Those have so frequently become the first words out of my mouth.
Someone else bumps into me? I’m sorry.
A migraine presents itself and I cancel plans? I’m sorry.
I make a mistake at work and someone brings it up? I’m sorry.
These two little words have been making me feel small my whole life. They put me into a tiny little package where I could feel safe and I stayed there. Sorry for my existence and my presence. Those words along with my illnesses have had a huge effect on my mental health over the years.
About a year ago I started replacing every possible “I’m sorry” with “Thank You” and I found that it not only improved my attitude in conversations but the other person’s as well.
They have been less defensive and much more willing to work with me when things get dicey. I deal with property managers for a living and this little trick makes my life so much easier. When a cleaner or painter makes a mistake, “thank you for your communication, it really makes a difference”. Their whole body changes and they instantly know their importance again.
When I need to cancel plans because I’m in pain I say, “Thank you for your understanding.” Pain still drives people away faster than making mistakes. And there will always be people who think you should apologize.
But my pain will never go away. My journey to finding answers to lessen my pain will never go away, and I will always have side effects.
Disclaimer: all names have been changed for the persons privacy.
I Ghosted My Best Friend
I’m not proud of it and none of this is meant to be an excuse, just a story hoping that if someone else is in a similar situation it can help them make decisions before it gets too late.
We met in high school. She was older than me and I thought she was the cool kid. And she was. She always had money, her parents didn’t care where she was, and her cell phone had unlimited data (a rarity in 2011).
We were in marching band together, and the first time I really knew that we were friends was on our way home from our trip to Washington D.C. We were on the same bus but she was a few rows back from me. When we were about 5 hours from home, she came up and sat on the floor next to me and we talked and played games until we pulled into the high school.
She would pick me up and we would go driving. We had more than one near death experience and ate A LOT of Cherry Berry. When she was a senior she told me that she FINALLY hooked up with the guy she had a crush on forever.
After she graduated, I visited her dorm room and finally knew where I wanted to go to school. She was still hooking up with that guy, it took a while for them to be “official”.
My parents got divorced that year, and because of the traumatizing circumstances, it really brought me and “Ashley” closer. Her sophomore year of college she lived in an apartment with a girl she hated, and I was a freshman living in a dorm with a girl I hated. She got along with my new friends too but it was kind of hard because she was living off campus and working.
The next year I moved in to the apartment with her and we spent our nights watching Harry Potter and doing homework at the kitchen table. Sometimes we were really productive and sometimes we weren’t. But we passed, we used my fake ID to drink wine and Nick (the boy from before) would come visit every once in a while.
There’s something I should tell you about Nick. He did (and definitely still does) heroine. I was never ok with this, but I never really had any reasons to not like him other than that. He said he wasn’t an addict and it wasn’t affecting his life.
I knew it, but I loved her. She was my best friend.
He stood her up.
Changed their plans at the last second.
Made her cry and took her anxiety to the next level.
Was too high to drive down for New Years so she had to go up there.
Then he OD’d.
He spent a ridiculously short amount of time in rehab. She said she wouldn’t take him back until he was sober.
Now she was in Law School.
And he got arrested. Now he went to rehab and stayed there.
It had been almost eight years of me avoiding her boyfriend. And telling her my true opinions. So I gave her an ultimatum.
Him or me.
She chose me.
A few weeks into rehab, she went to visit.
And then she was visiting every time she could.
Then she came to meet my new boyfriend. My first boyfriend ever. And couldn’t be bothered to talk to him. She spent the first hour on her phone, and the next ordering pizza that ended up never coming. BF went to bed and she ended up leaving to go get her pizza.
That was the last time I ever saw her. We have only talked once since, when I tried to see what she thought of BF and why she had acted like that. She spent and hour blaming me for her behaviour.
This doesn’t recount the times where my family told me they didn’t want me around her, the holidays she ruined, or the many times I worried and honestly still do, that Nick was dead with a needle in his arm and had dragged her down with him.
Getting dressed in the morning is sometimes a challenge for me. All of the jobs I’ve held up until now required some sort of a uniform. When I worked at Subway and a small grocery store I basically got to pick my pants. When I was coaching gymnastics I had shirts that I got to pick from and workout bottoms for safety and comfort. So again I got to pick my pants!
Now I’m in what I call a “real pants job” where I have SO MUCH fashion freedom that I don’t know what to do with myself!
I’ve basically always worn a capsule wardrobe, but have kept the other clutter of the unflattering and out of date clothes that I knew I would never wear just to make it FEEL like I had a closet full of clothes. When I moved in with my boyfriend I realized how unimportant the amount of clothes I had was and how important it was to have clothes that made me feel good!
Some important questions to ask yourself before you throw out all of your clothes:
1. Do I like options or procedure?
If you prefer a lot of options a traditional “Capsule Wardrobe” may not be for you, but everyone’s will be different anyway!
If you prefer procedure a capsule wardrobe may be the perfect solution to streamline your morning routine.
2. Where do I live?
I personally live in Minnesota, for those of you who don’t know about our weather here’s a fun example…
In January 2019 we went from -30° F (-50°F with windchill, yes we have to factor the wind here) to 40°F IN THREE DAYS! If you’re counting, that’s a 70°F difference without windchill in three days.
