Two girls, two wardrobes, 1 capsule, 1 not: Part 2

Two weeks ago, Hanna (@florandcesta) and Laura (@thegreenedition) embarked on a challenge to swap wardrobes; all in the name of discovering what it takes to curate a truly conscious wardrobe.

Laura, the proud owner of a capsule wardrobe for over a year now, switched back to a ‘normal’ wardrobe and Hanna, who had never considered a capsule, curated a 30-piece closet for the two weeks. Here is what they had to say before embarking on the challenge and below, how they feel now, two weeks on.

Why I now have a ‘story wardrobe’

By Hanna, Flor + Cesta

Ok so I’m not eating ALL my words but this has certainly been an insightful few weeks. Having just read over the article I wrote on ‘Why I don’t have a capsule wardrobe’ before starting this I am willing to admit I may have been a tad dramatic… and that actually, it rather sounds like I am trying to justify something. This makes me wonder if, deep down, I already really knew what the last two weeks has led me to discover:

I have a lot of items in my wardrobe that I don’t wear regularly.

There, I said it, it’s out there. Yes, I thought I had a consciously curated wardrobe with items that I could wear year-round but it turns out I am wrong.

Three quarters of the way through the two weeks I had a revelation. I had barely even noticed I was doing the challenge. Yes, she the girl who thought this was going to hugely impact her life. That felt like she was going to feel restricted and unfulfilled by a limited wardrobe has realised that the reality is she doesn't wear about 30-40% of her clothes. I was horrified.

I had always thought of myself as someone with a relatively small and consciously put together wardrobe. I do indeed have a number of items that are consciously curated that I wear very regularly, but there are still an awful lot of items in there that I don’t wear and that mean very little to me. Was I wrong? Is a restricted number of items necessary to be a truly conscious consumer?

I’m not sure. I still strongly believe in not limiting yourself with your wardrobe. That it is truly a conversation starter, a tool of expression and, when used wisely, a vehicle for change. I will however be readdressing my approach. I am not calling it a capsule wardrobe and it certainly won’t be limited to a number or a season but a change of attitude, some scaling back and a clear sense of purpose and thought is needed for my wardrobe.

The Story Wardrobe

Over the next few weeks I am going to undertake the ‘wear it now or throw it out’ test (read more about this on sophiebenson.com) with all the items I don’t wear regularly and if they fail the test, they’re out. I spy an article on how to ethically dispose/re-home your unloved clothes coming on.

What was very clear to me from the challenge was that clothes with a story and sentimental value are what stick with. Gym leggings, for example, that I wore to hike the Inca Trail are still worn weekly despite having numerous patched up holes. Why? Because hiking the Inca trail was a lifetime dream for me and I love that these trousers came along with me for the ride! It’s like re-living the trip every time.  

A story wardrobe. That’s what I am calling it. From now on, only items that tell a story that resonates, either my personal story or the stories of those that made them will enter my wardrobe. I think, for me anyway, this is the key to truly conscious wardrobe.

 

Why I STILL have a capsule wardrobe

By Laura, The Green Edition

I accepted the challenge wholeheartedly. For two whole weeks, I kept my entire collection of clothes in my wardrobe. Every pair of summer sandals, every winter scarf and every random t-shirt that I own was there greeting me each morning, as I got up and decided what to wear.

I was initially excited about the prospect. After curating a capsule wardrobe for over a year I thought it would be a fun two weeks to experiment with my style - to wear summer dresses layered with winter jumpers and boots or maybe find a way to layer my denim jacket all year round.

However, as soon as I had placed it all into my wardrobe, I started to feel anxious. All my clothes looked haphazard and I found it untidy and difficult to look at. I really didn’t have enough space for my shoes so they were heaped on top of each other. I closed the wardrobe door and told myself to stop being so dramatic.

In the first few days I tried some different style combinations, none of which I was entirely happy with. Most of the combos I tried felt too dressy for winter in northern Europe.

In the days after that, I felt myself trying to ignore the clothes that I didn’t want there. In doing so I have been in a style rut for the past two weeks. It turns out that being free to wear whatever I want has made me less likely to experiment with my style.

The Capsule Wardrobe

In clearing out my wardrobe today in preparation for my winter capsule (yay!), I found a pair of culottes that I wanted to try layering these past two weeks. However, I did not see them at all, they were hidden under other clothes, clothes that also probably weren’t worn.

I found myself eager to go shopping again. I felt like I had nothing to wear and the only thing to do was to go and buy more clothes. Thankfully I fought the urge to go shopping so will not have any returns to make this week. I’m surprised how soon the shopping urge came back to me, I really thought I had kicked the habit.

This morning, as I sorted out my wardrobe ready for my capsule wardrobe, I felt the anxiety drain away. There are no summer shorts or open toed shoes in my wardrobe. It’s snowing outside and I know that I will want to wear warm clothes when I get dressed for the next three months.

I do not feel like I’m restricting myself by having 33 pieces in my wardrobe, in fact it’s the opposite. I’m freeing myself so that I have the space to breathe and find my true style for each season. I am a much calmer person when I have a small curated wardrobe and will definitely be sticking with it, for now at least. I urge anyone else who is considering it to give it a go.

 

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