I am not adopting a capsule wardrobe and this is why you shouldn’t either

This blog was born with a single core value: to be honest with my readers at all times.

As you may or may not have noticed, that’s why the site’s motto is The Honest Fashionista Diaries, why I chose to publish this as my first post ever, and why there is an entire category called The Honest Fashionista Series. Openness is important to me and that (plus a pinch of humour) cannot harm the Blogosphere.

With that said, I believe there is a big difference between being sincere and blatantly regurgitating my unsolicited opinions at the earliest opportunity. After all, we have the right to hold off-record thoughts which we’d better keep for ourselves. As my grandmother taught me when I was very young: if you have nothing pleasant to say, it is better to say nothing. In other words, you don’t need to fight every battle or give your opinion about every topic on earth.

By nature, I am a peacemaker—one of my sisters refers to me as the O.N.U. family negotiator which never fails to make everyone laugh—and I try to avoid conflict when I see no good can be done. Summing up, I might be honest but I also know when to shut my mouth.

I am not adopting a capsule wardrobe and this is why

When the capsule wardrobe philosophy became a trend, I patiently read as many articles and blog posts as I could to have an informed opinion on the subject. What I found out though, didn’t resonate with me at any level, so I took a step back and kept my opinion to myself. Usually, this would be the end of the story—and it was for a couple of years—but a few weeks ago, I received an unnerving message via Instagram. The person who sent it was reacting to one of my outfit photos and felt the need to rave about how terrible I was as a person for posting pictures of me wearing my clothes, and what an awful example I was for every young impressionable person out there. People like me were, in her own words, a total disgrace and I should be ashamed for not promoting capsule wardrobes and sustainable fashion.

You can believe me when I say my first reaction was nothing but confusion. Mainly because:

A.  My Instagram is a small account that (luckily) receives zero hate.

B.  I don’t consider my content to be exclusively focused on outfits.

C.  You can easily see I wear my clothes more than once and I am very far from a serial shopper.

Once the original feeling of astonishment left me, it was replaced by disbelief and finally, an increasing outrage. However, I blocked the person and forget about the whole thing as soon as possible. Three days ago though, I received a new DM via Instagram which contained almost the same message, sent from a sister account. Again, she seemed disgusted by the fact I kept posting my “non-sustainable” outfits and NOT EMBRACING THE CAPSULE WARDROBE TREND.

If that person would have spent a single moment to visit this blog by clicking in the link on the bio, she’d have probably learned a thing or two about my style perception and the sustainability topic.

For starts, the main reason why I’ve never written about the capsule wardrobe philosophy before is that, from my point of view, it suffers from some serious inconsistency on its base principles. The main target is reducing waste and using the whole contents of your wardrobe, which can only be a positive thing per se. However, reducing to thirty-three pieces your existing closet makes no sense from a logistic perspective.

First, the continuous rotation of the same pieces will inevitably damage even the best-quality pieces, leaving you with the urgent need to replace them at the end of the season at the latest. Potentially, this means money and waste. Second, thirty-three pieces may help you to survive for a season if the given items are high-quality but you will need to add a new set when the season changes and pack away (or dispose of) the used stuff. This means buying four new capsule wardrobes a year which depending on your budget and previous shopping habits might not be that good all things considered.

After second thoughts, there is yet another aspect holding me back: the deep existent association between capsule wardrobes and uniformity. One of the main ideas, you see, it to achieve a very defined style, with all the pieces working together. Pretty much, like a uniform.

One of the things you don’t know about me is that I studied at a religious private school for a couple of years. I could write an interesting (and probably juicy) list of the lessons I learned over there but the main and most important one was uniformity is rarely a good thing. When you make people wearing the same neutral colours every day, looking alike, there is a certain point in which they start thinking and acting alike. And I have read enough dystopian fiction to be afraid of any form of hive mind (thank you very much for the nightmares, Mrs. Atwood).

To me, fashion is all about individual expression and I think that’s something wonderful.

So, am I openly admitting I don’t give a s@#€ about sustainability? As a matter of fact, nothing is further of the truth. Adopting a capsule wardrobe is not the only way you can contribute to a sustainable lifestyle. Instead, I prefer to explore other paths including but not limited to:

  1. Taking good care of your existing pieces, so their lifespan is extended

  2. Cutting down on your shopping habits and getting only the things you love

  3. Choosing clothes that are better quality and more durable

  4. Shopping second hand or vintage

  5. Supporting ethical brands of your choice

These might not look like life-changing rules but once you have been practicing for a while, you will realize they are. I have been shopping vintage, second hand and being more selective with my shopping habits for a while now (I think about five years and counting) and in the long run, you feel nothing but satisfaction and relief. Satisfaction because you love everything on your wardrobe. Relief because you can walk outside a shop with empty hands and feel good about it, anyway.

