So a few weeks ago I was researching for my 'Fashion Fix' blog and some eco-anxiety kicked in about the number of clothes I have.
Yes, we're pretty good with buying second-hand, trying not to overwash and wearing out our clothes, but I still can't resist a charity shop bargain and have a wardrobe full of clothes, despite wearing the same things over and over.
I justify this to myself by saying I need a workwear wardrobe, as I work with a lot of corporate organisations so I need smart workwear, a "mum-wear" wardrobe which is breastfeeding and feral toddler-life friendly, and then clothes for church/social/special occasion activities.
I couldn't stop thinking about the impact my wardrobe was having! So I decided for Lent this year I would give up clothes. Obviously I can't go round naked for 6 weeks for many reasons, but I stumbled across the "Six Item Challenge" and thought I might give it a go.
When I started to think about what I'd include I realised it would be pretty impossible for me to have just 6 items which would cover all of the above needs and events in my calendar over the next 6 weeks.
So I settled on a more realistic 12 pieces and started compiling a list.
Where did I start? I realised pretty quickly my usual flair for colour and pattern wasn't the practical basis of this capsule challenge so I started with 3 black staples: a pair of 'treggings,' a polo neck and a jersey dress.
This seemed like a good start and can be paired with a couple of the more versatile coloured items; a midi skirt, a floral shirt, some paper-bag cords and a pinafore and then added some 'layering' items, because let's face it the weather at the minute is pretty crazy!
To make things even more difficult, in case it won't be tricky enough, I tried to choose items that were either bought secondhand or made from organic/ethically sourced materials. I also chose items that I don't regularly wear and definitely haven't worn together so I can't rely on 'standard outfit choices' which will force me to get creative!
I'm excited to see if I can last 6 weeks if people around me actually notice I'm wearing the same clothes over and over and trying some new combinations. Let's see how long that lasts! Wish me luck!
So far, so good. I'm happy with my picks, even though I've only worn half my pieces. I have to say, the black polo has been a bit of a staple this week for the colder weather; with the harem pants or under the dress and even the sheer shirt, it's saved the day! I've learned a few top tips including spot cleaning and rehanging between wears (rather than the floordrobe) to keep things looking fresh and also changing into 'house clothes' when we get in to save my clothing for multiple wears (this is actually a tip I got from my dad!).
So we're 2 weeks into my Lenten Fashion Fast and I still haven't worn some items of my capsule, which goes to show how few clothes I actually need!
First outing for the smock/dress-thing today at work though and I'm a bit in love with it. I'm still feeding Red so I need boob-access at all times but don't want to wear obvious 'feeding clothes.' Today I'd barely set foot through the door when she leapt on me demanding milk so the buttons on the front of this came in handy!
Honestly, I've never felt so popular! 😂
This is a great tip for feeding mamas though;don't feel you need to buy nursing clothing. We manage with the 'one up one down' vest under top approach, or buttons and wrap dresses with a scarf or cardigan.
The reality of the fashion fast is setting in and it feels like the new normal. I still have more clothes than I need and I mixed up some outfits to keep it fresh; the sheer shirt under the dress, the 'rocky' t-shirt with the midi skirt, and got lots of compliments so maybe I should experiment with my outfitsmore often. The unexpected bonus of this is how mentally liberated I feel; no mindless scrolling online shopping, hunting in charity shops or even deciding what to wear. Removing all of the choice has actually given me choice; of what to do with my time and emotionally I feel great!
So in the real world things are shifting massively and I'm realising some elements of my capsule aren't practical for 'social distancing' or 'lockdown' i.e.the new mots du jour. I'm guessing other people are in the same boat as I can see a lot of promotions, sales and 'You need loungewear' posts on social media and TV. And I'll admit the scrolling has started, but it's window shopping only, even on second hand sites.
Still here! I've officially abandoned 3 items of the capsule; the dress, the shirt and the skirt because I'm working from home and doing the SAHM thing so they're totally unnecessary, but I still have more than enough others and getting, even more, wear out of my outfits because I'm not actually doing much. Of course, my main issue now is toddlers...sticky fingers, runny noses; they are, literally, muck magnets! Thank goodness I've been using the 'house clothes' rule around them. One week to go and I haven't even thought about the rest of the clothes in my wardrobe (in fact I may have forgotten what else is in there!)
I made it through my Lenten Fashion Fast and I'm still smiling😁
Using a capsule wardrobe showed me how few clothes we really need, how to get creative with outfits, made me think about how we wear and clean our clothes and gave me a new love and appreciation for my wardrobe but boy did it feel good to choose a different, more colourful t-shirt to wear!
Would you consider a capsule?