My Capsule Wardrobe- Singapore Edition

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As I always say, wardrobe has been the easiest and fastest field of minimalism for me. I can push top 5 if there was a list of the most disorganized people in the world (even after all that decluttering).

Regardless, the wardrobe is the tidiest place in my home, thanks to capsule wardrobe.

When I started decluttering, I said goodbye to bags of clothes. I had been hanging on to clothes from college years. I realized in my first round of declutter that I had a hard time saying goodbye to branded goods, like a Mango sweater that was beyond wear and tear. You can read about my first decluttering adventure here.

What I learned from having a capsule wardrobe?

I always wanted to make a visual layout of my wardrobe, and I said now is the right time. It took some time, but it’s totally worth it. Here’s why.

This layout serves as a visual memory tool for me to see how my style changes over the years. I was shopping with a friend one day, and she pointed out that I like soft, natural colors. I said yes, but I was saying, no, I like vivid colors! inside. Because I was still stuck in my college years and early twenties. I used to wear vivid greens, pinks, reds, purples. And what’s more, I really liked having different colors on.

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this is me in 2010, last year of college. I loved my copper hair, matched it up with green top, pink backpack, red nail polish and I was wearing my favorite sandals that day, in red!

Until a few years ago, I stuck to my jeans- tee style. The dress code was casual in the colleges I worked at, so I said to myself, I’ll always be a jeans and tee girl. When I moved to Singapore, because the dress code in schools here are somewhere between casual and smart (no jeans allowed), I had to adjust my style.

I always had a few dresses in my wardrobe but rarely wore them. Here I try to wear them as often as I can, because they are really airy and in humid Singapore, that really helps. But I struggle with the desire to ride a rented bike on my way home, which I can’t if I wear a dress that day. Biggest struggle ever 🙂

I also learned to LOVE the 3 linen shirts that I have. A bit harder to iron than tees but it gets easier if I iron them while they are still damp.

I bought 8 of the 30 items in Singapore: 2 shirts, 1 t-shirt, 1 dress, 2 pairs of pants, sandals and a backpack (an unused secondhand Anello for just 38 dollars, yum!). And I sold a pair of pants and my no-longer-used North Face backpack for 40 dollars. I really like secondhand shopping in Singapore, will probably write a separate blog post on it. Stay tuned!

As Singapore has a tropical climate, we have the same weather everyday, around 30C degrees, always humid. So no need for a seasonal wardrobe. I really like it on one hand, you don’t need to think about changing your wardrobe and preparing for winter. But I miss cooler weather and autumn on the other hand.

What do I have in my capsule wardrobe?

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Dresses: As I said, I started to wear my already existing dresses more. I was gaining and losing weight over the past months, so it is just easier to wear dresses. I pair them with sneakers or sandals, so they make me seem a bit smarter although I was wearing sneakers.

I had bought the black dress for a wedding ceremony but now I wear it to work too. It’s like my go-to dress for both work and fancy events. I now understand all the fuss about the little black dress!

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Tops:  The biggest change for me in this group is to move from tees to shirts. At least half and half. 🙂

In this year’s capsule I’ve got 3 tees. The black one is from Zara and the white one is from Esprit. Unfortunately both of them lost shape. Even the high quality t-shirts lose their shape and it is really disappointing. The pink one that my mom bought from a local store has proved to be much more durable, which is really very interesting.

I’m recently having a love affair with linen. It’s comfy, it’s both fancy and playful, it’s sustainable, it lasts for a lifetime. What else could a girl ask for? 3 of the shirts are linen, and I cannot get enough of them.

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Pants: I haven’t realized I have six pair of pants until I decided to make this layout. I certainly don’t need this much, but because of this losing-gaining weight thing, if one fits, the other doesn’t. So I can’t say goodbye to any of these yet.

2 of these are blue jeans, which honestly I haven’t worn 6 times in the last 6 months. In Turkey, jeans are usually okay in summers, but in Singapore, hell no. It simply was a bad choice to bring jeans here, but as they are high quality, they stay.

The Uniqlo culotte pants are my favorite bottoms in this wardrobe, I wear them all the time when I’m not working. The other three are work pants, which honestly is enough.

