weekend and Capsule Closet Project: 1

Miss L & I are both fighting off colds and spent the dreadful Daylight Savings weekend being quiet. (This was perfect for me but less than exciting for her.) We fetched a soup bone from the local ham shop (yes, HAM SHOP, we live in a beautiful world) to make bean soup and stayed up late fast-forwarding through the scarier bits of the Hobbit films. (Again, I have to ask – why did the filmmakers find it necessary to add a completely fictitious ROMANCE?! I am still offended by their need to alter the perfect source material. If they wanted to make it a love story, go fangirl in a separate movie with a stubbly Kili and elfish vixen.) Ahem. Anyway.

I also had a tree guy come look at some of my greenery; I made a running schedule for early summer; and, of the greatest interest to this post, I did some work in my closet. I have been reading about capsule wardrobes lately and there are a lot of things that appeal to me about it.

  • I tend to wear the same items over and over again anyway, leaving probably 75% of my closet untouched.
  • I like the idea of buying classic, well-made pieces that will last a long time rather than a multitude of less expensive items that wear out quickly, don’t fit as well, aren’t quite right, or aren’t on-trend next season.
  • In my old age I am becoming ever more frugal.
  • I like the idea of simplifying, decluttering, and becoming more organized and streamlined.

I have no interest in paying $20 for a course on how to create a capsule wardrobe, and I’m not sure I can go as few as 10 items, but in my own way, I’ve started identifying and segregating what I actually wear from what I don’t. I think this will be a long process. At the end, I’ll be able to identify what I have and also what I need, and start filling in the gaps with some good pieces.

I’ve already identified a few things that I know I need – mostly shoes at this point. I need a pair of fashionable sneakers for work travel. Comfort is key, since I can’t hobble around airports in heels, and yet I always feel bad clomping around in my running shoes. Black suede Pumas are the ticket. I made a count and can donate at least 5 pairs of cheap, old summer sandals and flip-flops in exchange for 1 quality pair of comfortable, well-made sandals – I am thinking about a pair of Birks. Maybe these. And ballet flats – I have two pairs of old or not-quite-right ballet flats that I could get rid of in exchange for one pair of Tieks.

I have some loose, self-imposed rules for this little challenge.

  • For everything new that I buy, I have to be able to get rid of at least 2 items from my closet. So new pieces have to be considered and researched and I have to show myself a space-and-use advantage to acquiring the new item. This will be my most rigorously enforced rule for the length of this project. It allows for splurges, but if I slip up and come home with a shopping bag from Old Navy, I’d better be prepared to roll up my sleeves and get rid of things.
  • Where possible, I would like to buy a gently used piece from a site like Thred Up rather than buying new. If I’m buying a quality item, it will be less expensive and most of my experiences with those items are very good. People take care of their more expensive things and honestly, it makes more sense to me to buy used. I know this gives a lot of people the heebie-jeebies but I have absolutely no squeamishness or snobbery about buying something from a consignment shop or the Salvos, if I can find it there. It just makes sense to me. For example, I know I will need a black skirt for work since my old one is almost worn to bits. I could go and buy one new, but I can look at Thred Up and find six pages of designer black skirts for $10-$15 or less, in every cut and style possible. What’s not to love about that?
  • Lastly, I would like to almost entirely fund my new purchases with money made from selling my old brand-name items. I have tons of things that I’ve barely worn but paid a lot of money for and have already started selling a few items online and salting the money away in my Paypal account. The Pumas were an exception, but I used a gift certificate from my mom for those so I feel okay with that.
  • Workout clothes, pajamas, undergarments don’t count. If I need a new pair of running shoes because I’ve hit the miles in my old Brooks, I will buy them. I’m not interested in getting another stress fracture or injury because of this project.
  • Obviously this project is only ongoing in *my* closet – not Miss L’s. I’ll continue to buy for her the same as I always do – mostly new, less expensive things every few months due to wear and tear / growth rate / seasons / activities.

I could afford to go out and spend money at the mall, stocking my closet, but that feels lazy and overconsumptive and illogical to me. And it would be at the expense of other things that I find more financially important and motivational – like home improvements, savings accounts, retirement funds, paying off my house early, and saving for a new (probably used) car since my Camry isn’t going to last forever.

I like this idea and am having fun with it and overall I think it makes a lot of sense for me, my value system, and my lifestyle. I expect this whole process to take at least a year – decisions made in every season. I look forward to keeping tabs on myself via this online journal so if this bores you to tears, skip posts titled “Capsule Closet”.



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