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Hobart Gal’s struggle with a Capsule Wardrobe

I really want to be a capsule wardrobe person, I do! I just can’t seem to make it work. I’m not here to berate this way of dressing/living, I just don’t think it works for me, at least for the moment.

If you’re new to the concept, a capsule wardrobe is a small, intentional and seasonal collection of clothes, shoes and accessories that you pick out of your wardrobe and wear for 3 months. Simple living advocate Courtney Carver is the queen of capsule wardrobes and I encourage you to check out Project 333 if you want to learn more.

It was the benefits of a capsule wardrobe that piqued my interest in the first place. Who doesn’t want to make mornings simple, reduce decision fatigue, have an uncluttered closet and figure out what matters? It felt like if I could simplify this part of my life, I could free up time, become a decisive person, spend more time in the morning doing yoga and drinking tea instead of creating a panick-induced nest of discarded clothing around my ankles each morning. Here’s why I can’t seem to stick to a capsule wardrobe at the moment:

 

The Tasmanian weather is just too unpredictable 

I’ll be the first to admit that this is a cop-out statement. I’m sure it IS possible with the right collection of clothes, but when trialling a capsule wardrobe in the past, the weather just kept throwing meteorological curve-balls. Perhaps winter would be a better season to trial a capsule wardrobe in Tasmania, rather than spring or autumn when the weather can range in temperatures between 4 and 34 degrees C. 

 

I have lots of gaps in my closet

My wardrobe is slowly becoming more ‘curated’, but it’s still a bit of a jumble. I have certain tops that only work with certain bottoms and those shoes that only work with those pants, making my clothing combination options limited despite having plenty of clothes.

If I wanted a very small, curated closet I’d probably have to purchase some hardworking basics to bridge the gaps. This sounds like a simple solution, but I don’t want to waste what I already have or have to get rid of clothes that I still wear, just not with many different outfits. From a sustainable and financial perspective, it makes more sense for me to make do with what I’ve got and purchase more ‘hardworking’ clothes as I need them. 

 

My body keeps changing

No, I’m not going through adolescence or pregnancy. Due to my health at the moment, my weight and body has been expanding and contracting (mostly expanding) in lots of small but unexpected ways. Things that looked great on me a few months ago really don’t suit my current figure. Because I’m in this state of flux, I’ve found it helpful to keep a variety of clothes. No two pairs of my jeans fit the same, which is a good thing for now. Hopefully in a year I can let go of some items and get others altered to fit me properly, but for now I think its best if I can work with what I’ve got.

 

Take home message?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love the concept of a capsule wardrobe and I can see how it would benefit my life but right now, it just doesn’t suit my needs. Right now I prefer to have a pared back wardrobe that has more options. Perhaps in a year I’ll find that a capsule wardrobe is more my thing.

Are you a capsule wardrobe advocate? Does it seem too hard? Would it make life a bit simpler? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below 😊.

Buying with intention

Five or so years ago I would shop because I thought it made me feel good. I bought clothes to make myself feel better or more worthwhile, to take my mind off difficult things, to try and replace loneliness with stuff. These were temporary fixes and the elation of my most recent purchase was soon replaced with a pang of guilt. This is what mindless consumption feels like to me.

Buying intentionally is the opposite of mindless consumption. It takes a little more time and lot more thought but the rewards are far greater. You are going to get much more wear and enjoyment from clothing that is purchased with intent rather than on impulse. It works for me! 

  

Choose quality over quantity

Invest in well made basics.

Look for quality fabrics that wear nicely and will last.

Check the construction of the piece before you buy. I like to check hemlines and seams.

Choose fit over size or label. 

Always ask yourself how many ways or for how many occasions you can wear something before purchasing. My hard and fast rule is 30 wears.

 

Own your style

Buy timeless over trendy.

Know your style and buy within it. Or to make it more flexible, know which styles look good on you and buy those.

Know your colour palette. Find which colours and neutrals look great on you and buy those.

Buy for today, not for tomorrow. Even if you are looking to lose weight, buy the clothes when you need them rather than filling your closet with 'aspirational pieces'. I've done this in the past with a pair of tight pants which would suck the confidence out of me whenever I'd try them on. Why would you want to invest your energy in that?

 
Photo by Camille Styles

 

 

Your wardrobe reflects your values

Always consider who made your clothes. There is a human behind every garment you own. 

Shop your values. If you value the environment, purchase clothing made from natural fibres to avoid adding to plastic pollution. If you value small business, buy your clothes from small businesses that support independent designers. Etc.

Respect your clothes. Store and launder them with care.

