What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
I’ve toyed around with the idea of a capsule wardrobe for quite some time. Though I was intrigued by the streamlined approach to getting dressed and minimizing clutter, I was mostly stressed and overwhelmed at the thought of being pigeon-holed into wearing only a few pieces for months at a time. But from what I kept reading from others, it’s supposed to do quite the opposite! Capsule wardrobes are “supposed” to free you up and allow you to enjoy the versatility of mixing a range of pieces together to create easy outfits and eliminate the stress of getting dressed. It’s supposed to save you money and time. It’s supposed to help you become more disciplined with spending. So they say.
Step 1: Assess Your Closet.
I decided to give it a try and put together a capsule for this fall! I’ve actually been observing this for the past few seasons - the range of clothes I wear, how often I wear certain pieces, and what I tend to gravitate toward. Taking stock of what I tend to reach for over and over again really helped me hone in on what kind of capsule I was looking to create - something really casual and comfortable, without consisting of a ton of sweatpants. I don’t need dressy corporate clothing since I’m not working a 9-5, but I do need pieces that feet nice enough to wear to a meeting or a class to meet with people, while still being comfortable enough to hang with my kids! Also, it’s really important to think in terms of weather - my Georgia fall is much different than my friends’ in Alaska!
Step 2: Toss & Shop (sparingly).
Believe it or not, I actually purchased very little for this fall capsule. In late August I went through my closet and pulled out my gold standards - the cardigans I wear over and over again, the jeans that fit me best, the types of tops that I reach for over and over again. And then I observed the gaps in my wardrobe and filled in the blanks here and there. Very carefully.
I also took this opportunity to toss or donate clothes I hadn’t worn in a year. I’ve learned that the more I throw things away in my home (old toys, old clothes, you name it), the easier it gets to continue tossing things. We don’t need all this stuff! Items that are nice enough for a second life get donated to our local Better Way Ministry or sold on my Instagram Shop.
Step 3: Make Up Your Own Rules.
There are a lot of schools of thought when it comes to a capsule - it took me some time to grasp how this would work for me. For example, some people find 25 pieces they wear constantly, while some people work with nearly 60 pieces. Some people include workout clothes and dressy clothes in the mix - and some don’t. Some include shoes and accessories, some don’t count those items as part of the capsule. When I finally realized it was totally up to me, I started to relax a little bit. I make the rules! I will say that this blog post, Elsie’s capsule, Anna’s capsule, Savannah’s capsule helped tremendously, and I’ve also heard really amazing things about this book and the Cladwell app.
I personally decided not to include shoes, work out clothes or dressy clothes in my capsule. I wear workout clothes multiple times a week for when I exercise, but I try not to wear my gym clothes all day because I don’t feel my absolute best in them when I wear them all day every day. And my normal routine doesn’t really include dresses or skirts because, let’s keep things real, I’m a boy mama.
Step 4: Execute the Capsule!
The Georgia fall weather usually includes a lot of lingering humidity and days that are rife with heat. So this capsule could almost be labeled “pre-fall” because its truly a transition out of the southern summer and into slightly more manageable temperatures. But for now, here goes! My fall capsule wardrobe! These are the pieces I’ve worn over and over for the past several months!
1. Fabr’ik v-neck tee in black
2. Fabr’ik v-neck tee in nude
3. Free People embroidered long sleeve
4. Fabr’ik v-neck tee in raspberry
5. RAW moon phases tank
6. LOFT chambray off-the-shoulder top
7. Banana Republic flannel long-sleeve (old, similar here)
8. Madewell v-neck tee in green spruce
9. Madewell ruffle shoulder tee in black/white stripe
10 Madewell flannel button-up
11. LOFT blue shell top
12. Magickal Babe Brigade t-shirt
13. LOFT casual long sleeve
14. Anthropologie buttondown
Note: I didn’t include accessories in my capsule, but I have definitely gravitated towards a small collection of shoes, bralettes and neck scarves this season. I will share about these in a separate post because I think they have been the part of my fall capsule that made getting dressed fun!
I loved making up the rules for this capsule! Once I finally felt free enough to make changes - even in the midst of the 3 months - I felt so much freer and more empowered. I liked being able to swap a pair of jeans for a better pair of jeans, and not feeling like I was “breaking” the rules because I make my own rules here.
2. The next time I do this, I want to add a few dresses and skirts. I didn’t feel like I was “missing” them during these past 3 months (gosh I need more reasons to get spruced up), but I would like to add them in because I like feminine pieces!
3. I think there is only a need for 2 capsule wardrobes per year. I think there is a fall capsule and a spring capsule, and the changes for winter and summer are a bit more gradual and subtle. So as I think ahead for winter, I will probably keep the base of this capsule almost the same and just add in some more layers, sweaters and maybe a dress or two.
4. I will continue keeping workout clothes and super dressy clothes (for a fancier occasion) separate. And I give myself permission to get something new if its for a specific reason! But for the most part, the purpose of having a capsule is to reduce unnecessary shopping and I definitely feel like that has been my experience.
I really enjoyed this experiment and I think I will get better and better at honing in on pieces that really work for my life and my style. What do you think? Could you ever do a capsule wardrobe? I would love to hear your thoughts!