Capsule Wardrobe

A Candid Capsule: Let’s Get Started

P1060298For the last many months, there has been one corner of the internet that I keep returning to: capsule wardrobes. As with all things Internet, there is a lot of information out there on the subject, and I am generally left with more questions than answers. What is “true” about capsule wardrobes? How do I make one for myself, one that works for my lifestyle? Are there actual, lasting benefits from reducing your wardrobe or is it just another trend? I’ve decided that the only way to find the answers to these questions is to create a capsule wardrobe myself. After all, if I can do it, you can, too. Let’s figure this out together.

1. Time To Streamline

I arrived at my decision to finally create a capsule wardrobe for a number of different reasons. First, like the internet, my closet is cluttered with things that make me say “OH GOD, NO!” and “Uh, really?” and “Please, let us never speak of this again.” This disarray bothers me every time I go to get dressed. The rest of my life isn’t cluttered. My workspace is organized and I bring in new things only after careful consideration. My personal life is similar. I fill my time with things that are meaningful to me, activities I enjoy, and people I love—it isn’t cluttered with commitments I’d rather not be committed to. I’m mindful about how I spend and save my money—student loan payoffs, retirement accounts, a house somewhere in the very, very distant future. But this practical, pragmatic approach I take to life somehow has not made its way to my closet. It’s high time that I rectify that.


2. Become a Better Shopper

The second motivation behind my desire to create a capsule wardrobe comes from watching the documentary The True Cost. The film examines the fashion industry, the impact it has on the world from an environmental and humanitarian perspective, and how exactly fast-fashion brands (think H&M and Forever 21) can possibly afford to sell their clothing to us for so little. The answer to this last bit (and to so many other questions I didn’t even know I had): It’s the human cost. Manufacturers do not pay workers anything that even resembles a living wage.

It should be obvious that if you can buy a blazer for $24.99, an item that takes many hours to sew, that it was sewn by someone who was not paid a living wage. Unfortunately, it is all too easy for us to ignore this reality when you are in the store, far from the source, and feeling the need to buy something new. We overlook this truth because it’s a hard truth. We think there’s no way that our small, individual actions can change anything. And there may be some truth to that. One of us, acting alone, buying ethically manufactured clothing, probably won’t change the way the fashion industry works. But if each of us makes an effort to think through our purchases, to invest in items of clothing that we know were made by workers who are paid a fair wage and are treated well—if our collective attitude toward fashion is not just what looks good, but what is doing good—together we can have an impact.

Though the subject matter is heavy, The True Cost left me with hope. I am the master of my own destiny and I have choices. It is my choice to craft a better wardrobe. It is my choice to be more conscious of what I buy, what I clothe my body with. And, most importantly, I can commit to being part of something much larger than myself. If our clothing is an expression of what’s important to us and what we stand for, then that self-expression should extend to the way we paint ourselves into the world’s landscape. 

3. Focus on the Core Pieces

Finally, I have to admit that every time I’ve read about someone who has capsuled her wardrobe, I am intimidated. I think to myself, “Oh, she’s so much trendier than I am. She must have so many things to choose from to make her capsule work.” I would not call myself trendy. I know that much of my closet is filled with things that really just shouldn’t be allowed to exist. But, I am also confident that I dress well for my daily life; I am perfectly presentable for work each day. The wardrobe that I’m working with right now, at its core, is one that functions well for my life. I’ve finally gotten to a place where I am ready to cultivate a wardrobe that is focused on these core pieces and what works for my life.

Armed with my newfound knowledge about the world of fast fashion, along with my desire to streamline and organize, I turn to my closet. I’m throwing wide the door. I’m carrying the values I apply to the rest of my life into the mess that’s inside. I’m going to try to find ways to make positive changes, and hopefully, use this capsule wardrobe to kick-start a different kind of fashion lifestyle for myself. And I’m inviting you to come with me.

Determine “Why” You Want A Capsule Wardrobe

It can be really intimidating to tackle a cluttered closet. It is even more difficult to break bad shopping habits. Having a “why” to reference when faced with these challenges makes it easier to create a capsule wardrobe.

Resources: Watch The True Cost now on Netflix

Alexandra Mandzak is a Boston-based babe who will be sharing her experience creating a capsule wardrobe on the blog. Follow along for some inspiration, and tips and tricks on how to get started.