6 Reasons A Capsule Wardrobe Might NOT Work for Youposted by Andrea | 05/5/2015
If you’ve spent any amount of time reading blogs or browsing social media lately, you’ve probably heard a lot about “Capsule Wardrobes”.
As many of you know, a capsule wardrobe is one where you have VERY limited articles of clothing (usually around 40 pieces total — including shoes, but not including undergarments, pj’s, etc.). The idea is that all the tops and bottoms coordinate with each other so you can make many different outfits and achieve numerous different looks with only a few items taking up space in your closet.
I’ll be honest, the idea is absolutely THRILLING for me!
I love reading about other people’s journey to a super minimalist wardrobe. I enjoy flipping through before and after pictures of their closets. I’m inspired when I see how many different outfits they can put together with so few pieces of clothing. And honestly, I’ve even shared a few posts about capsule wardrobes on my Facebook page recently.
HOWEVER… I do not, in any way, intend to create a capsule wardrobe for myself. Not because it’s a bad idea, but simply because I don’t feel it’s very practical for me at this point in my life.
If I had to guess, I’d say that for most people, a capsule wardrobe isn’t easily do-able for a variety of reasons. Yes, every one of us COULD get by with only 40 articles of clothing if our lives depended on it. Our ancestors did it for hundreds of years, and I know I could easily purge the majority of my closet if I absolutely had to… but I don’t have to 🙂
If you share my infatuation with capsule wardrobes… but at the same time, you’re frustrated with your own bulging closet, I think today’s post will be encouraging for you!
6 Reasons a Capsule Wardrobe Might Not Work for You:
1. If you live in a region with varying climates.
Many of you know that I live in Michigan — land of the BEAUTIFUL 4 season changes every year. I absolutely love living in the Midwest and don’t foresee us moving any time in the near future. Even if we did move to a new house, there’s almost 0% chance we would move out of West Michigan unless it was for an amazing job or for health reasons.
That said, Michigan can easily be 90’s and crazy humid for weeks at a time in the summer, rainy, muddy, and cold in the spring, cool or warm in the and fall, and down-right frigid in the winter with 3 feet of snow and a sub-zero windchill.
For those of you who can relate to these climate changes, you know that just 10-15 tops is NOT going to cut it. There are days in the winter when I’ll literally wear a long sleeve shirt with a light-weight sweater over top and then a heavier cardigan over that because I’m just so freezing cold! But those same sweaters aren’t touched for months at a time in the spring, summer, and fall — depending on what the weather is like.
2. If your weight is fluctuating.
Since February of 2011, I have been pregnant, nursing, pumping, or some combination of those 3 EVERY SINGLE DAY of my life — and I have many more months to go 🙂
I’m not saying this to complain — but rather to share that as a pregnant, then nursing, then pregnant and nursing, then just pregnant, then pumping, then pregnant again person in my 20’s, my weight has fluctuated more in the past 4 years than I care to think about.
Since I’ve been pregnant in 3 different ‘seasons’ (gotta love that Michigan weather) and been postpartum / nursing / pumping in all 4 seasons, my clothing needs have been different for each baby so far. I have been fortunate to borrow most of my maternity clothing (or make due with my non-maternity clothing) and you better believe that I wore the same pair of jeans for about 6 weeks straight when nothing else fit after Simon was born!
However, I have still had to fill in with a few extra pieces during each pregnancy and after each baby — if for nothing else than to just do something nice for myself (instead of wearing clothes that didn’t fit or flatter my current figure).
I know there are MANY of you out there who can relate to my situation… and many others who deal with fluctuating weight for any number of reasons.
While I certainly don’t want to encourage you to keep every single article of clothing that has ever fit, I also don’t think it’s reasonable (or responsible) to toss an item the moment you gain or lose 5 pounds and it no longer fits perfectly.
While I personally try to purge anything that is more than 2 sizes “off” for me, I do keep at least a couple items in various sizes so I have something to fall back on if that baby weight comes off a little slower or packs on a little faster than the previous time 🙂
3. If you have a more difficult body to work around.
I didn’t know quite how to word this one — so I hope it doesn’t come across as offensive 🙂
Basically, what I’m trying to get at is that almost every single person I’ve seen blog about their capsule wardrobe has been very “average size”. And even for myself, when I shared my mix-and-match wardrobe, I think one of the main reasons I was able to make that work is because I am somewhat “average” in my height, weight, build, body structure, etc.
