Isn’t the Purge the name of some terrible horror movie? I wouldn’t really know, being that I’m a complete scardy cat – but it’s ringing a bell. Oh well, I’m going to leave it because it’s the most appropriate title for what happens when a person removes every article of clothing from their closet and forces themselves to be brutally honest. If you have no idea what a capsule, or capsule wardrobe, is – allow me to attempt to simplify. The concept is pairing down your clothing options to a minimal, seasonally appropriate, mix-and-match system. Pinterest is over run with images of peoples’ capsules and articles of how to build one. So why am I throwing my hat in the ring? Because this is my blog and I can do as I like with it.
But really, because I think this concept is so needed today. I originally came upon this idea of a capsule wardrobe on the Un-Fancy blog, and from what I can gather, she’s kind of the mother of the idea. Her heart behind starting a capsule was that she had a bit of a shopping problem, in that she tended to heal bad moods with shopping. This is not my issue. My issue is that if something even remotely fun shows up on the calendar, I need a new outfit for it. Date night? Time to go shopping. Baby shower? Definitely need a new dress. Dinner with girlfriends? I at least need a new shirt. Now to be fair, I don’t exactly “get out” much, mother of two and a hard working husband problems, you know? But still, it’s a little ridiculous. And because I was constantly shopping on a whim and not out of necessity, I had a bunch of straight up crap in my closet. Whatever had fit my fancy at that exact moment in time, or even worse – whatever I could fit in that the one place I went had on the rack. That’s no way to stock your closet, let me tell you. I was tired of looking in my closet and having ill-fitting, trendy, not-really-me pieces looking back. Getting dressed after having two babies is hard enough, amiright?
So this is when I landed on the concept of a capsule wardrobe. The idea scares a lot of people, I’ve been chronicling some of this journey on my social media, and the response has been overwhelmingly either “YES! I’m doing this with you.” or “This is downright terrifying/giving me anxiety.” Let me be the first to say I’ve felt both of these emotions while doing this whole thing. Purging my sweaters ranks as one of the saddest things I’ve done this year (which also goes to show how great of a year I’ve had *wink*). But y’all, THE FREEDOM. The freedom, the freedom, the freedom. I don’t care how silly it sounds, there are emotions tied to clothes. It’s just a fact. I’m about to take a biblical left turn real quick, so hold tight.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendorwas dressed like one of these.If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? – Matthew 6:25-30
I don’t know about you, but I believe everything that’s in the Bible is there on purpose. God-breathed and all that. So, you see up there how Matthew straight up tells us not to worry about “what you will wear”? I think that’s there because God knew that this is something that’s going to come up. That what we would wear would be something we’d stress about, in one way or another. Now does it rank equally among being fed or sheltered? I mean, I hope not. But we make it matter! I can’t tell you how many conversations with girlfriends I’ve had about the frustration of trying to get dressed. Many a meltdown have a been centered around my wardrobe, and I think if you were being honest, you probably have had your share too. And spinning my wheels worried about what I’m going to wear is a waste of everyone’s time. I don’t think it’s quite what the Lord wants me spending my time on, yeah? Enter a capsule wardrobe. No more hopeless spinning, no more meltdowns every time I have to get dressed or shopping every time we have somewhere to go. Just a set wardrobe of well made pieces that fit and flatter.
This is the hardest part. But I’m here to walk you through it. Digital emotional support. (A large part of this is adapted from Be More With Less.)
- Clear a time and space. Decide when you’re going to do your purge, and mark it down. Ask your husband to hang out with the kids or do it while they’ll be in school. I did part of my purge with the kids running around and it was no bueno. Fast track to frustration. Decide where you’re going to lay out all your crap, and clear it out.
- Turn on some music that makes you happy, a drink that you love (coffee, wine, tequila, whatever), and have a mini-dance party. I’m serious. You’re about to break some serious chains, may as well dance your way into it. Close the door, turn up the Ludacris, and shake your booty for the length of a song. You’ll thank me.
- Pull it all out. ALL OF IT. The clothes that are in multiple closets, under beds, in your husband’s closet, pull it all out and lay it wherever you’ve decided this is going to go down. No squirreling away clothes, you need to deal with this head on, and all at once.
- Do your first round of purging. Make four piles.
- YUP. LOVE IT. Fits me well, I feel pretty in it, etc.
- BUT…I’d like to fit in this eventually. You have to be honest on this pile though. Is it a size 2 from high school? It probably needs to go. But I’ll be honest, I kept a large number of clothes that I’m genuinely hoping to fit into some day sooner than later.
- DONATE/SELL. Clothes that don’t fit and won’t fit soon, that you just feel meh about, but are still in relatively good shape. I find it highly unfair to donate trashed up clothes, just a personal conviction. But I did keep my name brand (Loft, Lauren Conrad, etc.) to sell on Poshmark.
- TRASH. Holes, pulls, runs, stains, just throw it away.
- Walk away. Take a break. Go outside.
- Box up your “eventually” clothes, label it (I labeled mine “sh*t that don’t fit. I’m hilarious.), and have your husband put it in the attic. You’ll revisit these clothes the next season.
- Bag up your donate and trash clothes, and move your clothes to sell to another area, out of the way.
- Alright, I’m just going to ask you to take one ruthless pass over your keep it pile. Just one time, go through and be really, brutally honest. Do you really love this piece? Does it fit your style? Does it fit you? Try on pieces you’re unsure of. If you even hesitate, it probably needs to go in one of the other boxes/bags.
The hard part is done. Celebrate with another mini-dance party, or nap, whatever feels the most right. Now put all the clothes that made the cut back in your closet, and take a step back. Look at how awesome you are for pairing down your closet, and also take a minute to see what your style really is. If you followed the guidelines, a pretty clear picture should emerge (for example: lots of black and lots of stripes in my closet. And I’m not sorry about it, because they make me happy.) This is a good jumping off point for building out your capsule wardrobe.
I’M SO PROUD OF YOU. You just purged your closet! It was hard, I know. Some of those shirts were really hard to let go of. But it was time. And nowww you get to build a beautiful, fitting, perfectly you wardrobe.