It's coming up to a year since I started working with a capsule wardrobe, and I thought I'd do a post to talk about what I learned from the experience. I wrote about the starting point for a capsule wardrobe here, and as the year has gone on I have definitely not stuck to the capsule wardrobe 'rules' that I had initially hoped to; but that's ok, because there have been other learnings from the project that have stuck, and certainly changed the way that I shop and treat my own wardrobe.
At the beginning of the capsule, I was very constrained by numbers. I had 40 pieces, no more or less, and worked with those alone to create looks day to day. This did work, although I did find myself wearing quite a few outfits on repeat, but I quite liked the ease of it and it also addressed the problem that I have always suffered with - a wardrobe full of clothes, and nothing to wear!
As the process continued, I became less concerned with numbers and more aware of the reasons for shopping, the right way to shop for me, and the ethical impact of the fashion industry as a whole. Watching the documentary 'The True Cost' was an eye opening moment; I didn't shop 'fast fashion' on the whole very much anyway but this definitely made me think again about where I buy my clothes from, and where they have come from, how they have been made and sourced, and what their impact is. I still shop on the high street, but I will always try to find items that have been made in the UK and where I can, I'll buy high street clothing second hand so as to help lessen their overall impact.
Secondly, the capsule project made me reconsider the reasons why I shopped. A lot of my buys were impulse purchases, they didn't always fit properly and I might have only worn them a couple of times before buying something else. I now only try to buy items I really love - which sounds so obvious, but I would often buy several of the same thing to find the 'perfect' item. I shop around a lot more now, and I am more selective with my purchases, and not afraid to return items that don't work for me.
As a fashion blogger, shopping is fairly integral to the content of my website and whilst I did worry that this might disengage my readership, I've actually found it both liberating and quite exciting to embrace a more considered relationship with clothes and fashion. I still love to read magazines, I still buy into the 'key pieces' of the season if I feel that they are in keeping with my own personal style, but whereas before the capsule wardrobe I would buy in bulk, I now prefer to buy one or two statement items that work with my current favourite styles and still give me the high fashion buzz, without wasting my money. I am prepared to spend more for quality, and the pieces that I invested in over the capsule wardrobe period are still going strong and looking great, which is gratifying.
I am planning to wind up my capsule wardrobe posts on the blog after October, as the project as I started it is now different in many ways. I realised that the way I treat fashion is not sedentary; there's little point striving to maintain the 'perfect wardrobe' as it is pretty much always in flux. Items wear out and need to be replaced, styles change, what I liked last year I might not be so keen on now; and there's nothing wrong with this. At any given time I have a wardrobe of clothes that I love and enjoy wearing, and I think, ultimately, that's the best goal you can hope to achieve by 'capsuling.'