In the summer it can easily get over 100°F. Again, if you’re counting that’s a 150°F difference over the course of the year, so one set of clothes would NOT be appropriate here in Minnesota. But that is up to each and every person and may be by trial-and-error decision to make over time.
3. Why am I doing this?
If you are doing this purely to make more space, you may not succeed.
If you are doing this to make your life more simple and consume less you will probably be highly successful.
If you “fail” that’s ok! This is just something that has worked for me and is a little trendy at the moment so I figured I would help others out with my take on it.
4. Are you a minimalist or a maximalist when you dress?
Do you have to wear a necklace and bracelet set with every outfit?
How many scarves do you have that you actually wear?
This will be an important consideration in building your Base Wardrobe
5. Pain Happy Clothes
This type of wardrobe allows me to find clothes that don’t pull on my neck, that have soft inner fabrics for when my skin is overwhelmed, and just a few pairs of pants that hit the right areas of my stomach so they don’t aggravate my PCOS. And I don’t have to spend a lot of money on a lot of clothes because in my mind, all I need is what I have.
I broke the year into halves for simplicity and because in Minnesota most of the seasons end up blurring together anyways so we need a little bit of everything all year round.
Each of my wardrobes contains 24 pcs. not including shoes or accessories.
For summer I would also choose brighter colors based off of the denim that I’m working with.
3 T-Shirts (short sleeved)
Chose different necks and levels of “fancy” based on your style
I chose 1 v-neck, 1 scoop neck, and 1 loose fitting shirt
3 Tank Tops
1 to layer, 1 loose fitting, and 1 floral
It’s always useful to have something warm to layer with, these can be any length sleeve
2 Cardigans, and 1 sweatshirt
1 Button Down
I would add another if I can find a denim button-down that I like
Otherwise one should do in a color that can be worn with the other style choices you have made
1 summer dress (think flowy and floral), 1 t-shirt dress, and 1 LBD (more on that later)
1 pair of skinny-jeans or boot-cut, 1-2 pairs of capri pants, 1 pair of khakis or colored jeans
I shake this up a little bit based on what jeans fit me and if I find new jeans that I like. I have long legs and a skinny waist so it can be a challenge to find jeans that fit how they are supposed to
1 pair capris, 1 pair 7/8th length, and 1 pair full length
Some people can take or leave leggings but for me, they are a necessity
Substitute these for something else that you might wear more often
1 pair of jean shorts
Anything you might wear for a day at the beach!
This may include a swimsuit or two, a coverup, and towels
Summary: I like to layer in the summer because if my temperature is off, whether hot or cold, it can trigger a migraine. I also spend a lot of time looking ahead at the weather to make sure I’m paying attention to storms and cold fronts and heat waves.
These things will be warmer and meant to layer to stay warm!
3 long-sleeved t-shirts, and 3 short sleeved
I chose 1 v-neck, 1 scoop neck, and one decorative (floral, graphic, your choice)
2 button downs
long sleeved for sure this time
I once included a jean jacket, it’s a button down right?!
2 layering tanks
I usually choose one white and one in a color that goes with the other things meant to layer
2-3 cardigans and 1-2 sweaters/sweatshirts
1 tea-length, you decide how fancy, I’m still looking for one that fits the rest of my style, 1 t-shirt, and 1 LBD
1 pair of skinny jeans or boot cut jeans, 1 pair of jeggings, and 1 pair of khaki or colored denim
1 pair of full length, and one pair 7/8th length
I’m still searching for skirts that I like to wear
When I find skirts they will have to work for both Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter
Summary: I tend to overcompensate in the winter for the cold because if I spend time shivering it will trigger flare ups of all sorts. If my hands are cold it makes the rest of my body tense up, same with my feet.
This includes things like shoes, intimates, and accessories.
When deciding your colors for accessories and shoes you should take into account all of the other pieces in your wardrobe.
If you have/want brown shoes, your belts should also be brown. Black leggings do NOT count as “black” but simply a neutral piece of clothing.
Intimates: socks and underwear, there I said it! Everyone wears them so why shouldn’t they be part of our base wardrobe. I can really only wear sports bras as regular bras put pressure in the wrong areas causing inflammation. I am personally VERY bad with socks. I have at least 50 pairs not including the socks that I have for different holidays…
Anyway, this is where you need to decide your personal style. What kind of shoes are you going to be wearing? Pants? Do you want your socks to match your shirt? Can you see a panty line through your pants?
I don’t have the right number for how many you should have but I do know that you should decide on what you want to be seen or not seen.
Accessories should be based on your current sense of style which we considered earlier when asked if you are a minimalist or maximalist. I am definitely a minimalist. Like, I’m lucky if I remember to put earrings on in the morning! I have a few necklaces I wear and exactly two scarves that I wear to “fancy things up a little”.
Shoes should also be picked based on where you live. For Fall/Winter in Minnesota, I choose:
ankle boots, and
nice winter boots (Uggs, Bearpaws)
For Spring/Summer I choose:
casual sandals (White Mountain, Birks)
nice sandals (to wear with dresses)
adventure sandals (Teva, Keen, Chacos, Crocs (don’t hate me))
flats (Tieks, Toms)
To conclude! Happy minimizing, and please don’t throw anything away until you know that you can do the Capsule Wardrobe that you designed for yourself.