Hi ladies! Melissa here. I wanted to jump on today and share a little bit of my own journey into a cultivated wardrobe, and also a bit of honest reflection on where I am (and am not) succeeding at this whole endeavor!
Most of you probably don’t know that I was actually born and raised in Kenya. I moved to the U.S. a few days before my 17th birthday to attend my senior year of high school and do all my preparatory tests for college. Over the last almost two decades I have had the honor of traveling the world (14 countries on 5 continents and 25+ trips). My childhood and subsequent travel have deeply shaped who I am as a person and my desire to be a part of good in the world. Many of my trips were deeply and personally impactful, but were centered on a framework of charity.
Just over two years ago, my husband and I began a journey that began shifting our focus away from charity work and towards community-centered work that would bring us alongside of others. I began working with a fair-trade organization as an advocate and my husband began working on a master’s degree that led us into a whole lot of questions about how we could be a part of creating a more just and equitable world – and how we could move away from some of our old perspectives on engagement in hard places.
The challenge, of course, with these kinds of conversations is that they inevitably lead to your bank account. Real change always leads to a reallocation of resources. As we began to explore fair-trade and ethical purchasing, we realized that this was a small but impactful way that we could direct our resources to reflect our values. Fashion is one of the industries most infamous for it’s use of forced workers, child laborers and low wages with terrible working conditions.
Moving into fair-trade and ethical purchasing for our clothes, however, also meant that we had to rethink our budget. Gone were the days of throwing a t-shirt in the shopping cart for a few dollars during a store run. As we began to explore fair-trade fashion, we quickly realized that we needed a new way to think about our wardrobes.
Enter the capsule.
About a year ago, I stumbled on the idea of a capsule wardrobe; a small, curated collection of easily combined pieces. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent pouring over capsule wardrobes on Pinterest, but suffice it to say I walked away convinced that this was how I was going to be able to reconcile my passion for ethical clothing with a budget. Not only that, but I loved the idea of liking and wearing everything in my closet!
I spent the fall of 2016 cleaning out and organizing and mixing and matching what I had. I did the same thing again this spring. As I head into my second fall of a capsule wardrobe, I have learned a few things about the process – not least is how long it actually takes! I have learned about rush purchases, about how little I know about the colors that I like and look good on me, and how building off of someone else’s capsule wardrobe can be helpful, but it also overwhelming. About how few clothes I like that are made for my shape.
I am still learning and growing into my cultivated closet, and I am excited to have you on the journey with me. Do you have a capsule wardrobe or wanting to try? Let me know how it's going!