang means each item has space to breathe and is less likely to need replacing because of dampness or mildew.
- You always have something to wear.
If you love all your clothes and they fit you well, you’ll never look into the abyss of the wardrobe with nothing to wear. You could wear everything. Loving your clothes means it doesn’t matter what’s in the wash or how much time you have to get ready, you’ve always got plenty to choose from. I can stuff three outfits for a weekend away in a tote bag or grab a change of clothes for going out after work and not give it a second thought. My personal preference is to choose work outfits that are mainly comprised of items I would wear at the weekend anyway – linen t-shirts, tea dresses etc. This has meant I don’t have to have a whole other set of clothes for work, and I feel comfortable in the clothes I wear during the week. As a teacher I have a fairly flexible dress code but this might take a bit of extra thought if you work in a more formal environment.
- You discover a new found confidence.
Perhaps a little cliché, but if you love your clothes you feel better about yourself. You don’t feel embarrassed about wearing the same clothes again and again because you know those outfits work for you. I never feel embarrassed about my outfit choices because the items have passed my rigorous test to join the team. They are good quality, comfortable and I love how they look. It’s completely liberated me from worrying about how I appear to others and I am absolutely dressing for myself.
Thinking about decluttering your wardrobe? Project 333 was my original inspiration but I’ve also loved Erin Boyle’s approach over at Reading My Tealeaves. For alternative methods The 10 Item Wardrobe is an interesting place to start and the Marie Kondo method is a great way of kick starting an autumn clear-out.