BY: SYDNEY KEEFE
In recent years the minimalist trend has really taken off. Monochromatic and simplistic clothes and furniture have become the go to of the young and fashionable. But some have taken this minimalist stance a step further and created a lifestyle out of it.
Many have reduced their wardrobe to a limited amount of clothing in order to fix unhealthy buying habits. The term capsule wardrobe was coined in the 1970s by Susie Faux. The idea is to intentionally keep a small wardrobe with only mix and match clothing in an attempt ot combat consumerism and exude personal style.
In a capitalist society we have become completely subjected to commodity fetishism, the Marxist theory that capitalism leads society to equate human characteristics to inanimate objects. And by owning these objects we attain these attributes. A dress can make you pretty, shoes can make you cool. Commodity fetishism is why so many of us shop as a way to make ourselves feel better or to achieve a temporary sense of fulfilment or confidence.
Author of the blog called “Un-fancy”, Caroline Joy started writing about her experiment with capsule wardrobes in 2014. She did this as a way to curb her rampant consumerism that was clouding her happiness, and draining her bank account. Caroline found that whenever she was upset she would shop as a way to make herself feel better. This often lead to clothes that reflected her emotional state instead of her personal style. After extensive googling Caroline realized that in order to find her own style she needed to stop compulsively shopping and feeding into our consumerist society. Caroline then curated a closet of only 37 items for three months with no shopping during those months.
By 2016 Caroline’s shopping habits were healthy again. And while she no longer uses such harsh restriction in her shopping habits, Caroline claims that the habits that she learned during her capsule experiment have carried over into her new habits. Compulsive spending is unhealthy, and not cost effective. Having a smaller closet with more intentional purchases allows Caroline (and others) to live a more fulfilled life with a more personalized style.
The capsule wardrobe is great for anyone who struggles with having a ton of clothes but only ever ends up wearing the same favourites over and over again. This is often the result of impulse buys where you end up with a bunch of mediocre clothes that you never wear because they are never quite right. When you have curated your closet you always feel like you have something great to throw on because you only have your favourites.
And while many are hesitant to try it because of their love for shopping and style, you shouldn’t let that stop you. Caroline attests to the fact that having to be more restrained and particular in your choices allows you to rise above trends to elevate your fashion to timeless style.
To start your own capsule experiment, you have to limit your entire wardrobe to 37 items (including shoes, hats, jackets, etc). These 37 items are all you can wear for 3 months (equivalent to a season), and in the last two weeks you begin preparing for the next season.
The best way to figure out what is a love item and what is a meh one is to lay it all out on the table… literally. Take all of your clothes out of your closet and lay them on the ground. From there you are able to make piles of what you love, what’s a maybe, what’s a hard no, and seasonal items (a tube top in the winter? Awesome, but not practical).
And there you have it! All you need to get started on your very own capsule wardrobe.