The Capsule Closet

One prominent aspect of the minimalist lifestyle directly relates to your closet, more so focusing on emptying it. Minimalists live simply in all areas of their life and their wardrobe is not excluded. Let me introduce you to the capsule wardrobe. It’s exactly what you’d imagine it to be: a condensed, capsule sized wardrobe. I first heard of the term when I came across the minimalist blog Un-Fancy, a site created in 2014 from the sheer hope of curbing an obsessive shopping habit. The shopper behind the site, Caroline, found herself in the same place many wannabe minimalists do. Pre minimalism, she was overwhelmed by a closet chock full of cheap clothing and nothing tangible that contributed to her style. In order to find her style, she embarked on creating a capsule closet.

Caroline created her wardrobe out of five steps. So far in my relatively short-lived research, Minimalism seems to rely on a lot of step by step instructions. I’m all for simplifying something that would otherwise be overwhelming, but does simplifying something into steps make it possible?

Step 1: Pare down your clothing to 37 items

Yes, you read that correctly. 37 items. These items should include tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, and shoes. Accessories, underwear, workout wear, and pajamas are not included in this number.

Step 2: Wear only these 37 items for three months

Here’s the catch. You get a fairly sizable capsule wardrobe of 37 items, but you can only wear the items in this wardrobe for an entire season (or three months). This is where examining your expansive wardrobe is key. What can you and can’t you see yourself wearing at least once a week for three months straight?

Step 3: Stop the shop

No shopping, under any circumstances, during the three month seasonal periods. The point of the capsule wardrobe is to minimize your closet, not make room for new stuff. Assessing your current wardrobe and picking 37 items is about selecting the pieces that most represent your individual style so you can comfortably and confidently wear them for an entire season.

Step 4: Okay, now you can shop

In the last two weeks of the three month season, Caroline suggests planning your capsule wardrobe for the following season. Naturally, a summer closet isn’t suitable for a fall or winter one, so begin editing the current wardrobe.

Step 5: Less is more

How much you buy for the next season’s capsule varies with the individual person, but this liberty can cause a downward spiral and lead you back to square one. Look at ways some items can be worn into the next season to minimize the amount you need to purchase. Plan practically so you don’t end up adding a ton of trendy pieces to your closet that add nothing to your style.

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