My Capsule Failure

My most popular post of 2015 was also one I mostly forgot about: In January of 2015 I wrote about how I was going to attempt doing a capsule wardrobe. I didn’t completely forget. As the seasons changed I thought about how I should be doing a better job of pairing down what was in my closet, creating outfits, tailoring clothes that didn’t fit. But, as the colder weather started warming, I mostly just added my lighter weight clothing into my closet, and went back to how things had always been.

I can’t really say if capsule wardrobe-ing wasn’t for me, or if 2015 just wasn’t the best year to try it out. I tend to be a creature of habit and comfort. My favorite clothes are becoming worn and ragged, yet there are many things in my closet I rarely, if ever, wear. In an effort to be more clothing and environmentally friendly, I try to wear most of my clothes multiple times before washing them (underwear and socks excluded, of course!). But as the craziness of December struck, it occurred to me that I needed a better system. I couldn’t remember what I’d already worn that week, or even the day before. Was I wearing the same outfits multiple times a week? Would anyone notice if I did?

Instead of trying a complete overhaul, I’m moving towards putting little systems in place. I started by culling the worn out clothes from my closet. Most were beyond the point of donating, so I made a commitment and cut them into rags. Then I whittled my closet down to only the items I could/would wear right now. I have a variety of cute shirts that I love, but feel like they’re a little too small right now. Instead of holding out hope for skinny days, I moved them into storage. If I lose weight, they’ll come back out.

My concept of “storage” is also changing, thanks to a second dresser and a semi cleaned out closet. Bryan has a ridiculous amount of clothing, so I keep my things in the second bedroom. There are actually two closets in the second bedroom, but the bigger one has always been filled with so much stuff that it isn’t worth getting into. We’ve gotten rid of some things recently, and while it isn’t cleared out enough to keep all of my clothing in it, I’ve moved my “maybe someday, special occasion, wrong season” clothes into that closet, and am keeping my everyday clothing in the smaller closet. I find I’m less willing to take things out of my everyday closet when they’re packed away and harder to get to. The weather here is always unpredictable, as are my moods.

My "everyday" closet.
My “everyday” closet.

My next step was to arrange a system so I’d know what I’d already worn, and try to start wearing clothes that I normally didn’t. I’m not so worried about bottoms; I have a variety of different jeans and dress pants, each better suited to some tops than others, that I do a fair job of rotating through. And besides that, I sit at a desk in my office all day. No one sees my pants! I arranged my pants on the bottom rod of the closet, from lightest color to darkest. The closet isn’t very big, and has an exhaust vent running up one entire side, which means I lose about a foot. On the other side, there’s a “corner” behind the door, which makes it hard to see items that are put on the far side of the closet. For this reason, I put jackets on the bottom rod on that end, and cardigans on the top. I tend to run cold, so unless I’m wearing a sweater, I’ll usually pair my outfit with a cardigan or jacket. They’re something that I’ll look for, so I don’t have to worry about keeping them in sight.

On the rest of the top rod, I arranged my tops. My plan is that, after something is worn, it will go back into the closet on the far right, before the cardigans. When I’m getting dressed in the morning, I’ll try to choose an outfit based on what tops are on the left. I have enough tops that I could possibly go most of a month at work without wearing the same one twice. Granted, I’ll still dress according to mood and weather; I’m not just going to grab the item furthest to the left every morning. But I’ll always know that tops farthest to the right (and in the laundry) have been recently worn, and I should probably pick something else.

This system will also give me an idea of what items I won’t wear. It’s easy to be optimistic about a piece of clothing, thinking that eventually you’ll wear it. But, after a few months, if something is still hanging out on the left and I still don’t feel like wearing it, I know it’s time to say goodbye.

I feel like this is slightly easier than building an actual “capsule wardrobe”. There’s no pairing down to a certain number of items, no packing things away, no creating outfits. I’m about two weeks in now, and so far, it’s working. I feel like I’m wearing more of a variety. And on mornings where I really could care less, it makes getting dressed easy: Whatever top is furthest to the left is the one that gets worn!

Unfortunately, this system isn’t going to make me a more stylish person. But how much do I really care about what people think of my style? Obviously not enough to put more effort into it! I think this is one of those situations where I need to accept the person that I am. There’s a difference between improving yourself, and trying to turn yourself into someone else. It isn’t that I dress badly, I’m just not a fashionista. And I’m really okay with that!

  • Cindy W.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *