My journey to a (slowly-evolving ethical) capsule wardrobe // part 2
Find part 1 here, where I explain my closet before project 333 and how project 333 went.
So on April 3rd, 2017, I got home from a Friday-Sunday retreat around noon and opened the door to my hall closet, shuddered, and shut it again.
I knew I was not ready for that beast yet, even though the day had been approaching for 3 months. If I was going to open the door to all my “other” clothes, I needed strength of will coupled with soundness of purpose that I did not at that time possess. I needed to sit down, catalog where I was, and where I wanted to go.
First, I wrote down everything that I had in my closet.
Second, I stepped back to evaluate:
What pieces do I love and why?
What pieces do I not like and why // or even more importantly what pieces do I think I love and never actually wear?
From this, I narrowed in – I have psoriasis that looks like dandruff, so plain dark tops do not end up getting worn often. On the other hands, I find plain white tops boring and they are never my go-to. I like scoop or v-necks in solid but deep colors, and darker / patterned bottoms. I like empire waist fit and flare dresses, but I actually don’t end up wearing dresses super often, I find pants or shorts more functional for my entire day – and I don’t like changing more than once if I can help it. Patterned scarves feel like they deserve a plain top and bottom so they can be the star of the show – therefore they never get worn.
Third, I went through and evaluated which items I had worn less than 3 times during the 33 days. Those included these items: (click on each picture to read the caption and explanation behind the low frequency of wear)
Third, I wrote down what I added during the three months.
Two items – a blue/grey cap and a pair of brown leather earrings were gifts in a swag bag from Happy Hour Live with Jamie Ivey! I also added a pair of grey leggings, which you may remember I regretted on all the levels of regret possible. And then my mom handed down to me a chambray she wasn’t wearing, and it satisfied three needs I didn’t know I had for a chambray: long enough sleeves to tie around waist, looks good open over a tank, and looks good buttoned up on it’s own.
Fourth and fifth, I wrote down what I was relegating to gym / lounge wear and to winter. A few of my t-shirts went here – I will re-evaluate in a few months if I want to pare this down further.
I evaluated my lifestyle – what do I spend my time doing – what dress does that call for?
I spend my time divided among these activities:
- computer time
- cooking / groceries
- Bible study time
- serving my local church
- being equipping by my local church
- hanging out with friends at: movies, White Rock Lake, restaurants, coffee shops
I work from home or coffee shops, I spend a lot of time outside and at my church, all which dictate causal dress, cute occasionally, always function over form for my personal style and comfort.
I read a quote I liked about this idea of creating several “uniforms” for myself, and I came up with three for spring/ summer and three for fall/ winter.
Spring Summer Uniforms:
- kimono + tank + shorts + sandals
- top + flowy pants + sandals
- blouse + midi skirt + bangs + scarf
Fall Winter Uniforms:
- top + structured pants + jacket + bangs
- sweater (long sleeve shirt) + jeans + booties (short boots) + scarf
- sweater (outer layer) + tank + jeans + hat + booties
So I set about to the numbers of it, what would be included in my capsule wardrobe. I wanted there to be a great deal of overlap, pretty much replacing shorts with pants and kimonos with jackets.
I wanted less than 50 items in my closet at a time, less than 65 total items I own for clothing.
I was ready to finally choose what would stay and what would go forever. Once I wrote it down, I needed to be ready to go through with it and not look back.
Read more here about my final capsule decisions, how I’m slowly filling the gaps and upgrading it to an ethical wardrobe whenever possible.
I documented a few more things about this process, like the sheer amount of hangers that were without a home before I found a friend to give them a home, the pile of clothes I ended up giving to thredUP (explained here), and the closet where I kept all the other clothes during project 333.
This has been a longer and more involved project than I anticipated, but it’s been more worthwhile than I thought at first, and I’ve learned a lot.
I hope this gives you some ideas of your own to simplify your life, create a minimalist wardrobe, or just find someone who can use something you aren’t using!
You might be interested in more posts about my simplified capsule wardrobe: