The Capsule Wardrobe Debate

Photo by KhongkitWiriyachan/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by KhongkitWiriyachan/iStock / Getty Images

Capsule Wardrobe. You may have heard the term come up in conversation, or have seen an elegant link on Pinterest depicting just how many outfits you can make with only 3 socks, two button-up tank tops, and a blanket scarf. When I first started seeing Capsule Wardrobes pop up, I was intrigued. The concept of paring down a closet stuffed full of clothes that were rarely worn in favour of a minimal approach to fashion appealed to me. I followed the advice of the blogs, going through my closet & wardrobe, carefully picking through each item. Several bags of clothing went out for donation or consignment. I felt good about the closet cleanse, and moved on to Stage II: Create Outfits Using As Few Pieces As Possible (or something to this extent).

That's where I ran into trouble.

As I looked through my clothes, I saw tank tops next to bulky sweaters, lightweight dresses beside turtlenecks, and leather pants hung up by a linen tunic. Oh right. Edmonton has four very distinct seasons (crisp autumn, -30 winter, wet/muddy spring, and it's too damn hot summer). How could I reduce my wardrobe to about 40 items total and be comfortable in all YEGs crazy climates? And wait...what about my workout gear, hockey equipment, & fancy clothes?

Enter the seasonal capsule.

Basically, a seasonal capsule wardrobe is a capsule wardrobe multiplied by four seasons. Wadatay.

Once I was able to separate my closet into seasons, and then capsule from each season, things got much better. I filled 2 blue bags full of clothes to donate, and took a load of things to the consignment store. When I looked at my wardrobe after the cleanse, I felt way less anxious. So here are some of my own personal “seasonal capsule” rules:

Buy quality pieces that can be worn in several outfits

Ever bought a $12 polyester dress from Forever21, wear it once, and then see the seams literally fray before your eyes after the first wash? Was your first thought ‘whew, at least I only spent 12 bucks on that’? Sup, you’ve just been tricked by the fast-fashion industry. These clothes are NOT MADE TO LAST, therefore creating an endless loop of supply/demand while contributing massive amounts of textile waste to the landfill. Not to mention the poor working conditions of the factories in which they are produced. Invest in quality made pieces that can be worn for years. Spending more money on one piece that will last hundreds of wears with be way more cost-effective in the long term.

Don’t get caught up in the numbers game

If Becky from Pinterest is able to have a 6-piece wardrobe, and yours is closure to 114, don’t fret. It’s not a competition. The fact that you’re making a conscious effort to refrain from impulse purchases + fast fashion is great! (Also, does Becky wash her clothes every day? Does she wear underwear? I have so many questions…). I have a full drawer of workout clothes, and I love it. If I’m going to yoga on Tuesday then swimming with my daughter Wednesday, I’m going to wear drastically different outfits. Additionally, if you’re in the same stage of life as I am, you’re going to a wedding every other weekend. Don’t feel badly about investing in cocktail or formal clothes that may not be worn as often as you’d like…eventually people start popping out kids & then you just have to show up in yoga pants with coffee.

Die-Hard Basics

- Leather Jacket (or Denim for my vegan buddies): appropriate for any season & worth investing in. My leather is the Cargo Leather Biker Jacket (pictured, right) from All Saints & it’s my absolute favourite piece.

- Big-ass scarf: I invested in a soft grey wool blanket scarf and quite literally bring it everywhere with me when autumn hits

- One pair of jeans you feel amazing in: as a general rule, I would rather be pantless, but even I have a black of black cigarette jeans that I always reach for when I have nothing to wear.

- A little black dress: there’s a reason why this is a thing. You never know when you’re going to have to pull it out, and black never goes out of style

What are your Die-Hard Basics? Let me know!

- Aims