Why I’m Quitting the Capsule Wardrobe!

Why I'm Quitting the Capsule Wardrobe, quit the capsule wardrobe

This post might come as a bit of a shock to regular readers. I’m often talking about the benefits of capsule wardrobes so why on earth would I want to quit.

I’ve been using capsule wardrobes for a couple of years now and I feel I’ve taken them as far as I can. Back in 2015 when I created my first capsule wardrobe I adored the concept. I was practically obsessed telling everyone about this thing which had completely changed my wardrobe. Back then my shopping habit was out of control and I needed to do something to sort it out. The capsule wardrobe gave me a focus and allowed me to take back control of my wardrobe. Instead of making a new ASOS order every week my capsule wardrobe encouraged me to enjoy the clothes I already had in. This not only helped me to save money it changed the way I purchased clothes. Shopping had become a thoughtful and conscious process.

My capsule wardrobe journey has enabled me to develop my style and an understanding of what kind of clothes I enjoy wearing. I’ve ended my negative relationship with fast fashion and fully embraced slow and sustainable style. I’ve loved the process and would fully recommend trying a capsule wardrobe to anyone interested in changing their spending habits. But as much as I’ve enjoyed and learned a lot from the process it’s time to move on from the capsule wardrobe system.

Capsule wardrobes are a tool

Creating a capsule wardrobe is a bit like going on diet. It’s just that instead of losing weight you’re streamlining your wardrobe. If you think of capsule wardrobe as a tool to help control spending then it makes sense to move on once this has been accomplished. Afterall tools are used to accomplish a goal or task and once that’s done you put the tools down. I started my capsule wardrobe to curb my out of control spending habits. And I’ve managed to achieve that through my capsule wardrobe. I no longer impulse shop or waste hundreds of pounds a month buying clothes I hardly ever wear. My capsule wardrobe has been a useful tool, helping me to achieve this goal. But now I’ve achieved this it’s time to move on from that tool. I wouldn’t stay on a strict diet forever so why should I use a capsule wardrobe forever.

Not seeing my wardrobe as a whole

Capsule wardrobes encourage you to think in 4 separate seasons rather than consider all your clothes at once. My spring/summer clothes have become very separate from my autumn/winter clothes. I have essentially created two separate wardrobes with their own distinct styles. And whilst that has worked well up until now. I want to develop my style so that it is cohesive through every season. In a way, my capsule wardrobe has limited my style development by forcing me to think seasonally. I want to develop a more holistic approach to my style so that it flows throughout the year. I’m not sure if my wardrobe flows together or not as I never see all my clothes together at the same time. It’s either my autumn/winter pieces or my spring/summer pieces hanging up. You can easily forget which clothes you own. And whilst that can be a good thing when you pull a few surprises at the start of the season. I’m not convinced forgetting what own is a good thing.

There is also the issue that the seasons are fluid and capsule wardrobes are not. Here in Scotland, the weather is temperamental. We can get all 4 seasons in just one day. In fact this past week we’ve had torrential rain, snow, fog and sunshine. How can you plan for that kind of weather in advance? My wardrobe needs to be flexible to account for the weather. I don’t want to feel guilty or like I’m breaking rules if I have to pull out a wool jumper in the middle of summer. Having access to the majority of my wardrobe is the best option to deal with the Scottish weather.

I want to play with my style more

One of my goals for my wardrobe this year is to develop a cohesive signature style. And whilst a capsule wardrobe can be a great tool for developing your style it isn’t working for me. I’ve found myself stuck with a simple style based on basics. I want to play more, adding colour, pattern and statement pieces. My capsule wardrobe has helped me to develop a great base to enable me to do this. By stripping my style back to basics I can now experiment and add in some bolder pieces I truly love. I didn’t experiment with my style with my capsule wardrobe. I tended to just stick with what I knew and the basics which worked. But the thing is sticking to basics can become boring after a while. I want to have some fun with my style and mix it up a little. Removing the rules that come with a capsule wardrobe will give me the freedom to do this.

It no longer brings me joy

When I first started my capsule wardrobe I loved it. I felt so free, I could get dressed easily in the morning and I wasn’t thinking about buying new clothes all the time. I saved money and freed up my time. Letting me focus on the things that mattered. I was always excited about creating my new capsule at the start of each season. However, this has now become a chore and has ended up creating stress rather than freeing me of it. I really felt it when I started thinking about my spring wardrobe. As I tried to create my capsule and struggled to edit down my picks I realised that I was starting to resent the system. I was putting unnecessary pressure on myself to create a minimal wardrobe.

But the thing is I’m not a minimalist. I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work for me. Whilst I understand and relate to the principles of only having items which add value to your life. I have to admit I like having things. I have more than I need in my home and I don’t want to reduce it to only the essentials. In fact, if you look at my house it’s bigger than what I need (there are 3 spare bedrooms) but that doesn’t mean I’m going to move into a one bedroom flat. I love my home and have worked hard to be able to have it. And to a certain extent, I feel the same about my wardrobe. Whilst I don’t want a wardrobe that’s bursting at the seams. I don’t see anything wrong with having a few options in there.

