Denaye Barahona is a young mother in Dallas, TX. This spring, she exchanged her full, disorganized closet for a minimal wardrobe of versatile pieces she loves to wear. She summarizes the difference like this, ’Pre-capsule, my wardrobe was like the Cheesecake Factory menu. It went on for days and was overwhelming. Most of my options didn’t fit right, didn’t look right, or I just plain didn’t like. On the other hand, my capsule wardrobe is like a fine-dining restaurant. I have fewer choices but I can be sure all of the choices will be amazing. Not only do I look better, I feel better.’
Easy, versatile, and always put together. This is the promise and opportunity of a capsule wardrobe — and just one more reason the movement continues to grow.
Alice Gregory is a writer living in New York City. Last year, her piece for J. Crew magazine brought a new word into my reasoning for wearing a uniform. She called it ’Iconic. A cheap and easy way to feel famous.’ She continues, ’A uniform can be a way of performing maturity or, less charitably, impersonating it. A uniform insinuates the sort of sober priorities that ossify with age, as well as a deliberate past of editing and improving.’
Alice points out that wearing the same outfit everyday is a way of asserting your status as a protagonist. ’This is the reason why characters in picture books never change their clothes: Children — like adults, if they’d only admit it — crave continuity. Adopting the habit of wearing a uniform is not unstylish — this is a classification that no longer applies.’
Our closets are full of clothes and shoes purchased, but rarely worn. The average American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually. Which may not seem like a lot — until you consider that most clothing purchases are not based on need at all. In 1930, the average American woman owned nine outfits. Today, that figure is 30 — one for every day of the month.
Living with a capsule wardrobe or adopting an iconic uniform removes most of the waste and expense from trial-and-error clothing purchases — not to mention all the time wasted shopping for items only to return later.
Last month, Drew Barrymore wrote an article for Refinery 29 highlighting her new stage of life and relationship with clothes. ’For starters, I’m almost 40, and the twenties clothes don’t make sense anymore. And, after two babies, the thirties clothes don’t fit anymore. I am at a clothing crossroads, and it’s a painful one at times.’ To counter these feelings, Drew put herself on a closet diet limiting her wardrobe and only buying items thoughtfully. Months later, her closet is ’sane and happy.’ Getting dressed is no longer a battle. And her fashion sense is ’now calmer and more peaceful.’
We are a society drowning in our possessions. People are looking for freedom and rescue. They are searching for new solutions. No wonder the capsule wardrobe movement continues to grow.
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