Culture Lifestyle MDIA2003_18 MDIA2003_IssuesTrendFeature_18 MDIA2003Wed1.00 PeterWed1.00_2003_18

When less became more

Phoebe Anderson z5116842 

Every woman can relate to having nothing to wear, despite having a well-stocked closet. What if that was no longer true? In turn, every wardrobe was a careful curation of style and high-quality pieces. No longer will an item sit unused alongside identical items and some with the price tag still on. The capsule wardrobe could be just what we need.

Figure 1: Caroline Rector. Permission Granted.

Well, what’s new? Another millennium trend sweeping the internet and promoting the new age profession of a ‘blogger’. With new forms of media taking over our lifestyles, even our wardrobes need to fit certain criteria.

“Fashion YouTube videos also feed into a consumer-culture where people are constantly wanting to buy new clothes because they’ve seen something online,” said customer, Laura age 20.

Reminding the mundane fashion enthusiasts that their wardrobe just isn’t good enough. No longer is the holy grail of Topshop or fast fashion ‘in’, but instead it is replaced with minimalism and sustainability.

The capsule wardrobe, however, isn’t anything new.

The concept was established in the 1970’s in Britain but it hasn’t been until recent years where it has gained popularity. Growing concern with waste and consumerism in fast fashion is at the forefront of a generation’s mindset.

With the promise of a simpler almost scientific approach, this idea appeals to those with limited time and ethical lifestyles.

Essentially to build a capsule wardrobe is to build a refined and personal allotment of items that constitute your personal style, simplicity is key. Although guidelines vary, 37 items is the magic number whether this is restricted to just clothes or a seasonal approach, is a personal preference.

“Sometimes I see articles that place a heavy emphasis on the rules or propagate an idea that a capsule should look one particular way. I don’t agree with these approaches. I think a capsule should work for your life, not the other way around,” said Caroline Rector,

Caroline Rector from the blog Un-fancy continued to say that if something seems unattainable then to shrink it. For Caroline, when beginning her capsule wardrobe, a closet filled with designer items was unattainable, so by condensing her wardrobe, she was able to have a few designer pieces that were versatile and constructive.

“I can get exactly what I want,” said Caroline.

Figure 2: Caroline Rector. Permission Granted.

But in a time where Instagram and ‘who’s wearing what’ rules a generation; is having 37 items in your wardrobe realistic for the everyday woman?

“If you know that you’re going to take a photo, you’re not going to wear something that you wore two weeks ago and put a photo on your Instagram,” said customer, Jessica Bono age 22.

Despite not seeming attainable, that hasn’t stopped Australian retailers like Country Road cashing in on the movement.

The retailer offers a curated selection of high-quality clothing pieces from their ‘CR Capsule Wardrobe Range’ reaching up to $400 a piece.

But has the highly acclaimed Country Road missed the mark?

Photojournalist Maria from the blog Gold Zipper said, “from a business perspective it makes perfect sense…It completely goes against what a capsule wardrobe should be, it should be very specific to you, to your personal style, to what you do every day”.

Maria Lee, who started her capsule wardrobe in 2014, fell in love with the idea as it was an opportunity to do something different and create something interesting.

This capsule wardrobe blogger stresses that each wardrobe should be curated to your own personal style, where there are three main components. The first being to have a defined style, to have a dedication to finding quality pieces and finally a dedication to minimalism where the individual must maintain their wardrobe so there is no excess.

“Nothing is more frustrating than finding something to wear,” said Maria.

Figure 3: Maria Lee. Gold Permission Granted.

As well as the beneficial impact the capsule wardrobe has on the lifestyle of its devotees, it underpins the seriousness of the current state of the fashion industry in regards to waste and its impact on the environment.

The five year anniversary of the Rana Plaza fires in Bangladesh which saw the destruction of five garment factories reminds the fashion industry of the progress the industry still needs to make in assuring that their workers are treated ethically.

“It’s a huge problem, there is a huge production of clothing that just isn’t flattering and when you’re done with it, no one wants it,” said Maria.

The cost of fast fashion to the environment is huge. The promise to replicate the styles and trends of high-end clothes for a significantly discounted price is almost too good to be true. Instead, water pollution, toxic chemical use and textile waste is the reality and is the price our environment is having to pay.

The most important consideration though for the ordinary consumer is the financial expense.

“What I can afford and what I like are two different things. I want quality,” said Jessica Bono.

Figure 4: Maria Lee. Gold Permission Granted.

This is an all too common reality for customers and despite the high costs, photojournalist Maria Lee says that to invest in a few select pieces of quality is worth the expense because if chosen correctly, that item will last you a lifetime.

“I do think it is worth it, to spend a lot more money on certain pieces,” said Maria.

The capsule wardrobe in the perfect world is one we want, however, in reality, time, cost, and commitment makes this unrealistic and a blogger’s dream. Perhaps it’s best left behind the screen?



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