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.

Day 4

First Oneshirt. Made using scraps from blue and green long tunics. Batik purchased at Quilt Basket in York, Nebraska. Chambray and linen purchased from fabric.com

For the past 3 years, I have worn the same shirt every day. To be more precise, I have worn the same style of shirt, made from a single pattern that I developed to fit my body, my daily needs and my values. I didn’t know when I started that this practice would continue, grow and become a cornerstone of my life.

I realize now that I need to document the origins of my idea and share the impetus with others. Wearing one shirt, which I have called The Oneshirt, has made my life simpler, allowed me to express myself, created opportunities, provided boundaries and while I can’t promise I will wear a Oneshirt until I die, I wouldn’t be surprised.

So, what is the Oneshirt? The shirt is a thigh length tunic that is fitted in the shoulders and at the hem. The center of the tunic bells outward to provide space for pockets, motion and to give the shirt a distinctive shape. A garment is made from material, design and craftsmanship. Each of these elements express my values and explaining this to you will give me the opportunity to share my experience and philosophy.

Make Clothes

Most importantly, I want to help you understand why and how I could wear the same shirt, every day, day in and day out without compromising on the same needs that everyone has when it comes to clothes. I want to help you understand how you too could design and make clothes that fit you and your needs, for the rest of your life. Your clothes are the canvas for your creativity, why buy that?