- Part 1: Guide to building a Hybrid Wardrobe
- Step 1: Lifestyle assessment
- Step 2: Fashion Dopamine Fasting
- Step 3: Embrace a Capsule Wardrobe
- Step 4: Embrace the Shared Cloud Wardrobe
INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
Impermanence, noun the state or fact of lasting for only a limited period of time. I understood the meaning of this word during my mindfulness journey in 2020. Nothing stays the same: nature, animals and people around us are always changing. Therefore, we need to evolve, adapt and change in order to survive.
From a fashion-based perspective, a lot has changed in the last 15 years. Back in 2004, at the age of 10, when I picked up my first ever copy of a fashion magazine, the way fashion (clothing) was developed, communicated and consumed was very different. Creativity and making the average woman stand out from the crowd was an essential back in 2004. However, by the time I entered a fashion college in 2012 to learn fashion technology in my bachelor’s, the game had changed from magazines to social media. I used to get very annoyed when they would write about early digital influencers in the pages of Vogue and Bazaar with pictures of posts from Instagram as well as the rise of fast fashion, making these creative styles becoming more accessible for the masses.
In 2021, we are experiencing the peak of Fast Fashion (hopefully), and I am glad to see society waking up and changing the way we shop for fashion. Renting, Leasing, Vintage, thrifting, swapping, and many new ways are becoming popular methods to shop in all budgets.
The point I want to raise with this journal is: how can we do more with less when the world and our needs are always changing? For example, when in 2050, the global population will be close to 10 billion people, and climate change will lead to extreme droughts and flooding; how will we find land to grow both food and clothes? Wait, we are already making about 65% of our clothes with synthetic materials (majority virgin), therefore rephrasing – land to grow food and dump our disposable clothing for 10b people? Without raising both of our eco-anxiety levels, your and my lifestyle will change (or be forced to) ten fold by 2050. Therefore, I want to introduce you to the concept of the Hybrid wardrobes of our future.
I am sure you must have heard the concept of Minimalist Wardrobe & Capsule Wardrobe, but what is a Hybrid Wardrobe? In simpler terms, imagine the transportation industry in which we are already living in an efficient hybrid model without owning a car- at least in London, where I am.
If I need to get somewhere urgently and comfortably, I call an Uber. Comfortably and slowly – Uber Pool (pre-covid). Fast but economically – underground tubes. Slowly and economically – Bus. If you need to travel to another city – Train, flights, etc. If you’d like to have a car when you are traveling to a city with underdeveloped transportation – rent a car or a taxi. All in all, without compromising, my annual transportation bill is less than £2500, whereas owning a Tesla will cost at least £1000/m.
Similarly, I built Satatland on a similar hybrid model, understanding your need and bringing the freedom to shop based on how of often you repeat your outfit. Rent, Lease or Buy to save more than money. If you are interested in learning more about us, read here.
Surely, we can do the same with our clothing. If we combine both a Capsule Wardrobe and a shared Cloud Wardrobe (rentals/subscription), we will have a cost and planet effective Hybrid Wardrobe. And there are numerous mental health benefits to it which I have written down in part 2.
PART 1: Here is our guide on how to start building a future-hybrid wardrobe without compromise.
Step 1: Lifestyle Assessment
We will not add any product recommendations in this journal as we feel everyone’s body, preferences and lifestyle is different. You are your own best judge, so, sit down and look back at your lifestyle. How many times do you go out every week? How many times are you comfortable with repeating your outfits in a social setting? How big is your closet space? How many social groups are you a part of? Are your purchases more trend–focused or personal style–focused?
Analyse everything and then look into your closet
Step 2: Fashion Dopamine Fasting
Dopamine, a naturally occurring neurotransmitter in our body, plays a role in how we feel pleasure. The term Dopamine Fasting has very little to do with dopamine or fasting, so don’t take it literally, but it is a good cognitive behavioural therapy by which you can become less dominated by unhealthy stimuli.
Basically, stop shopping for rewards or instant gratification. Today, many of us go shopping when we need to cheer ourselves out of a bad mood. Hard day at work? Shopping! Not feeling very pretty today? Shopping! Frustrated with our family? Shopping! A Fashion dopamine fast is what it is.
This will help you reset your brain and help identify what is forced upon you by constant reminders on your phone to make your wardrobe overflow. For instance, you only need one dress to wear today, and you end up wasting 30 mins going through your closet and changing into 15 dresses in the process. Is this indecisiveness or too many options?
Continue on your fashion dopamine fast at least until you have analysed your lifestyle as per step 1. Take two – four months, or how much longer it takes. Since we are going to rewire years of shopping habits, yes, it will take time.
Step 3: Embrace a Capsule Wardrobe
A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothes and accessories that include only items considered essential. A Capsule Wardrobe is a practice of editing your wardrobe down to your favourite clothes (clothes that fit your lifestyle & body right now), remixing them regularly, and shopping less often and more intentionally. It encourages you to wear not the trendiest things, the most stylish things, or the perfect things BUT your favorite things
Step 4: Embrace the Shared Cloud Wardrobe
Shared Cloud Wardrobes or rentals/subscriptions. Now is a good time to embrace the option of having everything with the click of a button on your phone.
