Capsule Wardrobes Don’t Have to Be Boring

capsule wardrobes

As with any trendy thing that gets big on the Internet, there’s been a bit of a backlash against capsule wardrobes of late. Hey, even I wrote up a piece on how they aren’t a cure-all. The latest complaint seems to be that capsules are limiting and boring. That if you make a capsule you’re stuck wearing the same black-gray-name another neutral color here combos day in and day out.

Of course, it’s entirely possible to make a capsule that’s totally boring. Some people like being boring when it comes to dressing and are perfectly happy wearing the same plain clothes everyday.

I’m not one of them, and I don’t  think a lot of people are. But, I also don’t think capsule wardrobes are by definition boring. What I do think is that it’s about having an idea of what you like, then finding ways to have those items work in multiple areas of your closet.  capsule wardrobe outfit spring

Not a Boring Outfit 1

Case in point, the outfit above. It’s made out of two frequently worn pieces in my capsule, an emerald green pencil skirt from Banana Republic (they seem to have discontinued this style, at least in the rainbow of colors, but here’s a similar one) and a printed button down from J.Crew Factory (similar). I’ve had both of these pieces for years now. They’re definitely not neutral colors, but I still manage to get plenty of wear from them:


In fact, the patterned button up has been in each of my seasonal capsules so far. The pencil’s been in the fall and spring capsule wardrobes, because it’s unlined and just not warm enough to wear in winter.

Are Capsule Wardrobes Stressful?

Two things inspired me to write this post. One was the sea of “X things every woman needs in her capsule wardrobe” posts around the Internet and the general notion that your capsule needs to fit into a set model, and the other was this post on the Financial Diet, bemoaning capsule wardrobes as a source of stress.

I understand that everyone’s different, but part of the reason why I started capsuling was to cut down on the stress of a too-full closet. Putting a limit in place (rotating through 35 or so pieces each season) keeps me from just acquiring clothing that I think I like, but then don’t wear and then feel guilty about not wearing. I can understand that a capsule would be stressful if  you’re doing it to try to fit into some mold you think you should fit into, rather than doing it to help yourself develop your own sense of style and to figure out what you really like to wear.

In short, if you’re  considering a capsule because you think it will transform you into some magical being who’s got everything figured out, don’t. You won’t end up happy and your wardrobe will only make you feel lacking. But, if you’ve got a problem with excessive consumption, have limited space in your home, or want to focus on wearing clothes that actually  make you happy, a capsule might be the best thing to ever happen to your closet.

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