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Shoes: All of the shoes I own except black sandals are at least 2 years old. When I started working in Singapore, I bought some flats but they ruined my soles, so I sold the expensive one and just threw away the cheap one, it went in to a terrible state in four months (never buying cheap shoes again!). Back to sneakers!

The Singaporean teachers I work with sometimes tease me when they see I come to work in sneakers: “Are you going jogging afterwards?” “Your shoes look comfy!” I get the sarcasm, but I don’t mind. 🙂 pelo gardrob aksesuarlar

Accessories:  I’ve got a backpack, a  shoulder bag and a sling bag. The Anello backpack, which I bought secondhand, is everything I ask for. It’s spacey, it’s got tons of pockets (one for laptop too) and it’s waterproof, very important in Singapore’s rainy weather.

My shoulder is really special for me because I designed it myself. It’s quite plain, but the dimensions and the inner compartments are just perfect for me. My mother-in-law had it sewn by a leather bag tailor (I didn’t know it was a profession, a dying one, to be more precise). It’s one of the best gifts I ever got.

Watches: I love my watches! The first one is a vintage Swatch from 1997. This is one of the earliest gifts from my husband, I believe it was a new year present for 2014. I love the design and the quality. Every time I take this to a Swatch shop to change batteries, shop assistants are amazed and they want to take pictures with it. Little do they know he bought it for less than the brand new Swatches, which are deteriorating in quality.

The second one is a Fossil. I had been eyeing on this for some time, and I grabbed it in a sales two years ago. I recently conditioned it with coconut oil, and it really helped.

Jewelry: I’d already said goodbye to my big collection of jewelry items which are not gold or silver. I have here in Singapore two necklaces with me, but I never wore them. I’ll probably put them in a safe because they have sentimental value and I don’t want to sell them. But I can’t see myself wearing them often in near future.

What have I not included in this list?

Loungewear: 1 home dress, 2 tees, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 set of pajamas

2 pairs of shorts, as I want to sell these and buy a new one.

Training: 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of yoga pants, 1 tee

Verdict:

Preparing a list and an outlay  has been illuminating for me. I  got to understand my style better, and if I am to shop, it makes me understand what I do and don’t need.

It definitely is not the best wardrobe out there, but it reflects Pelin in 2018 perfectly. I recommend it to you to try preparing a list or a visual of your wardrobe as well, I had a lot of fun preparing it!

p.s. As a person who learned how to use a computer in Windows 95, I was of course going to prepare this visual using Paint and Word. So forgive me about not-the-best picture quality. 😉

Decluttering Marathon Day 4: Bedroom / Azaltma Maratonu 4. Gün: Yatak Odası

Today I started to declutter the first part of the bedroom: clothes. Maybe because they’re usually recommended as the first party to declutter, I’ve always liked and been motivated by decluttering clothes. I started by throwing -nearly- all clothes on the bed. I chose not to tackle socks, pajamas and so on today.

Bugün yatak odasının ilk kısmını, kıyafetleri azalttım. Belki de minimalizmle ilgili kitaplarda hep ilk bölümde kıyafetler olduğundan, çok sevmişimdir bu kıyafetleri azaltma işini. Neredeyse tüm kıyafetleri yatağın üzerine atarak başladım; bugün çorap çekmecelerini ve pijamaları ellemedim.

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I checked every single one of them, wore if I wasn’t sure, and came up with a box of clothes to reuse or donate. I decluttered two coats, one sweater, one skirt, one belt, one t-shirt, and my husband tossed in there one sweater as well! They were all really worn out. There were a few formal clothes that I wasn’t sure of, but they escaped the craze for now. 🙂

Hepsini teker teker kontrol ettim, emin olmadıklarımı tekrar denedim, ve bir sepet kıyafet bağışlamak ya da dikiş projelerimde kullanmak üzere ayrıldı. İki monta, bir eteğe, bir kazağa, bir tişörte, bir kemere ve bir çantaya veda ettim. Bunların hepsi epey aşınmışlardı.   Eşim de geçerken içine abisinden kalan ama giymediği bir ceketi attı! Emin olmadığım birkaç parça var, resmi kıyafetler gibi, ama bu sefer de gazabımdan kurtuldular. 🙂

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after organizing

For me the most fun part is folding clothes and organizing them. (To see how I organize using the Konmari method, check this post.)  Seeing a lot of space left relaxed me and I saw that I am slowly acquiring a taste. If you ask me, I wouldn’t say pink is my favourite color but check my wardrobe, and you can find all tints of pink. Even this summer I made two purchases, one sweater and one shirt- both in pink! Maybe this is what the industry is imposing on us, I don’t know.

