Each week me and my friends were going out to one of the clubs in our town. We were young and single and each night out was long awaited. Of course, going out with style was one of the rules. “Dress to impress”;”Girls won’t spot you if you’re wearing old clothes” and “I have to buy something new” were things stuck in our heads, no matter how girly this sounded. That’s why we hit the stores the day before the event and had an outfit prepared for the night. For years, I was stacking clothes that I only wore once. Even though I had so many things to put on, my mind was constantly consumed by the thought that I have nothing to wear.
It’s super easy to get lost and consumed by the fashion trends. Every few months you face difficult decisions about your wardrobe: in the spring, summer, autumn, and winter. We’re bombarded by messages and visually appealing posters with the newest achievements in the fashion industry.
Even if you own a decent amount of clothes with different colors and styles, each new season the fashion industry slap you in the face, puts your head in a cold water and tells you that all of your current clothes suck. You see a commercial on TV or a post on social media and you suddenly realize that the skirt you bought last summer and you wore only once is no longer trending. It’s probably even worse: that same skirt is now bammed by the so-called fashion experts and wearing it in public might lead to social catastrophe.
But you bought that skirt with so much passion. You were so happy when you bought it that you even posted a couple of posts on Instagram. You got 50 likes. It was a good day. Now, is this really happening? How can this be? Am I really going to put it in the end of my drawer and never wear it again?
These are probably some of the questions you’re asking yourself at the beginning of each season. And unfortunately, the answer to all of them is: Yes, in most of the cases this is exactly what is going to happen with most of the clothes you wore last year.
Why we never wear the clothes we bought last year?
Really simple question and really simple answer: Because you’re following the fashion trends. When we follow fashion we never catch up with it because we’re following it.1
When we follow others, fashion in this case, we give up on our right to choose. We rely on someone else to tell us what to buy. That doesn’t happen directly. I mean, the owner of Gucci won’t call you and try to convince you that you need to purchase his new bag, no. It’s rather indirectly. You will see the commercials, the online statuses. The more you’re exposed to outside influence the more your desire will grow in you. At some point, you will break and give in. Surrender to the brands and visit the store where you will spend money you don’t have for things you don’t actually need.
Each year brands are creating clothes and trends that don’t quite match with the ones from last year. This means that the clothes you bought the previous season won’t go with the ones you bought this year. This difference, mismatch, is one of the main reasons that you won’t even touch your last-year clothes. Designers use different clothes, materials, that are quite different from the ones inside your closet. Add to this equation the pressure from the outside world – social media and the judgment of the other people, and you’re already in debt.
The most expensive jeans or skirts won’t make you more beautiful or more ugly. At least not on the inside. You will still be the same person. Yes, you might look a bit shinier, cooler, you can impress a few people, get more likes on social media but you will still be the same guy/girl.
What are the benefits of owning a capsule wardrobe?
First, let me tell you a few words about the expression capsule wardrobe. What exactly is the meaning of a capsule wardrobe?
According to Susie Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion and are everlasting, in a way.2
In the fashion business, a capsule wardrobe refers to a collection of clothing that is composed of interchangeable items only. The idea is to have a maximum amount of outfits with the least possible amount of pieces. Ultimately, the aim here will be to have an outfit for any type of event, occasion without owning an enormous amount of clothes at home.
Well, I believe we can all now see the main benefit. It’s content. Focus. Pleasure. Capsule wardrobe punches the understanding that you need more clothes to look good in the face. But there is even more to that. Let’s see what are the key benefits of a capsule wardrobe:
1. More Space
When me and my girl moved into our new home, we bought a single wardrobe for our clothes. It’s a white, with two sliding doors and 4 drawers. Initially, we thought that we will never be able to collect all of our clothes in this wardrobe and that’s why we bought another two wardrobes. We equally split the space with my fiance in the three pieces of furniture. It’s pity that I owned as much as clothes as she has, at least in terms of space, but that changed once I became a minimalist.
Now, all of my clothes fit inside the left half of this IKEA wardrobe:
Everything else is either occupied by my girl’s clothes and accessories or it’s empty.
2. SaveS you Money
When you sustain a wardrobe of only the essentials you naturally spend less money.
I no longer go out to spend money recklessly. Now, my every new purchase is carefully selected to fit all other clothes I own. I take some time to think about exactly I need, I check my favorite brands and then I hit the buy button. If the stores I normally shop from don’t have what I want or need, then I don’t buy anything. Something that saves me a lot of money and also time.
3. Saves you Time
A couple of years ago, if I didn’t find what I wanted in the stores I normally shop from, I would go through all remaining stores in the city. Sometimes, I would even travel to a near town where there are more stores and hopefully more choices. All that hassle to buy a new pair of jeans or a new shirt. How incredibly stupid. Traveling hundreds of miles to buy stuff I actually don’t need. Well, I was young and foolish. The worst part is that I grow up and I remained foolish. At least till the age of 28. Not only did I waste my time traveling around towns to buy clothes I don’t need, but I was spending money like crazy to look cooler. To look like something I wasn’t.
