I am officially reaching one year of having my capsule wardrobe and I have learned more about my style and fashion in general than I ever did mindlessly shopping for clothes on a whim.
For so long I felt like I needed loads of options, that certain cuts didn't work for me, and that accessories were only necessary when going somewhere extra fancy. I didn't really think about what I liked. I just thought about what other people would think looks cool or what was relevant at the time.
Really, before having a capsule wardrobe and really pairing down to live with less, I had no direction. I had no understanding of who I wanted to be or how I wanted to present myself. I thought more about what other people expected and less about what really felt right for me.
I get that fashion seems superficial and unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but it's more than just outward appearances. When you take a look at yourself in what you've chosen to wear, it says so much about what you're feeling on the inside. It shows what you think of yourself and where your values lie.
EVERYTHING I LEARNED MY FIRST YEAR WITH A CAPSULE WARDROBE
UNDERSTANDING YOUR STYLE AND UNDERSTANDING YOURSELF GO HAND IN HAND
Again, it may sound superficial. It may seem like what you wear shouldn't matter. There are much bigger things that happen in our lives that our style really shouldn't be a factor. But there's a reason there are so many fashion blogs and reality shows that give people make-overs.
Ultimately, it's not about what you where. It's about why you wear it.
There were moments where I felt worthless and moments where I felt empowered. Insecure or beautiful. Profession or lazy. In each of those moments, my style reflected that. Not only reflected it, but perpetuated the feelings I had at the time.
As I paired down my wardrobe and decided what I would spend the next year wearing, I realized I not only had no sense of myself, but that any sense I did have was negative. My wardrobe didn't reflect someone with confidence and a strong sense of worth. It reflected someone who had given up. Someone incapable of growing and moving forward. Someone who didn't deserve any better than what they had.
As I role into my second year of my capsule wardrobe, I've decided to bring in more pieces that reflect where I'm going.
It's time to allow myself the freedom to be bold. To stop blending into the background. To expand beyond my tiny little comfort zone into someone who believes they can be what they want to be.
DON'T BE AFRAID OF MORE
When I started my capsule wardrobe, I let myself keep 27 items. From outwear to everyday to shoes, it all had to fit in that number. I was all in or all out. No storage. No setting aside for later just in case. Just 27 pieces in total all together for all the seasons.
Looking back, I like that I forced myself to live with so little. I just wish I allowed myself storage while I figured out my style. Even now, I have about enough clothes to make outfits for a week. While I love having fewer choices, I wish I could cycle those choices more.
It's hard to be creative and content wearing the same thing over and over day after day for months. It makes me feel the urge to go and buy new items more than I should, especially because my pieces are not as versatile. So for anyone starting their capsule, don't be afraid to hold onto items that might not feel like you right now.
It takes people years to define their style, and even then it can change.
When you're downsizing anything, it's good to be patient and take it slow. Once you have paired down officially, don't be afraid to add. You can always get rid of stuff later, but replacing after the fact it is not as practicle.
GIVE YOURSELF VARIETY
Unless you want to be a Steve Jobs or Ryan Nicodemus type wearing the same black shirt and jeans everyday, you need more than the same style shirt and pants in your closet.
A big mistake I made was finding an outfit that worked and then getting the same type of pieces to recreate that one outfit over and over. It's horribly boring and, even though it's a perfectly stylish and acceptable outfit, jeans with a french tucked shirt everyday makes me feel drab even if my outfit is technically fine.
For this next year, I'm going to allow myself a few shopping trips to branch out.
I want to be very intentional about the pieces I buy and make sure they still add confidence, but I want some variety. I want different silhouettes, more colors than just blue and grey, and the chance to create a mood with what I'm in.
It's important to understand the different between style and pieces.
Styles can have over lapping pieces. Kimonos and flowy skirts don't have to fit only into a boho style. Blazers and trousers can be more than just professional wear. It's all about what you pair it with, the fabric it's made with, and the print or color that's used.
Play with silhouettes, add things to your style board that you like but seem a little out there. Go to the store and try on things you'd never in a million years think you'd like. You'd be surprised how much fun you can have stepping outside of your "uniform" and exploring all that fashion has to offer.
DON'T BE AFRAID OF ACCESSORIES
I might be the only person who really needs to hear this. I'm terrible with jewelry and effort outside of the basics. I don't like to look overdone, but I think I'm learning that casual doesn't have to be so casual.
Honestly, I like the idea of a world where everyone is a little more dressed up. Even if it's just a gold necklace with jeans and t-shirt. It makes a difference to add that extra bit of thought and gives an opportunity for even more variety.
Balancing accessories with outfits is where the real fun can begin when getting dressed each day. A casual outfit with nicer shoes and minimal jewelry for a coffee date or a bold necklace with sandals. I don't know, I'm new at this.
The point is, this opens the door to more than just tops and bottoms.
It gives that little something extra that can bring an outfit from "I just rolled out of bed" to "I spent time on myself today." Plus, it gives you a chance to give yourself something nice each day.
FIT IS EVERYTHING
100% this is very important to understand. There are so many pieces that I love but avoid because I didn't take the time to find the right fit. It makes me feel ugly or like my body is weird. It makes me want to crawl into an oversized sack and hide forever.
Trying something on and watching your body transform into a potato is very discouraging. Especially when it's with an item that you've been eying forever or thought would bring a lot of joy to have.
There are so many items that I've tried on in "my size" that didn't look right and I assumed it was by body that was wrong because that's just how the piece was made and it looks good on other people so it must be me.
There are so many ways to make a piece fit correctly. The first being, figuring out how it should fit on you. Maybe one person needs a size smaller than normal because their style is more form fitting. Maybe someone else needs a larger style because the material is clingier than anticipated.
It's not just about making sure you work for the clothes. It's about making sure the clothes work for you.
When you've found a piece you love, don't give up when it doesn't fit the way it does for other people. Play around. Tuck it in. Tie it up. Size up. Size down. Find an awesome tailer to fit it to you perfectly. Make it work for you because ultimately, that's what matters most.
This is probably the most important lesson I learned. Don't just settle for what you know. Don't settle for your average day if it puts you in something that brings you down.
We have the power to change and our wardrobe is a great place to start.
If you're bored, get something crazy different from your norm. If you don't have confidence, find something that makes you feel amazing.
We don't have to settle for just a uniform or just a dress code. We don't have to settle with a specific number of items or a specific style of clothing. People are versatile and our wardrobes should reflect everything we are and everything we can become.
Give yourself room to grow. Give your comfort a bigger zone. Use your wardrobe as a tool to heal what needs healing and propel yourself forward into more than you ever thought possible.