The Capsule Wardrobe by Attrition

Most days, my personal style can best be summed up as ‘random scrapings from the inside of my closet’.

It’s not that I don’t care at all about my appearance, I just don’t care very much. I used to be confused by the expression “shopping as sport” until I realized that I hate sportsing and feel the same way about shopping. It’s something that should be gotten over with as quickly as possible and afterwards I should be plied with alcohol and praised for making an effort.

When you’re on the road to becoming more of a minimalist, you eventually need to look at your wardrobe. And, if you’re like me, you start to do some research on things like capsule wardrobes, which are, apparently the pinnacle of minimalist dressing, all colour-coordinated and able to suit every occasion with just a few pieces. Which sounds like a total yay until you realize that the capsule wardrobe you are looking at and loving has absolutely no correlation to the random scrapings from the inside of the closet that you actually have.

And then you do a bit more research, because it’s late and you could be sleeping.

And there is SO MUCH work involved in creating the capsule wardrobe that will allow you to effortlessly dress up and face the day. There are closets to empty and assessments to make and lists and questions and thinking, thinking, THINKING!  And, I’m sorry, but to me, the whole point of minimalism is that it will allow me to not waste my time thinking about the pointless boring stuff like clothes and spend more time drinking tea and reading and going out with Alan.

So what’s a minimalist wannabe to do?

Well, I stumbled across a system that works really, really well with hardly any effort and frees up whole lobes of your brain for thinking about the things you actually want to think about. As an added bonus, it works not just for clothes, but for any other stuff you want to have less of and think even less about.

Ready?

The first step is to declare a total buying freeze. It can be for a set time for stuff you tend to use up and actually need some in order to go out in public without getting yourself arrested, like clothes. Or it can be permanent for all the other useless crap that bugs you, like fitness equipment or craft supplies (sorry, crafters, but, honestly, you will never use up all the supplies you have squirreled away now and if you do, well, then, go ahead and restock just a little).

Then, as stuff wears out or gets used up, you just don’t replace it.

You will have moments when something falls into your hands or you trip over it on the way to something else and you realize you don’t need it at all and you can send it on its way. And bit by bit, your house gets a little emptier and you can see a little more clearly what you do and (mostly) don’t need.

And (to get back to the wardrobe) as your closet starts to empty, you can see more easily that, in fact, a grey sweater would tie a whole bunch of pieces together and allow you to get rid of a bunch of things at once. Or maybe your closet is a sea of grey and something with a bit of colour would be more helpful to get you up and facing the world on those days when you’d really rather let the diem carpe itself.

Just don’t be too quick with the purchase as fix. Ride out your spending freeze (I recommend 3 – 6 months) and realize that you actually do have things to wear and that making do isn’t actually fatal. I guarantee you’ll head out one day in something that makes you feel like a manatee and you’ll get compliments. It makes no sense, but it’s wonderfully empowering to realize that most people don’t even notice what you wear, but if they do, they’re looking at you with far more admiration than you will ever have when looking at yourself.

This system is easy and gentle and doesn’t require spread sheets and an 86 page booklet  and a whole load of guilt to accomplish. And you still have time for thinking the thoughts you prefer to think.

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6 Responses to The Capsule Wardrobe by Attrition

  1. Monique says:

    A total buying freeze? That’s totally impossible. I am not much of a buyer but my closet is full of clothes. Clothes I like, of course, some I wear, some I forget. I try to limit my spending but sometimes that’s purely impossible.

  2. Karen says:

    This:

    “It’s something that should be gotten over with as quickly as possible and afterwards I should be plied with alcohol and praised for making an effort.”

    Amen!

  3. Sarah says:

    I love it! I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the super fashionable one colour scheme capsules! Contents of them are so clean and new and trendy- not like the stuff in my wardrobe! Plus my concept of what I wanna wear changes every 1-2 months with the weather and my moods. So this was a very therapeutic line for me: something with a bit of colour would be more helpful to get you up and facing the world on those days when you’d really rather let the diem carpe itself.
    I am feeling better that I’m not alone in feeling less than up for seizing the day at the moment- I’m darned tired and done! Thanks for this piece- a great read.

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