#307 – 321. Why Capsule Wardrobes Aren’t Stupid.

You say stupid, I say potato. Let's call the whole things off, shall we?
You say stupid, I say potato. Let’s call the whole things off, shall we?

It’s been about 6 weeks since I purged 90 percent of my closet.

Whether it’s stowed away in my basement, currently for sale at Buffalo Exchange or Goodwill, the point is my closet is currently light/airy/empty.

Like 35-ish things in it empty.

A week into my pruned wardrobe, I thought this whole idea was one big, fat mistake. I didn’t feel like I had enough options, especially considering I live in Minnesota & a trip to sunny Siberia sounds like a tropical vacation. Over the past few weeks, I’ve added and subtracted a few items (warm stuff), but I’ve stuck to that 35-40 piece range.

Now that I have my wardrobe fairly dialed in, I’m feeling really, really, really good.

Okay know what you thinking: Molly, you’re self-employed, work from home and barely ever interact with humans in a professional setting. Of course you feel good! This should be easy for you!.

Yes, there’s some truth to that.

However, I’ve had a handful of people tell me to my face (by the way, thank you! Totally appreciated in lieu of saying it behind my back) that this little exercise I’m doing is stupid.

A capsule wardrobe might not be right for you. I totally respect that. And long term, who knows how much of this I’ll stick to.

But it most certainly is not stupid. Here’s why.

1. It Starts My Day on a Positive Note.

Prior to limiting my clothing options, I would probably take me 15 minutes to select an outfit. For the past six weeks, I’ve literally been able to look at my closet, pick something and put it on in under two minutes. Not only do I have fewer options, but I’ve worn most of the outfits at least once (or…hmmm…. eleven times), so I know exactly how things fit, and what shoes/jewelry pair well.

Not spending the first 15 minutes the morning stressed out about to wear sets a nice tone for my day.

2. I Spend Money More Wisely.

A lot of people told me that they could never commit to a capsule wardrobe because they “enjoy shopping too much.”

I enjoy shopping a ton.

I find it to be relaxing and fun. However, I get into trouble when I don’t set ground rules for myself. Now that I’m limiting my number of clothes, I’m forced to really think about every purchase.

Pre-capsule, I’d just buy things that were kinda cute that I kinda liked because it was kinda on sale. $40 bucks here, $30 there and $50 at that GAP sale, big whoop. But those small buys adds up to more than the $120 I told myself I wouldn’t spend on the pair of jeans that fit me perfectly but were just too expensive to justify. You know, the jeans I’d probably wear everyday if I owned them, unlike the six cheapie sweaters I purchased instead.

My husband brought up this idea of “relative merit.” When you set parameters (i.e. I currently only have room for one piece of clothing), some things have waaay more merit, while others simply don’t. Without these ground rules, you everything is on the same plane.

It’s sort of like eating crappy birthday cake at the office: If you don’t have any nutritional goals, it’s easy to just eat it and move on with your life. But if you’ve decided to only eat one really awesome treat a week, passing on mediocre junk is a no-brainer. And then you really appreciate that sugar rush when you get it.

3. I Spend Time More Wisely.

As a person who could literally spend hours at TJ Maxx or aimlessly wandering the Mall of America, buying less meant I’d be shopping less. I was a little sad about it at first, but then I started thinking about what I was getting out of an afternoon of shopping.

For me, it’s mostly that I enjoy turning off my brain and wandering through a store at a snail’s pace. It’s like watching TV, but feels less lazy!

I realized I get a similar feeling from simply running my errands on foot (I live in an urban area, so that’s easy for me to do), walking my dog while listening to Serial or This American Life, or cooking dinner/baking. When I’m done with those activities, I feel a great sense of accomplishment, have spent little to no money, and haven’t added any more stress…er… clothes… to my already bursting closet.

So, in conclusion…

Paring down my clothing options makes me less stressed. I spend less time getting ready. I like my clothes more. I spend less money. I’ve found myself with more time to do fun, relaxing things.

None of those things sound stupid to me.

Here’s some of the things I’ve been wearing. PS I took my own pictures this week because of convenience. So yeah, they are a little out of focus. On the bright side, I was much more comfortable posing.

Here's the Anthro shirt I re-purchased because I shrunk mine. Whoopsies!
Here’s the Anthro shirt I re-purchased because I shrunk mine. Whoopsies!

Casual, daytime get up.

Striped tee  *  Skinny jeans  *  slouchy crew socks  *  Toronto Boots  *  Scarf  *  Necklace

Still love this sweater, three years after I bought it!
Still love this sweater, three years after I bought it!

Client meeting ensemble… yes, this is definitely not corporate ‘Merica.

Polka dot sweater  *  High riser mom jeans  * Tall brown boots

Easy and somehow put together feeling. 
Easy and somehow put together feeling.

Influenced by Allison Williams as Peter Pan, obviously.

Green blouse  *  High riser mom jeans  *  Short black boots  *  Long necklace

Patsy makes a cameo.
Patsy makes a cameo.

This sweater = one of my sub-ins. Liking it a lot, though it looks really big in this photo.

Oversized turtleneck  *  Rip & repair skinny jeans  *  Toronto Boots  *   Long necklace

Sweater dresses = easy and put together feeling.
Sweater dresses = easy and put together feeling.

The first time I’ve even worn this since I started ye ole capsule (though I have owned it for over a year). I still have 3-4 other things I have yet to wear. Seriously.

Sweater dress (similar, and so cute)  *  Opaque tights  *  Black booties

* * *

Admittedly, I am a little boring with my outfits. But I really just don’t care. I feel great and that’s all that matters.

PS Here’s a little more about my closet purge, my capsule wardrobe, plus what I wore in weeks one and two and three.  And on a totally unrelated note, here’s another weird and awesome thing I was doing a year ago.

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Comments (2)

  • Jenna Kast 3 years ago Reply

    I don’t understand why people would think this is "stupid." If it’s not for them, fine. If they wouldn’t have the willpower to do it, fine, but there is nothing stupid about this idea! In fact, your posts inspired me to do a capsule wardrobe … when I get around to sorting through my clothes and picking out the pieces. 🙂

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    Glad you don’t think it’s stupid. And excited to hear more about your pared down wardrobe. It really does simplify things! Good luck.

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