Have you noticed how over the years, things start collecting; books, clothing, furniture, wall hangings, tupperware? The usual stuff. We all do this. Once we realize we have a lot of stuff, we tend to want to buy more things to help solve the problem of having the things. While getting more things might feel like the answer to some problems, it's probably not. The things weren't fulfilling for me and probably aren't for you. I was spending money on dumb stuff and not making smart choices.
Like Tyler Durden says, the things you own, end up owning you.
The hubby and I did a massive cleaning. We purged the house from top to bottom and got into every room, closet, and cabinet. It took several weeks of weekend work. Between old linens, clothes, and stuff from high school, anything that did not add immediate value got donated or sold. While this is progress, I've also started a new quest for my personal style: a capsule wardrobe.
What's a Capsule Wardrobe?
Scientists and psychologists understand the concept of analysis paralysis. You know this as simply having so many choices, the decision becomes overwhelming. Like when you go to a restaurant with a massive menu. How do you possibly decide what to order? Believe it or not, analysis paralysis happens to many of us each morning when deciding what to wear. This is why Steve Jobs always wore jeans and a black turtleneck and why Zuckerberg wears his signature hoodie everyday. They spend their time on big thinking, strategy, and major decisions. Choosing what to wear each morning is not a high priority… especially if you reduce your choices so you look good, and feel comfortable, no matter what you wear.
We're all busy. We can't afford to waste time deciding what to wear. On the flip side, looking sloppy or feeling uncomfortable leads to feeling self-conscious. Reducing the number of decisions in your wardrobe sets you free. The "less is more" concept shines in the capsule wardrobe project.
Why Go to a Capsule Wardrobe
The belief is you can create several dozen outfits from a carefully cultivated selection of key pieces of clothing. There are those who believe that 33 is the right number of pieces. Others say it's 27. Some people say the right number of pieces is around 60 including accessories, pjs, and workout gear. But everyone says that a capsule wardrobe is not a one size fits all.
The most important thing learned about the capsule wardrobe is that mistakes will be made and there's no right number of pieces of everyone. I might have 21 and someone else might have 12. That's totally fine. The universal truth to a capsule wardrobe is ensuring the pieces you DO have are good quality, well-fitting, and classic. Sure, you can have a few trendy pieces for the season, but overall, you're going for a timeless look.
Now, that you've read all this, you might be thinking… What does any of this have to do with travel?
Travel Capsule Wardrobe
Having a capsule wardrobe fulfills two key desires for many people: reduce analysis paralysis (like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg) and make it easier to pack a suitcase.
Between regular, fun-with-family travel and business travel, I'm finding myself on the road more and more (helloooo airline miles!). It sucks being away from home while on the road for business, but I've gotten really good at minimizing my professional wardrobe to the essentials. And one day I thought, why not do it for the whole closet?
When it comes to packing a suitcase, less is more. The fewer items to choose from, the more freedom you have in what to wear. Not to mention, if you follow the basic guidelines of a capsule wardrobe, the majority of your pieces coordinate with everything else. Essentially, you create more with less. Your suitcase, or backpack, now weighs less and its contents take up less space. This means you can either bring home more souvenirs or take a smaller bag. Win-win.
The key is to have layerable pieces that mix and match well with each other. You can explore other options like seasonal capsule wardrobes. Having a Summer Capsule Wardrobe and a Winter Capsule Wardrobe might work well if your seasons fluctuate or if you travel frequently to different climates. However, if you live in a relatively moderate, year-round area, like Santa Barbara, California, you might be able to get by with one all-encompassing capsule wardrobe.
Pros and Cons
No matter what you decide to do, having your favorite go-to pieces of clothing for traveling will help you pack faster and more efficiently for each trip. If you choose to reduce your wardrobe, good for you. If you're happy with things the way they are, awesome! When you're ready for your next trip, be sure to check out the Three Star Traveler Packing Checklist so you don't forget anything!