Sunday 18 January 2015

Living simply: capsule wardrobe

I'd never heard of a capsule wardrobe before last week. It still makes me think of a mixture of space travel and medication, but anyways!

The idea is to have a set number of items of clothing for a set amount of time and to put everything else away out of sight - with the aim being to reduce on decision making, clutter, and also on buying un-needed items.

Different people do it in different ways. The first I heard of it was through Project 333 which suggests 33 items of clothing (including accessories and shoes, not including underwear and exercise gear) for 3 months. Which isn't a whole lot when you think about gloves, scarves, bags etc. But changing the selection after three months allows for changing in seasons and some variety over the year.

Another blog that inspired me was Un-Fancy, which is a bit more lenient on what's included within the capsule wardrobe and more fashion focused, but the same idea.

I've read a few times before about successful people who wear the same thing every day because it's one less decision to make, and allows them to use that energy elsewhere. To be honest the thought of doing that makes me pretty sad - I've always enjoyed wearing a variety of clothes and styles. Partly because I didn't (and don't) want to be pigeon-holed, partly because clothes are a chance to get creative and express something and let's be honest: I guess do I care about how I look but also very much care about being warm and comfortable - which therefore requires thinking quite a lot about the best combinations for weather and situations :-)  But, at the moment there is enough going on in life to make cutting down on choices sound quite appealing.

I'm not sure what a 'normal' amount of clothes is, but I suppose I do own a fair amount. Not because I buy a lot - I'd say more than half of what I wear is passed on from someone else be it via friends, family or charity shops - but because I tend to hold on to things for a long time. I've never really followed fashion trends so I'm still wearing a few things I've had since I was a teenager.  I suppose I could just get rid of a whole load but I'll be honest, I don't think I could (would?!) all in one go.

I'm not a tidy person. But I know that when our little flat is less messy, and everything is in its place, I feel more calm. So having less clothes hanging in the wardrobe and filling drawers is appealing.

A combination of these factors and reading about other people's experiences has led me to think that the whole capsule wardrobe idea is a good step on the way to having less clutter, less overwhelming choices to make, and more appreciation of what I own. It also means having an excuse to wear the clothes I like most, rather than saving them for a special occasion. And to basically just get over worrying about people judging me on wearing the same outfits frequently. Someone that frequently inspires me is a super colourful and creative friend who you'd never call boring, but when I stayed with her I noticed she only owned a few clothes and a handful of jewellery. This has stuck with me and proved that I don't need as much variety as I think I do.

In a lot of ways I have it quite easy when it comes down to clothing choices. I work from home so half the time I'm in a onesie or something equally sloppy and comfortable. A friend and I joke that living in Penzance turns you into a tracksuit-wearing unbrushed hair person... because let's be honest it's not the height of fashion and no one really cares. Which is kind of cool, I guess, although I do miss the outfit-watching opportunities in Brighton! I realise most of my clothes are summery ones, so it might be harder to make choices when it comes to that, but I didn't actually find it too difficult to bung lots of clothes in a suitcase to be hidden away for the time being.

I'm still making some decisions on how strict I'm going to be. Today I put away lots of pairs of earrings and necklaces, but I haven't included jewellery in my 'quota'. I'm going to go through and count what I've got and maybe challenge myself to cut down again - if it's too easy then I'm not learning much!

Anyways I've babbled on for long enough now. I'll share my choices in the coming week or two, (if anyone's interested!) Let's see if these changes do make a difference and what they might lead on to...

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