Below is a post I wrote almost a year ago exactly. I’m reposting it because a) it’s that time of year when I start to once again reassess my wardrobe to see what stays and what goes and b) I’ve had some renewed interest and questions from readers.
As I was re-reading the post, I was excited to see that this past capsule wardrobe has been not only successful in terms of giving me clothes that I love to wear, works for my lifestyle, and fits well, but also, this capsule has really freed me from my clothes. I find that I love my clothes for what they are – no more, no less. No more drama over what to wear. No more feeling like I constantly need to add more just because I stumble upon a good deal or see a trend I like. Honestly, I think about clothes so much less and the freeing feeling that this capsule has left me with can only be described as something akin to coming home after a long day, letting your hair down, taking your bra off, and sitting on the sofa in a pair of pants without a waistband.
That kind of freeing.
But there has also been this other result from my capsule that I didn’t expect – when I buy clothes that I genuinely like and that fit well, I choose, like, really awesome stuff. If you saw last week’s post about Four Things I Can’t Stop Wearing, then you saw a few pieces that I purchased recently that are just crazy beautiful/cool/functional/fun. All the words. I’m just appreciating my clothing so much more, mostly because I’m choosing better.
And that’s really what it’s all about, anyway. Better, more deliberate choices.
So anyways. Here is the post about how I created a capsule wardrobe that really, honestly works for me. I’m still using this same one. I’m stilling rocking my “uniform.” I still have some purging and letting go to do. But It’s becoming more and more second nature. Oh, and Bea is still in our closet and I still love it and I’m still using the stand alone wardrobe as my “closet” and I love that too. (Link for that is below). It’s all good.
So I know I’ve talked about creating a capsule wardrobe in the past, but things have taken a serious and exciting turn in the wardrobe department. Namely, I gave up my glorious, walk-in closet with the built in shoe rack and shelves to house something much more precious than clothing – my little girl.
So my closet is now Bea’s room, which meant it was time to get down to business on this whole capsule wardrobe thing. In the past, I would just pack up whatever didn’t make it into the current season’s capsule and store it in my closet. That, is no longer an option. Not to mention the fact that I was starting to feel physically oppressed by the shear volume of stuff. I had all these things that were still in great shape but belonged to a different me who did different things. A me that no longer exists. Their daily presence in my life just stressed me out. It was time to go.
Many people create a seasonal capsule, each containing 33 pieces. I’m attempting to do one mother of a capsule and get it under 100 items (around 70, ideally). This is partially a result of my need to purge, and partially logistical as I now have a very small, albeit cool, space for my clothes.
wardrobe rack found here
This go around, I did two things differently that really helped me scale back. One, I piled all my clothes -ALL OF THEM- in the living room floor and went through them at once. This included all seasonal items, coats, shoes – everything. Two, I went through things as quickly as possible. That’s right, no stopping to get too over analytical on it; if I didn’t immediately feel down to my toes an “oh, I just love this!” sort of feeling, or if I knew I hadn’t worn it in forever because it didn’t fit me or my style – out it went. Gone! See ya! Wouldn’t wanna be ya!
I’ll be honest, it was kind of a scary, reckless sort of feeling, but once it was all said and done and I saw how huge my give away pile was I felt so F R E E !
Here’s the thing. I am a mom, but I have many interests and I do many things. I don’t do t-shirts (like the casual, school spirit kind) and I don’t own sweat pants. I love skirts. I like to wear my hippie vintage just as much as I love my preppy stripes. I go just as crazy for a skull and bones tank as I do for my floral peplum.
Sometimes all that variety can make it hard to get dressed in the morning. One thing that helped me narrow my clothing focus was to go through this Wardrobe Planner from un-fancy. This planner asked me questions like “What color do you love yourself in?” and “what are the brands of your favorite pieces?”.
After filling out this planner, I realized that:
I love myself in skirts, so I need to wear skirts.
I love myself in navy, hunter green, and black, so I need to wear those colors.
