Have you heard of the terms ‘capsule wardrobes’ or ‘project 333’? What they have in common is to advocate the reduction of the pieces of clothing one owns, improve their quality and make sure they all provide the best fit. The concept seems to grow popular, both with women and with men. Why? To invert the fast fashion tendency by being more sustainable, simplify life and, ultimately, dress better. Sounds interesting? When I first heard of the idea, I thought it was crazy even though I completely agreed with the concept. How can you manage with only 10 items of clothing including shoes? How does laundry even work? But like with most things, there is no need to follow the most extreme recipes to make a positive change. This starts to feel like a common thread in my posts.
Since moving to my new flat, I was fighting every morning to access my clothes as I had less wardrobe space than before. I would have previously considered getting an additional piece of furniture, but I decided to reconsider my views on capsule wardrobes instead. Being in a transitory period of my life, I don’t think it is a good moment to give away most of my clothes. Reading the ‘rules’ of project 333 (a challenge to live with only 33 pieces of clothes for 3 months), that recommend starting by putting the clothes away rather than getting rid of them, got me started.
Over the course of one week, I tackled one group of clothes at a time each morning, sorting out what I would need over the next few months from what I wouldn’t.
- Day 1 was for shoes, coats and hats.
- Day 2, I took care of the bottoms (pants, skirts and shorts). I discarded the ones that didn’t fit with the shoes I selected. I enjoy my red sandals and my orange pants, but they don’t enjoy each other’s company…
- Day 3, I picked two tops to go with each bottom and a few dresses.
- Day 4, I had a similar process with all the long sleeves than I had for the tops. At that point I was sure every piece selected could fit in at least one outfit.
- Day 5 was for accessories, which was mostly scarfs since I am not big on belts and other jewellery that I tend to find uncomfortable and distracting.
- Day 6 I tackled underwear and day 7 pyjamas and sports clothes that are normally counted out in capsule item numbers, but since the point was removing excess from the closet, there was no point to leave them out.
In the end, I went from 357 to 135 items of clothes, 77 not counting underwear and sports clothes. I originally intended to make a second round to reduce to only 33 pieces, but considering the process already took some time, and that I had reached my goal to have a more accessible closet, I decided there was no need to take it further for now. I found a few things to give, but not much since I had already done a big sorting before leaving London. I tried to put all the rest in a big suitcase, but since it didn’t all fit, I had to use a few unaccessible shelves and drawers from the bedroom.
It has been 3 months since I sorted through my clothes and I am happy with the change. I still have a lot of work to decrease the ‘stored’ clothes, but I would not go back. I have been dressing more intentionally as I had more visibility of my options. I realised I would normally wear what is easy instead of what I like best. Whether I actually dress better is not for me to say, but I feel comfortable with what I wear. And is it not that what matters the most in the end?