I have recently embarked on my own journey to create a new version of my existing wardrobe. The first part of this journey? Whittling away at an overstuffed closet. I’m sure you’re familiar with a closet that is full of clothes… but you still have nothing to wear! This struggle led me to embark on the curation of a capsule wardrobe. The second part of the journey? Creating a more sustainable closet; one that is not based on spur of the moment purchases from fast fashion retailers, but rather one that is a work in progress–an evolution towards sustainability.
The first steps in creating a capsule wardrobe
The first step towards creating a capsule wardrobe is sorting the existing clothes in your closet. Pair everything down to the most necessary pieces. A capsule is essentially a small grouping of items that work well together and serve the needs of your day-to-day outfits. Next, you build on those basics, adding pieces that maybe aren’t necessary but are more fun. These are the statement pieces that will add your own sense of personal style. This process can feel a little daunting at first, but once you get started it’s really a lot of fun!
If you do a little research, you will learn there are many versions of the capsule wardrobe. Some advocate for 5-10 basic seasonal pieces that interchange well to create multiple outfits, and you build on these by adding accessories, jackets & footwear to create many looks. Others take you upwards of 50 or 60 key pieces that theoretically could create hundreds of outfit options. This is a reasonable selection based on what we’re used to, and probably half of those pieces are the capsule part. These larger collections are providing for great selection, but still ensuring everything works well together.
Hiring a professional to help
I found the best way for me to go through this process was to hire a professional–someone who has no preconceived notions about my wardrobe and can see everything I own with fresh eyes. I invited Lori Thomas from Stylesmarts over to help me edit my closet. The verdict? It was AMAZING!! Lori is so helpful and methodical in the way she sorts through everything. She asks a lot of questions and has a clear goal in mind based on lifestyle, work schedule, and personal ethics. We managed to clear out about 40 unnecessary pieces that were weighing my closet down.
Once the process was finished, I realized having 50-60 pieces is really not a lot… so what did I end up with? I counted just over 100 pieces, including footwear, scarves, and jackets (but not coats). That sounds like a lot of clothes! And I think this process really drives home the fact that we buy WAY too much stuff. Good news: I have realized I have some really great pieces in my closet! There’s very little that I actually need to replace–just a new pair of denim and a couple of basic tees–and Lori has a great talent for being able to mix & match pieces to create multiple new outfits and show you how to wear things in new and different ways. So, now I feel inspired when I open that closet door because I have so many new ways to wear my clothes!
Learning to wear what you have is sustainable
I know when I do purchase that new pair of jeans, they will be sustainably and ethically made. I don’t believe throwing out half of our existing wardrobes is really a sustainable choice when it comes to creating a capsule or pared-down version of our existing wardrobes.. But figuring out how to wear what we’ve already got is probably a very sustainable concept to build on. I’ve borrowed a quote that’s posted on Lori’s website, which pretty much says it all:
“Buy less, choose well, and mix it all up” – Vivienne Westwood
Do you have pieces in your closet you never wear? Upload them to myWardrobe Online and free up some space so you can see how many great new outfits you can make!