I often think the concept of seasons is totally lost on Ireland. Here, you get rain for about 6 months of the year, snow in April, a heatwave in May, one week of temperatures over 25 degrees in June or July (the Irish summer) and for the rest, a mixture of all the above…
As far as my wardrobe and I are concerned, there are only two seasons in a year. One season with black tights and one without them. End of story. These can, as they did this year, switch in about 2 days flat. The whole month of April there was rain, hail and freezing cold temperatures and just as the calendar turned its page to May, the non-black-tights-season arrived. Sun shining, birds singing and all that jazz. Of course I’m delighted – but somehow suspicious!
This also means that I have to pull out a cardboard box where I stash all my ‘summer’ clothes. All the coats, jumpers, hats, gloves, long-sleeved dresses and black tights must now make space for light T-shirts, summery dresses and reasonably long shorts.
It has to be said that I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe, definition of which is ‘a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion’. If you fancy some reading on the topic or some reading with pretty pictures, go ahead! However, I still think that this might be one step too far for me for now. For starters, I kinda need two sets of clothes – for work and leisure. Because I work in an office, half of my wardrobe consists of shift dresses (I love their versatility, you can dress them up or down as you please), suit jackets, the occasional pair of pants and some tops. The other half would be more of the jeans-and-a-top type – for leisure. I try not to have clothes that I don’t wear cluttering my space but I do have quite a few occasional (aka not very versatile) pieces.
I mean – something like this would be just great:
Every time I change my seasonal wardrobe, I try to take out pieces that I don’t wear, don’t love or they have passed their wearability date and pass them onto someone – a charity shop or a clothing recycling bank. But, let’s be honest, there is still much to do! Even though I haven’t bought many new clothes in the past year (only some essentials), there is still enough for about three capsule wardrobes – if not more!
So, with the aim of upping my game this time around, I plan to cut down the ‘winter’ wardrobe as I store it in the box for the summer. I’m thinking about actually counting all the pieces and cutting it down by about a quarter. I’ll see how it goes and I will update you on the progress!
I have also decided not to buy any new clothes. If I find a need for any garments, I will do my best to get them second-hand. As I never was a second-hand shop girl, this will be new to me. You see, the second-hand outlets in Slovakia are quite different to the charity shop concept here in Ireland. I remember going in and swimming through oddly sized and shaped garments that didn’t catch my imagination so I stopped soon after. When I had a peek into few charity shops in Dublin, there were perfectly fine pieces of brands that I actually recognised 🙂
When I was a student, I somehow unintentionally had a good habit of buying less clothes – I only spent money on things I really liked because couldn’t afford more. However, once the fast fashion industry made its way into my life, all my unintentionally good habits went out the window. All the nice pieces for next to nothing were there for me to have 🙂 After a period of buying cheap clothes in fast fashion chains (well, we are talking about most of my adult-with-earnings years), last year I started to learn about where my clothes really come from and how much they really cost. As a result, I gradually stopped buying them. At least in Penneys.
Looking ahead, the ideal situation would be to have enough money to build a capsule wardrobe from sustainable pieces that were ethically manufactured and would last for years – we are talking about Alden from EcoCult levels here…well, I suppose it’s good to have a goal.
Until then, with the help of the internet and a strong will, I will somehow get my existing garments into a small(ish) wardrobe that is timeless, flexible and loved – it’s a good start, don’t you think? Do you have any tips for solving wardrobe conundrums? Let me know!
:: UPDATE ::
So, I did it. I went totally nerdy about it and there is a spreadsheet to prove it. I counted all my clothes in all ‘categories’ – winter, summer, all-year and sport (mainly for cycling). The things I didn’t count were undies, socks and shoes (they got pared down last year quite considerably though). Even without them I came to a total number of 168!!! That’s 5 capsule wardrobes right there. I really didn’t think it was so bad! But, as promised, I took one quarter of these clothes (all 42 pieces) and divided them into the charity shop/clothing bank/rags categories. According to my calculations I need to add 13 more to achieve a one-third-clean-up….and I think I am going to do it! I know, in the grand scheme of things it isn’t much but it’s a great start!!