So, the next time anyone feels tempted to judge me for posting outfit photos online, please make me a favour and just unfollow…




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51 thoughts on “I am not adopting a capsule wardrobe and this is why you shouldn’t either

  1. Omg! How rude!! I hate that people who feel entitled about a issue and decided to impose their point of view to others.
    You acted very good dear!

    1. Well, I can only guess this person took the topic as something personal since her insistence over it was quite clear. On the other hand, a conversation involves at least two people and I decided not to take part on it.

  2. Seriously? Some people judge without any reason and without checking the background. Sustainability in fashion can be achieved through many different ways and if capsule wardrobe is not your way, there are still so many other that can work for you perfectly. I think sometimes people just go crazy about sustainability and try to make other people follow their lead whether is it in fashion, diet or something else, without considering that that person might have her/his own reasons not to do so and with attacks they won’t do any good for anyone.

    1. Yes, I see your point about some people being rather judgmental about the topic but I believe that, although they are probably well-meant and driven by a wish to improve our society, they are using the wrong techniques. At the end of the day, if you’re trying to make other people problem-conscious (and I have no doubt this is what the lady in question was trying to achieve), you should use all your tact. Nobody wants to be scolded. Plus, I don’t know, yelling at strangers is… let’s go with weird here. Maybe I am just too old, but I don’t see any difference between manners in “real life” and the internet: if you don’t talk to someone rudely when face to face, how is the internet any different?

  3. I can’t believe people would message you on Instagram like that! It would be one thing if you were promoting fast fashion but for just wearing your clothes is ridiculous. I’ve read about the capsule wardrobe too and it’s not for me. It has its upsides but I wouldn’t be able to achieve my style with it. I just buy secondhand! It’s nice to see someone else also isn’t find of capsule wardrobes

    Ash | https://thisdreamsalive.com

    1. We live in strange times, you know? It’s a bit like Black Mirror dystopian material: people predating people for no other reason than a mild feel of authority on the net. Well, as I said, if the person who have spent five minutes in this site she would have probably seen I am promoting vintage shopping all the time but it was her choice not to and it was my choice to stop the conversation at that point.

  4. That’s one of the things that bothers me about the sustainable fashion community – there can be so much judgement! I really believe that everyone should just do their best, whatever that looks like for them.

  5. For a start… that person needs a hobby! It’s one thing to write the first comment, but to then send another from a sister account… that’s just plain petty.

    I’ll admit, I could never get my head around the whole capsule wardrobe thing. I get the premise, and the idea is great, but as you’ve pointed out, that limits you to X number of outfits and turns into a uniform that you rotate.

    Em x


  6. It’s just impossible to post something on social media today without having someone outrage over it. Recently, on someone’s travel post on IG, I wrote #beentheredonethat. It wasn’t with the intent to brag; just the first thing that came to mind.

    But that person (blue ticked) replied saying I should have shared an experience, rather than just bragging. & then in her IG stories, she went on a tirade about people bragging about traveling. It put me off completely. My excited, innocent comment had been turned into a boast. Now I’ll think twice before commenting.

    You go girl, for continuing to take a stand you feel is right!

    1. Oh my goodness! I am so sorry you experienced that too. The thing about social media is the difficulty to read people’s intentions behind comments. And yes, we all over-react sometimes but that’s not excuse to be rude just for the shake of it. That IG person should have been a bit more moderate and maybe send you a DM to check with you first. Thank you for your nice words anyway!

  7. I’ve heard about the concept of a capsule wardrobe too and never got into it as I didn’t want to throw out clothing that I can wear. I adopted the idea of wear what I have and if/when I need to replace something I can buy something that has multiple functions and matches in my existing wardrobe if I can. I don’t buy a lot of clothes regulalry as my wardrobe functions quite well.

    The person who contacted you seemed to have a real problem with controlling what others do — very sad!

