Why I’m Quitting Capsule Wardrobes

After a year, I’m choosing to quit capsule wardrobes. To be fair, I only did a full, official capsule for 3 seasons (winter, spring and summer) after a “starter” capsule in summer 2015. However, I believe at this point, I have obtained as much value as I possibly could from the practice of a capsule, and now I am ready to move beyond it.

Capsule wardrobes are a really great way to clean out your closet, consume less, and learn to live with less. For me, it was a catalyst into the world of minimalism and simple living. While I’ve learned so much from doing capsule wardrobes, and still encourage others to try it if they are trying to pare down their closet, it’s no longer for me. Here are three reasons why I am quitting the capsule wardrobe.
Why I'm Quitting Capsule Wardrobes

Capsule Wardrobes Are A Tool

Tools are used to accomplish a task or a goal, so once that is accomplished, it’s time to put the tool down. For me, capsules are a tool, not a lifestyle. This is certainly not true for everyone. My goals with the capsule wardrobe were to determine my personal style, curb impulse shopping and only wear what made me truly happy. I am happy to say that I’ve (mostly) checked all these things off my list.

While my style hasn’t been perfected, I don’t think it ever will be. I also discovered that although I may have curbed impulse shopping in my wardrobe, that the problem extended beyond my closet, and I just impulse-shopped in other ways instead, like buying home decor items. So, a capsule wardrobe was not the best tool to solve that particular issue. It’s something I am still working on in other ways.

I have learned to only wear what makes me truly happy, and I’ve never really been averse to having a small wardrobe. In fact, since I’ve given up the capsule, my wardrobe is smaller than ever, because there are no numbers to chase. More on that soon.

 

Seasons Are Fluid, Capsule Wardrobes Are Not

Here in the Pacific Northwest, the weather is a little bit all over the place. Seasons change, but then you’ll get a few random warm days, or unseasonably rainy ones. My wardrobe needs quite a bit of flexibility to account for the weather, and it was frustrating to pick just x-number of tops to accommodate that. Often I found myself wishing I could open the drawer under my bed and grab from my wardrobe in storage. Having most of my clothes in my closet at all times works better for me, giving me more variety, and is more weather-appropriate.

Why I'm Quitting Capsule Wardrobes

A Limited Time Frame For Shopping Is Stressful

When I began the capsule wardrobe, I had gotten rid of a good chunk of what was in my closet. I wasn’t left with much, so each season since then, as I’ve ruthlessly purged what I don’t love or wear, I’ve had a lot of holes to fill. I still do. My closet is still missing valuable pieces. This made shopping difficult, since with a capsule wardrobe you only shop for a couple weeks at the beginning of each season. This meant I couldn’t take advantage of sales, a large chunk of money was spent all at once, and many rushed buying decisions. There are so many purchases I’ve ended up regretting over the past year, because I rushed things. In my mind, if I didn’t buy what I wanted right now I’d have to wait another year. Personally, I’ve found I do my best shopping slowly, over time, with a lot of consideration.

 

I’ve learned so many lessons from doing capsule wardrobes, and I may even return to it one day! At this point, my closet is so pared down, and in need of a lot more work, but the capsule was not helping me achieve my goals any longer. My closet goals have changed. Over the next few weeks I’ll be discussing what my closet looks like now, how I edit my closet, and how I’ll approach my wardrobe going forward. And of course, more outfit posts! I have a few looks photographed & ready to go. I think the best way to share all of this with you is by showing you what I can do with a few items.

I’d love to hear your thoughts: have you done a capsule wardrobe, ditched it, still considering trying it? Quitting capsule wardrobes after so long feels a little strange for me, but I’m excited to see what’s next, and I’d love to hear how others approach it too.

  • I’m in the same boat with you! I started to feel that focusing so much time and energy on creating the perfect capsule wardrobe was actually detracting from the whole purpose – to not have to worry about my clothes. It was all I was thinking about! These days I wouldn’t say that I have a capsule wardrobe anymore, but having one taught me how to be less impulsive and to seek out higher quality pieces.

  • So happy to come across your site this past while! I live in BC, Canada, these days…and love reading thoughtful, inspiring, fun blogs by others in the Pacific Northwest.

    I’ve had a minimalist wardrobe for most of my life but never followed any rules around creating one (though I love reading about capsule wardrobes and taking part in “10×10 challenges”). My closet contains less than an official capsule most likely – with all seasons in one. Lately, I’ve been considering new, careful additions but am enjoying taking it slow and savouring the process of searching without buying.

    Love how you’re peering beyond “the rules” of capsules and embracing the spirit of them…as well as exploring where patterns play out elsewhere. Thank you!