My one “difficulty” is that I have an extremely LOOOOOONG torso, which often makes finding shirts and sweaters extremely difficult for me. I have to try every shirt on — and even with the longer “tunic” styles, they often hit me at an odd spot, which makes them much less flattering.
One of my sisters is very tall and has a difficult time finding pants that are long enough, and I have a couple of friends who are very pear shaped and also have issues with pants, shorts, and even skirts.
Broad shoulders is another biggie for women as it makes buying shirts more tricky… and I’ve heard that the cute shoe selection for anyone bigger than a size 10 is basically non-existent 🙂
I’m not a fashion expert, but to me, it seems like many of the current fashions are geared towards women with “straight” figures as opposed to curvy figures. Fortunately for me, my figure is quite straight (minus the bulging belly right now) so it has actually been easier for me to find flattering styles the past few years. That said, I know there are many women who have been more frustrated than ever with the styles offered in stores — if that’s you, then you’ll probably find it quite difficult to create a capsule wardrobe.
4. If you don’t know what styles flatter you.
This is usually the biggest problem for most women — or maybe I’m the only one. We see all the new fashion trends in magazines and on TV, and we want to wear them. So even if we don’t have the right body type (see #3 above) we try to squeeze ourselves into these clothes that are supposed to be fashionable… but end up looking awful on us.
For me, working with a stylist last fall was definitely money well spent. She really opened my eyes to what styles and colors looked good on me (I’ve been wearing skinny jeans every since!) and helped me to realize why I liked certain articles of clothing and why I didn’t like others.
Now I know to stay away from certain fabrics, certain types of clothing, and certain “cuts” of clothing that just don’t do anything for me.
However, if you do NOT know what styles flatter you, it would be very difficult to create a capsule wardrobe with pieces of clothing you’ll enjoy wearing over and over again.
5. If you’re on a tight budget.
Obviously, creating a brand new wardrobe from scratch is going to cost money — possibly a lot of money. I realize there are potentially a few items in your current closet that would work for a capsule wardrobe, but often times, the concept of a capsule wardrobe requires a “fresh start”.
I’m not saying it’s not worth spending the money — but it IS something that prohibits many people from creating that ultra minimalistic capsule wardrobe.
Unless you have unlimited funds to spend on clothing, it just doesn’t make sense to me to spend a large sum on new clothing UNLESS you have a very steady weight, you know exactly what styles and colors flatter you, and you know how to work around any body “obstacles” to find the pieces that are the perfect fit for you.
6. If you’re a fashionista.
If you are someone who really enjoys staying current with the latest fashion trends, a capsule wardrobe would be almost impossible for you — unless you were willing to buy and purge on a weekly basis to keep your wardrobe to a minimum while still buying all the latest trends.
As I’ve mentioned MANY times before, my “one thing” is homemaking — cleaning, organizing, decorating, cooking, gardening, etc. So I’m much more likely to buy something fun for my house, a new kitchen gadget, or plants for my yard than I am to buy new clothing. At the same time, if your “one thing” is fashion, you would feel SO suffocated if you were only allowed to have a few items of clothing — because clothing is one of those things that makes you feel happy.
Striving for a capsule wardrobe would most likely rob you of much of that joy and fun in your life — which totally isn’t worth it in my opinion!
Although I most likely will never have a true capsule wardrobe, I will always continue to strongly advocate for having a neat, organized closet and purging those things that don’t fit or make you feel great. I know from lots of personal experience (and working with hundreds of organizing clients over the years) that having a neat, organized closet filled with clothing that fits and flatters you is MUCH more doable for the average person than having only the minimum necessities a capsule wardrobe allows.
That said, if you have a capsule wardrobe, WAY TO GO! That’s awesome — don’t change just because I said it’s most likely not possible for the majority of women.
I will continue reading about capsule wardrobes and drooling over the minimalistic closets, appreciating them for what they are — but I also will NOT let myself feel bad for having more than the bare essentials in my wardrobe.
And I don’t think you should feel bad either!