A College Kid’s Attempt at Creating a Capsule Closet

Believe it or not, I own a lot of clothes.

gatsby throwing shirts
Me in my dorm every morning

I might have more killer outfit combinations than I do actual friends. but that’s okay because this means I can bumble through life looking fly AF. Everybody knows if you look fly AF, then nothing can faze you. There is a catch, however, to having so many options: sometimes it’s really hard to pick what to wear.

I could probably throw all these off a balcony somewhat attractively

Consider the following scenario:

It’s 8:15 AM and you have class in a little less than an hour. Outside it’s 50 degrees, partly cloudy with a subtle breeze blowing through the slightly cracked window. Hmm what should I wear? you think to yourself. Oh, I know the exact outfit to wearSweater + OCBD* + jeans + sneakers. 

Then, disaster strikes. After peering through your closet, you realize you have at least five sweaters, four OCBDs, blue/black jeans (along with white and grey chinos), and two pairs of sneakers and boots each. At this point, you end up sitting on your bed trying to figure out which dope mediocre outfit to wear and the next thing you know, it’s 8:52 and class is 8 minutes from starting and a 12 minute walk. You’re going to be late, but hey, you look fly AF. 

(Note: This actually may be me)

 I’ve essentially been living like this for the past six months (hard life, I know), but a few days ago I decided to change this

Starting April 1st I removed everything from my wardrobe except for the bare minimum that I’d need to make it through the entire month. My goal is to maximize the use of a few, versatile pieces while still maintaining a nice sense of style. The overall goal of this is to have this idea spread to other facets of my life; altogether this hypothetically results in the reduction of my consumption of not only fast fashion, but also in other components of our consumerist lifestyle. There’s no need for me to describe fast fashion, there is no hiding from the disgusting pillar that supports our unsustainable lifestyles. What’s really sad about fast fashion – aside from the use of exploitation and wage slavery to control the working population of countries victimized by this – is the amount of waste it generates. 

Just off the top of my head, I can think of half a dozen various button up shirts I own: one white and light blue OCBD, a light-blue OCBD with a white contrast collar, white/breton stripe, a white and black shirt with epaulets, and one that is navy gingham print. I have more shirts than I do days of the week meaning it’s not possible for me to cycle through every shirt every week. Practically, it would take me closer to a month to get through them all once because some days are hoodie and tee shirt days. There really is no need for me to have as many button up shirts as I do. If I have a light-blue and white OCBD, do I really need a light blue OCBD with a white collar? I’m starting to realize I have a significant amount of pieces that only work with one or two specific outfits, so unless I wear those outfits I don’t end up wearing those pieces.

Enter, the “capsule wardrobe.” 

The driving idea of the capsule wardrobe is to have each item work well with every other item in your “capsule” – a box-ish thing everything should fit into. If everything works with everything, then it doesn’t matter what you wear on any given day. For some, this is just a facet of their lifestyle, for others (Mark Zuckerberg), it’s a key reason for their successes.

Some neat studies from psychology have shown every decision we make reduces our willpower by an amount proportional to the “toughness” of the decision.

What people like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Barack Obama hope to achieve by wearing the same outfit to work every day, is to reduce the total number of decisions they need to make every day, so that when the time comes to make an absolutely critical choice, they don’t chose the “easier” option because their willpower is fatigued.  So far, it’s worked pretty well for all of them, and I wouldn’t mind it working for me either. Let’s just say if I happened to stumble across a solution to an exam question next Tuesday I otherwise wouldn’t have because my mind might’ve been too fatigued otherwise, I wouldn’t mind. 

The method behind my madness capsule.

trunk gif
How to fit everything into one box

 Every Monday/Wednesday/Frieday I have two jackets, an olive M65 and speckled navy bomber; six shirts, broken down into three white tee shirts, one nautical striped shirt, and two OCBDs (white, light blue); two pants, dark wash jeans and grey chinos; and two pairs of shoes. I also have a grey pullover for layering/when Lab Sciences decides to be 15 degrees colder than what it should be. 

This is my equivalent of losing 30 lbs

The next part may come as a shock to some of our readers; discretion is advised. I mentioned earlier that you want your pieces to be simple and as versatile as possible. With this in mind, for at least 15 days this April, the world will be able to see me walking around in a pair of Nike Free’s when I’m not working out. This probably is a shock to many of you because I’ve always been adamant regarding my refusal to wear workout wear outside the gym. Unfortunately, Nike happened to create the perfect walking shoe which is also inoffensive enough for me to wear with my jeans.  While my Free’s may be mildly basic, my other footwear are definitely NaOH. Almost every kid on campus has a pair of white Adidas sneakers by now – after all it’s no longer 2015 – and it’s neat to note how perfectly segregated girls/guys are between Superstars and Stan Smiths. 

Now the fun begins. 

I’ve already started my one month challenge to change myself, and I’ll be uploading the first week’s outfits shortly. I will admit on day 7 I already became lazy and wore the same outfit twice so that I wouldn’t have to take another set of pictures. I’m also too lazy to take pictures during the weekend (I only have 24 possible outfits, 12 if you exclude the shoes, 6 if you exclude OCBDs) but you can go ahead and imagine what I’m wearing isn’t that different from the norm. 

Before I go, I again want to thank those of you who read through my nonsense until the end. I’m a big fan of you anonymous internet readers and apparently some of you don’t even reside in this country! S/O to the one person in Ireland who read my last featured post. 

-Thanks for following, 


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Pingback: optimal outfits

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