The primary function of a capsule wardrobe is to curate a closet of about 30-40 pieces (sometimes smaller) per season (3 months) as a means of eliminating the stress clothing can cause in your life by taking up space, causing decision fatigue, or financial strain. Whether you decide to base your capsule wardrobe on project 333, go with 37 pieces, exclude accessories from your count, or don’t count pieces at all, the point is to simplify and only be surrounded by things you love. So, do your research and decide which method works best for you.
After all my research, I decided to go with 40 pieces including clothing and shoes, but excluding accessories. I only own a few turbans, a few hats, and about 15 dainty necklaces I layer (usually 3 or 4 at a time). Those items take up very little space and are a great way to jazz up an outfit so I didn’t feel the need to include them.
Before discovering minimalism I had already done two big closet clear outs so the final one I did before starting my capsule using the KonMari method as a base was fairly easy. I applied Marie Kondo’s method by gathering all of my clothing in one space to visualize the volume, and as I picked up each piece I thought about these things:
- Does this item make me happy? Do I have to make a special effort to wear this piece or am I always reaching for it?
- How does it fit? Do I have to constantly adjust it public? If its a top, for example, am I comfortable wearing it with and without a jacket? If its a bottom am I comfortable enough with how it hugs my belly to wear it with longer and shorter shirts? This is super important because in a capsule every piece must have maximum versatility.
- Can I create at least 6 outfits with it? Remember what I just said about versatility?
Similar rules can be applied to shoes. How often do you wear them? Are the comfortable? How many outfits can you pair them with?
If I loved the item, was comfortable with the fit, and could a bunch of outfits with it it went into 1 of 3 piles.
- Maybe – Meets all the criteria but I’m still not sure. I stored these items in a bin and at the end of the season discarded the items I forgot were there.
- Keep – This doesn’t mean the item will make it into the capsule. Some items will, but others may to be stored away for upcoming seasons.
- Seasonal – I love this item however, it doesn’t fit the current season but will be useful later. These items are of course stored away until they are needed.
Items that didn’t make the cut were put in the discard pile to be sold, donated, or recycled.
Personal Style and Lifestyle
Next, I thought about my personal style. I knew I wanted to play up the hard-femme and tom boy elements of my style while sticking to neutral colors like black, white, grey, and khaki. I also threw in a few winter appropriate floral print button downs. I choose these colors because they paired together well and made my outfits easy to mix and match. Feel free to go minimal on the neutrals and maximize color in your own capsule.
*My Floral top was the same print but was purple and not pink.
If you have trouble with styling I recommend creating a mood board with your inspirations to help you narrow down styles, colors, and prints you’d like to include in your capsule. If you’re not down for breaking out the scissors and glue collect inspiring images on Pintrest.
The next, and probably most important, step was being honest about how I spent my time. How often do I spend doing which activities and what kind of clothing do I need for them? I spent most of my time at school so I kept my main capsule pretty casual and made a micro capsule of about 10 pieces for special occasions and job interviews. In my main capsule I did include a few pieces I could dress up for nights out. I just didn’t include any formal or professional wear. If you spend most of your week at an office you may want to include professional pieces in your main capsule.
I was beginning my capsule during the winter season so I also thought about what items I needed to include for Chicago’s brutal winters.
*excuse the image quality, but this is a great example of a go to casual school look during my first capsule.
*Though this photo was taken during my spring capsule, the top, pants, and shoes are from my 10 piece special occasion capsule.
Then, I thought about my go to silhouettes. My favorite of the winter was skinny jeans and a bomber jacket. Honesty is key here as well. I see so many cute and simple dresses paired with slides and floppy hats but, as cute is that silhouette is, I would never be comfortable wearing that day to day.
*My go to outfit during my first capsule
Finally, with all of that in mind I made my first capsule and tested it out for a month to learn which items were working, which weren’t, and what I might need to add from my stored clothes. At the end of month I was in love with the capsule concept. The biggest day to day benefit was spending less time getting ready because my wardrobe was crafted to work well. I also shopped less. In the end, I made a few changes, but kept using my capsule for the remaining 2 months before moving on to spring.
And there you have it! I hope this helped anyone looking into a capsule wardrobe. I’ll be talking about how I made new purchases for future capsules soon.