How A Capsule Wardrobe & An App Helped My Anxiety Big Time


IN THIS ARTICLE:
I, a pathological clothes collector, got rid of 90% of
my wardrobe and it was the best anti-anxiety decision ever;
the ah-mazing wardrobe organizer app that helped me;
I admit that it’s not for everyone


I love clothes. Let me repeat that for emphasis. I lu-hu-hu-HUUUUUV clothes.

Not sure how to say that in a way that sufficiently conveys my deep, emotional connection to those glorious pieces of fabric joined together to protect our bodies from the elements.

Still, the affection I had for my garments (many of them I constructed myself) did not stop me — approximately 8 months ago — from donating 14 large moving boxes full of them to the Goodwill. Percentage-wise, that was about 90% of my wardrobe, and I’m still not finished paring down. If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be doing such a thing, I’d have scoffed.

I really wish I’d taken photos of my previous wardrobe, in all its vintage, bohemian, hand-sewn, print-heavy glory, so you could have an actual “before” photo. I wasn’t blogging at the time, so I had no reason to snap photos of my closet. Instead, I’m going to use this photo I found on Pinterest because it comes pretty close to the type (and volume) of clothes my closet contained.

Something like my old wardrobe - eclectic (mostly bohemian), print-heavy, every color in the rainbow. (Image credit: apartmenttherapy.com)

Something like my old wardrobe – vintage, bohemian, and print-heavy AF (Image credit: Apartment Therapy via Pinterest)

And why did I give away my meticulously curated and hand-sewn wardrobe? Because it finally dawned on me that having all of those clothes was contributing to my anxiety in multiple ways.

Here are the top two:

  • Too much choice in general paralyzes me. (Seriously. Don’t take me to a restaurant with more than 10 items on the menu.) This stresses me out when searching my closet for an outfit as well as when shopping for outfits.
  • The constant pressure I put myself under to put together  “effortless,” (shyeah right) eclectic outfits to wear to work because I’d somehow developed a reputation for wearing effortless, eclectic outfits…and then my whole identity and (fragile) sense of self worth got mixed up in it. (Pathetic. I know.)

Everything, even the act of putting together outfits from a wardrobe of clothing that I genuinely loved became freakish and daunting through the distorted lens of anxiety. Daunting? Cute outfits? Kind of ashamed to admit it but, yep. Cute outfits.

THE PROBLEM, SUMMARIZED

At its worst, my social anxiety causes me to assume that people will not only judge me, but will inevitably judge me poorly. Therefore, I tend to obsess over making the best impression (superhumanly) possible. But as a socially awkward dork (j/k…sort of) who either clams up entirely or is a jibber-jabbering, walking faux pas, I rely heavily on clothing to make a better impression than my social skills can — especially because it seems (I think?) to have worked pretty well in the past. So putting together outfits to take on that hefty job stresses me the f**k out — and once I’m out of the house, 9 times out of ten I feel like I’ve made the wrong choice.

So, as difficult as it was, I chopped my wardrobe down to a few basic essentials. Not only did I severely limit the amount of clothes, accessories, and shoes I owned, I also limited my colors and patterns. I picked colors that I KNEW looked great on me, classic cuts that flattered me (and that I felt great wearing), and pieces that were all mixable and matchable. Thank goodness that KonMari and the whole capsule wardrobe thing has been spreading across blogs and Pinterest boards like wildfire in recent years, so there were plenty of resources at my fingertips to help me prepare for the big dump.

When I was commuting 3+ hours a day to the office (and was so busy there that I didn’t take lunch breaks for months at a time) and spent weekends doing un-fun household chores and cooking for the entire week because of my many diet restrictions, this new limited choice wardrobe made my life SO. MUCH. SIMPLER.

And now that I work from home (and hardly ever leave it), I’ve still happily kept it up. Who knows if I’ll do it forever, but as of yet, I’ve had no desire to go back to my pre-capsule days. At the moment, it saves me time, it saves me money, and it saves me from undue stress and anxiety. Why would I quit?

A Few Outfits From My Current Simplified Wardrobe

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My Limited Colors

  • Black, White, and Gray (all essentially the same color in varying shades, right?)
  • Shades of brown (earth tones)
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Yellow

My Limited Patterns

  • Stripes
  • Gingham
  • Plaid

Limited, but I’ve yet to exhaust my mixing and matching opportunities .

I Still (Very Much) Enjoy Colors & Prints

I just express that side of my personality in my decor, housewares, linens, and art. So I still get to see and enjoy them on a daily basis — I just don’t wear them. And I don’t really look at myself much anyway, so it totally works out.

colorful-plates

Nope. Not in short supply of colors, prints, and general whimsy in my household.

A Capsule Wardrobe Ain’t For Everyone

I’m certainly not universally advocating a limited, minimalist, or capsule wardrobe for everyone. If my closet full of eclectic clothing brought me joy and nothing but joy, I’d still have it. The fact is, it didn’t — not by a long shot. But if you foresee that reducing your wardrobe will bring you more pain than anything else, then don’t do it. I understand that most people enjoy expressing their inner selves through clothing — which is definitely the way it should be. For me, it wasn’t so simple.

Even so, I still think you should look into getting Stylebook because I really believe it can benefit anyone.

Check Out the Stylebook App!

Schedule outfits in a calendar planner.

All of the outfit images in this post were made using a pretty amazing app called Stylebook. I found this app indispensable when figuring out exactly what I owned (much more than I thought) and how many pieces of clothing I truly needed for a workable wardrobe (much less than I thought).

