Less is more, and other New Year's tips

Happy New Year! Beginning of the year is a good time for all sorts of changes, as well as for promises of changes that will never be kept, and for stressing about the need to change whether or not there is any. If you think that there would be a real need for change, and one of the things that might need it is your wardrobe, here are some good tips of how to change it without an expensive and un-ecological shopping spree.

Lately I have been very fascinated about the idea of a capsule wardrobe. Capsule wardrobe means that you own a limited amount of clothes, but they are all good quality and go well together. This makes it easier to dress without much effort but still look good, and you don't need to own much to do that. ”Quality, not quantity” is also a mantra for a sustainable wardrobe. Capsule wardrobe was originally not based on ecological values but rather on effortless style, but what would be better than get them both at once.

I've seen many versions of what the capsule wardrobe means in practice. The strictest version had a list of the exact garments that you ”have to own”, includung a trench coat, a little black dress, a neat white shirt, and other classics which are never out of fashion. This obviously doesn't appeal to those, who would not use little black dresses or white shirts. There is also a shop-a-holic version of the capsule wardrobe: you own a compact set of clothes and replace it with new on-trend stuff every season. A completely new minimalist wardrobe twice or maybe even four times a year, yay!

How about we leave the extremes. Somewhere in between there is a sensible, sustainable and personal way of creating a capsule wardrobe. There are many versions about that too. The most minimalist one that I have encountered stated that you should get by with just 24 pieces of clothing and accessories at a time, including also shoes and jewelry. To me this sounds very unpractical, because you'd have to wash your clothes almost daily to have something to wear. A bit larger version is called Project333, where you divide your (presumably large) wardrobe to sets of 33 items of clothing, accesories and shoes, and use one of these sets at the time and store the others. Then after 3 months you change for the next set of 33. This way you have a nice, easily approachable amount of clothes in your wardrobe, it can include stuff appropriate for the season, and the need for change can be satisfied with clothes that you already own. Especially if your closet is overflowing and you like to work with precise numbers, you might give the project a try. You can read more about it here.

You can also take an applied approach to the exact numbers of the Project333, and pick a small(ish) amount of clothes that you think necessary, store what you don't need this season, and change them when the wheather demands without counting months. You can keep some of them in your closet the whole year round if you like to wear them all the time. The most important thing about the capsule wardrobe is its effortlessness. That's why the items in your wardrobe should go well together. The more there are other items that you can wear any item with, the more you can use them, and the easier it is to find a good outfit without much effort. Also the clothes need to be right for their user: right size, and style and colour that you like and that fits you. It's also important to think about your life and activities, and what you really need for your everyday life. If your exercise once a week, you will need less workout wear than if you exercise every day. Good advices about creating a capsule wardrobe can be found here (in Finnish).

I haven't made myself a capsule wardrobe yet, but I'd like to. Why bother having more clothes than what you actually wear? The problem is that I don't like to discard clothes that are still wearable, so I make my way towards a capsule wardrobe by wearing out the old stuff, which takes surprisingly long. I already have made myself a goal, a good amount of clothes, that is based on a very practical measuring unit: a washing machine. I wear both dark and light colours, so I will need one full machine-load of each, that means enough clothes to fill two washing machines. This way I don't have to wash half loads which is not very ecological, but I will still have stuff to wear on laundry days, and there will be so few clothes that they will all be actually used rather than sitting in the closet. Some of the clothes are used – and washed – less frequently than others, and some are used only certain times of the year, so the washing-machine-measure is not very precise, but it is a nice, practical starting point.

Currently I have about twice as much clothes that I would actually need. Shoes, however, are an easier deal. For some reason I've never learnt to be much of a shoe-a-holic, and I have might actually own even less shoes than I would need. How about getting that same miracle to happen to clothes?