I don’t love myself in shorts, so I need to get rid of most of my shorts.
I don’t love myself in my dressy business clothes (they don’t fit my life anymore), so I need to get rid of a good majority of them.
I hate myself in capris and haven’t worn them in years SO WHY DO I STILL OWN FIVE PAIRS???
Owning and wearing pretty dresses makes me happy. Keeping my dresses is non negotiable.
Basically, I came away with a renewed sense of self. I am a stay at home mom, but I’m still me. So I need to dress like me.
This helped me formulated my “uniform.” Like I said, I don’t do sweatpants and t-shirts, but I also don’t go to an office each day. I need to keep clothes in my capsule that represent my style while still fitting my lifestyle.
Here is what I came up with:
This is my stay at home mom uniform. On a daily basis when I’m at home, going for walks, grocery shopping, or grabbing coffee, I don’t need to think too much as long as I have these items at my fingertips. I love them, they fit, and I like how they look on me.
This doesn’t mean that I will only wear these items. I’ve factored enough pieces into my clothing capsule to keep things fun and interesting, it just helps to have a go-to look for busy days/weeks.
What does the rest of my clothing capsule look like? I plan on showing you looks from my capsule from time to time, but I don’t think I’ll do one long post with every item. I’d rather show you how I’m putting things together and making it work, to keep it more interesting and functional for you.
I still have a lot of work left to do. My goal is to get my total number of clothing items (year round) down to under 70, and I’m having a hard time getting below 100 (You dang comfy sweaters! Why can’t I part with youuuuu?) There are even a few items that I’ve held back for my capsule wardrobe that I’ve already decided will need to go if I haven’t worn them in the next month. It’s a process, and I still have a long way to go.
But I’m getting there.
I did tuck away a few of my favorite pieces from by-gone days to pass down to Bea. She can play dress up in my fancy cocktail dresses or she can enjoy my only pair of designer shoes that will by that time surly be vintage gold. Either way, I wanted to have a few things for her to look through and be like, “Mom, you wore that!?”
That will be fun.
In case you are new to the clothing capsule game, here are a few basics:
-the idea behind a capsule is to a) eliminate excess and to b) create an ease and cohesiveness to your “look.”
-you only include items in your capsule that fit your body, your lifestyle, and your budget. Annnd, that you love yourself in. (That’s a biggie.)
-you are allowed to shop for items that fill a void in your capsule wardrobe. For example, I purchased the H&M tees and the Vans after filling out my wardrobe planner and determining my uniform.
-your capsule wardrobe doesn’t include your pj’s, underwear, or your workout clothes. However, I will say that I went through everything and found it so incredibly freeing to get rid of ratty items! ALSO One byproduct of this is that you give yourself permission to buy things you actually need. For example, if I throw out my ratty bras then it will force me to buckle down and go bra shopping already.
-once you’ve created your capsule wardrobe, the goal is to not shop, except to replace items within the capsule. This means you don’t purchase things because they are a good deal, you purchase things because you need it and it’s an item that will bring you great joy to look at.
Less stuff, more joy.
Thanks for reading today and I hope you’ll continue to follow me on my capsule wardrobe journey. I’d love to hear your feedback and stories of your own capsule experience!
To see how Bea’s closet turned bedroom turned out, see this post.
Also, I recently read an article by Fashion Magazine (you can read it, here), about how we are dong the capsule wardrobe thing wrong. This article perfectly articulated how I feel about the whole experiment. You aren’t really doing a capsule if you buy new clothes for your capsule each season. For me, the goal has only ever been to purchase items that I need because previous items have worn out/don’t fit/or I don’t have the right items for a new season of life/job/etc. I’ve certainly bought new things. But the goals is to try and wear what you have. Plain and simple. What you own should be what you wear, no more, no less.
What about you? Have you taken the capsule wardrobe plunge yet? What are your thoughts? Frustrations? Favorites? How have you made it work for you?