Capsule Wardrobe à la Bangladesh I

Do I buy this toothpaste or that shampoo? Do I watch this TV channel or that talk show? Do I wear this kamiz or that shari? Does this shawl go well with that shari ,or perhaps I should just wear jeans instead? These tiny decisions are exhausting! And this exhausting phenomenon even has a name- Decision fatigue. And I’m fixated on this concept.

We are confronted with superfluous decisions all the time. Our mental capacity for effective decision making is exhaustive. The more decisions we make in one area, it impacts the quality of decisions, or effective decision making, in other areas. A part of being efficient, in whatever endeavor that interests you, is minimizing these superfluous decisions.

An important outcome of minimalism is to minimize the faux luxury of choice, and to divert that mental energy otherwise wasted on toothpaste brand ,to things that actually matter (to you). And nowhere else this decision fatigue syndrome is more rampant than in the closets. In fact, closet is a portrayal of a lot of concepts related to efficiency, mental clarity and intentional living. Pareto principle is one of them. According to Pareto principals, 80% of the outcome comes from 20% of the efforts. In terms of closet, people wear 20% of their clothes 80% of the time!

Even at its fairly pared back state, Pareto principal certainly holds true for my closet. I’d rather wear the same thing ten days in a row, if that means less decision making, more time and more clarity. Closets are particularly notorious for breeding by itself. One of my unpleasant adolescent memories was my stuffed closet. I was not allowed to declutter, so the closet was stuffed to the brim with clothes I did not particularly like ( I usually did not shop for my clothes up until I came abroad). I had to wrestle stuff out. Wonky closet door, sticky drawers- I’m getting anxiety just thinking about it.

It is also not helpful that every occasion, religious or social, involves inclusion of more clothes/ stuff. Bangladeshi sartorial culture is particularly inefficient. I do not like the fact that three, very specific pieces make only one outfit! Each saree needs its own blouse and petticoat. Not to mention, the multitude of patterns in one ensemble is simply overwhelming.

There comes the concept of capsule wardrobe to the rescue. The basic premise of capsule wardrobe is that most things would go with most things. Items would typically be of better quality that last long, and have good fit. Patterns are hard to combine well, so fewer of those. Solids are much more accommodating, so more of solids.  A few formal wear based on the propensity of the individual’s social life. There are enough examples of a capsule wardrobe for western outfit on the net, so I wouldn’t cover it here. I’d rather illustrate the concept with deshi wardrobe. Read about how I interpreted this concept on my Bangladeshi wardrobe, on the next post.

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