Project Better Beth: Capsule Wardrobe

I’ve been in a bit of a funk recently. I’ve been mega-panicking about time marching on with no sign of the elusive Magic Ring taking up residence on my left hand, and taking out my frustrations on Matt in the form of arguments. Productive, non?

Not at all.

So, I’ve decided to try to relax (easier said than done), focus on finding happiness in myself and not in my relationship, and occupy my time with some self-improvement initiatives. Doesn’t that sound like something dreamed up by a Civil Servant? Exactement, my dear amigos.

So, without further ado, here beginneth what I am calling ‘Project Better Beth’. Snappy title, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Step One of PBB is that current blogosphere fave – the Capsule Wardrobe. Yep, I know it’s everywhere on the web and yes, I’m nothing if not a sheep. I actually began this project about two weeks ago, but I’ve only just got around to writing about it and taking some photies. I first got hooked on the idea by the very impressive Caroline of Unfancy (which I found via Grace) – she is a GURU of the Capsule Wardrobe.

The Capsule Wardrobe is an idea I’ve toyed with for a while, but never before got around to taking the plunge for fear it might be difficult, or painful, or I might regret The Great Clothes Purge.

Let me tell you now, it is AMAZING. No longer do I feel confuzzled when perusing my clothes stash of a morning, plagued by feelings of guilt over clothes I never wear and negativity about the state of my body*.

For YEARS I was harbouring clothes I never wear, keeping them “just in case”, by some miracle, I lost 2 stone and could fit into them or “just in case” I found an occasion to wear the far-too-revealing-and-sparkly-for-anyone-over-22 bodycon dress. No more.

*Ok, I still get those, but not as much.

How did I did I do it?

I got ruthless. I put 35 items of clothing into the charity/ebay pile. THIRTY FIVE. I would never have guessed I owned that many superfluous items. And they are superfluous. I put them into a chest for two weeks to check I didn’t regret any of the hasty ‘chuck it!’ decisions, and you know what? I don’t. So this weekend I’ll be listing the few items that I think could actually fetch something on ebay as they are good labels/rarely worn and the others will be patiently waiting for a charity bag to come through the door (sadly, since I wrote this post, none have been forthcoming. Can anyone say Murphy’s Law?)

I also packed away some clothes and shoes that are more suited to warmer weather for my Spring wardrobe.

From March, I’ll switch wardrobe every three months (so March-May for Spring, June-August for Summer, September-November for Autumn and December- February for Winter).

So you got rid of all of that, what did you keep?

+ 2 weekend day dresses (the denim one I showed off before is not pictured. You've seen it already and I was wearing it when I took this photo) 
+ 3 work dresses (which could double as weekend dresses, if I felt to inclined)
+ 3 evenings dresses
+ 1 cream blazer 
+ 1 burgundy coat (not pictured)

L-R: Reiss, French Connection, French Connection, H&M 

L-R: French Connection, French Connection (yup, it's the same dress in 2 colours), Apricot, Topshop

+ 5 shirts/blouses

L-R: Banana Republic, Anthropologie, Gap, Gap, Reiss 

+ 7 other tops (one black and white one from French Connection not pictured - it was in the wash!) 

L-R: Pull & Bear, Banana Republic, French Connection, French Connection, Warehouse, Warehouse 

Reiss - I think. 

+ 4 skirts

L-R: Uniqlo, Reiss, H&M, Reiss 

+ 2 pairs of jeans (one black, one dark blue. You know what jeans look like.) 

+ 3 jumpers 

Warehouse, Topshop, Warehouse 

+ 3 bags 
+ 5 pairs of shoes (shoes and bags to be pictured tomorrow) 

Total items: 39 (I’ve left room to buy a pair of winter boots)

I haven’t included in the count any underwear, tights, leggings (because I don’t wear them alone, only under skirts/dresses), pajamas or clothes that I only wear around the house (where I live in a collection of PJ bottoms and scraggy old tshirts and bobbly jumpers which never see the outside world).

I also haven't included scarves or hats because...I couldn't get to 40 otherwise. Plus, it'd be like counting jewellery. Which maybe I should be doing... 

Weirdly, I still feel like I have too many clothes, so I may end up not having as many next season. Watch this space. 

The beauty of the Capsule Wardrobe

+ Everything goes with everything. Ok, this is by design rather than just because it’s a capsule wardrobe but it works. My skirts pretty much all go with all my tops, and I’ve picked shoes and handbags that go with everything. That way you get lots of mix and match options.

+ NO MORE WARDROBE CONFUSION! Limiting your choice of outfits to pick from in the morning helps, not hinders. It also helps me to be organised and pick out my outfit the night before, something I’ve been meaning to do for ages but haven’t. I don’t know how, but having a minimal capsule wardrobe makes this task so much easier.

+ No more guilt about those clothes you own but never wear, or want to fit into but can’t. None.

+ No more buying clothes that you take home only to realise they don’t go with anything, and no buying things you never end up wearing. You’ve got your wardrobe sorted at the start of the season, so there’s no need to buy more. Sure, you can start to slowly pick up pieces for the next season, but as that wardrobe is limited too, you won’t buy things that don’t fit in.

+ You get to be really excited about clothes you already own! I’ve put away some clothes for my Spring wardrobe, and I’m really looking forward to wearing them again, something I never felt when they were sitting in my wardrobe as options every day.

+ You get to be ‘the girl who always wears monochrome’ or ‘the girl who rocks chambray’ (see above) rather than ‘the girl who has a million different tops’.

+ Fewer items to buy = either spending less or being able to buy fewer, nicer pieces. Guess which one I’m going for?

Top tips for doing your own

+ Stick to a neutral colour palette. I didn’t do this, mostly because I’ve started with clothes I already owned as I couldn’t afford to go out and buy a whole load more, but over the next few seasons I’m aiming to weed out the pieces that don’t go with much and stick to a much more muted palette. Think black/white/nude with a couple of accent colours.

+ Be ruthless. No more “just in case”. If it doesn’t go with the other things in your wardrobe, it goes. If it doesn’t fit, it goes. If you haven’t had the occasion to wear it more than a handful of times in the past 12 months, it goes. Simples.

So…what do you think? Am I mad? Will it last?

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