What you do is add photos of all your wardrobe items (you can either take actual pictures of your clothes, or find the product images online). But cataloging your clothes and putting together outfits is just a small fraction of the things you can do with this app. Seriously, check it out.

Capsule Wardrobe Resources

And because there are so many terrific resources out there for who want to downsize their wardrobe but don’t know where to start, I won’t write anything about that as there’s really nothing more I can add. Here are good places to start:

 

Turn a Tube Sock Into a Microwaveable Scented Heat Pack (Video)

tube-sock-heat-pack-edited

Anxious much? Let this heat pack enfold you in its toasty, rice-weighted, aromatherapy embrace. There there, now. It’ll be ok.


IN THIS ARTICLE:
Heat packs soothe both body and mind; pssst, there’s
an even easier way to make it*


Ah the microwaveable scented heat pack. Humble as it is, I’d put it on a very short list of luxuries that cost next to nothing. But what if you don’t have sore muscles? Doesn’t matter. All you need are muscles.  You’ve got muscles, right? And daily emotional stressors too, I’m guessing? Well, you’ll benefit from this, trust me — especially on a chilly evening. Just nuke it, drape it round your neck and shoulders, light some candles, and succumb to your handmade heatpack’s warm embrace. Continue reading

Easy DIY Weaving Loom Video Tutorial

DIY weaving loom by The Incurable Homebody

A DIY loom that’ll have you up and weaving in no time (Image: Maya Marin | ehow)


IN THIS ARTICLE:
why weaving is good for the anxious soul,
making your first weaving loom


As the anxious sort, I’m well aware that I should start meditating. Everyone tells me so — friends, acquaintances, wellness experts, my mother. And I want to — oh how I want to. It’s just so freaking HARD. Can’t even begin to count the number of times I jumped on (then promptly fell off) the meditation wagon. I’ve got the meditation audiobooks, I subscribe to meditation podcasts, I’ve got no shortage of guided meditations loaded on my iPhone. Yet, have I been able to keep it up for more than 3 days at a time? (*Head hung in shame*) Continue reading

navajo-inspired cardigan

And here’s another project I finished a while ago but neglected to blog. Inspiration came from Free People’s Navajo Cardigan (currently unavailable). Alright, it was a bit more than inspiration, it was downright thievery as I closely copied the stunning design, even down to the colorway. Continue reading

Handmade Christmas Gifts & Some Big News

Little Bailey in her teddy bear hat, courtesy of Auntie Homebody.

The jury is in and I’m guilty of being the world’s laziest blogger. I’ve been happily unemployed and crafting…and not updating my blog. Without an excuse in the world. Anyway, I’ve got a few handmade Christmas gifts to report, which I shall do. Continue reading

fabric appliques + old boots = new boots!

First, a Facebook friend posted this…and then I remembered seeing this…and so I did this…


…using some leftover outdoor fabric I used for bistro chair cushions a few months back. These old faux leather boots had been sitting in the back of my closet unworn for over a year, as I have too many brown pairs of boots  to keep track of. After today, no longer shall these be lost in the crowd! I simply cut out some pretty floral motifs from my fabric, coated the backs with Fabric Mod Podge (paying close attention to the edges), and applied them to the boots. I’m currently waiting for them to dry so I can seal the appliques with more Mod Podge. Before I actually wear them out, I plan to treat them with a couple more coats of Outdoor Modge Podge (once I buy some, that is). Now I’m off to see if I’ve got any more footwear needing a makeover!

yes, it’s been far too long…

…since I’ve posted or have even visited my favorite sewing blogs. Oh, the crafting withdrawals! So what’s been stealing my attention? Well, a few things really…

First, I’ve been writing/recording/rehearsing with my new band, then work got a bit distracting, and finally, a medical scare struck our otherwise serene household. It’s a long story involving a frantic 911 call and an ambulance ride to the ER. I won’t regale you with details (and my hubby probably wouldn’t want me discussing it here!) but please be assured that everyone is now safe and sound.

Anyway, there was something about this episode that made me want to take a break from my projects — to slow down, smell the proverbial flowers, count my many blessings and all that jazz. Of course this meant spending lots of quiet time with Dane, the kitties, myself and of course, a load of good books!

Some of my reads over the past couple months:

And I haven’t completely neglected my sewing machine! I did find the time to whip up a cheerful fabric bookmarker…

…as well as couple of fast and easy dresses, but I’ll save them for my next post!

i’ve been tagged

I’ve been tagged by oona to carry on this little book “meme.” Now, the stickler in me questions whether this is technically a meme, but since it’s to do with books, I’m game! Here are the directions:

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

The book nearest me is The Transcendence of the Ego by Jean Paul Satre, which doesn’t even have 123 pages… So, I must go with the book second nearest me which is The Concord Quartet by Samuel Schreiner Jr. — a work of non-fiction about four figures from the American intellectual renaissance of the 1830s: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Bronson Alcott and Nathaniel Hawthorne. I’d read it a while ago, but pulled it from my shelf recently because I wanted to write a song in commemoration of these literary/philosophical figures of yesteryear. Yes, I’m fully aware of how geeky this sounds. Anyhow, here are the sentences from page 123:

Although it was not to Emerson’s taste, Hawthorne’s writing revealed him to be a keen observer, but his personal convictions about the events and characters that he rendered so vividly into fiction remained a mystery, as they did in social conversation. The man was almost pathologically shy. With their interest in children and their own brood to amuse, the Emersons staged outdoor entertainment for children of the neighborhood in good weather.

Sorry it wasn’t something jucier.

Alright, I tag Jed, Jill, Liesl, Cici and Davina.