I know some bloggers who have hit minimalism and the capsule wardrobe on the head, and they look great. Xandra from Heroine Training and Emma from The Edinbug are two examples, and both of them look absolutely fantastic; they’re colourful and vibrant, and you just have to have a look at their Instagram feeds (here and here) to see there’s no denying this. In fact the very first time I met Xandra I was so wowed by her beautiful coat that I couldn’t stop staring at it. I am such a creep.
The thing is, it seems both these women are an anomaly. I have a wardrobe literally bursting with every possible colour and style, from vintage to the slightly avant-garde. I have neutral basics and I have stacks and stacks of Black Milk lycra that would make your eyes water. I adore variety. I love every conceivable shape and cut, every hue from pure black to neons, and it’s something that makes me undeniably happy to be able to reach into my closet and come out with an outfit that screams 1950s teenager, goth, 90s grunge princess, or cartoon character. The worst thing somebody could say to me is that I look…boring. Simple shapes and “grown up” clothes are not my jam. My tights have cats on them. My jewellery? Toy dinosaurs and a lot of laser cut perspex. The only time you’ll see me in a black shift dress is if I’m going to a funeral.
I feel like my sense of stye hasn’t so much evolved over the years, but has been added to; I’m definitely not someone who follows trends. My style icons include Marcelline the Vampire Queen, Beetlejuice, at least one of the Bananas in Pyjamas, 90s Winona Ryder, Olivia Newton-John in Grease (pre-transformation), flamingos, Frida Kahlo, the Powderpuff Girls, 80s Madonna and rainbow trout. So tell me how this would be condensed down into a set number of core pieces? I’d rather shop at vintage or charity shops than on the high street, and anything I no longer wear or fit into? They get swapped with friends. Some items get taken to charity shops so someone else can give them a loving home.
The concept of the capsule wardrobe seems to be about setting arbitrary rules for ourselves, compartmentalising everything into sections and seasons in an almost mathematical and calculated way. The problem is that this number is so random and doesn’t take into account our individual needs. What do I want from my wardrobe? I work from home most of the time, but I also own an art gallery which hosts regular exhibitions. I attend events both as a blogger, and on behalf of my business. I’m at trade shows and design festivals several times a year. I can’t be that chick in beige, nor do I want to be. I would wither up and die. In my line of work, I need to look (and be) memorable.
Compartmentalising our wardrobes into a set number of items isn’t practical because it doesn’t take into account our actual requirements. What I am looking for from my clothes can be hugely different from someone who works in retail, or in an office all day. What one person considers to be excessive may be minimal or “just right” to another, so this idea there is a magic number just doesn’t work for me.
It shouldn’t become a numbers game. Isn’t the very principle of minimal living only surrounding ourselves with the things we find meaningful and beautiful, that bring joy when we look at them?