Summer capsule – key pieces

Thanks to those of you who said pictures of some of my summer capsule may be helpful.   I have enclosed some of the key pieces that I find myself reaching for again and again.

Why these pieces:

  • Neutral colours
  • Lightweight materials
  • Classic shapes
  • Easy to style

However, I feel this capsule, as a whole, has not quite gelled for me.  I think I have too many pieces or maybe some are not versatile enough or I am not being creative enough!   Rather than angsting too much over this, I am treating it as an experiment and an opportunity to learn.

There was a time when a filled wardrobe would have led me to believe that I always had the ‘right clothes’ even though I used to stand in front of it, in despair at not finding something to wear.  Now, a half-filled wardrobe seems too full.  I believe I may have veered too much towards loving some pretty summer pieces, because they are a novelty in our climate, and not enough towards choosing versatile pieces, which earn their place.

I looked in my wardrobe today and thought ‘can I really call myself a minimalist?!’.  The answer is yes because all the ups and downs are simply another step towards a less cluttered, more meaningful life.  This is the beauty of minimalism.  It is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

When I feel overwhelmed, I often turn to other blogs which inspire and re-vitalize me.   Be More with Less and A Small Wardrobe never fail me!

A review of this capsule when summer is over should prove an interesting learning experience!

Is it just me?  Does anyone else feel they get setbacks when they thought they had cracked something?  I’d really love to hear from you.  In the meantime, have a great week 🙂

Summer 2017 Capsule Wardrobe

I’m creating a summer capsule wardrobe – anyone like to join me?

The days are getting warmer and my clothes need to be more summer appropriate.  Time to ditch the dark colours and woollen jumpers!

So, using the framework of Project 333, I’ve decided to create a small, carefully curated wardrobe of summer clothes.  I’ll include only clothes that fit me well, that I love and that suit my lifestyle.  I think I’ll end up with about 35 pieces – slipping in a cheeky 2 extra pieces – and see how I get on with that.  These 35 pieces will include all my tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes and accessories.

Why do a capsule?

  • I can choose clothes that I love and that suit me.
  • An edited wardrobe with a limited number of pieces is easy to choose from when getting dressed and that will make …..
  • Getting dressed in the morning simpler and quicker.
  • I already have a lot of clothes from last summer – re-using them will mean spending less money.
  • My wardrobe will not be crammed and over-flowing.
  • My ‘floordrobe’ will be a dim and distant memory.
  • Fewer clothes mean I will appreciate those I have more.
  • The clothes that make the cut are usually higher quality, as they will need to withstand greater wear and tear.
  • I’ll choose only my favourite items, so I’ll be wearing my favourite clothes every day – that’s a good start to a morning!
  • Less time spent fussing over my clothes means more time for friends, family and my own interests.

Some concerns:

  • I’m worried I may get bored with so few clothes – so it’s good to have it time-bound i.e. only one season, which is really only 12 weeks.
  • I don’t want people to think I’m wearing the same clothes all the time – so I’ll have to be creative.
  • I hope the extra washing and wearing doesn’t wear out my clothes too quickly.

Some tips:

  • Pick out colours that are easy to mix and match.
  • Make sure to have a good mix of clothes for work and home, especially if you work in a corporate environment.
  • Enjoy it! It’s just an experiment – if it doesn’t turn out exactly as planned, it’s only clothes!

So, I’m going to create my summer capsule this weekend.  I’ll take the clothes out of storage, try them on, select and discard, wash and iron – you know, all the glamorous stuff!

I’ll try it for 3 months and then review to see how well (or otherwise!) it has worked.  If you’re thinking of doing something similar, I’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.

Next week, I’ll write about what clothes I’ve chosen and why.  Have a great week 🙂

Why minimalism?

Three years ago, I went through a difficult time, when a dearly loved one was ill.  I felt helpless, angry, upset, out of control and frightened.  Then, I realized, it wasn’t about me.  My focus and energy needed to be channeled where it was needed most but everything seemed so complicated.  It wasn’t really or at least it was as complicated as I made it.  Fewer complications meant more time and energy available, which is what I needed, but I took the scenic route, not the direct one, on the way.

At first, I thought I needed to be ultra-organized.  I’m quite a structured person anyway (I’m a ‘J’ for those of you interested in Myers-Briggs!).  So, I organized.  I had a container for everything and if a container was ever empty, then I ensured I filled it.  Every minute of every day was planned.  Every article on every shelf was straight.  Funnily enough, this didn’t help!   But I didn’t understand why.

At some level, I knew I needed more simplicity and fewer distractions.  So I started to search the web.  My searches focused on ‘simplicity’ as I had never heard of the term ‘minimalism’.  But it kept popping up.  I stumbled across a site called ‘The Minimalists’ hosted by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.   I read a few of their posts with interest and then saw that they were due to visit London, just a train ride away. 

On Wednesday 8th October 2014, I made my way to Parkgate Road in London, somewhere I didn’t know and had never heard of, a prospect that would have daunted me before.  (I’m Irish, living in the UK, so usually everywhere is different and new!).  However, different results needed different approaches.  That evening was a watershed moment.  By that stage, I had read many articles by The Minimalists and even had one of their books.  However, hearing them speak brought the whole concept of minimalism alive for me and more importantly, within my reach.  They also mentioned some of their friends, Courtney Carver, Leo Babauta, Colin Wright  …. I realized there was a whole world of minimalism and alternative views out there.

