Why A Capsule Wardrobe Isn’t Right For Me

Capsule wardrobes are having a moment right now, aren’t they? With the rise of minimalism and Marie Kondo spreading her (slightly insane) decluttering magic, capsule wardrobes are the thing everyone is doing.

I gave it a go myself, inspired by my crazy minimalist friends, blogs, and every magazine in the world. I printed off my Un-Fancy Workbook and got organising.

But it just wasn’t right. It didn’t work, 37 pieces wasn’t enough for my wardrobe, and I found myself tricking myself into thinking I needed to go shopping (and then spending money on things I had tucked away under my bed).

In the end, I got all my clothes out and re-evaluated. Instead of admitting defeat, I came to some conclusions as to why it wasn’t working, and how I could adapt the principles of a capsule wardrobe to work for me.

I need too many different outfits. My days are so, so varied. I go from meetings in London, to rambles in the rainy forest, to days sat in the office working, to cosy home days, to yoga classes, afternoons on the beach, on site surveys, and evening press events. What this means, in practice, is that 37 pieces isn’t enough to provide multiple options for every part of my week.

Everything I own, I already love. My wardrobe is already a tightly edited collection of clothes, and every piece I own, I love. I’m really fussy about what I buy, I only pick up pieces I truly love, and know I’ll wear a lot.

I like clothes. Now, that’s not to say that you have to not like clothes to have a capsule wardrobe, but I love clothes, finding new pieces and wearing new outfits. For me, having a capsule wardrobe took the fun out of getting dressed, and made me feel like I was wearing a uniform.

I like layering. Most of my outfits are comprised of multiple layers, partly because I like the look & partly because I live in England and it’s cold. When each outfit is comprised of 4-7 pieces, it makes it even harder to keep things minimal.


So for me, I wanted to find a set of principles I could apply to my wardrobe to keep things organised and pared back, without being as extreme as a capsule wardrobe. This is what I came up with:

  • I have to love everything I buy. Not just really like. Not would-love-if-this-hemline-was-just-a-little-higher. Love. Can’t live without. By only buying ‘perfect’ clothes, I know that I’ll love everything in my wardrobe, making me more likely to wear it.
  • I have to be able to wear it three different ways. I do a mental rifle through my wardrobe when I’m out shopping, and if I can’t come up with three different outfits to wear it in, it doesn’t come home. This cuts back on me having things in my wardrobe that I barely wear because I have nothing to wear it with.
  • If it’s tired, worn or irreparable, it goes. I am terrible for hanging on to things that are well past their wear by date, just because I like them. I won’t wear them, I just hoard them in my wardrobe for no reason. No longer!

Are you a fan of capsule wardrobes?