The capsule is dead, long live the spreadsheet!

My new ‘all-in’ spreadsheet (view full here).

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As admitting the truth is the first step towards a better life, I’m finally facing the obvious: all my wardrobe is a capsule. If it’s about “a collection of 30-40 practical and versatile pieces of clothing put together with the intention of being an entire wardrobe [for a season]“, that’s exactly what’s going in on in my wardrobe, except for the seasonal part. I’m currently living with a total of 42 pieces of main clothing + 8 pairs of footwear + lounge wear, accessories, etc. A grand total of 141 items, including every sock and earring.

I’ve realized that the seasonal extraction of the weather-inappropriate subset is pretty superfluous, especially with these fake Mediterranean  winters. And stashing away – in a big plastic box, no less –  things I could be wearing just because the calendar or the spreadsheet  said so (like for the 7 dresses experiment: read here and here) felt unnecessary and forced. While uniforms and super-reduced wardrobes are celebrated for the mind-space they liberate, I love and want my daily decisions. And then I want to track them.

Also, for me having all my stuff hanging (yes, Marie Kondo, almost all my garments look happier on hangers!) is more challenging than having a formal capsule and moving the plastic box back and forth. The implication of this new strategy is that my year-round wardrobe must fit on 30-40 hangers, because we share the wardrobe and that’s all the space there is. So I will still have exogenous limits, tracking, an empty plastic box to re-purpose, and all my joyful garment friends at my fingertips.

Our wardrobe!

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My current wardrobe feels more than abundant… It’s weird how careful pruning works: I have an abundance of exciting outfits and I love them. Never before since my adolescence I’ve had so few garments and never before I’ve been so satisfied with what I have… So, counting only main garments and footwear, I have 50 items but he spreadsheet has more because adornments and some lounge wear for casual days is included. It has been only eleven days of the new order, and:

a) I’m very excited to have all my things ‘available’.

b) Oh, I love my separates!

c) I’ve already worn 55% of what I have.

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The new goal is to maximize wears of those items that, for reason or another, have not received that much attention. In some cases – parka, rubber boots – it’s pretty much weather dependent (and in Riga), but many others just need love sweet love and, maybe, change of wardrobe if it turns out that we are not a match made in heaven. An important caveat when looking at the number is that those reflect last two years while some of the garments in my wardrobe have been there for more than 15 (that parka, my second-hand kaftan). However, even if I know perfectly well that my parka has had more than 100 wears, not having worn it much during last few years is an indicator too.

So these are the current underdogs I’ll be focusing on, weather and life allowing (it does make sense to include stuff from my Riga mini-capsule as I’ll be there for a week in February):

The WAG set (2 and 5 wears for the top and skirt respectively) – 2017: oh, the child of my sartorial weakness! It’s beautiful, flashy and tight (feels much better before dinner than after). I’ll do my best to give it as many wears as possible (beware, all the upcoming weddings!), but I’m still uncertain about it. After all, it’s on trial!

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The pink paisley corduroy skirt (3 wears) ~2006: I wore these a lot in high school. They’ve been hidden away in my Riga semi-capsule for years, but I think it time to bring back their pink sparkly goodness. Already tried them on the bicycle and they survived without getting trapped into the brakes, great! It’s amazing how old stuff can feel so incredibly ‘mine’ after years of scarce use.

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The striped jersey mini (3 wears) – 2017: the little versatile mini I scored at May’s swap got pushed away by the 7 dresses experiment. I actually already had the same model but in black back in 2011-2013 when we had an intense but short-lived relationship. I don’t expect longevity from this one either – thin H&M jersey is what it is. But it will be a beloved staple until it falls apart.

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The Norwegian-Lithuanian wool sweater (4 wears) – 2015: I kept this one in Riga waiting for a cold winter that never came. Now I finally found a function for it: it’s perfect for hanging around home during the cold months as part of my ‘survive the fake winter without any heating’ programme. It’s great for lounging around and running errands. So-incredibly-warm!

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Marina’s American Apparel mini skirt (4 wears) – 2017: The skirt so short I can wear them only during the tight season. I’m still on the hedge with this one. On one hand, they look good, help me channel a Sailor Moon vibe, and this 100% polyester hard plastic will last forever unless I set it on fire… but it is extremely short for my standards! I still have a couple of weeks to decide if February’s Swap is the right place for this one.

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My parka (4 wears) ~ 2003: What can I do if there is no winter? The pics below are from the fucking 12 of *March* 2005 in Riga. The weather is clearly not what it used to be… I wore the outer shell as a trench (in January!) last week, and the whole garment is not going anywhere. I still have some hope for seeing white winters again.

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Nokian Hai rubber boots (5 wears) – 2016: A good buy after Latvian summer rain made me wear winter boots in August once! They live in Riga and wait for the rain. They are my Latvian weather insurance!

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Flower ball headband (6 wears) – 2011: My most outrageous headpiece! It leaves in Riga and comes to opera with me. I might be relatively audacious when it come extravagant patterns and adornments, but this is my limit. It’s rather sad to touch the limits… I should wear this one more!

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Floral corduroy bolero (7 wears) – 2011: A bespoke creation of family dead stock for my LBD. Again, we go to opera together…

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Ginta’s purple jersey dress (8 wears) – 2016: The comfy hand-me-down! I use the little summer lace blouse (also a hand-me-down from my mother) as a layering piece and look relaxed yet put together. Win! It stayed in Riga, because I lacked space in my luggage and was too eager to live on my Barcelona separates for a while.

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Swedish military jacket (9 wears) – 2003: Oh, Swedish army surplus, you so sturdy and ultra-casual! I liked it 15 years ago because it pissed off the adults, now I need to find a place for it in my wardrobe again. My clear adolescent inclinations towards military styles (it was all the rage in early-2000s! Remember the combat pants and camouflage everywhere?) led to two functionally similar jackets, this and the Street One military-inspired one (2006) I revived last year. At the moment it’s my only light jacket in Riga, and we’ll see what the future brings.

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So this is the colorful – notice the dominance of purple, red and pink hues – adventure that awaits for the next few months. What are your wardrobe goals for the first quarter of 2018?

Share it with a friend!

Luīze

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