Sparking Joy with Capsule Wardrobing

I know I’m not the only one, but with the rising popularity of the minimalism lifestyle, along with shows like “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” it seems as if ‘less is more’ is the 2019 motto.  That being said, I have been trying to jump on this sort of lifestyle for years, but let me tell you – it is harder than it looks.  Firstly, if you are far from minimalist, (and let’s be honest – many of us are), you simply cannot go from having 50 tops to 6 in one day.  And that goes for every other item in your closet.  Secondly, there is simply more to cleaning and tidying than shoving everything in your closet and hoping that it fits, a clean facade hiding the mountain of stuff behind closed doors.  I spent a huge part of my winter break tidying up my closet and drawers using the KonMari method, and seeing if it would work.  It took about a full week, but I was pretty happy with the results.  Since I was able to do it at home, I wanted to see if I could do something similar back at St Andrews.  I know tackling my closet was going to be a tough ordeal.  I’ve got mounds of clothes, sports kit, and random bits and bobs, from hand warmers to hairspray, to glitter to Christmas ornaments.  I wanted to start with something simpler.  I wanted to see if I could capsule my wardrobe first.  This would help me see if I really could be okay with living off a minimalist wardrobe.  For those of you who don’t know, capsule wardrobing is a small number of items, usually basics and neutral pieces that work well together, and can be mixed and matched to create a simple, functioning wardrobe.  Some people have capsule wardrobes that range from 10 pieces TOTAL while others seem more reasonable, with 30 to 50 pieces.  I experimented to see if I could live off a capsule wardrobe for a week, with 10 items for seven days to see if it was doable.
I decided to pick a colour palette for my capsule wardrobe, sticking only with the colours red, navy, white, black, and tan.  I then picked 10 items that I thought would mix and match well with each other, and decided not to limit myself with accessories (scarves, shoes, jewellery etc.).  The ten items I picked were:
1. A navy jacket
2. A tan coat
3. A white jumper
4. A red jumper
5. A white button-up
6. A striped shirt
7. A navy skirt
8. A tartan skirt
9. Black jeans
10. Blue jeans
I apologise in advance for any awkward-looking pictures but here are the results:
Monday: One of my better outfits to start off the week
Source: Maiah Khin

Tuesday: A very awkward photo, while passerby on Queens Gardens wondered why I was taking my picture

Source: Maiah Khin

Wednesday: Instead of standing awkwardly on Queens Gardens, I have chosen to stand awkwardly in Regs Library

Source: Maiah Khin

Thursday: This was probably my favourite outfit of the week.  These flats are my fanciest pair of shoes.

Source: Maiah Khin

Friday: Back to standing awkwardly, but this time in Sallies Quad

Source: Maiah Khin

Saturday: Disclaimer – this was my least favourite outfit

Source: Maiah Khin

Sunday:  And we made it to the end of the week! I treated myself to a hot chocolate from Rector’s to celebrate.

Source: Maiah Khin
After a week, I was ready to not have to wear the same five colours and same ten pieces of clothing over and over again.  I cannot tell you how many times I washed the striped shirt.  I found it difficult to keep up with the ‘rules’ of my capsule wardrobe for a week, so I cannot imagine how people do it for their whole lives.  I suppose capsule wardrobing is not for everyone.  I found it difficult, but I wouldn’t mind trying it again with less ‘rules’ and restrictions.  This was a good lesson, because it taught me not to restrict myself or restrict my wardrobe.  Obviously that does not mean I’ll go on a huge shopping spree, but I definitely learned how to make the most of what I had, and the wardrobe that I have now without adding anything to it.  Capsule wardrobing is a great concept, especially because it can also minimise fast fashion, help people save money, and in the long-term, help the environment because we are buying and wasting less.  I really do agree with Marie Kondo when she says if something doesn’t “spark joy,” then we have to get rid of it.  I learned how to scrutinise my wardrobe, and to appreciate the things I loved, while getting rid of some things that did not spark joy for me anymore while embarking on my capsule wardrobing mission.  Maybe I am not fit to be a minimalist, or maybe I’m just starting to become one, but I sure am glad I could give this a try.  Hopefully this experiment sparks you to give capsule wardrobes a shot as well!

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