According to a study by Movinga, Americans only wear 18% of the clothes they own. This statistic–while embarrassing– didn’t shock me. My closet was full of items that I not only never wore, but didn’t even like (@ my neon yellow bike shorts). I noticed the clothing that made me most resentful were the ones I bought on impulse because they were trendy, not because I genuinely liked them, which is a weakness fast-fashion thrives from. Most of the largest fast-fashion brands prey on college students, and I’ve definitely fallen victim to their infinite Instagram advertisements and sponsored influencer hauls. As a result, I became the face of that wasteful statistic.
While my closet wasn’t overflowing with unworn clothes, there was enough to the point where I felt overwhelmed. I needed to make a change. The downtime that quarantine granted me led to my discovery of minimalist-Youtube, where I learned the positives of mindfulness and decluttering. This is when I learned a simple practice that changed my life, building a capsule wardrobe.
A capsule wardrobe is a condensed collection of versatile and essential clothing. It’s important to note that everyone has their preferences, and there is no specific amount to go by when constructing your capsule wardrobe. Personally, I try to have under 20 items, excluding socks and underwear. For some, this may be unattainable or still too much, and that’s okay! The important thing about owning a capsule wardrobe is making sure you get use out of all the pieces and that they fit your specific style. If you’re wary about letting go, let me explain why I swear by owning a capsule wardrobe.
You stay organized.
For me, a clean space is the foundation of a peaceful mind. When you own a significantly smaller amount of clothes, it’s easier to manage. You’re forced to do laundry on a tighter schedule, or else you’ll run out of clothes. You will not have a large pile of clothes to fold, because you won’t own enough for it to be an issue. Sometimes to get into a good habit, you need to set rules that force you to get into a routine. After owning a capsule wardrobe for the past year, staying organized and clutter-free has become second nature to me.
You save time.
Sure, taking the time to reconstruct your entire wardrobe seems like it’ll take up a significant amount of your schedule, but think of it more like an investment. I no longer spend an unnecessary amount of time getting dressed in the morning. There were some instances where I would try on several different outfits when getting ready, and it was more of a setback than anything. If you curate your wardrobe so that everything matches, that problem is eliminated. I’ve also moved a lot during my time in college and having fewer clothes made the process so much easier. I’m able to fit the majority of my clothes in one bag, so I didn’t have to set a whole day aside to pack my clothes.
You spend less.
Many assume to have a capsule wardrobe you need to spend your money on high-end quality clothing, so the clothing will last longer. In my case, I donated the majority of my clothes but kept what I still wore, so I didn’t have to go out and buy anything new. However, if you do choose to buy a new item, I suggest thrifting! If thrifting isn’t accessible in your location, Wild Fable at Target has great quality essentials for a relatively low price. The real money-saving comes in when you learn to control yourself from buying unnecessary pieces of clothing. If you set rules for your wardrobe, you can become strict enough with yourself to where you won’t buy anything new just because you can. From staying organized to spending less money, following your capsule wardrobe’s rules can help you stay in control.
You have the opportunity to donate.
If you decide to get rid of a good bit of your clothing, donate them! You can take them to your local Goodwill, but there are other options as well (like non-profit shelters, local schools, or someone you may know in need). On top of helping you with self control, having a capsule wardrobe also teaches you the importance of sustainability and not taking more than what you need. Throwing away all of your clothes and buying a new wardrobe contradicts the idea of minimalism. So if you decide to build a capsule wardrobe, make sure sustainability is prioritized and you donate!
Minimalism isn’t for everyone, but it may be for you! If you feel like you need some sort of control to help manage your stress and anxiety, I suggest attempting to downsize your closet by creating a capsule wardrobe.