Tomorrow I’ll continue decluttering the bedroom, now focusing on linen and towels.

Click here to see the other posts under Decluttering Marathon.

Benim için bu işin en eğlenceli yanı giysileri katlayıp yeniden düzenlemek. (Daha önce bu yazımda Konmari metodu ile nasıl katladığımı anlatmıştım) Çekmecelerin böyle boş kaldığını görmek beni de ferahlattı, bir de yavaş yavaş zevkimin oturmaya başladığını görüyorum artık. Sorsanız en sevdiğim rengi, pembe ilk aklıma gelen olmaz ama şu dolaba bakarsanız pembenin her tonu mevcut. Hatta bu yaz bir triko kazakla bir gömlek aldım, onlar da pembe renkte! Belki de giyim endüstrisi bizi sürekli pembelere itiyordur, bilemiyorum.

Yarın yatak odasına devam, bu sefer nevresim ve havlulara bakacağım.

Diğer Azaltma Maratonu yazılarım için tıklayınız.

Style Matters (but not the size of your wardrobe)

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I really can’t say I’ve found my style yet, a style that I can keep for years. Or rather, I’m denying my jeans & basic t-shirt style and hoping that I’ll come up with something chic (or I’ll be a cool grandma who’s still wearing jeans and a star wars t-shirt). Meanwhile, I adore people with style, people who follow a timeless fashion.

In an earlier post, I talked about fashion designers like Micheal Kors and Vera Wang, who stick with black in their wardrobe. Today I’d like to turn to Royal Family and the “repeaters” that I like a lot!

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Princess Anne, the only daughter of the Queen is definitely my favourite, she likes wearing the same outfits with small changes again and again, and here is one outfit that I love. She first wore this marvelous lavender coat with a matching hat in 1979, and has worn it to several occasions since. Her outfits are probably made from the finest material and with great design and tailoring involved, why waste them, right? This coat is definitely timeless fashion. If you want to see her other outfits that she’s wearing again and again, you can check this newspaper article out.

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Princess Kate also follows Anne’s footsteps, and she’s getting lots of attention for it, like everything she does. I remember how the media blamed Kate  for wearing skinny jeans! (I thought she looks great in them too.) She is on the newspaper no matter what she does, so if she chooses to do nice things everyone knows about it. I’m not British, but maybe because I teach English for a living, I’ve always thought the Royal Family is a huge influence on today’s society. They are big role models, along with superstars and scientists and politicians. So I really appreciate these two princesses’ styles and hope we can learn from them. Being thrifty and frugal is not only for the commoners! 😀

Living with Few(er) Clothes

Minimalism and simple living really excite me because I might be the most domestic person on earth and just like Franz Kafka saw his room as an extension of his body and would not move out if he had unlimited supply of food, I see my home as an extension of my existence.

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But being a messy person since my childhood (Mr. Messy Man will get my feelings), I’ve always found myself in the middle of a mess, no matter what I do. But finally I’ve realized, I don’t need any of the mess. If there wasn’t so much stuff around, why would mess happen? But is it easy to get rid of items you’ve been clinging to for all these years? Of course not.

Starting with clothes seemed like the appropriate idea and what Kondo suggested, too. And after a little research I’ve found out many movements that motivates you to declutter your closet. 10 item closet, project 333, capsule wardrobe are all very comprehensible and motivating, and seem to have a common purpose: To have a wardrobe that fits your style, and you can mix&match. To start the day without even asking yourself what to wear today. To realize what suits you best and don’t let the other clothes gather dust in your closet.