My attitude to the way I shop has changed completely during my capsule wardrobe experiment and that’s not going to change. But I no longer see the need to place rules and restrictions on my wardrobe. I’ve learnt so much through my capsule wardrobes, and I may return to them one day. But right now I feel like it’s time to move on.

8 Comments

  1. Caroline
    April 9, 2018 / 9:52 am

    Thanks so much for writing this, I bet it was a bit daunting to type out but I really appreciate the perspective. I haven’t tried the capsule wardrobe experiment but I can totally see how it would feel limiting rather than freeing after a while. I especially agree about the seasons thing, UK weather is so unpredictable! I’m looking forward to seeing how your style develops now you have access to all your clothes in one go!

  2. April 9, 2018 / 10:02 pm

    Yes to all of this!! I did a capsule wardrobe for a year and loved it but then felt exactly all the things you’ve described here. It can be a great reset but I couldn’t sustain it for more than a year. I like to shop, sometimes more sometimes less but I don’t want to beat myself up about it. I also now only buy things that I know I will love and wear over and over again. I too struggled with the seasons.. like now my spring capsule would be in place but honestly most days it’s too wet and cold still to even think about wearing a nice blouse or dress or tshirt. Wrll done you for addressing it head on and deciding what’s best for you xx

  3. Karenza
    April 9, 2018 / 10:30 pm

    Thank you for this post. I completely agree with your comments on weather as in Canada we have a similar climate with snow, rain, wind and sun in the same day. My spring capsule wardrobe has barely been touched with the fluctuating weather. I think the major difference is that our summers in Ottawa, Ontario are super hot and humid. So really I have three seasons to dress for – Fall, Winter and Summer. Fluctuating back and forth between between the clothes from seasons are a must.

    I too have struggled with maintaining a capsule wardrobe so I really appreciated your candor. I was a fast clothing addict, buying cheap buys almost daily 😕vut thanks to your posts and other bloggers I got out of the fast fashion cycle and have come to value well made and sustainable clothes. It’s still a work in progress, but I now take pride in my closet, and utilize the smart closet ap to log my outfits and create new looks. The ap helps to remind me of all of the great clothes I have (helps with curving impulse buying)

  4. Chrissie
    April 12, 2018 / 7:15 am

    I have been participating in style challenges for just over a year now but this ‘Spring’ has been so tough, I’m still in jumpers and my winter coat most days. I find that the Spring capsule does give me a bit of hope that things will lighten up and brighten up. I often think that in the North West there are two seasons: cold and wet vs warmer and wet. Summer clothes are to be worn on holidays abroad 🙂 So I am thinking about not packing away my winter closet staples so I can manage if the weather goes topsy turvy. I find uniqlo’s heattech tops are great under lighter layers so I won’t be packing them away either. I agree wholeheartedly that capsule wardrobes are a wonderful tool for reintroducing sanity into one’s spending habits. The other game changer for me was devising a colour palette after working out what my ‘season’ is. I’ve really enjoyed your capsules as they have been the most relevant to the British climate. I look forward to phase 2. Thank you so much for all the past capsules

  5. April 23, 2018 / 7:32 am

    Capsule wardrobe still rocks for people who want to keep their clothes separately by season. Here in Bucharest, Romania, sometimes we have two seasons in a day… today in the morning, it’s like spring indeed and in the afternoon, it’s like summer…

  6. May 10, 2018 / 8:40 pm

    You’re brave to speak up on this, as the blogosphere is aflitter with how you NEED to have a capsule wardrobe NOW. While I think it’s a great concept, and necessary for packing for vacations, it’s hard to execute if some days you wanna be preppy and other days boho. So I totally agree with you. Maybe having multi-capsules for all the different looks you want to execute could be an idea. 🙂 Keep up the good work.

  7. Derian
    May 27, 2018 / 11:54 am

    Great post! I admire how practical your advice is! So many capsule articles skew toward the “basics you MUST have”, which are either “Ballet flats, skinny jeans, LBD” (snooze) or “basics” that are so current and trendy you know the article was just a plug for sponsored content. This has made me tired of the capsule trope already. As you said, it’s a tool. I also live in a place with weather fluctuations, and it’s refreshing to see advice for those of us who aren’t all fashion editors living in New York City.

  8. Diane
    June 23, 2018 / 10:27 pm

    Internet bloggers who have decreed that a capsule wardrobe must have a certain number of items and be broken down in seasons, with the off-season garments put away and out of sight, actually have perverted Susie Faux’s original concept when she coined the term and promoted capsule wardrobing back in the 1970s. Faux said that a capsule wardrobe is meant to be a 4-season-spanning wardrobe of basics that you can have in your closet all year-round, adding to it with seasonal extras. She specifically meant for a capsule wardrobe to be accessible, without the need to go through your closet and pull out the “out-of-season” clothing and store it away. Because one has less ill-fitting and ill-made crap in the closet, they can fit a 4-season basic wardrobe in it and add to it as needed. She also said that 30-40 items is ideal, but a person’s lifetsyle will determine how many they need, and she believed in the power of a high quality jacket as the central piece. Don’t fall for the imposter bloggers who make it seem like you have to follow their rules to do a capsule wardrobe “properly!”

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