Have you ever noticed that when you pack for a trip you are really good at narrowing down your wardrobe? It's because - if you're like me - you think about what you will be doing, what the weather is like, what you need. Yes - before fashion, clothes used to be functional.
Capsule collection means reducing your wardrobe to the basics and your most loved items. The basic idea is to wear what you love more often. It's the antidote to fast fashion because it requires you to think about what you will wear and limit it. Marketing experts will tell you it allows you to 'invest' in nicer, more expensive pieces, under the cover of buying less.
I've been practicing capsule collection for years. For all kinds of reasons really - no money, don't like shopping, would rather wear my yoga pants, don't need it, not sustainable, should only make my own clothes, forgot to go shopping... But that was put to the ultimate test this year with our radical move from Berlin to Vancouver.
Packing for a trip is kind of like choosing your capsule collection for a moment in time. And what better way to choose your capsule collection, than packing your whole life into a suitcase?
So when we were frantically planning to uproot our lives and move to Canada, there were a lot of variables to consider:
- How long would we stay?
- How much stuff would we take?
- What would we do with the stuff we left behind?
We started under the assumption, we would be back. Therefore, all furniture, electronics, toys, etc would stay behind. But what about things like bikes, sporting equipment, ski clothes? We looked at the logistics of shipping via container, and not only were we looking at 10,000€, expected delivery time was 2-3 months as it shipped over seas, and of course, covid. So we crossed that off, and made the radical decision, that we would take only what we could take on the plane. In suitcases.
Now I consider myself to be a pretty excellent packer by now, with all the back and forth and long distance and travelling with kids, and even Burning Man under my belt, but this was a challenge of a new dimension. Packing for all four seasons, for four family members. How did we do it? Each person got one suitcase. We could each take what we loved most, what we wanted to wear, and what we wanted to comfort us. This meant different things, to each of us - my 10 year old son for instance, wanted a package of toffifee to comfort him (see below) - fair enough. It's his suitcase.
So what did I pack?
Let's break it down, to be very concrete: Two pairs of jeans, four pairs of yoga pants, two skirts, two shirts, two t-shirts, one sweatshirt, three sweaters, one bathing suit, three pairs of shoes, a leather jacket and a winter jacket. And my yoga mat. And a bunch of Christmas decorations, to make my kids feel comfortable when Christmas rolled around. Ok - there may have been some spillover from my suitcase into my husbands.
How did that work out? Better than expected. I'm not missing anything I left behind. My sister & my mom brought over some of the clothes they aren't wearing. I have everything I need, and everything I have - I need, and I use. If you follow me on Instagram, you may notice I am always wearing the same stuff. And I'm OK with that! It's the perfect time, to downsize on fashion. Not just because I had to pack and travel and sort. That is just the proof. Because we don't NEED that many clothes. Because we can't even wear the clothes we have!° Because fashion is a huge climate issue, producing more Greenhouse Gases than all Air travel. If you haven't thought about this yet - please inform yourself here or grab some quick facts, below:
Did you notice that during COVID Lockdown, you needed less? This IS the #newnormal. We never really needed more, we were manipulated by marketing. The new normal is actually the real normal. Challenge yourself to notice which clothes you wear, and which clothes you love. If you find yourself thinking of shopping, take the time to consider function - how will that piece fit in your collection? Where will you wear it? And what would you wear, if you didn't have it? This will help to differentiate between what you need and what you want. It will become a useful tool, not just for #mariekondo balance, not just for #sustainabilityinfashion, but also for your finances.
As the inflation of 2021 and beyond approaches, and we all have less disposable income - and we will need to learn to live like our grandparents again - considering function before fashion.