Hello again, fabulous frugal fashionistas! For those who may not know, when it comes to fashion and style, I’m all about practicality. So last Summer, when my journey into minimalism, I was at once intrigues by the concept of Capsule Wardrobes.
So, you may be wondering what a capsule wardrobe is? A capsule wardrobe was originally a term first coined by London stylist Susie Faux in 1972. Faux’s original minimalist capsule wardrobe sought to turn a modest number of four season wardrobe staples into a budget-friendly, utilitarian, classically-styled wardrobe. The original capsule wardrobes consisted of under 33 wardrobe pieces for the entire year.
Decades later sites such as Unfancy and Project 333, extrapolating upon Faux’s original capsule wardrobe model created capsules which now contained 33 and 37 pieces per season. Newer models contend that users can change out, replace, maintain, or add new pieces seasonally, allowing the individual style of users to emerge within four capsule wardrobe changes. For this reason I went with Project 333‘s model for capsule wardrobes.
Still, the most compelling reason for capsule wardrobes? Each piece of the capsule wardrobes stands to make the wearer look their everyday best. Capsule wardrobes completely de-stress you. Image getting dressed each morning without having to second guess yourself one single time. Oh and you save a lot of money- think not having to go shopping for three straight months!
With that said, in my experience the modern Capsule Wardrobes have not only helped me re-think my wardrobe, they have completely changed my outlook on dressing. No longer do I dread outings, fearing I will have nothing to wear. Now I look forward to getting dressed for my day. Amazing. Epic. Change.
This is minimalism in action.
So, let’s delve a little more into the capsule structure.
What’s in a 37-piece wardrobe: tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, and shoes.
What’s not included: workout wear (items strictly worn to the gym, walking, running, etc.), pajamas, lounge wear (again items only worn around the house), hosiery, socks, foundation garments, unmentionables, accessories, jewelry, and handbags.
What does a capsule wardrobe represent: We’ve all done it. We buy fun new clothes, but end up wearing old favorites? Me too. Ever go to your closet and feel like you have nothing to wear, even when your closet is filled with clothes? Me too!
To me, a capsule wardrobe represents more time and energy in your morning for what really matters, and less time spent deciding what to wear, more money spent helping others , and most importantly, more personal contentment happiness, and positive body-image.
So, how do you start? Well, for me shoes. I like having about 7-9 pairs of shoes per season. Typically I’ll have: three pairs of flats, three pairs of heels, and three pairs of boots, though this past winter I went way overboard, as you can see.
My first piece of advise: fine tune your shoes! Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, even shoes!
I also like having nine bottoms: three pairs of jeans, three pairs of capris or skirts, and three pairs of slacks. I use the “rules of 3,” because I like having one casual pair, one statement pair, and one in-between pair, one carry-over from working in a professional office for most of my twenties.
As for tops, I allocate room for 15 tops. Depending on the season I’ll use the “Rule of 3,” such as in winter where I will have three sweaters, three t-shirts, three button-up shirts, three tank tops, and three hankie vests. This changes in Spring and Summer as I live in the deep south and utilize more lighter layers and tees on a more consistent basis.
Last but not least, I leave room for four jackets, coats, or dresses, which of course seasonally changes- in winter I might have four jackets, and in summer I encapsulate one jacket and three dresses.
So, where do I start?
- I start by cleaning out my closet. Every last piece comes out. I then dust my shoes sleeves, shoe rack, and sweep out my closet doors and floor.
- Then it’s time to purge. I go through my clothes, donating or selling back to Thredup anything that no longer fits, looks best, or makes me happy.
- All remaining clothing is sorted into two other piles, love it and will wear it again next season and pieces that will be worn in the upcoming season.
- Seasonal. Anything that is seasonal, wool coats, vests, sweaters, sweater dresses, and the like are stored away neatly for another season.
- Re-access. Anything left in your closet should be your LOVE IT clothes. Clothes that fit just right, would be your first picks for church, vacation, work, and outings.
- Access what you have and need. Make a capsule wardrobe plan, mix and match outfits, and lay out clothing together. If you are missing a piece research affordable options to replace this item, or consider trading in unworn items for those you may need.
- Replace new seasonal items in your closet, all 37 pieces.
- Please note, I store my coats for each season in our home’s coat closet. This is done to make coats closer to our front door. I also store scarves (in a drawer folded), handbags, clutches, and totes in a drawer. This is just what I find neater. These items are not seen in my closet, but are counted in my capsule item numbers.
- Also, I store my workout shoes and gardening clogs in my closet, but as they are only for purposed working, they are stored in my closet but not counted in my capsule itemized numbers.
- Two tips? Use all matching hangers to make your wardrobe look more cohesive, and per Kon-Mari (yeah, I’m a fangirl) closet rules, where you should arrange all items by order of length. With the longer items toward the left of the closet and the shortest to the farthest right side of your closet. This creates clean visible lines for your wardrobe.
- After this point a shopping hiatus is in place for the next three months.
- Two weeks prior to the start of the next season, I begin to plan my new capsule wardrobe. I write down the pieces that will be in my new capsule, then check my drawers and garment bags to make sure I have everything on my list. Should I need to acquire a piece, I give myself two weeks to purchase the items, as most of my clothing is purchased online. I give myself time and grace in forming each new capsule wardrobe.
So, recently I just switched over my Winter Capsule to my Spring Wardrobe and I wanted to share with you all my results. So, here’s my actual wardrobe:
Here’s my piece-by-piece breakdown:
My Spring 216 Wardrobe consists of:
- Tops: Gray tee, white camisole, black bolero jacket, olive tee, blue and white stripped poplin, white poplin shirt, white long sleeve tee, white short sleeve tee, white tank top, gray sweater, gray cardigan, gray kimono shirt, and aqua hankie cover-up.
- Jackets: Black leather crop jacket, khaki trench coat, and coral blazer.
- Pants: White joggers, white boot cut jeans, ripped jeans, ripped denim capris, khaki capris, polka dot pink capris, gray slacks, and black slacks.
- Shoes: Gold heels, black low-top Chuck Taylor’s, gold jewel slides, black peep toe booties, white and jute espadrille sandals, coral wedge sandals, and tan platform heels.
- Accessories: Aqua infinity scarf, mint scarf, canvas tote, and tan wristlet. Please note, as stated above accessories do not need to be included in capsule wardrobe totals, but I did for demo reasons. Excluding any accessories my actual wardrobe is a capsule of 33 pieces.
So, that’s my wardrobe, and so far I love it. With Spring coming earlier this year I’m glad I have already made the switch and can start rocking my new pieces again!
Also, now that I’ve lived with my four distinct, separate seasonal 37-piece capsule wardrobes for the past year, I can honestly say that the once minimalist experience is now more of a lifestyle—and I’m all the better for having done so. Life like wardrobes changes so often, and I’m certain that my capsule wardrobes will continue to change as I evolve, and that’s a change I’ll always be happy to live with.
Also, for those looking for other awesome examples of capsule wardrobes, be sure to check out two of my favorite bloggers, Stacy from Humorous Homemaking (which included great staple pieces, my shared loved of all things stripped and season-less maternity wear) and Amiyrah from 4 Hats and Frugal (which showed great, trendy colder climate winter capsule staples), bravely showing their personal capsules and closets this past winter. Yes, I said brave. Any women putting her closet, family, life, and herself out there for the world to see is brave, and these women did so with such grace!
So, have you tried capsule wardrobes? I’d love to hear about what you will be wearing this season.
Love and light,