Between fashion bloggers, YouTubers and the sustainability movement, everywhere I turn it seems there’s talk about capsule wardrobe, minimalist lifestyles and anti-fast-fashion.
It’s really opened my eyes to how I adopt these approaches into my own lifestyle – I love shopping but I also don’t like spending money and I hate not making use of what I’ve got so if I find something in my wardrobe that I don’t wear I’ll donate it to a charity shop.
It’s been over a year now that I’ve been slowly refining my wardrobe – cutting it down to be somewhere between a capsule wardrobe and a minimalist wardrobe which is really practical for me.
I’ve had three big clear outs – the first time was when I was in Southampton and I had so many clothes I literally didn’t have enough space for them all, I think I got rid of 6 bin bags worth of clothes in a charity bin (which is mind blowing, really) and I just about had enough room for my remaining clothes!
I did another clear out after I’d moved home and we got everything back out of storage – as I was unpacking all my clothes I did another big sort out and made another pile of a couple of bags of stuff I didn’t wear.
And the third one was fairly recently – I was ruthless, I got rid of things that were too small for me and things that were too big for me and I started being a lot more honest with myself about what I actually wear. When I finished that one my wardrobe looked so neat and tidy, it was beautiful.
But I still don’t think I’m done – I have too many t-shirts that I don’t really wear, too many pairs of trousers and I can’t see them on the shelf they’re on so I need to display them so I can actually see them all.
I’m not a big fan of the capsule wardrobe though – for me, I just don’t like the idea of only having a couple of colours so that everything matches, because I just don’t think that’s very sustainable. Having a shirt or a pair of trousers that go with a few options but not every option is far more realistic than making sure every top goes with every bottom option I have!
The main thing I don’t like about capsule wardrobes is swapping out parts of my wardrobe every season – I’m a big fan of layers and I’m also incredibly lazy so having to change up my whole wardrobe four times a year sounds like a lot more effort than I’m prepared to put in. And I think that having one wardrobe that works all year round is probably smaller and more environmentally conscious than a bigger wardrobe where you swap items out seasonally? It means I get more wear out of my clothes because I wear a lot of them all year round.
But then my wardrobe isn’t quite minimalist because I think it’s too big – I feel like a proper minimalist wardrobe should all fit on one rail or only have 5 shirts, 2 bottoms and a pair of shoes or something! Maybe I’m thinking a bit extreme, but whilst I want to be sustainable and get lots of wear out of my clothes I also like having choice and mixing and matching my clothes into lots of different outfits.
I love the idea of living a minimalistic lifestyle but I’m too sentimental – between clothes, photo albums, ornaments and even plush toys, I really do struggle to get rid of things but it’s all about balance isn’t it! It’s learning to let go of the things I don’t actually have a sentimental attachment to and keeping the things that mean something to me.
The last thing I’ve found that has helped me curate my wardrobe has been shopping more consciously – the amount of times I’ve been in New Look or Primark and really liked the look of something, but most of the time I realise it’s because:
- It looks like something I already own
- It’s trendy and ‘everyone has one’ so I’ve convinced myself that I need and I don’t
- I want it
But what I’ve found has worked particularly well for me is thinking about what I need rather than what I want – thinking about how an item will compliment the rest of my wardrobe or potentially thinking of something it could replace. Thinking a lot more consciously about what I’m buying makes such a difference when I’ve got an armful of clothes in Primark!
I like having a smaller wardrobe because I feel like I’m getting lots of wear out of what I’ve got and at the end of the day, I’m not good at making decisions so if I’ve got less clothes to choose from it’s much easier for me!
It’s all about balance – having enough clothes to get through day to day but focusing as much on what you need as what you want.
Everyone is different and different things work for different people – but I think it’s worth talking about because when someone shouts ‘sustainability’ you think about plastic bottles and single-use straws, but fast fashion is something we can do something about! People complain about Primark but anything is fast fashion if you treat it poorly – Primark isn’t the problem if you make the clothes last.
Thank you so much for reading,