Dreaming of a curated closet? This is Raquel’s Story: Creating a Capsule Wardrobe.
How it started
It all started when I came across Courtney Carver on social media. She’s the creator of Project 333 and was featured in the Netflix documentary “Minimalism”. I went out and brought her book, Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really Is So Much More. The objective: Pare down your wardrobe to 33 items including shoes and accessories. Whoa, that’s a challenge all right. The qualifier: The 33 item wardrobe is seasonal. Every 3 months, you can switch out items for the new season.
Why I needed it
I love clothes and I keep things forever. I have a huge closet, and I’ve lived in my house for 16 years. So, things have accumulated. The problem: Although my closet and drawers were stuffed to the brim because I shopped on a regular basis, every day I felt like I had nothing to wear.
I’d been contemplating a more minimal lifestyle. I wanted to be more mindful about what I purchase. The reason: I don’t want to participate in reckless consumerism and create waste. I want ethically-made products, not fast fashion. The Project 333 capsule wardrobe was worth a try.
My upfront confession: I have broken the rules a little bit. First, Courtney recommends a gradual process starting with a big closet clean out and then paring down to 33 items. Me, I went all-in right away. I cleaned out my closet and pared down to 33 items all in one day. I cheated though and didn’t include shoes and accessories in the magical 33. But, in my defence, I’m not one of those women who has a ton of shoes. However, I do love scarves and think they’re a great way to create different looks.
Courtney recommends that you store anything that isn’t in the capsule out of sight. So, I stored out-of-season clothes in the closet in the guest room. Items I still liked and wasn’t ready to part with were relegated to a pile on the floor in my closet but on the opposite side of my capsule wardrobe.
Mission accomplished…or not
I had a tremendous feeling of accomplishment, but my excitement soon fizzled. I didn’t get the results I had wanted, at first. The things I had chosen were not warm enough for the early spring weather, and they didn’t mix and match well with each other. Courtney recommends that you don’t buy anything new right away and instead shop from your wardrobe. But, my wardrobe consisted of bits and pieces that I had accumulated over the years that didn’t work well together.
What’s age got to do with it
Also, I’m 48. I find the styles I used to wear are no longer a good fit for me, and the fit is no longer comfortable. I’ve evolved and so has my body. So, I broke the rules again. I purchased some basic items online – a couple of blouses (one white, one white with a black pattern), a grey cardigan, a green cardigan, a longer navy cardigan, a black skirt, a lightweight pullover sweater, a couple of basic t-shirts in solid colours, and a pair of teal slim pants. The new items replaced the older items that: a) didn’t fit well; b) didn’t match with anything else; and c) didn’t make me feel fantastic.
And then came COKANNA
And then there was the Carolyn dress – I kept looking at it online. I loved the cut and fabric. I’m petite but also a bit of a curvy pear so I find A-line skirts and dresses suit my figure. The dress was made in Canada by a local designer which fit in with my new found minimalist values. I finally treated myself. It was perfect for my capsule wardrobe. The hardest part was deciding on a colour. I love colour, but I realized that unifying my wardrobe with a base colour would give my pieces longevity and versatility. I opted for the black.
The Carolyn dress
When it arrived, it was even nicer than I expected. It’s lightweight, but not flimsy. The fabric feels like it has a sturdy quality to it. I love the reversible neckline – it provides two different looks. And the pockets! Oh, how I love the pockets!!!
I wear the Carolyn dress at least once a week. I wear it with different accessories. It’s amazing how a shawl or scarf can change an outfit. For work, I pair it with costume jewellery and funky sandals or flats. On the weekends, it’s Birkenstocks. Sometimes, I flip the dress around and wear the round neck in front with pearls. Honestly, I could put on a pair of patent shoes and wear it to a wedding.
It’s a learning process
I’m still figuring out the capsule thing. At times, I’ve gone back to my guest room closet to switch things out. A big change in weather is typically the reason. Every now and then, I have to count my hangers to make sure I’m staying within the 33 item limit. It’s much easier now to get rid of clothes I’m not 100% happy with. If it’s worn, too snug, not versatile, or I just don’t feel good in it, it’s gone.
I’m also learning I need to decide between navy and black as my base colour. I used to have both. Black seems to the best choice because it’s a bit more trans-seasonal and versatile. Having a capsule really does help cut back on impulse buying. I no longer buy things because they’re on sale. I buy quality items I’m going to wear for a long time and wear often.
So, I’ve decided I can trust myself to store the rest of my clothes in the same closet. My capsule will be hung on one of the racks. And, the other two racks will be for off-season items. I still have to put it altogether. Since we’re coming up to a new season, maybe it’ll be my next project.
My Carolyn dress day is my favourite day of the week. I’m kind of hoping COKANNA comes out with a version for fall/winter – maybe with 3/4 sleeves? If not, I can wear it with tights and a cardigan. So versatile!
~ Raquel Beesley
Raquel, thanks for sharing your capsule wardrobe journey with us. I’ve noted your request for a 3/4 sleeve version of the Carolyn dress. It won’t happen this fall but keep your eye out for 2021! In the meantime, you’ve got the “capsule” thinking down pat – just add tights and a cardigan to the one you already have and you’re good to go!
The Carolyn reversible dress is still available: Shop here
P.S. If you’re interested in curating your own closet, join me in the COKANNA Virtual Coffee Shop on September 30th at 11:00 am for a chat with KonMari Consultant, Joselyn Brooksbank of Calm & Curated. Register here
Until next time,
I’m a recovering Chartered Accountant and Breast Cancer Champion turned Fashion Designer. My COKANNA Canadian-made bamboo clothing is all about comfort and style. Giving back to the community is important to me so I support Rethink Breast Cancer‘s metastatic breast cancer education, support, and advocacy work.
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