I discovered Jessica and her beautiful Instagram account and blog last year, when I was on my dreaded 3 hour long commute to my old job. I was so happy to find a likeminded person and everything she wrote about or posted was resonating 100% with me. Since then she has been my online twin as we share lots of similar values about minimalism, living more with less and slow living.
Jessica is a writer, a photographer and a minimalist lifestyle blogger. She has recently moved to a tiny village in the Peak District, England “for some escapism, beauty and a slower pace of life”, as she says on her blog.
She is the queen of minimalism and she has perfected (although she doesn’t like that term) having a 32 piece capsule wardrobe. We had a conversation about all things capsule wardrobes and why it’s so beneficial to live with less clothes.
But first of all, what is a capsule wardrobe?
In simple terms, a capsule wardrobe is a very simplified wardrobe made only by the things you love to wear and make you feel good about yourself.
A: So Jessica, tell me what was the reason that made you take the decision to downsize your wardrobe and create a capsule one?
J: Having a wardrobe made up of less but better clothes was something I’d wanted to do for years but my old shopping habits were hard to kick. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 25; it was early stage 1 and I was given the all clear that same year but the death anxiety it gave me resulted in my promising myself I would only own things that I used and brought me joy.
A: Was it an easy decision and process or did you struggle with anything in particular?
J: It was really difficult. It took me 18 months to create a 32 piece wardrobe I was happy with, and I made a lot of (expensive) mistakes along the way. Nobody teaches us what our style is, what our body shape is, what is worth spending more on and what isn’t. Patience was very difficult for me but so worth having. All the struggles I had are the reasons I created my how to guide. It’s what I wish someone had handed me when I set out to simplify my wardrobe.
A: How long you have been owning a capsule wardrobe and is it sustainable? I mean how you avoid buying more stuff?
J: I’ve owned a 32 piece capsule wardrobe for 3 years now and it’s changed my life. Everything goes together, getting dressed is easy and I never have any of those ‘I have nothing to wear meltdowns’. I switch things up when I feel like it but I’d never go back. When you own the right amount of things that you love and that suit you there’s no need to buy more stuff. I’d rather spend my time enjoying life than doing loads of laundry and shopping.
A: But why anyone should bother reconfiguring and retraining their mindsets, don’t we have enough already on our plates to deal with?
J: Hmmm. That’s precisely the point for me! We all have enough to be worrying about without the added pressure of mountains of laundry and having to create outfits out of clothes that aren’t serving us. Not to mention that crammed in shopping trip because we have nothing to wear for that event next week. A wardrobe that works hard for you will make life so much easier. Think more time, space and freedom.
A: What would you advise for people that have busy lives and they need different wardrobes, for example an office one, social life, casual, sport/hobbies, etc. Can they have different capsule wardrobes and how they can do that?
J: We can have whatever the hell we like and that’s really important to remember. My capsule wardrobe doesn’t include loungewear, hobby clothes etc. I keep separate capsules for those, but the same rules apply. Keep only what you need, actually wear and love.
A: For some people dealing with their clothes can be their worst nightmare, can creating a capsule wardrobe be a fun process, what would be your advice?
J: It has to be fun! Our clothes are an expression of who we are and creating our wardrobes is a fun creative process. We shouldn’t deprive ourselves of that. When you have less it’s easy to start striving for perfection. It simply doesn’t exist, there will always be imperfections and that’s where the beauty lies.
A: Can you describe the process of creating a capsule wardrobe in 3 simple steps?
J: Figure out what your personal style is (take your time here), declutter what you already have and then when you’ve got a good starting block, create your dream wardrobe!
A: What if I love patterns and colours, can I have a capsule wardrobe? Or it’s only for people that like neutral minimal toned clothing?
J: It’s a big myth that capsule wardrobes must be black white and grey. I don’t help because my own wardrobe is strictly neutral – but that’s because they’re the colours I love to wear. Like I said earlier we can do whatever we want. My only advice here would be to stick to a few colours and get the basics right first. Once you have your basics you can weave colour in and out beautifully to add personality.
A: Do you have a year round capsule wardrobe or you change it every season?
J: I have a 32 piece year round capsule wardrobe that sees me through every season. I pick out my go to items at the beginning of each season and share them on my blog for inspiration.
A: What if I understand I own a lot of stuff but I really struggle to let things go?
J: I’m not going to pretend the letting go of things is easy because it isn’t. We attach a lot of emotion to our stuff and are encouraged to do so from childhood. The truth is it’s just stuff. It can take some time to accept that but doing so is incredibly liberating. If you’re really struggling I advise packing those ‘mm I’m not so sure’ items (you know the ones I means) out of sight in a box for a few months.
Experiment with how you get on without them. You may be surprised. If you find yourself reaching for the box you know you should hang onto that stuff. But, if after say 6 months you’re forgotten what’s even inside – well then you have to ask yourself what value has it ben adding? Time to let go, but at least you can do it on evidence because you’ve done some experimentation.
A: Is there any other advice or a few key takeaways you learned from your experience of owning less clothes?
- ALWAYS check returns policies when you’re testing out new clothes.
- If you haven’t worn something in the first 14 days of owning it, chances are you never will
- Nothing will ever look ‘perfect’, if it’s an 8 out of 10 and you don’t want to take it off then that’s good enough.
- Practice patience. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- Beware the Pinterest! Even the girl in the magazine doesn’t look like the girl in the magazine. You’re beautiful exactly as you are and worthy of that beautiful wardrobe that compliments your lifestyle makes you feel amazing.
I hope you got inspired by our conversation and I’m looking forward to see your downsized wardrobes. Mine is still work in progress to get down to as little as 32 pieces, but I do own ONLY stuff I love and make me feel good when I wear them.
If you struggle with mountains of clothes that don’t fit, don’t make you feel good and you are always left with nothing to wear, maybe is time you tried having a capsule wardrobe. Only good things can happen by having one! And if you decide to go for it, I would love if you can share your before and after shots with me on Instagram with the #ideclutteredmyhome and tag me @thisplaceicallhome_ and Jessica @jessicarosewilliams so we can cheer you on!
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Photo Credits: Jessica Rose Williams
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