Over the last couple of years, I have become fascinated with capsule wardrobes, which is the idea that you only need a certain number of clothing pieces for a complete wardrobe. With each season you may need to buy or replace a few items, but it ultimately eliminates the need to feel like shopping is necessary year-round. My husband spearheaded this concept last year when he went on a minimalist binge and purged everything in his drawers, now limiting his wardrobe to only what he can fit in our teeny tiny hanging closet. I continued the effort with my own maternity wardrobe this past year because I had no desire to buy clothing that I knew I would never wear again, being that it was my fourth and final pregnancy. And now, it continues with my daughter, who is starting to have very defined visions of what she wants in a wardrobe, and she is starting to notice that certain brands, styles, and fabrics that tend to be high-end simply fit her better than their big box store counterparts.
Enter the Tween Capsule Wardrobe. Last year, our first Ivivva store opened up in the mall. If you’ve never heard of Ivivva, it’s basically Lululemon for girls. I am a fitness fanatic, and I love me some Lulu as well as other well-fit and well-made athletic wear such as Karma, Beyond Yoga, and Vimmia, however justifying these high-end prices for my 10-year old daughter was a stretch. I began to look to blogs like Unfancy that break down the entire process of a capsule wardrobe, which limits clothing and shoes to 37 pieces or less for each of the four seasons. Per Unfancy’s instructions, intimates, accessories, pajamas, and athletic wear are not to be included in the 37 item limit. However, for my purposes of constructing my daughter’s wardrobe, athletic wear became the main focal point. I used the principles mentioned on Unfancy’s blog and identified the following needs and wants with my daughter:
Maleah is a very athletic 10-year old girl whose favorite class at school is P.E. She has played and excels in every sport she tries, including skateboarding, roller skating, soccer, softball, golf, and surfing, but her true passion is long distance running. She participates in track and field two days a week, and on the alternate days, she has P.E. at school, which she takes very seriously. She refuses to wear pants, even in the winter, because they get in the way of her movement. She has a very edgy haircut and is often mistaken for a boy because of her athletic build and short hair. She has not expressed interest in looking, acting, or being a boy, so it’s important to me to keep her looks feminine by way of color and cut so there is no confusion.
Her Need: soft, dries quickly, lightweight, breathable
My Need: durable, moveable
Her Need: easy to move in, doesn’t want to feel it rubbing against her or getting in her way
My Need: not too short, feminine cut
Her Need: no preference
My Need: feminine colors, dark colors to hide stains (for this wardrobe, we focused on variations of greys, pinks, and turquoise that would not clash if worn together)
Her Need: Ivivva, Ivivva, Ivivva
My Need: brands with a better price point for the trendier styles that may need to be replaced due to stains, wear, and tear throughout the seasons, but supplemented with high-end pieces that are durable enough to keep up with physical demands.
Here is a breakdown of the 37 pieces that have become my Athletic Tween’s Fall 2015 Capsule Wardrobe
Challenges: One of our biggest arguments used to be over what she was wearing because there wasn’t much thought behind it. She most often would combine a pair of baggy soccer shorts from her former competitive soccer team with a boxy cotton t-shirt — you know the kind you get for free at camps, school, events, and runs/walks? When you put those two pieces together, you get nothing but a mess. By getting her excited about clothing that looks cute on her and actually fits well, she was willing to let go of the unflattering clothing she used to be comfortable in, and the fights about her clothing are now gone because the unflattering clothing is gone! It reminds me of when she went from long, beautiful hair to short, punk rock hair. I was totally against it because it was such a change, but when I actually thought about it, I realized she never let me curl it, braid it, or do anything pretty with it, it was always knotted and dirty looking, and she hated washing it. Almost two years after it was cut, neither she or I have looked back and regretted it. Not only that, but she gets compliments daily on how cute her cut is, especially for knowing what she wants at such a young age.
Dressing Up: Our only other issue is getting dressed up. She refuses to wear skirts or dresses, and every now and then, athletic wear just isn’t dressy enough for the occasion. It also defeats the purpose of having a capsule wardrobe just to go buy a new outfit for a one-time occasion. As a result, we have incorporated one dress (my requirement) that she can easily slip a pair of shorts underneath (her requirement) as well as a couple of punk-rock outfits that are a little more dressed up than her daily outfits. She only wears these outfits a couple of times a year, so it also puts the amount I spend on dressy clothing into perspective for me compared to her athletic wear; of course I would spend way more on the clothing she wears seven days a week versus the clothing she wears three times a year, right? Again, capsule wardrobe has come to our rescue by helping us define what is needed and what is not.
With this carefully selected capsule, my daughter can now mix and match just about anything in her closet and be successful! And the best part? Her clothing is now limited to only two drawers instead of two full dressers and a closet full of things she never wears. Considering she’ll be sharing her room with a new sibling any day, it was the perfect time to consolidate her wardrobe and put her capsule into place.
Have you ever considered a capsule wardrobe? What are your do’s and don’ts?