I have had a capsule wardrobe for years, but I am not going to lie – it has not always worked for me. There have been times that I felt it was not worth the time and effort it took to set up, and that having a capsule did not really make my life simpler or better.
Over time, I have come to realise that I was the problem. Don’t blame the road, blame the driver. I was setting myself up for failure, and then I was surprised when it happened. I shared some of this in my previous post How I changed my capsule wardrobe to reflect ME Since refining my capsule a bit I have really enjoyed having one.
Because I love you, and don’t want you to make the same mistakes I have, I want to share with you the 10 most common mistakes I have noticed in my own conversion and journey, as well as the comments and questions I get.
The 10 most common mistakes you are making in your capsule wardrobe:
- Stop focusing on the numbers
Some capsule “teachers” advocate having nothing more than 30 pieces. I tried to pare down to 30 pieces and failed miserably. I was miserable since I never had anything to wear! Now, I subscribe to the “if you wear it and love it then keep it”-rule, even if that means having WAY more pieces than a traditional capsule wardrobe would have. Stop fretting over if you have little enough pieces and rather worry if you actually wear the pieces you do have, and if you love the way you look and feel in them.
- Not understanding your style
I am not a “classic” dresser. I love jeans and short dresses, and a t-shirt is my idea of a good top. I am more casual than formal, and I wear my summer clothes in the winter and vice versa. Most capsules focus on classic pieces such as blazers, tailored pants, pencil skirts – all good, if that is your type of thing. Before you even attempt to plan a capsule, make sure you know what you like wearing, what you look good in and which colours work with your complexion. Ignore the rules, work around your identity.
- Copying someone else’s capsule
This ties in with the point above. You cannot take a “work-from-home-mom” capsule and copy it and expect to be happy with the results. Your capsule should speak of you, your likes and taste and style, not be a cookie-cutter copy of someone else. Sure, use someone else’s capsule as inspiration, to give you ideas of how to put outfits together, or to help nudge you in the right direction. But for goodness’ sake, don’t copy!
- Not thinking about your lifestyle
Ever heard off “dress for the occasion”? Well, your capsule should enable you to do just that. Your capsule should be made up off clothes that are practical and logical to wear every day, so tailor-make your capsule to reflect the life you live. If you love being in activewear, then build your capsule around that. If you need to wear suits to work, then use that. If you are a stay-at-home mom who needs to run after toddlers, keep your clothes lightweight and comfortable.
- Not considering where you live, and the weather
If you live in a warm climate, like I do, and you hate wearing long pants or jeans, then leave them out of your summer capsule, or only include a pair. Think about the type of clothes that make you feel comfortable in each season. Maybe you love scarves, but hate coats, or you hate boots but love sneakers. Find the items that suit your style but will also keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. But don’t follow the rules and end up being hot and bothered the whole summer long because your capsule is made up off clothes more suited for a moderate climate.
- Being too strict and rigid
Following the rules too closely can leave gaping holes in your capsule. If you read you are only “allowed” one jersey, you might go through autumn feeling cold. Or maybe you read 5 tops and 3 pants, but you prefer wearing dresses, and yet here you are with a wardrobe full of tops and pants. Don’t throw out that jacket because you are only supposed to have one – if you love it and wear it, keep it. Throw the rules out the window and do what works for you.
- Giving up on fun
Often the capsule advocates would recommend picking a base colour, with a neutral colour and 2 complimentary patterns or colours. This can lead to a capsule full of black and beige clothes, with only a pop of pattern or colour. My closet looks like this, but not because they said so, but because that is my style. And yet, I have lots of pieces with floral patterns, bright colours, or other patterns. When you work out your capsule you do not have to forgo fun – keep those pieces that just scream YOU and make them work.
- Buying poor quality pieces
The big idea behind a capsule, other than saving time and energy, is to save you money. By curating and planning your pieces so that they work with everything else in your capsule you get as much wear out of your pieces as possible. But if you buy lesser quality pieces you not only shorten their lifetime, you also stand the chance of not looking as put-together as you would like to.
- Focusing on trends and not on style
Even if you do not have classic taste you still cannot build a successful capsule using only trendy pieces. You need some constant style to form the backbone, with trendy pieces forming the flesh on the skeleton of your capsule. If you focus on trends you will have to redo your capsule often, which negates any money saving benefits you might have experienced in the time you used the capsule, and all the used clothes will have to be disposed of, putting added pressure on the environment. Use more classic or traditional pieces to form the foundation, with a few seasonal trendy pieces to infuse your personality and style into the capsule.
- Remember, done is better than perfect
My motto in life, and so apt in this case. You will never know which mistakes you will make if you don’t even try, so just begin. You can refine and change as you go, but in order for that to happen you need to get out of the starting blocks.
Having a capsule is a godsend, if used correctly. Like anything in life, it is all in the details. Make sure yours is chockful of details that speaks of you. don’t make the same mistakes I did, do yours right 😊
Have you tried a capsule wardrobe? If so, what have you learned? Please share.