My closet and dresser used to overflow with clothing. Much of it didn’t fit well and I only wore a small percentage of it. And to make matters worse, I just kept bringing more in, thinking that more clothes would solve the problem.
Thankfully, I got wise to the fact that I needed to simplify and looked into ways to get my clothing situation under control. The solution? Create a capsule wardrobe.
What is a capsule wardrobe?
So just what is a capsule wardrobe, you ask? (And don’t worry, I asked the same thing). Well, here’s the definition, according to Wikipedia:
Capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe” in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that will not go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be updated with seasonal pieces.
A few essential pieces of classic clothing that can be updated seasonally. And, might I add, personalized by you so you absolutely love everything you own and can’t wait to wear it. Yes, that is possible.
And it takes a surprisingly small amount of clothing to create a good capsule wardrobe.
Creating a capsule wardrobe
I created my own capsule wardrobe a few years ago, based on Courtney Carver’s Project 333. I’ve tweaked things a bit over the years, especially as we prepared to move into our bus.
What I have now is a wardrobe I love, with interchangeable pieces. Seasonal items stay in a storage tote and are rotated in when the weather changes.
If I don’t have something I need (I’m really good at catching clothing on random corners and ripping it in ways I can’t repair), I’ll see if I can do without. If it’s essential, I try to head to my favorite consignment shop first before looking for something brand-new.
If you’d like to create your own capsule wardrobe, here are the steps I took to whittle my collection down to the essentials.
1. Make a list of what you need
Think about things you do most often. When do you need to dress nicely and when can you keep it more casual? Do you exercise regularly and need special shoes?
What clothing pieces are a must in your wardrobe? Jeans? Yoga pants? T-shirts? Blouses? Skirts? Dresses? Write it all down.
2. Take note of what you currently have
Chances are you already have most, if not all, of what you’ll need for your capsule wardrobe. What pieces of clothing can easily be dressed up? What clothing do you gravitate toward wearing most often? What do you own that makes you feel great?
3. Think about color
When choosing your capsule wardrobe, you also want to pay attention to colors. I recommend keeping a lot of neutral colors and using colorful t-shirts, skirts or accessories (scarves, necklaces, belts, etc.) to brighten and change things up.
4. Go through your clothes
I suggest taking the list of your essentials into your closet and pulling out the things on the list. If you don’t love what you’re grabbing, leave it there. The beauty of a capsule wardrobe is that you’re only keeping clothes that you love the feel of and that look great on you.
Once you’ve done that, you can decide what to do with the rest of your clothes. If there are still a couple pieces you love, keep them. You can box up everything else and save it, if this is a temporary experiment, or you can just give it away. The choice is yours.
5. Complete the capsule wardrobe
If there’s something on your list that you don’t currently have, try to do without and see how that goes. If it’s essential, I suggest making a trip to your favorite consignment shop or thrift store to try to find it before you buy something new.
And when you go shopping, remember to take the list with you. You don’t want to come home with stuff you’re not going to wear. Just get what’s on the list and get out.
If you can’t find it used, I recommend trying Stitch Fix. When I need something, I add a note to my stylist with exactly what I’m looking for and ask them to send me some options. I’ve been very pleased with the results.