The weekend after, I looked around my carefully organized belongings and saw them with different eyes.  Yes, I was fortunate to have so much – but I also had so much distraction, so much anxiety and so much excess.   How much did one person need, for goodness sake?!  I saw the difference between organization and minimalism, which is probably quite obvious to many others, but as I said, I took the scenic route to this realization.

My loved one is now so much better than I ever thought possible.  And the dark days which I hated and feared at the time, showed me a less conventional but more satisfying life.   I’m still on a journey to simplicity but I know why I’m doing it.  As Jim Rohn says, ‘ When the why gets stronger, the how gets easier’.

 

Photo courtesy of http://www.freeimages.co.uk

Capsule Wardrobe: Basics, key pieces and statement pieces

I was always a big fan of Anuschka Rees’ blog, Into Mind and was thrilled when she recently published her book called The Curated Closet.   It’s chock-full of useful strategies and ideas and one in particular, feels like a great way to view clothes in a slightly different way.

Anuschka maintains that the basis to a great wardrobe, which will allow a versatile mix of pieces and enable multiple different looks, is to have the right balance of:  Basic pieces, that form the backbone of your wardrobe; key pieces, that add versatility and encapsulate your own personal style; statement pieces, that will enable you to add variety and a little something special.

The great thing about this approach is that these pieces may be different for everyone.  What is a basic for me may be a key piece for you.  I feel this simple tactic is powerful because it allows me to see my capsule wardrobe in a different light.  At the moment, the basics and key pieces are well covered but I’m a bit light on the statement pieces so if I need one, I tend to go to my tiny ‘special occasion’ capsule and pull out something from there.  This is where I keep a couple of special dresses to wear to a wedding or a party, a smart pair of shoes, a dressy top or a sparkly jacket!  However, with Anuschka’s approach, by incorporating a small number of statement pieces into my ‘normal’ capsule, I can wear these special pieces more often and not keep them for the ‘just in case’ times.  It will also allow better mixing and matching and jazzing up a plain outfit to make it more my own.

I will be starting to think of my summer capsule wardrobe in a few weeks’ time so I’ve decided to use this approach for summer shoes, to dip a toe in the water first, so to speak.  I tend to live in flats in the summer and wear my heels far more in the colder months.  They also go better with my summer clothes.  So, I could view my black ballet flats, which feel like slippers after 4 years, as basics; my pointed flats which, because of their neutral colour, go with many combinations and are a key piece; and my pink flats could make a statement, with a more neutral outfit.  Before this, I think I may have been inclined to pair my neutral flats with neutral basic clothes – resulting in a ‘meh’ kind of look.

     

The other reason I love this approach is that minimalism is all about de-cluttering the excess and appreciating what we are so fortunate to have now.  Loving and using things on a daily basis and not putting them away for ‘special’ occasions seems a better way.  Every day is special, right?

Spring 2017 Capsule Wardrobe

tapestry-of-nice-ladyI’ve just created my spring capsule wardrobe.  It seems to have coincided with the tail-end of Storm Doris and cooler weather than we’ve been having recently, but so be it.  The excitement of packing away my winter wardrobe and planning my spring one leaves no room to angst about the weather.

I have been doing a capsule wardrobe for about eighteen months now.  I am a fan of Courtney Carver and her Project 333 capsule wardrobe experiment.  I tried it for a couple of seasons and then went to see Courtney give a talk in London about her inspiration in creating it and how she has got on ever since.  This gave me an even greater boost and I never want to go back to an over-stuffed wardrobe again.

I know it’s not for everybody but I really enjoy both the process and the results.  I like the clearing out of one capsule to make room for another.   I like the rigour of examining each piece of clothing to see if it can be stored for another season or another capsule (most make it through) and trying to be honest about pieces that don’t fit me, my lifestyle or simply just don’t make me feel good.  With a reduced number of pieces, every item has to earn its place.  Often, it’s only by wearing clothes for a season, that I can see how well or not they suit me.

I work full-time, in a professional environment, so I started out thinking I needed two capsules – one for work and one for more casual days.  They each had over 33 items!  I soon found that I didn’t wear half of the clothes and that a surprising number were suitable for both work and casual dress.  So, I stopped doing that!  I now have one mix-and-match wardrobe that ranges between 33 and 37 pieces.  When I shop now, I try to pick clothes that are as versatile as possible.  That also helps me shop more mindfully.  When you have to stop and think what other clothes your potential new piece will go with and how many outfits you can create from it, it’s surprising how many pieces find their way back to the rail.

My biggest discovery?  I don’t need nearly as much as I think I do 🙂

 

Here we go…

flowers-close-upThank you for stopping by my blog which will contain some general musings on simplicity and how it can paradoxically result in a richer life.  I am not a practising minimalist but I aspire to greater simplicity in my life.  I want to get rid of the physical clutter to start unloading the mental clutter.  I have found that letting go of the material ‘stuff’ is so much easier than jettisoning the mental muddles and I am hoping that starting a blog will be an amusing and useful way to navigate my way through.  If I have company on the way, so much the better.
I would love to start a dialogue with anyone who cares to join in about experiences with simplicity and minimalism.  It’s something I have been interested in for two or three years now and I’m ready to share some of the reflections that have only been in my own head up until now.   To me, simplicity is not an end in itself but the means to an end and I’d like to explore what that signifies.
 As with so many others, I have found that the easiest way into this new way of thinking and being is through my wardrobe.  Not in a Narnia kind of way but rather the incredible freedom of a capsule wardrobe.  I have been doing a capsule wardrobe for about six seasons now (that is a year and a half) and learn so much every time I conclude one and start another.
 Next time, I’ll write about this in more detail.  In the meantime, thanks for reading and have a good week 🙂