Capsule Wardrobe: A Reflection

by starleewhite

At the beginning of September I began a capsule wardrobe challenge for myself (read more on this post). I had no idea when I started this little project how much I would be changed.

A capsule wardrobe caused me to think more critically and strategically about the clothing in my wardrobe. Doesn’t sound like too big of a deal, right? But… something much bigger happened inside my heart.

As I began to realize how little clothing is actually required in life, it got me thinking about consumption. How much clothing am I consuming that isn’t really necessary? Where will all of these clothes land when I’m done with them? What other areas of my life am I hyper-consuming and haven’t given it a second thought?

Right after beginning the capsule I saw the documentary ‘The True Cost’ on Netflix (please watch tonight!!). This opened my eyes to the world of fast fashion that I had NO clue about. I didn’t know that the fashion industry is the number 2 polluter or that working conditions for big store factory suppliers are HORRID and the pay is nil. How have I lived on this earth for 27 years and not given a thought to who actually makes my clothing? Why am I able to get so much for so cheap? Someone is paying the cost at some point along the line.


Because I have so many thoughts resulting from the capsule, I have decided to do subsequent blog posts to flesh out my learnings and give each topic the space it requires. It would be too much for this post (which is already getting long)! For now I will share specifically what I have learned about my closet and clothing from doing the capsule…

  • So much of my clothing doesn’t fit me well
    Since I was wearing pieces of clothing in greater rotation you could say I became much more familiar with said items. The fit. The feel. The texture. I was surprised to find how uncomfortable I was. I thought I had selected pieces I was SURE could go the distance… but I came up short on most!
    For example, one pair of pants, low-rise, quickly left the capsule. Why did I ever think low-rise pants were comfortable?! They are the worst I’ve decided. Mom jeans all the way…they stay up, tuck in my mama pooch, and don’t have to be fiddled with.
    Another example, I had included several jersey knit tops that were size medium…all of those are now gone. Even though my postpartum body is a bit bigger than before, my frame has stayed the same which is a size small. I found that all my size medium tops fit awkwardly in my shoulders and would stretch out by the end of the day. I was, again, SO uncomfortable. So I have learned, moving forward, when I do make a purchase to consider the fabric, and most likely go with a small.
  • Nature-based fabrics are the bomb
    Ok, who says ‘the bomb’ anymore? Well, I guess I do b/c I have learned that I enjoy clothing that isn’t made from synthetics (i.e. polyester, acrylic, etc). Plant fabrics such as linen and cotton as well as animal fabrics like wool, silk, leather (for shoes)…these are the ones that feel better against my skin and, when taken care of, will last a lifetime. Since the start of the capsule, I have been checking labels much more. Not to see the brand but to see the fabric make-up. I want to learn about what materials feel the best, fit the best, and last the longest.
    redcheckvnecklinendress3 blackv-necklinendress2
    (linen dresses via Pyne & Smith Clothiers)
  • I have TOO MUCH
    This is no surprise. What is surprising to me is how much lighter I feel by having less to choose from. I compare it to shopping at Aldi vs Walmart. Having less is less stressful! There is less to manage, wash, repair, sort through. Less is better. America…can we work toward this?
  • Fast fashion is deceiving
    Fast fashion is just that…fast (we are talking about Forever21, H&M, Gap, and pretty much any store in the mall). This means items are made quickly with cheap fabrics, inventory is constantly turning over, and it’s all set up so you come in and make a decision FAST.
    But you know what happens with most of the items I’ve purchased from these types of stores…they leave my closet FAST. They get a few wears then they are out of style or falling apart b/c they are made so poorly. Then what happens…I have to return to said store to buy more! Yes…it’s fast in that I don’t have to take much time to go and get it, but ultimately it isn’t fast b/c I spend time later frustrated with poor quality and forced to go purchase something else. Fast fashion is fast on the front end, but frustrating and disappointing on the back end.
  • I need to  s l o w  d o w n
    This is the resounding gong that keeps ringing in my life currently…slow down. I will share about how this has trickled into all areas of my life in another post, but one area is fashion. I’m realizing that taking time to analyze my closet, identify items that could be helpful, researching ethical stores that carry such items, seeking quality fabrics…this slow process is better. It’s better for me, it’s better for the planet, it’s better for the worker sewing up the clothing…it’s better.
    Stores today are designed to make you feel like if you don’t buy it now, you will miss out. Get it NOW or you will forever miss out on this chance! Eek. This is a lot of pressure and most of us succumb to it! I am learning to take a step back. If I’m not able to take time to weigh the cost and benefit then come back to it at a later time…it’s probably not worth it. If the item is gone, well, I’m pretty sure life will move on. I must become a better steward of God’s money and not be pressured into impulse purchases.
    (One item I have purchased since the start of the capsule is a simple black turtle-neck from People Tree. It’s a great layering piece or can stand alone on its own. Such a simple and functional item has stood the test of time (think Audrey Hepburn…gosh…the cutest!)
    audrey-hepburn-in-a-black-turtleneck efe0e5506e663edff5d6c7ba407be338
  • Nobody and no store can fulfill me
    This is my overall takeaway from the capsule. Y’all, having the perfect in-style wardrobe will not give you lasting satisfaction. The next time you are at Target and the clothing section is screaming your name, ask yourself why? Will buying this $25 poor-quality sweater make me more loved? More valued? Help me reach my life goals? So much of the time shopping is this temporary high we seek b/c life is hard and stressful and we feel like we ‘deserve’ something new. When you get to the heart of that, it’s that we are seeking approval and fulfillment from this world. Friends, true contentment comes only from one source…our Creator. Our Father.

If you would have asked me at the start of this in September, I never would have dreamt my life would be so changed by doing a simple capsule challenge. But I am changed. And I’m so glad.

No matter how full your closet is, no matter your age, no matter your income bracket…you can make a change too. Would you consider taking some time to ponder these things? To do your research and understand who you are impacting? To check your heart and ask yourself the deeper harder questions? Would you send me a message and chat about this? I’m bursting at the seams with thoughts and would love to connect with others who are on this learning journey too.

That’s it for now. More posts to come b/c my mind is so full of thoughts I want to share.
Love to you all!