Capsule wardrobe fraud

Who lives like this? Rainman?

Ever have those days when the urge to purge is overwhelming?  When you want to throw out your entire wardrobe and start again?  When alluring pictures of Ikea wardrobes with 10 colour-matched, perfectly spaced and folded items looks like some uncluttered kind of heaven?

I keep reading about the fabled capsule wardrobe – that nirvana of dressing without thinking/searching/swearing – pieces that fit you perfectly and go with other things in your wardrobe.  There’s no extraneous items.  No things that don’t fit.  No dodgy tailoring, gaping seams and falling hems.  But how do you ever attain this? 

Firstly, bossy de-cluttering experts who say you should throw out something you haven’t worn for a year can take a running jump. It depends.  Quality cocktail and formal frocks can provide sartorial satisfaction for decades. And I still wear my mother’s gold slingbacks that she bought in London in the 60’s.     

And then I need another exception to the rules, the keepsakes collection.  It’s a material museum: your 1980’s sequined mini dress from your high school formal that your daughter may wear one day (or just fall down laughing), your mother’s ball gowns (two sizes too small) too beautiful to throw away, and my grandmother’s tea dresses (four sizes too small) but with handmade lace that deserves preservation and admiration.

It’s the every day clothes that really need to be combed through with a steely discipline – the dodgy once-were-Lycra exercise gear,  stretched and misshapen T-shirts, the pile of ‘gardening/work/painting’ clothes that you can afford to minimise unless you’re actually a gardener/builder’s labourer/painter. 

So in the end it’s not a neat little capsule wardrobe I’m aiming for – that’s just a subset of the whole.  It’s more like a conglomeration of  fabric categories which includes a smaller, practical and overworked everyday section.  Yes, I will wear this 20% about 80% of the time.  But I’m not chucking out my family of frocks and I’m not about to wear formal frocks 80% of the time.  I guess I don’t really want that minimalist wardrobe after all.

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