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Before You Throw It All Out for a Minimalist Wardrobe Read This

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport
Before You Throw It All Out for a Minimalist Wardrobe Read This

I think capsule wardrobes are a brilliant concept and I use them all the time in my work with clients, and with myself when travelling. But, and this is a big but, they are right for some but not for everyone.

Did you red my post about whether you are an Options or Procedures person? If not, go ahead and read it right now before you continue on here.

As you will discover even thought they are a brilliant way to build a wardrobe, not all of us want to live with just a couple of small wardrobe capsules if we are more options orientated.

Now a small capsule wardrobe is something that might be a necessity if you:

  • Have limited space to store clothes
  • Have a very limited budget (though I know of people who have capsules at every budget, and larger wardrobes also at every budget)
  • Have lifestyle that supports it (though I've seen large and small capsules for every kind of lifestyle, but if you live a casual life, you don't need as many clothes as someone working who has a different dress code for work and play)
  • Are travelling
  • Hate shopping for clothes
  • Want to make a smaller impact on the environment by not consuming
  • Are procedures orientated around your clothing

But, there are many women who I've heard about who, starting with a larger wardrobe think "I want to simplify my life I'm going to throw it all out and just keep a wardrobe capsule" and then get rid of almost everything only to discover that maybe they were too hasty in getting rid of clothing and they they are now completely bored by only wearing a small wardrobe capsule. Also, many pieces of advice about wardrobe capsules says "If you haven't worn it in 6 months or a year then get rid of it" and I know myself, that sometimes we just haven't had the right weather for a garment, that's the reason I haven't worn it, not because I don't want to wear it again or it doesn't fit with my life. There is no reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater as my mother used to say.

Yes minimalism can be great, and I know the feeling of lightness and clarity I get when I do a big de-clutter. Getting rid of unwanted clothing is a brilliant idea. Getting rid of dated, poor quality or worn out clothing is a must. Making your wardrobe work for you is essential, remember your wardrobe is like a kitchen. But just throwing everything out for a small wardrobe capsule may not be the right thing to do for you if you haven't thought it through properly.

So if you are thinking about downsizing your wardrobe (notice that this post is not about shopping or upsizing your wardrobe at all, nor is it about the quality of your clothes or the amount you spend on each item, they are a whole different story), before you actually get rid of it all, I'd suggest you put away the clothes you think you want to throw out into another wardrobe or some storage boxes and live with your new capsule for some time - at least a 3 months (a la Project 333) or even a year. That way you will have time to discover if it's right for you before you discard your clothes for real. Remember that most of live with different seasons and so need seasonal capsules rather than one that will do us for all four.

Then notice how you feel. Ask yourself:

  • Do I feel more free with less choice in my wardrobe?
  • Do I like to wear a 'uniform' of sorts?
  • Do I feel bored by the repetition and lack of choice?
  • Do my clothes work for all the occasions I need them to?

The answers to these questions will give you insight into how you really feel about living with a minimal wardrobe and if it's the right decision for you.

If you are constantly revisiting the place you've stored your clothes to bring out others for any reason, maybe the minimalist wardrobe is not the one for you.

By storing your items before you really purge them out of your life, you are leaving open the option not to have to purchase again (which in the end costs you and the environment more), and allows you to discover how you really feel with a minimal wardrobe and if it's the right decision for you to be making.

I think that someone who is more procedures sees having many wardrobe options as more of a burden and it weighs their brain down having to make decisions, whilst those who enjoy having more choice (Options people) people see having a larger wardrobe as freeing.

For those of you who have done minimalist wardrobe challenges tell me:

  • What did you learn?
  • How did it make you feel?
  • When it was over did you keep on wearing that same small number of pieces or did you feel constrained by it and move back to wearing your whole (or a good portion of it) wardrobe?

If you want to go down the capsule wardrobe path, feel free to download my printable wardrobe capsule guide to help you on your way!


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