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649: Wardrobe

There are few discussions that get as much debate, as many gallons of virtual ink spilled in fashion and lifestyle publications as the idea of paring down your wardrobe and/or purchasing quote-unquote investment pieces.

Call it a backlash to fast fashion, but not a swing all the way over to wearing the exact same outfit every day like we talked about back in episode 196. You might see it called a capsule wardrobe, an ideal wardrobe, an intentional wardrobe… whatever name you might call it, the basic idea is the same. Fewer clothes, higher quality, less stress, cost, and space.

As a Washington Post article entitled “life is easier with a capsule wardrobe” explains, quote:

First and foremost, capsule wardrobes provide an easy-to-understand framework that makes shopping and getting dressed easier. No longer do you have to wonder whether something will go with something else or if a top and a bottom can be worn together — everything works with everything else. Some sources advise that your capsule should include 37 pieces. Others recommend as many as 50, and some recommend as few as 10.

Much of this is based in the idea explained in Who What To Wear:

When we’re overwhelmed by choice, not only is it harder to make a decision, but we’re also less happy once all the work is done. It’s an idea discussed at length by psychologist Barry Schwartz, who cites his own experience trying to find the perfect pair of jeans as the impetus for his own research.

You’ll find lots of discussion out in the world, too, that many attempts at so-called capsule wardrobes are doing it wrong by focusing on what to purchase, how much to purchase, the types of new things to purchase… basically making it all about purchasing something new.

But as the author put it on the blog Recovering Shopaholic, perhaps statistics are the best way to go about figuring out what you supposedly should do:

If you’re looking to cultivate a workable wardrobe full of clothes you love and wear, determining your desired frequency of wear and optimal wardrobe size can be a powerful step to help you reach that goal.