If you’re anything like me then the start of each new season signals the need for a wardrobe change. Especially for someone like me, because when it comes to fashion and style, I’m all about practicality. Which is why as part of my zero-waste, minimalist home I maintain seasonal capsule wardrobes. Specifically a plus-size capsule wardrobe.
For those who may be wondering, the concept of a capsule wardrobe was 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 Un-fancy 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 getting dressed each morning. No longer do I dread outings, fearing I will have nothing to wear. Now I look forward to getting dressed for my day. I now have a WAHM wardrobe for success. Amazing. Epic. Change.
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 that are strictly worn to the gym, walking, running, etc.), pajamas, loungewear (again items only are worn around the house), hosiery, bathing suits, 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!
Capsule Wardrobe End Game: 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.
How to start a capsule:
- I start with my shoes. I feel like shoes are the foundation pieces each outfit should be built upon. Typically each season 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, if seasonally appropriate.
- I plan my bottoms. I like having nine bottoms in each capsule: 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, per category, per season.
- I then add in my tops. I allocate room for 15 tops. Again, I utilize the Rule of 3’s for Fall and Winter each year. 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 lighter layers and tees on a more consistent basis through October each year.
- Sprinkle in outerwear. 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. For summer capsules, I use those spaces for extra accessories such as hats and clutch purses.
- I end with accessories. Whatever room I left I add in those many numbers of accessories to my capsule.
Prep and clean your space:
- I start by cleaning out my closet. Every last piece comes out. I then dust my shoe sleeves, closet rod, 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 all items that were not used nor longer fit correctly.
- All remaining clothing is sorted into two other piles, love it and will wear it again next season.
- Each item in the keep pile is laundered, folded, and stores according to fabric requirements.
- At this point, anything left in your closet should be your LOVE IT clothes. Clothes that fit just right for a church, vacation, work, and social outings.
- You should then reaccess what you have and what you need to purchase. Buy only what you need with lasting, classic wardrobe staples.
- Finally, hang up your 33 new seasonal items in your closet.
- After this point, a shopping hiatus is in place for the next three months.
Two quick tips:
- Use all matching hangers to make your wardrobe look more cohesive.
- Arrange all items by order of length. With longer items toward the left side of the closet, descending in length to the farthest right side of your closet. This creates clean visible lines for your wardrobe.
When to start a capsule each season: Typically for me, I start planning my capsule two weeks prior to the start of the next season. I write down the pieces that will be in my new capsule and 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. Give yourself time, and grace, to form each new capsule wardrobe. Especially starting out.
With the official start to Summer just around the corner, I recently switched over my Spring Wardrobe to my Summer Capsule and I wanted to share my current 33 pieces. So, here’s what currently in my Summer 2017 Plus-Size Capsule Wardrobe:
- 8 graphic tees (some not shown; stored in dresser)
- 2 babydoll tees (coral and mint)
- 1 white poplin shirt
- 2 white short sleeve tees (not shown; stored in dresser)
- 1 pink tank
- 1 white short sleeve light-weight sweater.
- 1 pair white cotton capris
- 1 pair white boot cut jeans
- 1 pair light wash ripped jeans
- 1 pair light wash ripped denim capris
- 1 pair khaki capris
- 1 pair wide leg linen slacks
- 1 pair dark wash jeans
- 1 pair dark wash wide leg jeans
- 1 pair black slacks
- White and jute espadrille sandals
- Coral wedge sandals
- Snake print thong sandals
- Tennis shoes
- Brown flip flops
- Coral 3-in-1 scarf/coverup
- Summer Straw Hat
- Canvas tote
- Vera Bradley wristlet
That’s my wardrobe, and so far I love it. I can honestly say that the once minimalist experience is now a lifestyle—and I’m all the better for having done so. While I’m still in the process of losing 80 pounds, I know that each season’s capsule will vary greatly, as my weight loss journey continues. I love that each capsule gives me the ability to look great while my body size changes over time.
Now, friends, I have to ask, have you tried capsule wardrobes? I’d love to hear about what you will be wearing this season below!