I don’t know about you but “getting dressed” used to be one of the most stressful times of my day. From having to decide what I want to wear to making sure everything is clean and presentable, I used to spend a lot of time on my wardrobe. About 6 months ago I decided to create a simplified style by using a capsule wardrobe.
Using a capsule wardrobe to create a Simplified Style
A capsule wardrobe is a smaller, pared-down wardrobe of only items you absolutely love and are preferably versatile, timeless and of high quality. Having a capsule wardrobe will save you time shopping and creating outfits every day, as well as save you money. Everything in your closet will be there for a purpose and it will all intermix seamlessly. When creating a capsule wardrobe, it is necessary for you to consider your lifestyle. If you work outside the home, you may need to create “two” capsules, one for work and one for home. Get my Capsule Wardrobe Checklist to help you identify what items you want to keep and what items you need to get.
Declutter Your Closet
The first step to creating a capsule wardrobe is to clean out your closet. Pull everything out of the closet and go through each item. Weed out any pieces that you know don’t fit or you simply don’t wear anymore. For those items you’re not sure about, try them on. If they don’t fit, you don’t like the style, or they aren’t in good condition get rid of them. Consider donating unneeded items to Goodwill or Salvation Army.
Also, take this opportunity to take out any items that are not the current season. Find another place to keep them, maybe in the guest room closet, until the season they belong in starts. This will make it easy to “grab and go” since all of the items in your closet are coordinated possibilities.
Determine Your Style
Now that your closet has been cleaned out it should be easy to see some patterns. What styles do you enjoy? Do you like professional, classic, dressy or comfy clothes? What colors and patterns to you want to include in your capsule wardrobe.
Choose Your Colors
Now let’s choose the colors you want to have in your capsule wardrobe. Remember to choose colors that coordinate. You should also try to choose colors that you already have in your wardrobe, so you don’t need to buy as many things when starting out.
First, you want to choose a base color for your wardrobe. I recommend sticking to black, navy, or brown. I chose navy as my base color.
Once you’ve selected your base color, select complementary neutral colors. These colors are neutrals that coordinate with your base color but add some dimension. I chose gray and white for my neutrals.
Second, choose one or two accent colors for your capsule. Keep in mind what colors look good on you and coordinate together well. For example, I chose all shades of pink, from blush to fuschia, as my accent color.
Putting Together Your Capsule
Now, you need to determine how many pieces you want in your capsule wardrobe. There’s no real consensus as to the size a capsule wardrobe. I have seen people recommending anywhere from 25 to 50 items. This number usually doesn’t include things like outerwear, loungewear, pajamas, underwear, or exercise clothing.
You can decide if you want to include accessories. I always wear very simple accessories, so I didn’t include them in my capsule. If you like to accessorize, add some in once you have selected your main pieces.
No matter what total number you decide on, you’ll need to break it down into types of items. For example, if you’re going to have a 37-piece capsule, it could break down into 9 pairs of shoes (casual and dressy), 9 bottoms (jeans, dress pants, skirts, etc.), 15 tops (button-ups, sweaters, t-shirts, etc.), two dresses and two jackets. Try to get items that can be worn with at least three other pieces to give you maximum flexibility.
Inventory What You Have
Now that your closet is cleaned out and you know what you want in your capsule, use this form to take inventory of what you currently have. Only count items that fit into your capsule wardrobe color scheme. You don’t need to get rid of any of the other items in your closet if they fit well and are in good shape. Just put them in a separate area of your closet so it’s easy to grab pieces from your capsule without thinking. Download my Capsule Wardrobe Checklist to indicate the items you have and where you might have holes.
Now that you’ve taken inventory, you now know if there are any holes in your new capsule wardrobe. If you are missing some necessary items for your lifestyle, it’s time to go shopping. Simply shop for your missing items in the base or accent colors you decided on to ensure your new clothing will coordinate with other items in your wardrobe.
If you find something at the store that can’t be worn with at least three other items in your wardrobe, it probably isn’t versatile enough. That means it won’t get enough use to be worth the purchase. So be choosy! Only buy items that fit the bill.
Remember you are shopping for quality and classic clothing. You want to select clothing that will last longer AND isn’t a trend that will likely go out of fashion in the near future.
Also, remember that you don’t have to do all of the shopping at one time if there are a lot of items on your list. Since you kept some items that weren’t in your capsule color scheme, you can use those to fill in until you get all the items purchased.
A Note About Seasons
Most of your capsule wardrobe should work in any season. However, if you live where there are large climate changes throughout the year then that may not be possible. In this case, just switch out some of the items when the seasons change (i.e., a heavy sweater for a light blouse). You can even change out your accent colors if you want, just keep the base colors the same from season to season.
Maintaining Your Simplified Style
The best way to maintain your capsule wardrobe without letting it increase to unreasonable numbers again is to institute a one in, one out rule. Every time you add something to your wardrobe you must take one thing away. When something gets worn out or stops fitting you well, replace it. And if an item isn’t working the way you thought it would change it up. Especially in the beginning, it may take a little trial and error to get everything running right. Keeping your Capsule Wardrobe Checklist updated and with you (either electronically or printed) makes it easy to see what items you need when you’re out shopping and to see if the items you like will fit correctly or not.
I would love to see how your simplified wardrobe turned out and/or see you wearing your newly styled outfits! Please share your comments below or send me a note via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also post photos on social media and don’t forget to tag me.
Want other ways to simplify your life? Check out these posts.