 

6 eco ways to get rid of your unwanted clothes

You've just reached the smug phase (if you're anything like me) and you're feeling pretty good about yourself. You've just decluttered your wardrobe and now have a sizeable pile of clothing ready to be tossed out (if you're not at this stage yet, head to last week's blog post). Now what? You know it's wasteful to just throw them in the bin but what are your options? 

If your threads are in good condition you could:

1. Gift them. Give away your unwanted clothes to a friend who does want them. A fun way to do this is to hold a clothing swap party with a group of friends, just try not to finish up with more unnecessary clothes!

2. Sell them. Turn that wasted bulk in your closet into money. You can sell your unwanted clothing online at eBay, Designer Wardrobe (great for relatively new or designer pieces) or on a social media Buy/Swap/Sell page. You could also sell them at a second hand market like Overdressed Market in Hobart. Bear in mind that selling your clothes takes effort and only you can decide whether it's worth your time or not. 

3. Donate them. Donate your old clothes to a charity of your choice. Make sure that your donated clothes are freshly washed, hold their shape and that they don't have any rips or stains. Charities report spending millions each year sorting through rubbish and unfit items that have been thrown in charity bins, money that could have gone into food, health care services and housing for those in need, so make sure all of your donations are useful.



If they've seen better days you could:

4. Repurpose them. If you're feeling crafty, perhaps you could turn your old clothes into something useful? Much of Pinterest is dedicated to upcycling, so have a look online and see if you can get inspired by a new craft project.

5. Turn them into rags. You can cut up your own rags to use around the house. You can also donate your old clothes to a rag company. In Hobart you can donate your rags to St Vincent Industries. If you're unsure if your clothing is suitable for turning into rags, please call ahead to make sure.

6. Compost them. As long as your old clothes are made from natural fibres, you can cut your old clothes into thin strips and pop them in the compost. 

I am all about decluttering and I can't stress how great it is to open up your wardrobe without feeling an overwhelming dread, but I worry what this current trend is doing to the environment as landfill continues to, well, FILL. By keeping your old clothing out of landfill - and maybe even helping out a charity in the meantime - you're doing something great! 

Spring clean your wardrobe

Spring: the time for head colds, beautiful flowers, allergies, baby animals, doing your taxes (for those of us who have been putting it off) and new beginnings. Spring is also a great time to assess what's in your wardrobe and let go of the pieces that no longer serve you.

Doing a wardrobe audit can help simplify your mornings. When you have less outfit options to assess, you'll be able to save time choosing what to wear, reducing some AM decision fatigue. Cutting back your wardrobe is a great way to rediscover old favourites and can help make it easier to keep your clothes tidy and organised. Having a smaller wardrobe makes it easier to assess what your closet is missing, making shopping for new clothes simpler and more cost efficient.

If you're ready to audit your wardrobe, put aside some time on the weekend because chances are it's going to be a bigger job than anticipated. The next step is to assess EVERY item, asking yourself the questions below. I'm not going to pretend this doesn't get a bit (very) tedious and time consuming, but trust me, it's definitely worth it. 


1. Does it fit?
We often hold onto our ‘skinny clothes’ for far too long. If you're realistically not going to be changing shape any time soon, it's probably safe to let go of the things that don't fit.

2. Is it comfortable?
I used to have clothes in my wardrobe that I loved the look of, but didn't end up wearing because they dug in awkwardly, itched or were uncomfortable to move around in. Got some pieces like this? It's time to let go of them.
Photo via Camille Styles.
3. Will I wear it again?
No? Then out it goes!

4. Have I worn it in the last 12 months?
If not, why not? The pieces you haven't worn in a year probably won't be making their way back into your clothing rotation any time soon. Unless it's something you're saving for a specific event like a ball gown, it's worth letting go of.
5. Is it damaged?
If so, is this the only reason I'm not wearing it? A quick repair could reunite you with a favourite piece but if you can't be bothered repairing it, chances are it's not worth hanging on to.

6. Does it represent my style?
Instead of asking whether the piece is currently ‘in style’, I like to ask myself if it's ‘my style’. If it feels like a ‘me piece’, keep it.

7. If I went shopping right now, would I buy this?
Yes? Great! No? Maybe it's not worth holding on to.

8. Do I feel confident wearing this?
Unless it's a yes, let go of it.
Photo via Un-Fancy.
Phew! It feels great to get rid of the excess, but before you haul a big bag of old clothes to the rubbish, it's worth thinking about how you can get rid of them in an environmentally responsible way that aids the community. We're going to be talking about all that un-sexy but important stuff in next week's blog, so get your socially conscious enviro-nerd on and I'll see you next week.