6 months ago, when I first heard of Capsule Wardrobe from Ali Cherry's youtube channel, I thought it sounded futuristic, which instantly poked my interest. Since then, the experiment has gotten more and more attention.
Origin: An experiment carried out by Caroline from the blog Un-fancy. With a structure of 37 pieces of clothing for 3 months and no shopping in those 3 months.
Back story: I was aware that my shopping habit induced by stress and insecurity, wasn't making me happy. I have always struggled with self image and being comfortable in the way I present myself. I decided to dive into every clothing I own and pick only items that make me feel most comfortable and confident, be it the fit or the style.
So far it's been roughly six months, and Hong Kong has gone from chilly to boiling. Here are some thoughts on the movement and how it has altered some aspects of my lifestyle.
Temperature instead of Season
With the 3 months cycle, it's easy for one to follow the seasonal changes like most retail stores suggest. I did just that at the beginning, but I realised some 'spring' items might not necessarily be most practical for all spring weather. Likewise for summer. Two weeks into my first wardrobe change over, I knew it wasn't working. A) Because Hong Kong's humidity is worse than a steam sauna, it never ceases to surprise you how bad it can get. B) Just gonna say it as it is: Global Warming. So, I painstakingly organised all of my clothes according to temperature I would wear them in, which I am proud to say it has been working like a charm.
Lifestyle, hence function.
In many tutorials on creating a capsule wardrobe, they would suggest you to look for two things. Style inspiration and then to plan for your next season's purchase. The former was great as long as you put your 'reality check' goggles on. Make sure the style you are adopting works for your day to day life. From personal experience, I set aside a drawer for all the clothes I wear to work. (Flour-proof Tees. I work at a bakery.) Whatever's not in that drawer, I wear them while working from home or going out. As for the latter, I thought the whole system is to stop you from shopping?
Well, excessive shopping I guess.
Do what you can
Bear in mind that it is quite a process, therefore patience. The pruning of my closet has been going on since I decided to follow the 37 pieces rule. Yet, I am no longer strict on the number. More importantly, I constantly remind myself how content I am with what I've got. It helps me embrace the weather, which sometimes is hard to do in HK.
There are aids these days to help you create your capsule wardrobe. Like the app Capsules by Cladwell, a workbook by Into Mind, also a Capsule Planner on un-fancy.com. Some of them are free, some of them cost a small amount each month. Personally, I didn't use any of the planner, cause I thought some bits are a little restricting, but I might give it a go later in my wardrobe journey. I do follow some of the guidelines and have a think about some of the questions mentioned in the workbook.
Bottom Line: If you do decided to give it a go, do so creatively. Don't be confined by how marketing, retail culture, blogger/vlogger or even me (!) tells you what kind of wardrobe you should have. Figure out what drives you to do it. My motivation has been 'Getting rid of things that no longer serve me, to create room for more meaningful, conscious purchases', and I am trying to apply it in different aspects in my life. With clothing, I am hoping to save up from casual, mindless shopping, so that I can afford something I really like, that is at the same time ethically made.
It has a bit of yoga thoughts in it, a bit of minimalism, and a bit of sustainability as well. That's the whole point of this experiment, to help me be mindful of the way I shop. I bet my wallet is happy to hear that, so is my conscience.