The Problem With Capsule Wardrobes

April 25, 2016

The Problem With Capsule Wardrobes

The idea of a capsule wardrobe - a specific number of garments cycled in and out for each month or season - is about setting arbitrary rules dictating a certain number of items; compartmentalising your wardrobe into sections and seasons. The focus of a capsule wardrobe is all wrong. The capsule wardrobe concept encourages you to focus on an frivolous number rather than specific needs or requirements, which only allows you make excuses for the reasons you have certain items in your wardrobe and why you need to buy more each time the season changes. It deceptively makes you believe you feel better about your clothing choices while not actually minimising your consumption or even the overall size of your wardrobe.

Capsule wardrobes are appealing when trying to minimise our wardrobes yet it’s not a realistic method to achieve. Our lives cannot be compartmentalised into seasons; our style cannot be broken down into neat divisions of time. Capsule wardrobes function through a cycle of clothing options, switching garments in and out due to seasonal changes. This method does not teach us how to build a functioning wardrobe with garments that work in all weathers and suit our needs whatever the occasion.

The Problem With Capsule Wardrobes

While the capsule wardrobe concept might allow you to get into the mindset of purging and assembling a working wardrobe, it won’t necessarily teach you how to be a conscious shopper. It teaches us to “hide things away” each season so that we forget about them, making it easy for us to make excuses for why we need to buy new clothes when the weather changes. Building "capsules" for each season isn't kind when facing big variations in weather or vast differences between personal and work life; they can cause you to spend more, not less, money and requires storage for "out-of-season" garments.

A minimal wardrobe isn’t about having a set number of items, it’s about living with what we need; having fewer, more meaningful things; about learning what works for us. We cannot achieve this through arbitrary rules based only on a number of things we’re allowed to own. Capsule wardrobes work well for specific situations, when we need to build a work uniform within our wardrobes or when we’re travelling and need a compact and useful selection of clothing. For our daily lives, the capsule wardrobe is a peculiar concept that makes us believe we can neatly segment our lives into sections. It only encourages us to shop seasonally leaving us vulnerable to trend-led fashion choices.

What's minimal for one person is excessive to another. Minimalism shouldn’t be about having a set number of items, it should be about living with what we need; having fewer, more meaningful belongings. The focus should be on shopping when we need to replace something or find an item that suits our needs rather than wants not striving to achieve a holy grail number. You can achieve a functional minimal wardrobe and become a more conscious shopper regardless of how many items you choose to hang in your wardrobe.

The Problem With Capsule Wardrobes

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