Crazy as it seems, many famous people actually do have a capsule wardrobe. When there is much to do, why would you spend money, and more importantly, time for choosing clothes? Einstein, for example, wore only a grey suit, while Obama doesn’t have suits other than in grey or blue. Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg are other popular examples. Okay, these are geniuses so they are not subject to the rules of the society, let’s say.

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What strikes me are the examples of Micheal Kors and Vera Wang, who are leading fashion designers, but have a very limited wardrobe (99.9% in black). They lead the fashion but not interested in it.

So, how to live with fewer clothes?

Step 1: Think about your style.

Unfortunately, more difficult for women simply because there are more alternatives.

But not that difficult.

Simply think about your lifestyle and what you wear most. Looking at your laundry bag might also help.

Don’t think about the image of yourself quite chic, revolving heads and alike. Think about your now. I, for example, really liked going to shops and try out dresses and buy them. I ended up with many dresses that I never wore. It wasn’t buying the dress that I did, it was buying the dream. And the dream stayed in my wardrobe so long that it became dusty and forgotten.

My everyday style consists of sneakers, a pair of jeans and a t-shirt/blouse. Even in winter  just add a cardigan. This is what I find most comfort in. Even if I plan to wear a dress or a skirt to work, I never find the motivation to iron the piece or find the matching (and not torn) stockings to go with it. What a torture! That’s why I really like the style of thetinytwig because this is just my style. An example:

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After finding your style:

Step 2. Discard everything unnecessary and you don’t like.

As painful as it sounds, believe me it gets very enjoyable after a certain point. You will like to get smaller and smaller every passing day.

What you need to do first is walk around the house, gather every wearable item and put them on your bed and/or carpet. Even when I was taking some clothes from the closet, I knew they were going. They were so desperate. Anyway, I came up with a few simple criteria:

i. Every item that doesn’t fit me GOES. No item will wait for me to gain or lose weight.

ii. Every item that is beyond repair also GOES. Even if it has sentimental value. No exceptions.

iii.  Every item that doesn’t fit my current style GOES, too. When I started to work I had to wear formal pants and jackets but now I don’t have to. I could if I wanted, but I never really feel like wearing formal clothes. So why keep them? Those formal clothes are very bulky, too. They take up a lot of your wardrobe space.

Kondo suggests going over your clothes all at once, but I managed to cover my whole wardrobe in a matter of two months. The reason it took so long was I wasn’t sure about some items in my third criteria and I clung to them. At the end I saw that they were no use to me, I didn’t love them at all and I got rid of them. Yet some items were ridiculously easy, and I wondered why the hell I carried them for all these years that I moved from city to city.

At the end I guess I got rid of 100+ items of clothing. This was over a year ago and I never missed them. The ones that were beyond repair became rags. Some good ones (or so I thought) I took some twenty of them to my sister, who was also amazed how I kept moving these clothes that I never loved for all these years. My shopping guru sister took only 2 or 3 pieces I guess.  I donated the others that are in good condition to a local charity.

Now that we are left with only clothes we love,

Step 3. Have an organized wardrobe.

Marie Kondo just rocks here as well. She explains so vividly and functionally how a wardrobe should be organized. She basically suggests folding everything that can be folded and hang the others so they rise from left to right:

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Last but not least,

Step 4. Shop less and shop mindfully and intentionally

 

This has to be a life style. I used to be an impulsive shopper, going to the shops, trying out the first thing I like and buying it. No more.

I learnt a lot about this from my husband and mother-in-law. She just says, for example, I am going to buy a trench coat. She decides on the model, and goes to the shops with that in mind. I used to go shopping for a trench coat and come back with a pair of shoes, a pair of jeans and a jacket, saying “I couldn’t find a trench coat again”.

Now I’ve learnt to set up some objectives at the beginning of a season. If I need sandals, let’s say, I only go to places where I might find it. So I spend less time in shopping centers and less money as well.

To conclude, I feel a great relief after saying goodbye to more than half of my clothes (I haven’t missed a single piece for over a year). I don’t have to have a seasonal wardrobe, I can see all my clothes once I open my closet. My end objective is to live with 20-30 items that I LOVE, never experience “don’t know what to wear” feeling again and use the remaining time and energy to what really matters to me.