How does a capsule wardrobe benefit your mental health?
A few months ago, I listened to an episode on decision fatigue over on Tim Ferriss’ podcast and it deeply resonated with me. Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by a person, after making a long series of them. So, in other words, what happens to you and me. Every single day.
Tim takes it one step further highlighting that making so many decisions in our daily lives not only makes us tired, but it saps our store of willpower. The more choices we make, the crappier they get. These days, when something as simple as picking out peanut butter requires a 12-step decision process, its no wonder that by the end of the day we find ourselves with no willpower to do anything other than binge watch old episodes of the X-Files on the couch (Oh, just me?). But really, ever been shopping for an hour or so and end up exhausted and somehow buying an armful of stuff you don’t need?? Decision fatigue.
Tim cited a study where the individuals in one group were asked to make a long series of decisions, then that group and another group (who weren’t asked to make any decisions) were given a simple willpower test of holding a hand in a bucket of ice water. The group that hadn’t had to make any decisions was able to hold a hand in the ice water twice as long as the group that had. I’m not sure I ever realized decision-making and willpower were connected. But it makes sense, right?
This got me thinking about what decisions I can personally eliminate to not only make my day easier and more productive, but to end up with more energy and willpower (for good decision-making) left at the end of the day. First of all, I’ve been planning my entire day the night before (especially my free time in the mornings when I tend to go “okay, what do I need to get done this morning?” *opens Instagram*), AND I’ve been reducing my wardrobe so I have less decisions to make about what I wear.
This is where it comes in handy to a capsule wardrobe. That is, a small, thoughtfully-curated wardrobe that includes a items that can be mixed and matched easily, creating a sort of basic uniform. Tim mentioned that Steve Jobs didn’t wear jeans and a black turtleneck every day just because the guy loved turtlenecks (who doesn't tho?), but because Jobs recognized that not having to make decisions about things like his outfit for the day quite literally saves precious mental energy. Genius. And so simple.
SO If you keep a simple, pared-down wardrobe with lots of versatile pieces, it cuts that much more time and energy out of the whole ordeal. I used to be a person with MANY “onesies”--those one weird random pieces that maybe I liked, but they didn’t go with anything else I owned, or they weren't really "me" so I never actually wore them out of the house. Get rid of those. Get rid of the things that don’t quite fit. You will forget that they don’t fit and put them on and have wasted time and effort. Get rid of the stuff that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, and for God’s sake, get rid of the stuff you just honestly don’t like! And then the key is to be very strategic about anything new you add to your wardrobe in the future.
I've recently reduced my wardrobe by about 75% and I already feel more way calm when I go into my closet, and less stressed about getting dressed and shopping for new stuff. (But sadly, it has not stopped me from watching X-Files re-runs.)
I've got more capsule wardrobe tips to share coming up. And of course, the first Vesta collection is designed to be as versatile and functional as possible so the pieces can be a true asset to your wardrobe. Stay tuned! In the meantime I'd recommend the Into-Mind blog and reading Zero Waste Home and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up as great places to start your adventure towards a smaller, more thoughtful wardrobe.
To your mental health!
[Photo: the Chalkboard Mag]