The Capsule Wardrobe Break-Up: It’s Not You, It’s Me

Last fall, I dove head first into planning and using a capsule wardrobe. It had been something I wanted to try for a LONG time and I was so excited to finally execute my plan! I purged, I planned, I purchased intentionally, and I spent three months wearing only the 40 items in my closet. I even wrote a post called “Why I Need a Capsule Wardrobe.”

After three months, I decided the capsule wardrobe and I were just not meant for each other. So we broke up.

The Capsule Wardrobe Break-Up

To be perfectly clear: I still love the capsule wardrobe concept and I think every woman should try it at least once. But between my ENFP personality (ooh, shiny things!) and my love for trying new things in fashion, I couldn’t stick to just my 40-item capsule after those three months.

So what didn’t work?

The capsule wardrobe made me feel like I was on a diet. The Hubby and I don’t do diets well. We like to eat healthy 90% of the time, but we don’t like being told what we can and can’t eat by some plan. This is how I ended up feeling during my capsule trial period – restricted and wanting things I “couldn’t” have.

Even though I chose to not to stick with this way of dressing, the capsule wardrobe process WAS a good experience for me. I took the time to intentionally look at the clothes in my closet, eliminated the pieces I wasn’t wearing, and thought of new ways to wear the pieces I already love. I also found myself buying less on impulse which is always a good thing!

Instead of sticking to a strict capsule wardrobe, I’m just going through my wardrobe with a cutthroat mindset each season. And as far as buying, I’m shopping for better-made versions of the essentials and going with fair-trade and ethical fashion companies whenever possible.

This post is about me breaking up with my capsule wardrobe, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. You may love it. It was freeing at first to have a smaller set of pieces to choose from when getting dressed each morning. And some people thrive in this way…just not me! I’m leaving up my capsule wardrobe posts because I still believe in the resources and process. Who knows – I may give it another go for a different season at some point!

I still believe I needed a capsule wardrobe for that season as I originally posted. It helped me get creative and clarify my style. I found a few “uniforms” I love to stick to – more on that soon! It was a great exercise in discipline and intentionality, both of which I could use a lot more of in my life!

My Dear Capsule Wardrobe,

It was good while it lasted. You helped me grow, but I had to move on. I just couldn’t be me when we were together. I know someone else will love you much better than I ever could. It’s not you. It’s all me. Thanks for the memories.

All my best,

Erin

Have you tried a capsule wardrobe? How did it work for you?

*****

If you have no idea what I’m talking about with a capsule wardrobe or you think you might want to plan your own, start here:

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook

Comments

  1. I actually just had another friend post about a capsule wardrobe. I’d love to try it but it will take me a loooong time financially to build a capsule wardrobe. I don’t own most of the things in one and some of the things are NOT me – button down shirts. I just cannot do button down shirts. 🙂

    • The key with a capsule wardrobe is not to follow someone else’s capsule, but to make your own based on what you love to wear and what you look good in! It’s possible, but more difficult, to do a capsule when pregnant + nursing – I would recommend waiting! But definitely give it a try with what YOU like to wear! Let me know if you have more questions!

  2. I did a 30 x 30 about two years ago. The concept is similar, except it’s only for a month. I agree having only so many pieces to chose from made me get much more creative with my closet, but I missed my other clothes. I agree everyone should try something like this once, but there are too many fun clothes out there to not splurge once in a while.
    clothedwithgrace.com

  3. Great post! What is a blog for but sharing the learning. I probably do use a capsule wardrobe, but need to actually purge the rest. It’s on my summer list.

  4. Good to know. I have seen many posts about a capsule wardrobe, and I always thought it was a little scary. Now I know why, haha! Loved your break up note!

  5. Sadly, the capsule wardrobe doesn’t work for everybody. I love mine, but I’m not into fashion. I prefer clothes to be “no muss, no fuss”.

  6. I stumbled across your blog when looking for styling ideas for the Fashionable Mamuke tote, which is actually on my capsule wardrobe wishlist! I just started a capsule wardrobe for the spring/summer season. The purging part was wonderful but rebuilding my wardrobe (since I purged 95% of it) has definitely been a challenge so far, both financially and logistically.

    After purging, I scoured blogs and Pinterest for guides on pieces I should purchase. At first I found myself trying to build my wardrobe based around what others would consider essentials, without really considering what my go-to pieces have always been so a few of my new purchases initially were misguided. For me, my everyday wardrobe is honestly just a t-shirt and jeans with some sort of funky shoes and costume jewelry. I like to mix in structured blouses and a colored pant here and there but I’m not a skirt and dress lady and I was trying to fit those into a wardrobe when I don’t even like to wear them. Once I finally came to grips with what I really do like to wear, I was ready to really rebuild.

    To address the financial aspect of building the new wardrobe, I got serious about thrifting. I’ve always loved thrifting but mostly for furniture and home decor. I never did a lot of clothes thrifting because it’s quite a chore. I’ve probably spent a collective 10 hours digging through racks at thrift stores and that’s been enough time to gather enough essential pieces to round out my new wardrobe. I went into thrift stores with a general idea of what I was looking for but I didn’t let that keep me from purchasing an “impulse” item if it was pretty and I wanted it. I was honestly blown away by what I found. Granted, 99% of what is hanging on those racks I wouldn’t take home but I found items like a pair of J.Crew cigarette pants for $2.50, a linen tank from Ann Taylor Loft for $1, and a Banana Republic sweater for $4 — all in great condition.

    I’ve been living with this new pared down wardrobe for the past two months and I can honestly say that I feel an incredible amount of relief. I still struggle in the mornings with figuring out what I want to wear but I can now walk into Target and totally bypass the clothing section without picking up a a few “drive by” trendy pieces because I know I have a full wardrobe at home that is functional and complete.