The Anti-Capsule Wardrobe

The Anti-Capsule Wardrobe

The capsule wardrobe idea came from Susie Faux and consisted of approximately 30 high-quality staple pieces in coordinating colours with the occasional new piece added two or three times a year. The endgame was an interchangeable compact wardrobe that saved time, money, and space. What they have become is something quite different. Most capsule wardrobes are now bloated and overstocked; it's no longer a seasonal rotation of clothing but an entire new wardrobe every few months. Capsule wardrobes are now more about shopping than streamlining.

I wrote a polarising post on the problem with capsule wardrobes. The capsule method has its place and they're certainly useful when traveling or living somewhere that experiences extreme weather changes. But capsule wardrobes aren’t minimalist by default and they have a lot of flaws. The method allows you to avoid doing the heavy lifting and hard work of decluttering your wardrobe and keeping it that way. Capsule wardrobes allow you to hide away an entire season worth of clothing and splurge on new seasonal items when you reach the end of the current one. If you’re constantly shopping for new clothes for your “capsule,” it’s just a wardrobe.

The hangover I’ve been experiencing with my own minimal wardrobe, which was kick-started by the capsule method over three years ago is: there’s no endgame. I’ve always got my eye on the next purchase, whether it’s an item I feel my wardrobe is “missing” or something from my wishlist. Always wanting more is a destructive mindset and the opposite of what minimal style and simple living is about. I realised I needed to identify my endgame and put my efforts into reaching it, not focusing on the next thing I "need" to make my wardrobe complete. With each new season I justified at least one more purchase.

The Anti-Capsule Wardrobe

The Anti-Capsule Wardrobe is about curating your style and your wardrobe to fit your lifestyle. It's not seasonal-specific or about how many items you own; the Anti-Capsule Wardrobe focuses on cohesion, function, and practicality for all seasons. It's everything the capsule wardrobe was intended to be.

Do A Proper Wardrobe Purge

The hard work is in purging your existing wardrobe; really stripping it down to the essentials so you have a solid foundation to work with. Carrying out a deep declutter followed by a wardrobe audit will help get rid of the excess, help identify what you enjoy wearing, uncover any gaps, and show you new combinations from existing pieces so you don’t feel like you have to replace everything you got rid of.

Own Fewer Items

Keeping an inventory of what you own or tracking your spending keeps your buying habits in check and puts you on the path to creating a true anti-capsule wardrobe made up of high quality staples. Seasonal items should be kept to a minimum or avoided altogether so nothing is hidden away in storage. The focus is on owning fewer items of a higher quality; each piece is functional and versatile.

No Hiding Things Away

Commit to a finite amount of storage to store your clothes in. Every item should hang in your wardrobe or fold into your drawers; there should be no hiding things under the bed or in the attic, everything you own should be immediately accessible. The anti-capsule method means you keep all your clothing together; it works as a functional collection of items curated for your lifestyle making it essential everything be kept together.

Be Realistic About Your Needs

The most important thing when creating an anti-capsule wardrobe is being realistic about your needs and dressing for the lifestyle you have right now. Clothes can look all kinds of wonderful on the hanger and in the dressing room; what we like the style of isn’t always suitable for our day-to-day life. Being realistic with our choices means focusing on how each new piece will fit together we the pieces we already own and within our daily routine.

Make Conscious Purchases

Once you’re happy with your streamlined wardrobe, attention should be focused on changing any unhealthy shopping habits. Purchases should be made based on versatility, function, and practicality; you should pay attention to the materials and quality of garments, and be working towards overall cohesion. Every item in your wardrobe should work together. The goal is about identifying your personal style and creating a dynamic wardrobe suited to your lifestyle.

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The Anti-Capsule Wardrobe