I’m guessing that if you stumbled across my little corner of the internet then you know me personally, which also means you’ve probably heard me talk about how much I love the concept of a capsule wardrobe.
But just in case there’s a stranger lurking around here somehow (if that’s you, hi!), I thought I’d first share a few thoughts about this wardrobe concept before sharing what I’ll be wearing for my summer capsule wardrobe (June through August).
First, some nostalgia: ever since I was little, I’ve loved getting dressed. I remember changing clothes several times a day as a kindergartner. I remember my beloved childhood romper with lace trim and a bright pink and purple floral print. In third grade, I remember my absolute favorite outfit: a pale pink turtleneck, navy leggings with big socks pulled up over my ankles, and a stretchy headband (I was a 90’s child living in the 80’s). I wore that ensemble as often as it was clean. In fifth grade, I created a schedule for my five favorite pairs of pants. I still remember how I would wear my stretchy black flares every Tuesday. Years later, I remember thinking that my art teacher, who only saw me on Tuesdays, probably thought it was weird that I only ever wore one pair of pants—but then again, she probably never even noticed. So considering my past, it’s no wonder I fell in love with the idea of a capsule wardrobe.
A capsule wardrobe is basically a smaller wardrobe of versatile pieces that can be interchanged relatively easily to create a wide variety of outfits. I’ve been organizing my wardrobe into three month capsules since last September and I’ve never regretted it.
Here are a few of the benefits I’ve experienced from living with a capsule wardrobe:
- I’ve never come across an occasion where I didn’t have something to wear. Before organizing my clothes into capsules, I would often buy something quickly to make an outfit work. Maybe it was a summery dress that I wanted to wear in the fall, so I needed a black cardigan to wear with it, or the proverbial wedding that I just didn’t have a dress for. By planning my wardrobe on the front end, I save myself the frustration of not having something to wear. I always include a few fancier things for a date night, wedding, or special event. I also make sure that every item in the capsule has a few different tops or bottoms I can pair with it—so I can create a variety of outfits with a small number of items.
- I save money on apparel so I can invest it in things that are more valuable to me. Living with a capsule wardrobe doesn’t mean I stop shopping completely, but I’ve learned how to be smarter about what I buy. By planning my wardrobes, I consider what I need and want on the front end and look at my budget accordingly. I also don’t impulse buy anything. If I get something on sale (which I almost always do), it’s never just because it was on sale but because I had intentionally considered what I wanted to add to my wardrobe.
- I’ve discovered what I actually like and wear. What I think is the most fun about capsule wardrobes is how the limiting process helps you unearth what you truly like to wear, not what all the magazines and new fads tell you that you should like to wear. Just because the fashion industry says you should own a LBD (little black dress) doesn’t mean you should. You should own what fits and flatters your body, what fits your lifestyle, and what brings you joy. If a little black dress doesn’t do those things, then you shouldn’t own one. By experimenting with less, you get to discover what works for you. Isn’t it interesting how giving ourselves constraints actually encourages creativity rather than stifling it?
- I own less furniture because I no longer need a dresser. I currently have 36 items in my spring capsule, which includes clothes (except underthings/pajamas), shoes, and outerwear (for spring in Minnesota this means a heavy coat and a fancier lightweight coat). I hang up all my clothes in our tiny closet. It works fantastically. My husband has a dresser which I put my socks in and I put some things in a drawer under our bed. Any clothes that I don’t include in the current season’s capsule but want to keep for other seasons go in one of two small storage containers until it’s time for a new season.
Here are a few of my favorite links for figuring out how to actually start a capsule wardrobe:
Project 333: How To Build A Capsule Wardrobe
I also like this post by Courtney Carver: Top 10 Capsule Wardrobe Struggles and Solutions
Un-Fancy: How To Build a Capsule Wardrobe
Un-Fancy: Free Wardrobe Planner
It’s completely worth trying.