How I Made a Capsule Wardrobe Work.
Getting dressed in the morning is sometimes a challenge for me. All of the jobs I’ve held up until now required some sort of a uniform. When I worked at Subway and a small grocery store I basically got to pick my pants. When I was coaching gymnastics I had shirts that I got to pick from and workout bottoms for safety and comfort. So again I got to pick my pants!
Now I’m in what I call a “real pants job” where I have SO MUCH fashion freedom that I don’t know what to do with myself!
I’ve basically always worn a capsule wardrobe, but have kept the other clutter of the unflattering and out of date clothes that I knew I would never wear just to make it FEEL like I had a closet full of clothes. When I moved in with my boyfriend I realized how unimportant the amount of clothes I had was and how important it was to have clothes that made me feel good!
Some important questions to ask yourself before you throw out all of your clothes:
1. Do I like options or procedure?
If you prefer a lot of options a traditional “Capsule Wardrobe” may not be for you, but everyone’s will be different anyway!
If you prefer procedure a capsule wardrobe may be the perfect solution to streamline your morning routine.
2. Where do I live?
I personally live in Minnesota, for those of you who don’t know about our weather here’s a fun example…
In January 2019 we went from -30° F (-50°F with windchill, yes we have to factor the wind here) to 40°F IN THREE DAYS! If you’re counting, that’s a 70°F difference without windchill in three days.
In the summer it can easily get over 100°F. Again, if you’re counting that’s a 150°F difference over the course of the year, so one set of clothes would NOT be appropriate here in Minnesota. But that is up to each and every person and may be by trial-and-error decision to make over time.
3. Why am I doing this?
If you are doing this purely to make more space, you may not succeed.
If you are doing this to make your life more simple and consume less you will probably be highly successful.
If you “fail” that’s ok! This is just something that has worked for me and is a little trendy at the moment so I figured I would help others out with my take on it.
4. Are you a minimalist or a maximalist when you dress?
Do you have to wear a necklace and bracelet set with every outfit?
How many scarves do you have that you actually wear?
This will be an important consideration in building your Base Wardrobe
5. Pain Happy Clothes
This type of wardrobe allows me to find clothes that don’t pull on my neck, that have soft inner fabrics for when my skin is overwhelmed, and just a few pairs of pants that hit the right areas of my stomach so they don’t aggravate my PCOS. And I don’t have to spend a lot of money on a lot of clothes because in my mind, all I need is what I have.
I broke the year into halves for simplicity and because in Minnesota most of the seasons end up blurring together anyways so we need a little bit of everything all year round.
Each of my wardrobes contains 24 pcs. not including shoes or accessories.
For summer I would also choose brighter colors based off of the denim that I’m working with.
- 3 T-Shirts (short sleeved)
- Chose different necks and levels of “fancy” based on your style
- I chose 1 v-neck, 1 scoop neck, and 1 loose fitting shirt
- 3 Tank Tops
- 1 to layer, 1 loose fitting, and 1 floral
- 3 Sweaters
- It’s always useful to have something warm to layer with, these can be any length sleeve
- 2 Cardigans, and 1 sweatshirt
- 1 Button Down
- I would add another if I can find a denim button-down that I like
- Otherwise one should do in a color that can be worn with the other style choices you have made
- 3 Dresses
- 1 summer dress (think flowy and floral), 1 t-shirt dress, and 1 LBD (more on that later)
- 3-4 Pants
- 1 pair of skinny-jeans or boot-cut, 1-2 pairs of capri pants, 1 pair of khakis or colored jeans
- I shake this up a little bit based on what jeans fit me and if I find new jeans that I like. I have long legs and a skinny waist so it can be a challenge to find jeans that fit how they are supposed to
- 3 Leggings
- 1 pair capris, 1 pair 7/8th length, and 1 pair full length
- Some people can take or leave leggings but for me, they are a necessity
- Substitute these for something else that you might wear more often
- 1 pair of jean shorts
- Anything you might wear for a day at the beach!
- This may include a swimsuit or two, a coverup, and towels
Summary: I like to layer in the summer because if my temperature is off, whether hot or cold, it can trigger a migraine. I also spend a lot of time looking ahead at the weather to make sure I’m paying attention to storms and cold fronts and heat waves.
These things will be warmer and meant to layer to stay warm!
- 3 long-sleeved t-shirts, and 3 short sleeved
- I chose 1 v-neck, 1 scoop neck, and one decorative (floral, graphic, your choice)
- 2 button downs
- long sleeved for sure this time
- I once included a jean jacket, it’s a button down right?!
- 2 layering tanks
- I usually choose one white and one in a color that goes with the other things meant to layer
- 4 sweaters
- 2-3 cardigans and 1-2 sweaters/sweatshirts
- 3 dresses
- 1 tea-length, you decide how fancy, I’m still looking for one that fits the rest of my style, 1 t-shirt, and 1 LBD
- 3 pants
- 1 pair of skinny jeans or boot cut jeans, 1 pair of jeggings, and 1 pair of khaki or colored denim
- 2 leggings
- 1 pair of full length, and one pair 7/8th length
- 2 skirts
- I’m still searching for skirts that I like to wear
- When I find skirts they will have to work for both Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter
Summary: I tend to overcompensate in the winter for the cold because if I spend time shivering it will trigger flare ups of all sorts. If my hands are cold it makes the rest of my body tense up, same with my feet.
This includes things like shoes, intimates, and accessories.
When deciding your colors for accessories and shoes you should take into account all of the other pieces in your wardrobe.
If you have/want brown shoes, your belts should also be brown. Black leggings do NOT count as “black” but simply a neutral piece of clothing.
Intimates: socks and underwear, there I said it! Everyone wears them so why shouldn’t they be part of our base wardrobe. I can really only wear sports bras as regular bras put pressure in the wrong areas causing inflammation. I am personally VERY bad with socks. I have at least 50 pairs not including the socks that I have for different holidays…
Anyway, this is where you need to decide your personal style. What kind of shoes are you going to be wearing? Pants? Do you want your socks to match your shirt? Can you see a panty line through your pants?
I don’t have the right number for how many you should have but I do know that you should decide on what you want to be seen or not seen.
Accessories should be based on your current sense of style which we considered earlier when asked if you are a minimalist or maximalist. I am definitely a minimalist. Like, I’m lucky if I remember to put earrings on in the morning! I have a few necklaces I wear and exactly two scarves that I wear to “fancy things up a little”.
Shoes should also be picked based on where you live. For Fall/Winter in Minnesota, I choose:
- winter boots
- tennis shoes
- ankle boots, and
- nice winter boots (Uggs, Bearpaws)
For Spring/Summer I choose:
- casual sandals (White Mountain, Birks)
- nice sandals (to wear with dresses)
- adventure sandals (Teva, Keen, Chacos, Crocs (don’t hate me))
- flats (Tieks, Toms)
- tennis shoes
To conclude! Happy minimizing, and please don’t throw anything away until you know that you can do the Capsule Wardrobe that you designed for yourself.
Featured Image belongs to Home Depot.
All other images are my own.