A quick thank you to all the wonderful ladies who shared their thoughts on last week’s controversial post, it wasn’t easy to put out there, but in retrospect, I’m very glad that I did.
Moving away from feminine hygiene, but in the same vein of pursuing a more sustainable lifestyle, what I will share with you today is something that has truly changed my life. I know I know, I seem to be saying that a lot lately, but it’s true! 2016 has been rife with change.
9 months ago, my life was full of clutter, both mental and physical. Every space I inhabited seemed to be teeming with useless and unnecessary items – from my room to my car, to my handbag – it was all one big mess. And I was a mess too. My mind was constantly on overdrive, trying to juggle countless hairdresser’s appointments, last minute shopping trips, and bridal showers, on account of wedding season, while also going through the biggest change my career had seen in over 3 years.
Somewhere amidst the craziness, I came across a neat little app called Capsules by Cladwell. While I had heard of “capsule wardrobes” in passing before, I must admit that I never truly understood what they were or why I should care about creating one. I figured that something that sounded so sophisticated was for someone far more fashionable than myself.
After all, while I’d always liked shopping for clothes, I found it hard to pinpoint anything close to resembling a “personal style” and chalked my arbitrary fashion choices down to eclecticism. My closet was full of clothes – some that I loved, others that had been worn just a handful of times, and some that didn’t fit or flatter me anymore but which I insisted on keeping around anyways. Getting dressed in the mornings was an affair – I would try in 3-4 different outfits sometimes and still leave the house without really feeling convinced.
Little did I know, this was all about to change.
Cladwell’s app is all about removing the clutter, and paring your wardrobe down to only the things you truly love and wear all the time. They claim to help you “own less, while loving it more”.
The idea, in short, is to create a simple and minimal “capsule” wardrobe comprised of only your favourite items. The app feels more like a service to me, because of how bespoke and guided the entire process is. From taking you through the closet cleanout, to helping you select a colour palette and adopting a signature style, everything about the experience feels tailor-made to your preferences.
One of my favourite features of the app is the ability to input your daily activities, their frequency, and your garb of choice for said activities. So for example, I could put in an office job, 5 times a week, and pick from an array of generic clothing items like blouses, t-shirts, tailored pants and pencil skirts. Based on the information you input on your lifestyle and clothing preferences, Capsules will then suggest specific articles of clothing to help you build your core wardrobe.
The most cathartic and important step, however, is the closet cleanout.
They advise you to take all of your clothes out of your closet and laundry baskets, lay them out in front of you and start taking stock. With each item you pick up you ask yourself, “do I love it?” and “do I wear it all the time?” If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then it goes in the yes pile. If the answer is a no, or even a maybe/I’m not sure – then it goes in the no pile. Once you have your piles, you’re advised to you to get rid of your no pile, by storing it in another room to begin with. Out of sight, out of mind.
While it was incredibly difficult, I was firm and stuck to the rules. This ended up in a mountain of clothes I didn’t want anymore, and would be donating to charity – a medium sized suitcase of “maybe” items, that I wasn’t ready to part with just yet, and a humble heap of “yes” items. It took hours but once I was done, it just felt right. I knew I had my core capsule.
The next steps were fun and incredibly interesting. Looking at the clothes I had left, I realised that I was very big on neutrals, simple clean lines and flowy materials. Sadly, none of the colourful floral print tops and dresses I had been buying compulsively for years because “they look pretty” made the cut – but what a revelation that was. I logged on to Pinterest at the advice of Cladwell and created inspiration boards for outfits, textures, patterns, colours, and slowly but surely began to see a mood board that reflected my true personal style.
With the help of the app’s suggestions, I was able to mark off items that I already owned and easily identify the few items I needed to purchase to complete my capsule – most of which I was able to extract from my “maybe” pile, by the way.
One thing to note is that while the app does provide a suggested number of pieces, it’s not the gospel and no one will slap you on the wrist for having three grey t-shirts instead of just the one. With time I’ve come to look at the suggestions as a basic framework, which I can adapt and adjust to suit my own lifestyle.
While the app suggests you create a new capsule every three months to accommodate for the change of seasons, I’m constantly capsuling in between too. Every so often, I’ll see a shirt hanging in my wardrobe, realise I haven’t worn it for months, and banish it to my maybe suitcase or even pass it on to a friend.
All in all – I can’t recommend Capsules enough. Whether you attempt it on your own, or take the plunge and sign up to the app I think everyone can benefit from creating a capsule wardrobe. While it didn’t cause the stresses of my daily life to dissipate, the effect of removing all of that physical clutter was immeasurable. Instantly I felt lighter, calmer and more at peace. Clearing out my physical space helped free up mental energy to de-clutter internally too.
The app is a paid service, but at $15 every three months, I think it is incredible value for money. 5 dollars a month is a small price to pay considering what I save in buying new clothes, too.
A couple of months after I started capsuling, I watched a documentary called The True Cost that has changed my shopping habits forever. The documentary exposes the ugly side of the “fast-fashion” movement, naming and shaming so many of the retail giants I had been supporting for years, blissfully unaware of the atrocious working conditions and unethical practices they employ on a global level. While transitioning my wardrobe to be completely eco, animal and human-friendly will take some time, I’m so glad to have finally learned the truth. Its daunting, but exciting to discover new eco-fashion brands, and I am slowly but surely becoming accustomed to investing in ethically-made clothing that doesn’t cost the earth.
Until next time, dear readers.