    1. Throwing stuff I can still use is pretty much my idea of waste, and that’s one of the main reasons why I cannot embrace capsule wardrobe as a whole. As you mentioned, buying pieces that work with your existing closet is an essential part of responsible consumerism and this is something we should be more conscious about. As a rule, I never buy anything I can style at least three different ways with my existing wardrobe. I have lost track of the number of silly purchases I have avoided this way.

  8. It’s crazy to me that someone felt the need to harass you for a few photos about clothing but I guess it really shouldn’t as people can be very opinionated about things! I too have not been able to really embrace the capsule wardrobe idea. Sure where we live I might be able to par it down to 2 seasonal wardrobes but as a family we also hike,camp and run. I don’t really see a small capsule wardrobe surviving the season as everyday wear and outdoorsy sporting wear haha

    1. For sure, if you practice sports or active hobbies capsule wardrobe becomes a nightmare to some extent. And the same happens in extreme weather, for instance. In the time I spent in Romania as an expat, I needed to get a good coat for snowy winter, a couple more for chilly autumns and a lighter one for Spring. They call it irresponsible shopping, I call it survival…

  9. I saw a fashion Youtuber who tried a capsule wardrobe for 30 days and while she enjoyed it – she recognised that they are a privileged thing to have (investing in more expensive, high quality pieces). Building up the “perfect” capsule, sustainable wardrobe can’t be done fast and being aggressive and rude will not draw in more fans. Sorry to hear about your experience!

    1. Oh, that sounds interesting. May I ask what is the name of the Youtuber, if you remember? But yes, it is certainly a privilege to reunite a high-quality capsule closet and the transition would require some time and work. Certainly, an aggressive approach if far from helpful.

  10. I don’t fancy capsule wardrobe either. When I was a contract civil servant our superiors always telling us that we must have capsule wardrobe to dress professional and look sophisticated. I totally disagree with that.

    1. Oh, goodness! That sounds like nothing but boring! Yes, if you wear, let’s say, only black blazers I am sure your wardrobe will be easily mixed and matched but, on the other hand, it will be tedious too…

    1. Hi Kirstin and thank you for commenting here. I believe in ethics in fashion (just as in any other life segment), and that a responsible adult will make the right decisions without the external influence of patronizing anons. Other people dont’ think like that, unfortunately.

  11. I’ve only recently gotten interested in clothes but I definitely agree that there is a flaw in reducing your wardrobe too dramatically. Yes, only have things you love to wear. But make sure that you can rotate between stuff without having to buy new clothes each season or wash them all the time. People seem to forget that less clothing means more washing which can be just as bad for sustainability.

    1. You are absolutely right about water waste. It’s terrifying the quantity of water needed for producing a single piece of clothing, for instance. Finding a balance between rotation and the number and quality of pieces we own should be the optimal way to help the environment, in my opinion. Not too speak about pre-loved clothing or charity donating.

  12. Wow, what on Earth was wrong with that raving lunatic 😮 I agree with you completely: fashion is everyone’s unique perception of the clothes they have. I don’t care about trends, I care about what looks good on me. And I have a lot of clothes I’ve bought along the years, and that I still wear. Some more regularly than others, but I’ve got nothing in my closet that I’d never wear. Capsule wardrobe is waaay too limiting for me, I could never make it work for myself. But because I’ve got so many quality clothes already, I also don’t need to shop.

    1. I enjoy following the trends for pure fun and to keep myself informed as a fashion writer. However, I don’t spend any money on trends since I consider them a waste of time and money. Thank you for your comment, Teresa Maria.

  13. Wow, some people are ridiculous! Sorry to hear about the hate. I have to say your wardrobe looks like goals to me (browns and beige? yes please). I love everything about this post, especially when you spoke about uniformity. I agree, a lot of capsules end up looking like some kind of school arranged uniform. I also went to private school (religious school) pretty much my entire life up until college!

  14. Wow, that person was RIDICULOUS!! You’re right that they obviously didn’t know you if they didn’t think you didn’t care about sustainability. It makes me wonder what else they’ve sent to other people on Instagram just for showing off what they’re wearing! I really liked hearing your thoughts about NOT having a capsule wardrobe. I personally am trying to get rid of the many pieces of clothing that I don’t wear, in honor of being more minimalist and then if I buy more clothes either try to get them from a thrift shop or from a sustainable company. But you’re right that it’s going to be hard to only have 33 pieces of clothing, especially if you live somewhere that has four separate seasons. Plus the obvious wear and tear that goes with washing those pieces over and over again. You brought up some great points and I loved how you brought up how you can be fashionable AND sustainable. Great post!!

