The lion, the witch, and the capsule wardrobe (part 1)

Until now, I have considered myself a minimalist.  I don’t have an attachment to many things, so I thought creating a capsule wardrobe would not be a problem.  A capsule wardrobe is a compact wardrobe that is made up of staple pieces in coordinating colors.  The number of clothing items, as well as the types of clothing items counted, varies dramatically.  Some people say 24 pieces and some say 33 pieces, but the point is to eliminate those items that match nothing else in the closet.

In some of the things I read, others have tried this by limiting themselves to a specific number of pieces including jewelry and such.  Yeesh. Here is where I started in the process.

  1. Do the laundry.  I washed everything so I could have an accurate view of my current clothing collection.
  2. Pull everything out.  Then I pulled all of my clothes out and hung them around my room in groups. I kept dresses together, tops, etc. Then, I took pictures and listed an inventory.
  3. Make some decisions.  Decide what you want to create. Do you want one versatile wardrobe for any season? Do you want two capsule wardrobes, one for Spring/Summer and one for Fall/Winter? What is your goal in regard to number and types of pieces?

Collage_Fotor(clothes)

Since I just celebrated my 39th birthday, I decided my capsule wardrobe would be 39 pieces, would not include socks, underwear, bras, or accessories including shoes (because the number of underwear I own is nobody’s business and bras are expensive so I’m not just tossing them!)

Here was my inventory:

  • 16 dresses
  • 2 skirts
  • 2 pair of dress pants
  • 5 pair of jeans
  • 7 sweatshirts/hoodies
  • 2 blazers
  • 35 t-shirts
  • 17 tank tops
  • 16 yoga pants/leggings
  • 13 dressy tanks/sleeveless shirts
  • 29 cardigans
  • 7 scarves
  • 6 button-down dress shirts
  • 6 belts
  • 1 swimsuit       = 164 items

164 items? What the what? This was a bit of a wakeup call for me. How does a self-professed minimalist own so many pieces?  I took a deep breath and looked at my list closely. Some things made sense and I could explain, so I started a conversation with myself.

SELF 1: “Okay self, I own 29 cardigans because when I was in the corporate world I had tattoos to cover up.”

SELF 2: “Not in the corporate world anymore, are you? And haven’t been in over a year.”

SELF 1: “Good point, self.”

SELF 1: “I have 16 pairs of yoga pants and leggings because my job now allows me to work at home in comfort.  And I’m going to start working out and taking yoga.”

SELF 2: “Don’t you wash clothes?”

SELF 1: “Yessss.”

SELF 2: “How’s that going to the gym and yoga thing working out?”

SELF 1: “Shut up.”

What I was really trying to do was justify owning things that I might not actually need or want anymore.  Deep down, I felt sad and dejected. How could I help other people pare down and organize when I obviously had way too many things of my own?  I do realize that to some, this amount of garments may not seem nearly as expansive as I saw it, but remember, I thought I was minimalist person!

In my mind, I had failed my experiment. After trying to justify what I owned, I tried to cultivate ways to keep what I had anyway. “I’ll have two wardrobes – one fall/winter and one spring/summer, and then a workout wardrobe separate from that, and then I’ll only have to get rid of a few things…sheesh! That wasn’t the point of the exercise, and if I wasn’t going to take it seriously, then what was I doing?

It looks weeks of thinking about it and looking at my wardrobe (all put back in the closet).  So, what happened?  Tune in for The lion, the witch, and the capsule wardrobe – part 2.