In the last week or so, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to have a true capsule collection. Is there a magic number? When is a collection complete? What do I need to have in my collection? Is it a wardrobe, or is it a capsule wardrobe? Let’s discuss.
What Is It Generally? What Is It For Me?
When I started this blog, I was attempting to solve the problem of “what do I wear today?” and thought a small collection would be the perfect solution. Having discussed this for almost a year, and made numerous shopping mistakes, I have come to see that a capsule collection meant having a small collection of clothes that create a uniform that is easily mixed and matched. I haven’t considered how many items I should have, and I seem to be working under the assumption that shopping for clothes is not a once in a while project.
This week, I read the article “You’re doing the ‘capsule wardrobe’ wrong” in Fashion Magazine, and learned that the original concept was coined sometime in the 1970’s with the idea of having:
The writer, Kelly Dougher, suggests that when we define a capsule wardrobe as a rotational collection – meaning, different clothes for different seasons – we might not actually be following this original concept: See this post by Susie Faux for more details about her concept.
What Is It For Me?
I think that’s probably why I’ve always considered my collection to be capsule-esque: While I have some items that I plan on wearing year round, I don’t think I’ll ever avoid having clothes that only fit a particular season. Cashmere sweaters are just for winter, and I simply won’t wear my Cuyana silk tops by themselves in the middle of our freezing winters. I might layer them with a cashmere sweater, though. I’ll certainly use all cardigans in the summer.
Ultimately, I am looking for a collection that sparks joy. That, by itself, means I’ll own a limited amount of clothing since it turns out that I am super picky. I find that I tend to purchase multiples of the same item (two identical black shirts, for example) when I finally do find something I like, I’m really brand-loyal but I don’t buy everything that brand makes, I’m a fabric snob, and I’ve recently turned to ethical fashion. Does this mean I’m doing it wrong? I think so.
When Will It Be Complete? What Do I Need In My Collection?
This is a question I play around in my head a lot. What does it mean to have enough? How will I know I have enough? How do I resist the urge to make shopping into a sport? Meaning, I truly want to avoid shopping for shopping sake. So, I think I will be reverting to my usual solution: the spreadsheet!
I think the best way for me to avoid spending my budget willy-nilly is to actually plot a wardrobe course, and work towards it. Defining what I want to have over a span of a year will actually mean I make purchases based on that goal.
I’ll share my Numbers spreadsheet (and a version of it in Google Sheets, too) as soon as I nail it down.
Finally, An Interesting Read About Personal Style & Conspicuous Consumption
Making that spreadsheet also means thinking about my personal style. That is something I feel has evolved so much in recent years. I’ve been really moving towards more classic pieces and fitted tailoring, but I also fight the urge to dress like I am in my late 60’s.
Interestingly, some people embrace this tendency. Read about that here. The article mixes the idea of dressing rich with the idea of a calculated “under the radar” look reserved for old (albeit rich) ladies, and the choice to pursue it.
As mentioned in the article, I too struggle with the idea of looking rich by choosing a specific look reserved for people who are not me, and often wonder if that’s what I have been subconsciously doing? Meaning, do I attempt to signal to the world that I am something that I am not by my wardrobe choices? So… Is my love of buying various Hermes goods something that I do for me, or is something choose to do for a conspicuous consumption sorta thing? I am going to hope for the former.
What is your personal style like? Have you considered starting your own capsule collection? Are you already at it, and doing it wrong/right? Do you think you Please share your thoughts in the comments below.