Capsule wardrobe
Stuff + Things

Why I’ll Never Have a Capsule Wardrobe, But Why It’s the Perfect Way to Pack

I like to shop with purpose and a capsule wardrobe has always intrigued me, so my friends at Vancouver’s Orb Clothing challenged me to get back to basics and do just that with some staples from their fall/winter collection.

Since recently finishing paying off all my debt, one the of the things I have been enjoying is updating my wardrobe – to do a much-needed refresh without completely affecting my budget. (And not always feeling like I had to #getthrifty – though I still do! – and buy everything on sale.) Firstly, I am writing this knowing I am not a fashion expert. I just like what I like and wanted to share why shopping with purpose makes a difference for me. Secondly, I would love to tell you that this is my closet:

Alas, it’s not. Well, it is, but it’s the tiny closet in our office/second bedroom, featuring my purposefully selected items from the Orb Clothing site and four of my several pairs of shoes. This is my closet:

Picture the Brit shaking his head at me. And yes, I clearly haven’t been channeling my inner Marie Kondo as much as I should – even with a big pre-move purge. But I spent 4.5 years paying off debt, not having a credit card; therefore, not being able to shop for much. You better believe I took care of what I had, but it possibly made me a bit of a clothes hoarder… (Also, I don’t thrift shop. I’m not a snob, I just don’t have the patience or find joy in going through the racks. It’s also why I don’t like Winners. Can’t handle it!)

The contents of the tiny closet represent the extreme version of what I’m aspiring to. Seeing everything, versatility, everything is organized, no more opening my closet and saying “I have nothing to wear”… But the reality is that this version of a capsule wardrobe will never work for me (except when travelling), but first, some context.

The 3+1 shopping concept and other things to think about

The summer before I started college, I worked at a clothing store. I learned two things in those three months: a) Working in retail was not for me; and b) If you’re buying ten – or however many – items, they should all be staples that can be mixed and matched together and/or with what you already own. (This is also how one should think about packing.) There’s also the concept of buying ‘3+1’, which is more budget-friendly for most and means choosing three basics plus one fun item.

While these concepts stuck with me in the years following, the opportunity to even imagine a capsule wardrobe wasn’t a reality until this year. With the idea of shopping with purpose, these are the things I kept in mind when taking on this challenge:

  • What does it go with (both in what I am buying and what is at home)? Needs to go with more than one thing!
  • Do I need it?
  • What can it replace?
  • Is it too trendy?
  • Will it last (quality)?
  • Can I wear it to yoga? (Because I have very definitely remembered yoga leggings, but not a top, for class at least once or twice…)

Here are my “capsule wardrobe” picks – they make at least 12 outfits. I’m not very flashy and I like jewel tones. (And they are all under $100!)

capsule wardrobe

Every piece I chose complements at least a few pieces I already own, and they mix and match with each other really well. (If I was doing 3+1, I probably would have gone with 1, 8, 9 + 10 or 2.)Could I really have only these 10 excellent items, plus four pairs of shoes, a coat, and a purse in my wardrobe? Realistically? No, not for every day. (And not just because I love all my dresses.)

I like options, we don’t have in-suite laundry anymore, I have other activities in my life outside of work.But it’s the start of a perfect capsule wardrobe for travelling. The Brit and I are going to the UK over the Christmas holidays, and packing is something I struggle with (possibly because my travel budget while paying off debt was never wide enough to include many ad hoc “I forgot this” purchases…) It stresses me out and I always end up overpacking. Not 10 lbs overweight suitcase overpacking, but nonetheless.

So if anything, this exercise has inspired my suitcase to weigh less, so a hip-hooray for that!Do you have a capsule wardrobe? Is your closet much more organized than mine? (I’d love some tips!) Do you overpack?? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. The handbag in the photos is a 2-in-1! You might have also seen it on my Instagram feed. This bag (the Laurel) is a rock star. The grey sold out really fast (I was lucky to snag one!), but there are other beautiful colours. Click the bag image below to get one for yourself!

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*All links are to cyber secure websites. But always check!

This post was written in partnership with Orb Clothing. A big thank you to them. As always, opinions are my own. 

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