I, Gwendolyn Devine manager at Yobel Market, have been an avid clothes horse for as long as I can remember. At the age of five I would proudly sport my favorite forest green crossbody purse complete with compact mirror and chapstick and was always very opinionated about what I wore; the art of expressing myself through fashion has always been a part of who I am.
Unfortunately my love for fashion spiraled out of control as I entered adulthood. I became obsessed with shopping and purchased more and more to the point that every time I opened the door to my closet I would feel confused, overwhelmed and dissatisfied. This only fed to the vicious cycle of mindless spending that never seemed to end.
It wasn't until I worked for Yobel Market that I was able to pull myself out of the rabbit hole. It’s easy to spend mindlessly on cheap items that you rarely wear -- until you take into consideration the hands that make them.
Learning our partners’ stories and educating myself on the fashion industry along with what really goes into producing the clothing and accessories at some of my favorite fast fashion stores such as:
Lack of rights within the clothing industry does not apply solely to workers toiling in developing world factories, but to those who find themselves within the thousands of sweatshops here in our own nation as well - purchasing U.S.A. made doesn’t necessarily guarantee ethical production.
Having my eyes opened to the plight of others broke broke my heart and I knew that I needed to make a change...which led to my capsule wardrobe.
The concept of capsulling was founded by Susie Faux in the 70’s and consists of a small wardrobe of a few simple interchangeable items and has evolved into movements like Project 333: A minimalist fashion challenge where you dress with 33 items or less for 3 months.
In order to have a responsible wardrobe I knew I needed to get rid of all the items that were wasting space in my closet and was instantly intrigued by capsuling
As I did my research I soon became overwhelmed and discouraged. Most of the capsulling concepts depend on very simple pieces of clothing and I have always been drawn to unique prints and patterns.
Instead of giving up I decided to pick and choose concepts I liked and created my own capsule concept with less rules, allowing for my unique sense of style. Here are the techniques I used:
Step 1: Completely empty your closet and lay everything out on your bed.
Step 2: Organize your clothing by seasons and categories. For example jeans, blouses, dresses etc. The goal is to narrow each category down to only a few items. It is much better to have 3 high quality pairs of jeans with different washes that fit just right than 10 inexpensive pairs that are all similar and will fall apart after a season.
Step 3. Try on everything and decide whether to keep or donate each article of clothing. Look in the mirror and ask yourself if this is something you truly feel confident and comfortable in -- and can see yourself wearing over and over!
Step 4. If you are as indecisive as I am you will come across items that you are undecided on and will have a difficult time parting with. For these pesky items, start a “maybe box” and then store it away for a few months.
Step 5. Hang all of the items that are in season back up in your closet and store the out of season keepers. Having bulky sweaters out of the way in the summer and floral printed sundresses gone in the winter will open up space and make your closet less chaotic. Switching to a new capsule each season breathes life into your wardrobe and makes clothing you already own seem new and exciting! I am currently highly anticipating unpacking my fall capsule!
Step 6. As time goes by and you have enjoyed the liberation of a downsized and less chaotic wardrobe, revisit your maybe box. If you have not missed or longed to wear any of its contents then simply donate it without looking inside. Since it has been out of sight and out of mind it will be much easier to part with. If you did miss an item then pull it out; now you know it is something you care about.
Having a smaller wardrobe has taught me to be mindful of each item I purchase and has helped me discover my true sense of style. With all the items I never wore out of the way, I was able to see clearly the reason I love to wear what I do! Capsuling experts call this finding your uniform.
Photo caption: My uniform? Blue and white stripes.
Continued in Part 2: Shopping For Your Capsule Wardrobe
“We need jobs, and we need a way to put our children in school.” This statement, spoken by internally displaced Ugandans, resonated with Yobel co-Founder, Sarah Ray.
If these strong, resilient, hardworking, motivated individuals had access to dignified work, they would be able to provide many things for themselves that charity would seek to do for them. Things like school fees, clean water, nutritious foods, secure housing, clothing, and transportation. Jobs sounded like a good way forward.
Yobel is proud to be the sole purveyor of Ethnotek products in the United States! Co-Owners, Clay & Emily Ross were initially drawn to this incredible company’s techno-hip bags because of their high utility features (like this camera bag designed by photographers) and strong ethic toward both people and planet. As a conscious consumer, you can feel good that Ethnotek’s slow-production materials are sourced in person from the villages where they are created. Each artisan piece is purchased directly from the person who made it, for a fair price.