    Emily | https://www.thatweirdgirllife.com

    1. As a matter of fact, I suspect I wasn’t the first person to be harrased by this lady. As I previously said, my Instagram account has got a modest following and I’m lucky not to receive any hate at all (or so I was until now…) But anyway, not having a capsule wardrobe is as reasonable as having one, and it all depends on the choices you make to save up waste. And by this post, I don’t intent to make anyone to feel bad about capsule wardrobes (if that works with you, that’s great!) But you know, at the end of the day, we are all different and it’s totally fine.

  15. This is one of the pitfalls of social media! I had a woman ream me out when I said I respected women who gave birth naturally but I couldn’t. You would have thought I had cursed her out — she basically (no- I should say actually but I am trying to be nice!) questioned my womanhood! Some people just want to attack and show their superiority — it’s annoying! I read about capsule wardrobes but I have other areas that I want to work on to improve sustainability at this point. I do want to clean out my closet but I have clothes from 20 years ago (which I can still wear) that I want to bring back to life. Some are actually coming back in style!

    1. Questioning your womanhood, wow, that’s harsh! I will never understand why some people seem unable to respect different points of view. They behave like there’s universal truth out there…
      Regarding treasuring old clothes, that’s something wonderful in my opinion. I’ve got pieces worn by my mum back in the 90’s (and in mint condition) and I LOVE wearing them.

  16. Oh wow, that’s ridiculous, if only they took the time to visit your blog. I completely agree with your stance on capsule collections. Personally, style is a form of expression, somedays I want to be bold in colour, others I want a neutral palette. There are many other ways to be sustainable than reducing a wardrobe to 33 pieces. I participate in clothes swaps, so someone can use items I no longer fit or love. It’s a great way to add new items into your wardrobe without adding to the fast fashion waste.

    Tx. // Tajinder Kaur

    1. As you said, there are so many wonderful options out there! Why to reduce your choices to one sustainable method only? Swapping sounds like fun and great idea, indeed. I need to organise something like that with my friends, definitely!

  17. I like the idea of a capsule wardrobe but only out of convenience. I buy whatever I want if the mood strikes me although my buying mood is usually focused on how useful an item will be to me in the long run. Still, I think everyone should be able to dress how they want! If they want to be sustainable, great! If not, also great. A person shouldn’t have to feel compelled to dress a certain way all the time as a way of life unless they feel like it.

    1. I agree with everything you said Rachel. Style is a matter of feeling comfortable with yourself and, as long as we all make wise choices, that’s right. I guess some people feel the urge to judge others, no matter what they feel/think/say.

  18. this is a great blog post, and i definitely agree with what you’ve said. i used to only have a few items of clothing, not for a capsule wardrobe, just from not really enjoying the idea of clothes shopping, and it did get difficult, it was obvious when clotheswere getting overworn. ive a few more now and its nice to be able to rotate and know these items aren’t going to show signs of wear and tear as quickly

    1. Over-used clothes are quite a fuss in my opinion. Most of us don’t really need a 300 square meters walk-in closet but having a decent quantity of quality pieces to rotate is very important to present ourselves in a decent manner.

  19. I think it’s incredibly interesting to read a post from another point of view on the capsule wardrobe, and I think that you’ve made lots of valid and reasonable points! We definitely shouldn’t be afraid to share controversial opinions, so thank you.

    – Charlotte / charlottesspaceonline.blogspot.com

  20. I also checked out many bloggers and vloggers’ minimal wardrobe postings and how-tos. My conclusion is also no, not for me. Every single piece is Everlane tasteful but Gap basic. I am just not a basic and consistent style kind of gal. I have to have colors, patterns, prints, texture, and varied genres. It is my chief joy to fall for a certain something every year. I bought 14 different linen dresses this year because I fell in love with linen dresses. Although they only set me back total $128 plus tax, I may be crucified by the sustainable fashion nazis if I had IG.

  21. I totally relate with your thoughts about capsule wardrobe in general, but the part which really resonates with me the most is the part about the uniformity. We are unique personalities and I don’t see any added value by adopting a unified looks and subsequently unified expressions and mindsets. It erases the personality and it just feels like another globalization attemp to me. Better to have a similar number of pieces which reflect who we are

    1. I couldn’t have expressed it better. Blending in seems to be the ultimate goal for most people these days, even to the cost of their own individuality and well-being, which I find a bit depressing, to be honest.

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