It’s been almost a year since I completed Jessica Rose Williams’ capsule wardrobe workshop in the Peak District one snowy Tuesday last February. I’d already had a big declutter about 6 months after having Rufus and I knew I needed less in my wardrobe than I had had previously but I was still struggling to put a cohesive collection of clothes together, even though I understood the sentiment. That day was so well spent – the principles have been cemented and have helped to keep me on the straight and narrow when I feel that I need more choice (I lived with a very restricted wardrobe immediately after my further declutter following the workshop). It’s still not quite there but I’ve learnt a lot in the process….
1. 50 pieces is A LOT when everything goes together - the choices seem endless and so much more than ever before when I had set ‘outfits’ of separates.
2. You become fussy...in a good way. Rather than keeping something because ‘it’ll do’ or because you ‘just love it’ (but it goes with very little in your wardrobe), you want to love whatever you buy as you’re going to be wearing it a lot and it needs to last! Cue quite a few returns!
3. Invest in the best you can afford even for the basics. A Breton stripe...so simple but actually, every one I’ve owned before hasn’t fitted quite right. Until I found the one I now own - and realized that it was worth spending a bit more on something that simple / available pretty much everywhere as the fit makes such a difference. The same applies to t shirts - I’m forever in search of a nicely fitting t shirt that doesn’t swamp me / broaden my shoulders and most importantly doesn’t cling to my tummy. Any old t shirt isn’t going to tick those boxes...hence t shirts that flatter your body shape take some searching and normally require a bit more investment (but not always).
4. None of what I desire in my wardrobe is trend led. Not that I’ve ever been one to follow trends particularly but my capsule wardrobe list shuns anything trend led – favouring timeless classics that make my heart sing!
5. I have an aversion to lots of different outfits - I suddenly feel so much noise surrounding me when I see women on the tube with armfuls of bags from Primark. Nothing wrong with shopping in Primark if that’s your budget but buying half (or even a quarter) of those clothes would mean you could spend the same money on something built to last that’s probably more flattering
6. You shop with purpose and skillfully avoid the rest – shopping is so much more efficient and it leaves you with a lot more time on your hands!
7. You still appreciate a range of beautiful clothes but you start to know what does / doesn’t have a (privileged) place in your wardrobe. I still come back to the mood board I put together during Jessica’s workshop and the 3 key words to describe my style when I’m considering a purchase
8. You start to develop a real sense of your own style - because everything needs to complement each other
9. You start wanting to live a more minimalist lifestyle in general (Jessica, I’m looking at you!) as less starts to mean a happier life with only things you really love
10. You begin to feel so calm and free – looking in my wardrobe makes my heart sing pretty much every day, just because everything has space and the colours are either white, black, grey or pink (with a little bit of leopard print in the accessories) so it all looks really cohesive. My overflowing drawers used to cause me a lot of stress and I didn’t really like anything I pulled out!
11. It’s a joy to put washing away. Well maybe not a joy but I find folding dried washing very therapeutic and when there is enough room in the drawers for everything to fit with space left over, it gets put away with ease. I used to fold washing and leave it piled in the bedroom, putting off the fight with my drawers to squish everything in (breaking drawers in the process). And it means I can even fold the KonMari way if I’m in the mood and it not feel onerous as there are fewer items!
12. You feel like you have more but with less - more clothes that you love and actually, more choice because of all the different outfits you can put together from what you have
13. By buying clothes you only really love, you’ll want to wear them all the time so having less won’t feel like a hardship as you only really want to wear what’s in front of you
14. Your clothes all get a good airing and are washed frequently so nothing smells musty when you pull it out of the drawers and I have this theory that this may even prevent clothes moths… We have been fighting the battle with the little critters since moving in to our first flat – Johnny probably has double the clothes I have now (at least) and being stuffed away in nice dark drawers is exactly what moths love. He often finds holes in his clothes (although if/when this happens to my purchases, the fallout is likely to be more impactful) I hope this one’s true, especially as I’ve now spent money on some nice cashmere!
15. Being able to replace clothes storage with living space in our renovation feels like the right trade off. I am sure a walk in wardrobe is lovely but I wouldn’t have enough to fill it so we’re going to carve out some more space for our en suite instead (first world problems…)
Have you got a capsule wardrobe? Are you working towards one? Or do you think the idea sounds hideous?! I’d love to hear your thoughts….