I've yet to formally announce it, but I'm working on a sustainable, Made in the USA plus-size clothing brand, ROSEGOLD Clothiers, launching in 2017. I'm part of an amazing sustainable apparel incubator, Factory45. Over the coming months, I'll be sharing the wisdom and stories of my wonderful colleagues, who are all working on launching sustainable, ethical brands.
I'm so thrilled to have Kendall of Vesta write the first guest post from my cohort. I read this article and practically begged her to share it with you, dear readers, because it is one of the best reasons to start a capsule wardrobe. Once you've read this, make sure you check out Kendall's other fantastic articles on her blog.
A few months ago, I listened to an episode on decision fatigue over on Tim Ferriss’ podcast and it deeply resonated with me. Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by a person, after making a long series of them. So, in other words, what happens to you and me. Every single day.
Tim takes it one step further highlighting that making so many decisions in our daily lives not only makes us tired, but it saps our store of willpower. The more choices we make, the crappier they get. These days, when something as simple as picking out peanut butter requires a 12-step decision process, its no wonder that by the end of the day we find ourselves with no willpower to do anything other than binge watch old episodes of the X-Files on the couch (Oh, just me?). But really, ever been shopping for an hour or so and end up exhausted and somehow buying an armful of stuff you don’t need?? Decision fatigue.
Tim cited a study where the individuals in one group were asked to make a long series of decisions, then that group and another group (who weren’t asked to make any decisions) were given a simple willpower test of holding a hand in a bucket of ice water. The group that hadn’t had to make any decisions was able to hold a hand in the ice water twice as long as the group that had. I’m not sure I ever realized decision-making and willpower were connected. But it makes sense, right?
This got me thinking about what decisions I can personally eliminate to not only make my day easier and more productive, but to end up with more energy and willpower (for good decision-making) left at the end of the day. First of all, I’ve been planning my entire day the night before (especially my free time in the mornings when I tend to go “okay, what do I need to get done this morning?” *opens Instagram*), AND I’ve been reducing my wardrobe so I have less decisions to make about what I wear.
This is where it comes in handy to a capsule wardrobe. That is, a small, thoughtfully-curated wardrobe that includes a items that can be mixed and matched easily, creating a sort of basic uniform. Tim mentioned that Steve Jobs didn’t wear jeans and a black turtleneck every day just because the guy loved turtlenecks (who doesn't tho?), but because Jobs recognized that not having to make decisions about things like his outfit for the day quite literally saves precious mental energy. Genius. And so simple.
SO If you keep a simple, pared-down wardrobe with lots of versatile pieces, it cuts that much more time and energy out of the whole ordeal. I used to be a person with MANY “onesies”--those one weird random pieces that maybe I liked, but they didn’t go with anything else I owned, or they weren't really "me" so I never actually wore them out of the house. Get rid of those. Get rid of the things that don’t quite fit. You will forget that they don’t fit and put them on and have wasted time and effort. Get rid of the stuff that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, and for God’s sake, get rid of the stuff you just honestly don’t like! And then the key is to be very strategic about anything new you add to your wardrobe in the future.
I've recently reduced my wardrobe by about 75% and I already feel more way calm when I go into my closet, and less stressed about getting dressed and shopping for new stuff. (But sadly, it has not stopped me from watching X-Files re-runs.)
I've got more capsule wardrobe tips to share coming up. And of course, the first Vesta collection is designed to be as versatile and functional as possible so the pieces can be a true asset to your wardrobe. Stay tuned! In the meantime I'd recommend the Into-Mind blog and reading Zero Waste Home and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up as great places to start your adventure towards a smaller, more thoughtful wardrobe.
To your mental health!
Has your capsule wardrobe helped you stress less? Tell us in the comments!
Kendall is the founder of Vesta, a capsule collection of sustainable womenswear essentials made ethically in the USA from innovative eco-friendly, vegan fabrics that will launch in early 2017. She is a fashion design graduate of Parsons in New York City and has worked for such sustainable companies as Titania Inglis and Vaute, the world’s first vegan fashion label. Kendall currently lives in the sunny Bay Area of California.