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Sans Capsule, It's Just a Wardrobe.


honeydue4.4 K25 days agoPeakD6 min read

I first became introduced to the concept of 'capsule wardrobe' through work, I took on a project for a fashion brand that specialized in minimalist style hacks. I hated it. Which was odd, given that I resonated with the minimalist ethos and loved fashion, so it should've worked.

It didn't.

Largely because, as I worked for them, my Instagram feed was flooded with such accounts and I had a hard time telling them apart. Google "capsule wardrobe" right now, and you'll see the same clothes, arranged slightly differently, on every single blog. You've got the white shirt, the black pants, the slacks and the beige trenchcoat.

Every. Single. Time.

See? Photo Credit: Extra Petite

I like the thought of simplifying your life (and your space) by limiting choice. But I hate sameness. Why would you want to go through life looking like everyone else?


While I get the practicality of toned down, neutral colors (more versatile), I was put off by the dime-a-dozen look. It's a tricky thing, I see a lot of fashion chains have adopted these beige, neutral, faux minimalist designs, pretending they're the high point of elegance.

While that may be your personal style and that's fine for you, dressing in a certain way because someone tells you it's elegant and in style is just mind-boggling to me.


I wanted to contribute to this week's MINIMALIST KISS prompt as soon as I saw it

Capsule wardrobes have been a cycling minimalist trend since the dawn of the Internet. Have you ever had or considered a capsule wardrobe? What were some of the first habits you changed after embracing and applying minimalism into your life?

I decided to see if I could build one. Ideally one that didn't feature the beige coat and the same-y slacks. I used this as a guide, and focused on summer. As I'll be traveling for a few weeks soon, it allowed me to get a jump-start on packing.


I started by doing an inventory of existing stock. Came out at:

  • 4 light summer pants;
  • 17 tops;
  • 6 pairs of shorts;
  • 7 skirts;
  • 16 dresses;
  • 5 dungarees/onesies/whatever the fuck you call 'em.

Now, the upsetting bit is I don't wear the large majority of them. I wear the same 3-4 tops on rotation, one pair of shorts and maybe 3 dresses. I live with a capsule wardrobe, cramped inside an actual wardrobe.

That's the stuff I'd keep no matter what on the right. And the stuff I actually wear, 95% of the time. Which begs the question...what's with the rest of 30+ items?
I blame Communism. In Romania, there isn't a big culture around decluttering and throwing out. Because there was a long time in our history when people didn't have enough, nor did they have stores to buy new stuff. So it came to be known as ludicrous, throwing out perfectly good clothes just because you weren't feeling like them at the time.

I've also found a practical use in keeping things. My personal style has changed over the years, so I've found myself wearing items I thought I never would, but kept out of a sense of obligation.
Anyway, back to the capsule wardrobe. The guide I used recommends dividing the clothes in categories, and then extracting your favorite pieces from each. Which left me to inventory the leftovers.
Box of dresses I keep but don't wear. Some are too dressy, while other are loved but much too short, like this one:


Got a bunch of one-pieces I love and keep but probably wear once per year, as they're too dark or too thick for summer in Romania.

And before you say anything, I realize this isn't very minimalist of me. Exactly. It's a challenge, which is why I'm sharing it. The problem is my minimalist aspirations are butting heads with my economical/practical side. I'd rather keep a thing that's slightly faded or stained, because I don't mind wearing it. I'd rather keep a suit thingy like the one above on the off-chance I need to dress a little more stylish.

I mean, I'd rather do that than feel the need to go out and buy something new for the occasion.

Anyway, I narrowed down my capsule wardrobe as per the table above.
8 or 9 tops. The lower 4 are the ones I've been wearing on rote every summer for the past 5 or 6 summers. One day, the khaki and black identical tops are bound to disintegrate.
The only shorts I actually wear. The yellow pants are a newer, but much worn addition. The tunic is there just as a really comfy and loose throwaway.
Two dresses, one overall and a skirt. Might add another maxi dress to the capsule, as I feel the overall/pant ratio is skewed. Might throw in my enduring cargo pants for chillier days.

But yeah, that's pretty much my summer capsule. It's what I'll be taking on the road with me, as they're comfy, loose, practical (mostly) and I love them.

We're at about 20-21 items, plus one pair of sandals. As I understand it, these wardrobe thingies don't count pyjamas, lingerie, or jewelry. So I'd say we're good.

Conclusion: I'm happy to report the capsule wardrobe build was a success, without compromising on individuality, which was my main goal here. You can still cycle through the same limited pieces and look like you, not like a beige cutout.

I don't think I'll be throwing the rest out just yet. As I say, they're practical and my lifestyle right now allows me enough space to store them. But for now, I'm satisfied knowing that should my lifestyle change, I wouldn't have trouble adapting.

I wear the same few things anyway and have zero struggles with buying new shit. As I say, the vast majority above is years old.

It was an interesting exercise for me, as I'm currently contemplating different lifestyles, the meaning of freedom, what matters to me, my time and how it would be best spent in the next few years, and all them other juicy things. Thank you, as always, @millycf1976 for giving me interesting things to think about, even as this post outs me as a secret hoarder. It had to come out.


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