Cultivated Wardrobe

Decision Fatigue + The Real Reason I Practice a Capsule Wardrobe

old + thrifted denim jacket, similar | old Homage graphic tee, same | Steve Madden peep toe booties

A couple weeks ago I was digging around some style blogs and I came across this post.

And it just hit home.

At this point the list of reasons I utilize a capsule wardrobe has grown long and far reaching:

-To inspire me to shop less, own less and spend less overall

-To be more creative with clothes I already have

-To contribute to the mantra of making thoughtful and deliberate natured purchases

-To develop, refine and own my personal style

But more than anything? The reason I practice a capsule wardrobe isn’t because it contributes to less waste + less want in society. (To be clear, I want to do those things too…) It’s because it adds value to my everyday — and because it makes my life easier.

There, I said it. My self serving motive spelled out in bold and italics for all the world to see.

We’re all inundated with thousands of decisions everyday — big (career choices, etc.) or small (i.e., how many squares of toilet paper to use…). But — and I hope I’m not being terribly cliché here when I say this — after you become a parent? The number of decisions one has to make seems as if though it gets multiplied by 100 million+. 

It’s no longer enough to simply get oneself dressed and out the door in the morning. Now it’s, what do I wear? What should the kids wear? What activities are they participating in today and what is the weather going to be like? What kind of meat should I feed them? Do they need vegetables this meal? And what vegetables do I give them? Do I have time to make coffee? Who do I feed first, the baby? Or the toddler? Which sippy cup should I use? The expensive glass one? Or the potentially toxic plastic one? What should I pack for snacks? (What did they have for snacks yesterday ?)What kind of diapers should I order this month? Should we switch diaper wipes? Do we need a new kind of lotion? Do they need to start a multi vitamin? And what vitamins are the best anyway?

And that’s just the beginning. (Amiright?!)

So, when one eventually circles back to that first question: what do I wear? I don’t know about you, but I begin to think do I even have time to consider this? Does it even matter?

For me a capsule wardrobe helps balance my desire to enjoy my sense of style amidst the much more pressing matters of raising babies.  I can be left with only 10 minutes to dress and get out the door and come away feeling put together and happy instead of barely thrown together and unbelievably frustrated.

For me, the time I invest up front in curating my closet and piecing it together thoughtfully pays off when I go to get dressed every morning and I don’t have to “decide” what to wear. I grab a top, I grab a bottom and then maybe a layering piece. Put on appropriate footwear and then, bam.

I’ve never dressed more true to my style or with greater ease than I have since trying out this little capsule experiment. And to me that kind of feels a little bit like magic.

Now, I’m most certainly glamorizing this whole capsule thing a little bit. And I most definitely don’t believe that you have to practice a capsule wardrobe to have your wardrobe work for you in the way I’ve described. I believe that some people have certain preferences and/or skill sets that naturally lead them to build a highly versatile and personalized wardrobe. I imagine that these people have always been intentional about well, nearly everything in their life — so a well built wardrobe is either one of those highly calculated decisions or happens by mere extension.

I wasn’t one of the people.

(Darn it!)  

And now? Well, I’d like to think that I either am or am on my way to becoming just that. :)

Do you practice a capsule wardrobe? Why do you or don’t you? Do you find yourself facing decision fatigue when it comes to your closet and/or other areas in your life?

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  • Reply
    May 6, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    FYI there’s no link to the blog post that inspired your post, it’s just underlined text :)

    • Reply
      May 6, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      Lol. Sounds exactly like something I would do… I’ll fix it right away! Thanks so much for letting me know!

  • Reply
    May 7, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Me, me, me! I actually started doing a capsule when I was pregnant with baby #4 and feeling overwhelmed by how crazy that was going to make life. I knew I needed something else to get easier (so my closet it was). It was the best decision I ever made. I get the decision fatigue totally. At work, as a teacher I have to make decisions all day (can I turn in late work? did they get it? is there a better way to explain this? do I need to adjust the assignment? should I curve this test? can they go to the bathroom?) and then I get home and it’s (can they watch TV? is that an OK snack? what should I make for dinner? can they stay outside to play for 15 more minutes?). It’s definitely at least a million times more decisions :) I am so, so happy that my closet is easy. Easy is good. Great post!

  • Reply
    May 8, 2016 at 7:49 am

    My approach: find something I LOOOOVE? Buy 2! Preferably in a different color/print and wear all the time -make do with the not-so-great clothes already in my wardrobe til finding (and being able to afford) something else I LOVE (probably not the same year). Repurpose/donate/toss a few of the not so great pieces for every great one. Repeat. Hopefully in a couple years I’ll have a pared down wardrobe with only pieces I adore that I don’t mind wearing all the time.

    • Reply
      May 8, 2016 at 8:17 am

      Love this honest and real approach. Taking time in doing this will also allow you to better assess what works and what doesn’t for your overall lifestyle as well! :) And if you think you can get away with less of those not so great clothes you could always box some of them up and keep them under your bed — that way you’re forced to analyze your wardrobe needs further but have a safety net! ;)

  • Reply
    May 8, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Laura, thanks for your inspiration! I will be 52 at the end of this month and this (capsule wardrobing) is what I want to do “when I grow up”!!! I have been following your blog for a bit and you really inspire me. Thanks for your insights into this.

    P.S. Happy Mother’s Day!!

    • Reply
      May 8, 2016 at 8:18 am

      What a compliment! I hope you keep at it! And thanks so much Pam! :)

  • Reply
    My Uniform Style / Fall 2016 – The Lovely Laura Life
    November 16, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    […] so enamored with the idea of a capsule wardrobe (and curating an *actual* wardrobe in general) is largely due because I suffer from decision fatigue. And don’t we […]

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    May 4, 2017 at 1:07 am

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