First let’s do some math. If you go out for special occasions (weddings, events, birthday, anniversary, etc.), you need something new and loud. You also won’t be able to repeat these outfits once you have been photographed. Say you have 12 such events in a year. A single designer dress will easily cost you £500+, and a total of 12 such dresses will cost £6000 annually.
However, if you rent each time, @£50/dress , it will be £600 annually. So where one dress costs you £500, £600 annually will give you 12 different options.
Luxury fashion speaks quality and creativity. It can make you look and feel different, and stand out from the crowd. If you expect the same experience from a £50 dress, where they made 10,000 such pieces, you are missing out. You can now easily rent an amazing dress for as low as £30 for a night and have the time of your life. As well as no washing and storing it later.
So, everything you do not need in your capsule wardrobe goes into your cloud wardrobe. Next time, do not say luxury fashion was out of your reach. As well as save time, money and space.
Part 2: Mental Health Benefits of a Hybrid Wardrobe
In October 2017, I visited The Burberry’s “Here we are’ Exhibition at the old session house in London. It was all things Burberry, but what caught my attention the most was this book, as I was flipping through its pages I came across this quote from 1991 that said “We keep buying things thinking ‘that’ll look better’ and it just doesn’t.”. This quote stuck by me as I was still discovering myself in the world of fashion, both as a next generation leader and as a consumer.
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Bhutan, a tiny nation situated between India and China measures their development in terms of how happy its citizens are through Gross National Happiness. Bhutan is a Buddhist nation, which is where most of its philosophies come from. Impermanence is at the centre of Buddhism, clinging to or wishing for goods constitutes desire and attachment, which are at the roots of all suffering.
Without being a Monk, Buddhist, or Bhutanese you can improve your happiness levels by living with less number of clothes in your physical wardrobes. Below are the mental health benefits of a Hybrid Wardrobe:
- Saves Time and Reduces Decision Fatigue: Since, in a capsule wardrobe You have less clothing to choose from, which actually makes getting dressed easier and faster. This will free your mind up for later choices—this will put you in a strong, energetic place to do so.
- You will become more creative: Having less clothes will make you creative by pushing you to pair pieces which you wouldn’t have before. Slowly you will start being more creative in different areas of life.
- You’ll save more than money: Once you evaluate your life, you will stop buying unnecessarily clothes during sales and dopamine rush. And when you have a special occasion to attend to you can spend money on the experience of wearing good quality designer fashion. This mindful spending & consuming habit will also help reduce the unnecessarily exploitation of our planet.
- You will feel self empowered: Knowing that you are dressing for your yourself, wearing what you actually picked is a bliss. Big part of self-empowerment is being able to make your own decisions.
Part 3: A Closer Look at Capsule Wardrobe
Why Capsule Wardrobe?
With a Capsule Wardrobe, you never feel as though you have ‘nothing to wear.’ It’s assuring to know you only own pieces that can be paired easily and always look chic. It’s also great for your wallet, to buy better and wear longer, as well as for the environment by breaking the wasteful chain of fast fashion habits.
What should you include in a Capsule Wardrobe?
A Capsule Wardrobe is a compact closet that includes basic pieces of clothing and accessories that match your personality and are versatile enough to be worn on a number of occasions.
The best pieces included in a Capsule Wardrobe are the kind that can be worn at work, during cocktail hour, and dressed down on the weekend. Streamlining your wardrobe streamlines your life.
The number can range from 20 to 50 or more depending on the personal style and lifestyle. Basic tees, classic jeans, versatile staple skirts, workout clothes, some jewellery, quintessential footwear, and bags could be a good starting point to build a summer capsule wardrobe. The key is to identify clothes which are your favourite.
How to create a capsule wardrobe?
Creating a versatile compact closet starts by the tedious and ‘non-glamourous’ task of decluttering your current wardrobe. The previous decade of fast fashion has changed our minds to constantly buy new trends and hoard the pieces we hardly ever wear. A good way to do it is by giving away the pieces you have not worn in months. Buying fewer pieces also gives you the liberty to spend more on good quality clothes than you could have for years. The focus should be on buying neutral colors that can mix and match well. Having a capsule wardrobe doesn’t necessarily mean you could not indulge in a few new pieces every once in a while.
Can you build a capsule wardrobe from what you already have?
It can be overwhelming to buy an entire mini wardrobe of versatile clothing items. Instead, a good way to understand your style and save some money is to pull some pieces out from your existing closet.
Capsule wardrobe vs Minimalist Wardrobe
Capsule wardrobes are a subsection of minimalist wardrobes.
Minimalism began as an art form in the 1960s and has since become a lifestyle. You can apply minimalism to any part of your life.
To make a capsule wardrobe, you limit how many items of clothing you buy each season and don’t purchase anything else. In its extremes, these closets have fewer than 10 items, including socks and shoes. Most capsule wardrobes have 30 items or less. As a result, capsule wardrobes require a lot of planning and determination.
Minimalist wardrobes are considered to be more flexible. There is no set number of items. For example, a minimalist closet could have 20 pieces or 200.
Written by Karishma Gupta, Founder, Satatland.
Contributions by Shivani Sneha.
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