The 21 Day Challenge: The Capsule Wardrobe

In my apartment, I have a 9-foot-long pole on which all of my clothes are jammed up together.

No. Wait, let me rephrase that.

If I were to pile on all of my clothes next to my boyfriend, it would be three feet taller than him. That’s a lot of clothes, right?

Nevertheless, there are still mornings (*cough*, like EVERY morning) on which I hear myself saying the good old ‘I’ve got nothing to wear!!!’. That desperate state is usually followed by a try-on session worthy of the Olympics: put on, layer, hesitate, take it all off, throw everything on the floor, put on again, sweat, notice a stain, get impatient, take it off, finally pick a jeans + t-shirt combo, run to catch my bus because I’m late (obviously). Repeat the following morning.

The thing is I often end up wearing the same clothes, so why go through all that trouble every day? And what if… I tried to simplify my wardrobe to the bare minimum? That increasingly popular philosophy, which goes by the name of ‘capsule wardrobe’, is all about downsizing your closet to a specific number of keys items that can easily be mixed and matched together. The goal? Save time, energy, space and money. I don’t know about you, but it sounds like a pretty win-win situation to me.

From Donna Karan’s Seven Easy Pieces in 1985 to Steve Jobs’ classic turtleneck and blue jeans attire, the capsule wardrobe has proven its efficiency times and times again. Some researchers even believe that having a go-to ‘uniform’ prevents decisional fatigue, a theory that some of the most influential figues stand by, from Zuckerberg to Obama. In other words, by spending less time on second-tiered matters (like, does my skirt go with my shoes?), we’d have more energy for high-priority stuff.

When La Parisienne asked me if I wanted to partake in the Défi 21 jours (21 Day Challenge) — the #defi21jourslaparisienne consists of wearing only 10 pieces of clothing for 21 days in a row, that doesn’t include shoes, jewelry, handbags and all other accessories — I figured it was time to give a try to something I had been wanting to do for a while.

How to create your capsule wardrobe

Let’s be upfront here: picking 10 pieces of clothing wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I work from home, but I also have a pretty busy social schedule. How to choose the right ratio of jeans vs. dresses? How to make sure I won’t be tired of my wardrobe three days after starting the challegne?

After a looot of thinking, here are the four factors I kept in mind while doing my selection:

1. Layering forever and ever

In order to create visual variety, the pieces must be easy to layer. A shirt under a dress, two vests on top of another, a dress worn as a tunique over pants, you get the drill.

2. A coordinated colour palette

No, a capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to be all black, white and grey. You just have to make sure all the colours go together. For my part, I decided to pick a few accent colours (dark green, blue and burnt orange) to go with more neutral hues.

3. Comfort, comfort, and more comfort

Knowing that I will be living exclusively in those 10 items for 21 days, I left the itchy wool sweater and the pants I can’t breath in aside. Hello oversized dress and super soft sweater!

4. In tune with my lifestyle

I work from home in an industry that is extremely permissive style-wise. For instance, I could go to a meeting wearing ripped jeans and the only comment I would risk getting would be a compliment. In other words, I don’t need two suits and a bunch of cocktail dresses! In my case, two jeans, a t-shirt, a sweater and other everyday pieces sound way more realistic.

Want to know which pieces made the cut? Watch the video below! (I know it’s in French, but you can skip to 1:04 to see which clothes I picked.)

Like I mention in the video, I will do the 21 Day Challenge (#defi21jourslaparisienne) from September 11th to October 1st. To be part of my style adventure, make sure to follow me on Instagram @veryjoelle — I will publish my daily looks in my stories — and on my Facebook page for a bunch of advice for both men and women.

And you know what would be even cooler? If you’d participate in the challenge. Why? Because by doing the 21 Day Challenge you could win a trip to the capital of minimalism… Scandinavia!!! As someone who was there last fall, I can assure you that it’s a prize YOU WANT to win. To participate and learn about the contest’s details, see you on Radio-Canada’s website, riiight here! #rcconcours

Good luck everybody!

*This blog post is sponsored by La Parisienne, but all opinions are mine.

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