Not long ago, the fashion world was buzzing over the concept of a capsule wardrobe—a small closet with only a few key pieces that easily matched and saved time in the morning. The capsule wardrobe appeared to be the solution to everyone’s fashion woes, maybe because the economic collapse occurred at the same time that a frenetic decade of fast fashion was taking its toll on our closets.
Caroline Rector, a Texan and fashion lover who’d had enough of the mess, started whittling down her closet to just 37 pieces about that time in 2014, recording the process on her great website, Unfancy. And everyone was taken aback by her approach.
We decided it was finally time to get up with the qixiong ruqun capsule-wardrobe guru for a refresher course now that a few years had passed. Time passes, trends shift, and so do neat solutions. And it turns out we took the capsule-wardrobe metaphor a little too seriously.
“I discovered that before I started my capsule, I had a nasty habit of going shopping to get myself out of a negative mood. Have you had a particularly trying day at work? Shopping. Do you have a bad case of the sneezes today? Shopping. I’m fed up with my family. “Shopping!” exclaims Rector, who has since instituted shopping “fasts” to control her emotional buying “and concentrating her efforts on locating high-quality, long-lasting items. She’s really discovered her style with this way. “I’m a lot better at dressing for my real life than I am for my ideal life,” she admits. “Now my closet reflects my way of life.” It’s more about practicing awareness than adhering to really stringent standards that you feel bad about breaking.
Do you think that’s a stylish setup you’d like to have for yourself? That’s what we thought. Continue reading for Rector’s best capsule wardrobe-building advice.
“My collection has grown to roughly 50 items, but I no longer keep track of them numerically. Instead, I go with my gut instincts. One of the most significant improvements I’ve made to my capsule is this. I felt it was time to let my ‘capsule diet’ melt into my real life after a year of living with a rigid 37-piece outfit. I let go of some of the rules, such as severe shopping fasts and keeping my closet to a certain number of items. But the spirit of it has stayed with me—a smaller closet, more deliberate purchases, less shopping, and more delight.”
“Maintain a lighthearted, open attitude and approach it as if it were a game. There will be some setbacks along the way, but a capsule isn’t about suffering. It’s about branching out and discovering more about yourself.”
“At first, limiting your wardrobe to a certain amount of items may appear to be beneficial. However, after a period, it may no longer be useful. Allow yourself to change over time as you gain experience.”
“Give yourself some breathing room by not buying new clothes right away and living with your current wardrobe for a week, a month, or however long you choose. Just imagine what it’s like to live in a world with less clothing.”
“Allow it to be flawed. I’ve been doing this for years and still don’t have the perfect wardrobe. It’s never going to be, and accepting that fact has helped me find peace in both my clothing and my life.”
“Want to try a capsule without committing to it? Try a remix challenge for ten days. Choose 10 items from your closet and wear them exclusively for the next 10 days. Let’s see how things proceed!”
“Because I work from home, I spend 70% to 80% of my time at home. But something inside of me thinks that’s not cool enough, so I delude myself into thinking I spend 40% of my time at home. I end myself wearing fantasy-life clothes instead of real-life clothes because I’m not being honest with myself.”
Are you ready to start assembling your capsule collection? See the timeless pieces that will keep anyone’s closet together in the photo below, and read more of Rector’s sensible style advice on her website.