My Capsule Wardrobe
Raise your hand if you have a closet overflowing with clothes and shoes but you only wear about 20% of the items. Maybe some items don’t fit anymore or you plain old just don’t like them anymore! One shirt was really cute when you tried it on at the store but then you washed it once and it morphed into the ugliest shirt you’ve ever seen. Maybe there’s a handful of items that you think you will wear but in reality the last time you wore them was 5 years ago and in reality the next time you will want to wear them is never.
That was me a couple months ago. And this is what I did about it…
One night a couple years ago I stumbled upon a blog post about “Capsule Wardrobes.” So what exactly is a “Capsule Wardrobe?”
To put it simply, a capsule wardrobe is basically a mini wardrobe consisting of very versatile pieces that you LOVE wearing. Pieces that you can mix and match to create a variety of outfits for all occasions. It’s also known as the “Minimalist Wardrobe” because it usually consists anywhere from about 30-40 items. Sometimes more, sometimes less depending on your lifestyle and what your needs are. You can break that number down however you would like. I’ll go over that in more detail later.
These items are your everyday essentials. Shirts, tanks, dresses, shoes (Yes, shoes!), jeans, shorts, etc. It does not include activewear (or underwear! I would highly encourage lots of underwear), pajamas, jewelry or my $10 paint-stained Walmart yoga pants that I use when I get down and dirty painting furniture. It doesn’t mean you can’t shop anymore but you should definitely be shopping less. A lot less. Your goal is to stick to your capsule number. If you found a pair of shoes you can’t live without, totally get the shoes! Just understand that you will have to get rid of a pair in order to make room for the new ones. It’s a way to simplify your life so that you don’t waste your time and money on things that aren’t important and start focusing your energy on the things that are. Get the idea?
Top (sold out at Gap) Jeans Shoes (sold out at Nordstroms) Hat (Sold out at Anthropologie)
Before I had children, I loved shopping. I loved colorful chunky necklaces from J.crew Factory. I loved my huge shoe collection with my favorites being my TOM wedges. I’ll admit it- I owned several dresses that looked cute as long as I sucked in and held my breath until I passed out. And I was ok with that!
Then I had kids.
And it only took one trip to the grocery store with my 6 month old strapped into my Ergo, fresh baby puke all over my brand new top, wearing a chunky necklace that was covered in baby slime and feeling more like a choke collar, sweating my buns off trying to balance myself in those cute TOM wedges while pushing a huge cart of groceries, that I said to myself
I got home, threw on my husbands T-shirt and basketball shorts, ordered my first pair of Birkenstocks and never looked back. I soon realized that what I really wanted more than anything was simplicity and comfort. When I stumbled upon that blog post I said “YES. This is exactly what I need to do….but not now….because I’m pregnant.”
WELL I ain’t pregnant now! So BOOM. One night while having a beer, I took to Instastories and told you all about my frustrations with my closet. I got so fed up with my wardrobe. Why do I constantly go to the store to buy more hangers because I’ve ran out of hangers for the clothes I’m buying when I don’t even wear half the crap that’s already on hangers? UGH. Clothes are spilling out of my closet and shoes are piled up in tubs underneath my bed so why do I never have anything to wear?
Lots of reasons. Probably the same reasons you have lots of clothes or shoes that you never wear either. They don’t fit. They have holes. I don’t like them anymore. It’s not comfortable. I only needed it for that one New Years Eve night. It was an impulse buy and it’s not my style. Etc, etc.
I definitely had all of those problems, the major one being that nothing fit me. After having two pregnancies in 18 months, I gained an extra couple (okay, 20) pounds. It’s taken me 4 months but after a really sad and dramatic break up with sugar and carbohydrates, I’ve lost 22 lbs. I literally had nothing that fit me the way it should. I started buying the 2 for $20 T-shirts at Target just to get me by and then I realized this was it. This is the time. I need to declutter my closet and simplify now. I instantly remembered that blog post I read and decided to dive in head first. Capsule wardrobe here I come!
I made three piles. 1) Get rid of it. 2) Keep it. 3) Store it. Most everything landed in the “Get rid of it” pile because almost nothing fit me. The items I kept were a few things to get me by until I found items to replace them. I put the clothing items that were out of season in the “Store it” pile. I’ll filter through those items when the time comes. My closet was practically empty but I had this rush of excitement like I could finally breathe again.
Then I went shopping! Over the next two months I concentrated on buying quality clothing items that fit my body and my lifestyle like a glove. I thought of my days in the form of a pie chart.
Most of my time is spent at home raising children. I do try really hard to maintain a decent social life and go out with friends as often as I can. So I wanted to make sure I had a few items to wear for those occasions. Your pie chart will probably look different than mine. Maybe you work a 9-5 job that requires slacks and blouses. Create your pie chart to reflect your lifestyle. It’s obvious that my need is everyday essentials. Clothing items that I can comfortably chase babies around in but also look suitable enough to run to the grocery store or meet Kyle for lunch. That was my goal; cute and comfy.
I viewed this process as an investment. I was willing to fork over the money for designer jeans because I don’t want to have to buy another pair of jeans for at least 3 years. Even though I spent more money on my clothing, I like to think that I saved a lot of money in the long run. I also wanted high quality clothing that would last. Too many times I’ve wasted money on an item that didn’t last more than a few washes.
I also did something I’ve never done before. I let my true colors shine. And by colors I mean Gray and White! I used to force myself to buy the mustard yellow top because I had too much gray and thought I needed to branch out of my comfort zone. Wrong. Why buy the mustard yellow top when deep down I know I’m never going to wear it because it’s going to look like a breastfed baby pooped all over me. Don’t misunderstand me! I LOVE mustard yellow and dream of being able to wear it but trust me when I say it looks awful on my skin tone. I stuck with what I love best and what I feel best in-Neutrals. And a touch of blue!
So far I have 30 items in my capsule. 13 tops. 6 bottoms. 2 dresses. 2 jackets. 7 pairs of shoes. That is the breakdown that works for my lifestyle. If I’m wearing a dress it’s because I’m going to a special event. I live in my basics. Jeans and a simple top. I still have some items that need to be replaced and I could use another pair of shorts and a few more tanks. I look forward to getting dressed everyday. I always have something to wear. Last night we had family pictures and choosing my outfit was a breeze. My wardrobe is so much easier to manage as well! Ironing is no longer a daunting task because I only have 3 shirts that need it. I’m doing less of my own laundry now that I find myself taking better care of the clothes I have. If it’s not dirty, I’ll hang it up on my pretty hanger instead of tossing it in a heap on the floor.
It’s simplicity at it’s finest. Here’s a peek at some of my favorite items in my capsule and where you can find them!
One- Scallop Hem Short
Three- Pocket V-Neck Tunic
Four- Westward Top
Five- Microstripe Tee
Two- Ankle Strap Sandal
Four- Birkenstock Sandal
Now if only I could talk my husband into a Capsule Wardrobe! His 100 million dress shirts are coming over into my pretty area and cramping my style. *eye roll*