Why wear a capsule wardrobe? We’ve all read the stories about the captains of the tech industry who choose to wear the same turtleneck and slacks every day as a type of uniform. Wearing a uniform, such as a very nice suit and a small selection of dress shirts, simplifies getting dressed every day.
I have done trial runs with a capsule wardrobe like we all have, during travel. My first serious travel wardrobe was for the 2008 IFHE World Congress in Lucerne Switzerland. Visiting Switzerland had been a lifelong dream, brought on by a map from an old National Geographic, our goats and the book Heidi. My alp climbing dream didn’t have room for luggage and so I had to plan a capsule that I could carry in a backpack, wear on a hike but also to a plenary session or a banquet dinner.
My textiles education meant that I could plan a drip dry combination of blues and browns that I could mix and match. A paisley silk scarf was the finishing touch. My plan worked great and I even had room in my backpack for a red circle skirt and a white puff sleeved knit shirt I picked up while there, to vibe the Swiss flair.
My first attempt at a capsule for wear at home started with a slick little experiment. I put together a single outfit that I wore every day for a work week. My students and I had already demonstrated that adults don’t get their clothes as dirty or smelly as the teenagers they were when they learned to do laundry. The only question would be, who would notice or care? It turns out, almost no one. Literally, one person notice by the third day, and not because the outfit was dirty.
The next experiment was an entirely black capsule that I put together for the last 100 day challenge that I started on January 20, 2017. This capsule was black. I will post another time about my relationship with color but suffice it to say, these were the first black clothes I had owned since my Aunt told me (at my great grandmother’s funeral) that I didn’t look good in black. 100 days with the same small set of clothes was enough to convince me that I needed to rethink my relationship with clothes.