3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

So recently I published a post about my move from Canada to the Netherlands. Since I was going to be staying in hotels for a month before moving into my new place, and I had a limited number of clothes that I could bring with me on the airplane, I decided to try out a capsule wardrobe. I knew that this would be temporary, but I didn’t know quite how long, as everything that I didn’t bring on the plane with me was being shipped over. Best case scenario it’d be a month, worst case scenario I would only get my shipment in December, so I had to plan out a summer to winter capsule wardrobe for a country that I had never even been to before.

And oh boy do I have a list of things that I wish I knew before starting it:

1. You really need to take any and all weather considerations into account

Because of my lack of knowledge of when my shipment would arrive, I had to pack a wardrobe that would work for all seasons in a climate that I had never experienced before.

In Canada I would experience the extreme weather fluctuations of over 30° C (86° F) and sticky humidity in the summer which would turn into -40° C (-40° F) in the winter, with air dry enough to give me a lot of nosebleeds when I was child. There was some wind, because I lived in a slightly rural area, which was nice and cooling during the summer but chilling during the winter.

In the Netherlands the temperature is a lot more moderate over the year (especially in the winter, which I’m really looking forward to because I am not built for the cold), and very windy. It also tends to be pretty rainy.

So that’s what I prepared my wardrobe for: a much more moderate climate with a lot of rain and wind. What I didn’t prepare for was the 2 weeks that I would be spending in downtown Ottawa before my flight. During the summer. In one of the hottest months of the year.

As I mentioned before, I used to live in a rural area, so I wasn’t used to being in a concrete jungle. And concrete gets hot. Plus all the buildings meant that on most days the air was quite stagnant, so that refreshing breeze of the countryside that I was used to was gone.

I had done a ton of research on the climate of the country I was moving to, but forgot to prepare for the couple of weeks when I’d be in the city, which led to a very uncomfortable and sticky experience whenever I left the hotel to pick up food or get groceries.

If you’re preparing a capsule wardrobe because you want to travel in the future, then remember to take into account the weather and temperature conditions that you’ll be experiencing in between your destination and the place you’re leaving from. I’m just glad that I planned out an airport outfit ahead of time!

2. You’re probably going to want more comfy clothing

I work from home. And before I started working from home, I was homeschooled. And yet, for some reason, I always think I’m going to be wearing slightly dressier clothing than I actually wear.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love wearing button up shirts (in fact button ups are probably the clothing piece I wear most often), and I love my dressier pants a lot, but I do wish I had packed some of what I consider to be my lazy day outfits. These are the outfits that aren’t the most flattering, but they’re just so cozy and perfect for when you only want to chill inside.

I’m fully vaccinated, so I was expecting to go out and about more but I forgot to take into account my extreme introverted nature. I get tired when going out, and I also could never fully relax because staying in a hotel just isn’t the same as staying in my home. And once I actually moved into my new place, I still didn’t feel like I could fully relax, because of the lack of furniture, tons of unpacked boxes, and just the weirdness of living in a city after spending almost my whole life in rural areas.

I was craving my lazy day outfits like a cat craves a sunny spot on a couch. So if you’re like me, make sure you include your comfy clothes in your capsule closet.

3. You’re going to be wearing the same 10 pieces over and over again

Wearing the same pieces over and over again when you have a capsule wardrobe, that seems obvious, right? Well, here’s the thing, since I knew I could have to go up to 6 months with a limited wardrobe, I planned for both warm weather and cold weather. I had a nice even mix of types of clothes so that I would be comfortable in the summer, fall, and winter, which led to me planning out around a 50 piece capsule wardrobe.

And yet, I still ended up just wearing about 1/5 of my wardrobe over and over and over again. Why? Because they were the pieces that I would cycle through the most before I planned my capsule wardrobe.

You see, I was too busy planning for the what ifs (what if I need to go somewhere fancy? what if I decide to apply for a job and I need to dress up for an interview? what if I still don’t have my clothes by December and I need a holiday outfit?) that I forgot to plan for the stuff that I actually wear every day.

Some of the stuff that I would wear every day is packed up in boxes and a lot of my capsule closet is stuff that I don’t normally wear except for very specific occasions or if I’m in a very specific outfit mood (side-eyeing my plaid skirt right now, which I only wear when I’m in an academia or preppy mood).

If you’re planning out a capsule closet, put a lot more priority on the clothes that you actually wear every day (or at least very frequently), and not the items that you only wear on special occasions.

And the funny thing is, I got my shipment on the day I moved in, and yet it’s been almost a month and I still haven’t unpacked my clothes yet. I had to order a wardrobe online (because I need a place to actually hang up and store my clothes) and it will only be arriving at the start of October, so until then I’m still just using my capsule closet.

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