Slightly controversial(?) confession: I’m getting a bit tired of Marie Kondo. Or rather, hearing KonMari this and that everywhere I look. Not her, necessarily, I’m sure she is wonderful. I remember when I read her book several years ago, I thought it was amazing and so smartly done. But now it is everywhere and if I hear “spark joy” one more time… I don’t know.
I get it, I really do. Honestly, I love the idea of a more simple, streamlined life. My friend Jess has done a really great job with purging her wardrobe and creating a capsule wardrobe in a way that feels authentic and just very true to her and who she is. But I guess what is bothering me is the celebration we are making over throwing stuff out (or rather, I hope: giving it away/donating it/selling it. Never throw clothes away!!!). Great, you’re living with less but if you just fill your closet back up again, then what really is the point?
I think the real thing to celebrate would be: after doing this big clean out, after purging all of these things that aren’t bringing you joy any more… what happens next month or even next year??? Are you doing that same purge again, or are you giving away/selling fewer things because you stuck to your guns over the course of the year and made better decisions?
Outfit Details: Topshop Coat // Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Rainbow Sweater (old; I bought mine on Poshmark bc I wanted it so badly after seeing it on Katie – this and this and this are similar) // Re/Done Denim // Manolo Blahnik Pumps // Vintage Chanel Purse // Celine Sunglasses (exact)
I thought about this a lot this week in spending time with my sister and her husband. They live in a small town in Minnesota and live a life that is much more simplified and streamlined (at least when it comes to their possessions – their actual life is crazy, they have two boys and demanding jobs). My sister isn’t into clothes but is inherently pretty stylish. She doesn’t prattle on and on about her capsule wardrobe; she just has fewer clothes which she wears until they are worn out; and then buys “new” ones secondhand. She rolls her eyes at me and my consumerism (but is also never sad when I send her a box of things I know she’ll use and love).
The other thing is that I just hate when something becomes a “thing” and everyone feels like they have to do that thing too. My favorite people are the people who are just unabashedly themselves and don’t try to be someone else. I try to be that person with everything I do.
I’ll be the first to admit that I could never have a capsule wardrobe and be happy. I dress around my mood. I love color and bold accessories and sequins and am a collector when it comes to my clothing: my favorite vintage dresses; my collection of bags and shoes… they’re all special to me. And I’m a dress girl. How do you have a capsule wardrobe when you wear a lot of dresses?! Sure, in my everyday I probably alternate between five sweaters, a handful of blazers, and 3 pairs of jeans but I love collecting beautiful things.
So here we are. I have a lot of stuff. I like my stuff. It’s organized and color coded but there’s a lot of it. And other people prefer a capsule wardrobe. And both of those things are totally fine. But what’s not fine is living this life where you are constantly churning through possessions and incessantly needing to get rid of things.
It’s a tricky thing to balance. I am, or at least have been, a part of the problem. I recognize that. As a blogger a part of the job in many cases is to showcase new arrivals. There is a fine line to walk. How to share style inspiration and outfits without encouraging excessive consumerism? It goes back to that whole need vs. want thing I talked about a couple weeks ago. And again, I reference Jess – I think she does a great job showcasing great style without a lot of excess.
The easiest way around that is to stick to mostly classic pieces that retailers always carry. But even with things like my classic camel coat from Vince (the one in this post // the coat I wear nearly every day) I remember thinking to myself earlier this Fall, “Should I buy a new camel coat this year?” Not because it was falling apart or out of style but because it was several years old and no longer available on the retailer’s website.
That very thought acted as such a big wakeup call for me. What!?!? That’s completely crazy and actually a little bit insane.
I am not perfect but I have been shopping a lot less. More importantly I have been trying to make smarter purchasing decisions to ensure whatever I’m buying won’t end up in the giveaway pile a few months or even years later. An item needs to feel really special and make me happy or fill a hole in my wardrobe.
Whenever I shop now, I think about all of those bags I donated and sold when I did my big closet clean out this Fall. And how downright gross I felt doing that. The thousands of dollars of clothing that I got rid of.
I guess the biggest takeaway is this. Have a capsule wardrobe if that serves you. Have a walk-in closet and a whole room for all of your shoes if that serves you. The more important thing? Take care of your things and let’s all make smarter purchasing decisions so that that big Marie Kondo purge is a one time thing.
photography by Carter Fish.