Living in the Toronto area where the “feels like” temperatures – of windchill and humidex – have a nearly 90-degree swing, it is nearly impossible to exist on one, or even two seasonal capsule wardrobes. A capsule wardrobe consists of (depending on who you ask) 30-40 (or less) staple items that can be arranged in a variety of combinations; between the wide range of seasons, and my personal tastes I have opted for a slightly more robust collection of clothing.
During “the great purge of 2017” when I reduced my “stuff” by over half – and in subsequent mini-purges – I have significantly cut back the contents of my closet. I still have a fair size wardrobe, catering to my need for a certain degree of variety, the climate I call home, and my need for not only formal workwear but also, business casual, casual-casual (I do after all cut my own grass and do simple home repairs), and workout gear.
All of this brings me to a standard daily wardrobe – mostly business casual items that I wear Monday to Friday – that is closer to a capsule format. Pants and Skirts (for all seasons) in mostly neutrals like black, grey and blue; solid colour and bold pattern dresses and skirts (mostly for summer) in pinks, and teals, and florals; and a couple of suits per season. I call this wardrobe my Capsule+, far too varied to be considered a work-uniform ala Steve Jobs, but too compact to be as free wheeling and overstuffed as the “average”.
I considered transitioning to a work-uniform to simplify and streamline my wardrobe but was moved to reconsider after watching a vlog of a fashion editor from Refinery29 [Video] who found that eliminating the variety and the ability to mix it up in her wardrobe led to a stifling of her creativity. I compromised, I do a full week wardrobe-prep each Sunday, in the same way I do a full meal prep, except in meal prep I consider only my schedule (and don’t prep meals for days when I have a scheduled meal out with friends or for work), and for wardrobe-prep I also consult the weather forecast.
While my Capsule+ Wardrobe offers more options than a standard capsule, it still has the potential to be quite boring and monotone. So, I hacked it, for summer I own a large collection of fitted V-neck t-shirts, I use them to mix up suits, separates and even with some of my bright floral skirts; in the winter I rotate through a collection of cashmere sweaters, while some are neutrals, others are brighter and more vibrant. These pieces allow me to layer for temperature swings and to add a pop of polished colour, I keep these pieces in good condition and do not hesitate to discard and replace items that are showing wear and (gasp) tear.
A simpler wardrobe can be exciting and fresh without being ever-expanding. Meaningful jewelry and accessory choices and also be used to make an impression – although care should be taken to curate one’s collection – for example, I enjoy mixing a great piece from CJ Rocker, which was designed by a grade-school classmate of mine, or a scarf purchased in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul Turkey which does double duty as a functional souvenir.
Challenge yourself to eliminate the clutter from your closet so you can find and wear the things you love. Mix and match to create a wardrobe that reflects your unique personality.