But like the people in the WC teleshop commercials say: But wait! There’s more.
A capsule wardrobe will also save you time in your house. When you’re preparing to leave the house.
Let me ask you a question: How often do you search for your favorite shirt, t-shirt, skirt, or whatever when you’re about to go out? Be honest. I know the answer is really often. How much time do you spend until you give up? I bet the process looks something like this: You go through a pile of clothes. Start scattering everything inside your drawers and you eventually put them into groups: Pile 1: Checked; Pile 2: Maybe I can put these ones if I don’t find my favorite shirt; Pile 3: Why the hell I’m still keeping those?3
When your drawer looks like a pharmacy, where everything is in order and perfectly arranged, you only open it and you find what you want. You don’t have to shout to your wife, again, for losing your socks or your jeans. You’re ready to leave home in a matter of minutes because you get rid of all obstacles and old clothes that are only wasting your time and taking up space.
4. Better Quality
I don’t know why I grew up to become such a pretentious and capricious person about the way I look. It’s probably because I was uncertain and hesitant when I was young, but that’s another story.
At some point in my life, I dreamed of owning a lot of clothes. I mean, tons. I actually had a goal: To have 24 shirts; 12 pairs of pants; 6 pairs of shoes; 24 t-shirts. The ideas was to have enough clothes so I could wear different outfits pretty much every day of the month. I thought that people are constantly watching what I wear and are even taking notes. And if I wear the same shirt twice for one month I will be punished by the fashion police. Again, a complete moron.
Since I wasn’t rich. I bought cheap clothes. I was focused on quantity, not quality. Of course, this plan was doomed from the start. The cheap clothes didn’t last long and I was kind of in a loop: constantly replacing pieces in my wardrobe and never actually satisfied with my looks.
This circle changes when you’re buying clothes with intention. Since you’re rarely visiting the store, you can afford clothes with better quality that will last longer.
5. Focus and Clarity
My girl spends a good 30 minutes deciding what to wear when we’re going out. It was even worse a couple of years ago. The amount of time back then was around an hour. I used to stare at my dresser for minutes and think about what I’m going to wear as well. Time went into oblivion.
The main reason I love owning few pieces of clothes is all the time I have left at my disposal. The focus when I open my drawer. I know exactly what I’m going to wear because I don’t have much of a choice. I no longer have to try 10 difference items till I figure out the perfect combination.
6. Outfit for any occasion
As mentioned in the beginning, a capsule wardrobe will help you create an outfit for any type of occasion: weddings, Bar Mitzvah, going to clubs, going to work, hiking, when you hit the gym or train indoors, when you go to the beach. The idea is to own fewer clothes but such that cover every possible event you might be invited to.
In order the above to happen, you need to carefully select all of your future clothes and dismiss the ones you currently own but you never wear. These clothes are only taking up your space and wasting your time when you’re about to leave the house.
7. At last, contentment
As I mentioned previously in this post, I was quite annoyed with my wardrobe for several years. I owned five times more clothes than I do now and I was miserable.
My sadness came from my inner beliefs – my understanding was that I need to own a lot of clothes in order others to like me. A completely wrong way of thinking. Others don’t like or dislike you because of the way you look, they do one of the above depending on the way you act.
Also, the understanding that more clothes means better looks is quite exaggerated. If you carefully pick what you buy you can create an amazing set of clothes that are interchangeable and can make you look stunning on every occasion, thus finally happy and satisfied with yourself.
At the end of the day, clothes are simply protecting us from the outside world. They can be a valuable resource, if you’re a girl and if you’re planning to seduce someone, but in general they are simply something we put when we need to go out.
I’m not saying that you should neglect the way you look or what you buy. I can’t say that because I really adore the idea to look good at any occasion. I’m simply saying that there are other, much more important things you should worry about. Your time should be focused more on creating, than consuming. At least this is what I think.
If you’re still wondering: “Why should I create a minimalist wardrobe?” I will answer with the following statement: Shopping and following fashion trends will only slow you down on your way towards success and real happiness. True happiness doesn’t come from the way you look, it comes from what you do.
I’ll be happy to hear about your style and your wardrobe in the comments below:
- The previous expression is from a person called Jon Jandai. You can listen to his TEDx talk here: LINK. It’s something really worth hearing.
- Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe,” is the person who coined this expression. Later, the whole idea was popularised by American designer Donna Karan.
- Colin Wright shares his story about his favorite shirt in this TEDx video: LINK. This guy is one of the people who pushed me to pursue the intentional lifestyle I share here, on my site.