by Lisa & Martin Pedersen, Ecotopia Naturals –
More than a decade ago we realized we needed to make a series of changes to live more fulfilling lives. It’s the common story of being too busy and not having enough time to do what we enjoy most. We had three young children and it was important to simplify.
To drastically shorten an exceptionally long story, we took many steps towards slowing down, decluttering, minimizing and leading a more intentional life, plus dozens of other trendy buzzwords. We gave emotional thought to what we would allocate our time and money to, and we eliminated a lot of the excess that did not bring value to our lives. One of the areas in which we made significant changes was our relationship with clothes. If you were to label our transition, it went from a free for all to a capsule wardrobe.
A capsule wardrobe is a core collection of clothes that all go together to make many different outfits. Often there is a spring/summer wardrobe and a different one for fall/winter. For the core items, you use timeless pieces like black pants, jeans, T-shirts, and sweaters in neutral colours. These can be accented with other tops in colours that mix and match. Most of the items can be worn together and even just 20 pieces can create dozens of different outfits.
In our household we have two different approaches to building a wardrobe. Martin likes structure and simplicity – a finite number of each type of clothing. When a pair of pants wears out that is the signal to buy a new pair, most likely the same. Lisa is a far more creative person and has a more expansive capsule that allows for more variety. Some people do well with rigid restrictions and others prefer rough guidelines. For both of us in different ways, adding structure to the wardrobe has been an improvement from the chaos it replaced.
Overall, we decided to be more conscious of our buying decisions. Do I need it? Will I wear it a lot? Does it fit well with the rest of my wardrobe? Do I agree with how it was made? Is it durable? Do I love it? After asking these questions we switched to higher quality, environmentally friendly, locally sourced options that were individually more expensive but with fewer pieces and a longer life span, lowered our clothing budget. When we look back at the bags and bags of clothing we sent to thrift stores we realized we should have been asking those questions all along.
There are many resources including articles, blogs and videos that will give you rules and guidelines to create the perfect capsule wardrobe for you. For us, while those resources have provided inspiration and motivation, we developed our own personal structure over many steps. It will be a personal decision to decide if you adopt a strict structured capsule wardrobe, a loosely structured multi-capsule wardrobe, or decide it is not for you. The process you take to make that decision can leave you with an uncluttered closet, and a list of great questions to make sure you get clothing that fits the criteria that is important to you.