Capsule Wardrobe – What & Why

I’ve mentioned in a recent post about my considering implementing a capsule wardrobe.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I made the plunge.  Two weeks into living the capsule life, and I am a big fan.  I’ve had a few people ask questions about what a capsule wardrobe is and how I did it, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my experience here.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

According to Wikipedia, a capsule wardrobe is “a minimal wardrobe composed of 30 to 40 high-quality, versatile items that will meet your needs for a given time amount of time.”  I’d say that the 30-40 number is flexible and that the level of quality of pieces isn’t a make or break deal.  The jist is a capsule wardrobe is a limited number of clothing items that you choose for a season, and in that season, every outfit that you wear is made up of the items in your capsule.

How many items can you have in a capsule wardrobe?

There’s no hard and fast rule on this.  The 30-40 item rule seems to be generally accepted.  It’s a good number that allows you to have everything you need, but also keep things minimal, which is the goal of the capsule wardrobe.

What items are and are not included in the capsule?

Again, this is a spirit of the law kind of thing.  To achieve your capsule wardrobe goals, you should, at the very least include tops, bottoms & shoes.  It does not include undergarments (underwear, bras, camisoles), pajamas, swimwear or work out clothes.

The jury is out on whether it includes accessories such as hats, scarves and jewelry and seasonal gear (i.e. winter coats & boots).  Use your discretion on whether or not you need to include yours.  I didn’t include accessories, mostly because I don’t wear very many of them and, therefore, don’t own a lot of them.  I didn’t have to think about seasonal gear because it’s summer.  I’m not sure what I’ll do in the winter.

For how long does this last?

Your capsule is for one season.  The idea being that you make your wardrobe work for the weather in which you live.  For Minnesota, I broke it up as follows: Winter is December, January & February; Spring is March, April & May; Summer is June; July & August; Autumn is September, October & November.

Does doing a capsule wardrobe mean giving up clothes shopping completely?

Once your capsule is set up, there is no shopping.  Some things I read suggested giving yourself the first week to find gaps in that timeframe and shop to fill them.  This may or may not be necessary.  I had done a little bit of shopping for summer clothes  shortly before I did my capsule, so this was an unnecessary step for me.

I will say this.  I won’t shop for summer clothes because I know that I don’t need them.  After establishing my summer capsule, I know that I have everything that I need for a summer wardrobe, so accumulating more clothes and spending more money are necessary at this time.

Do all of the pieces in your capsule wardrobe have to coordinate?

Mine don’t.  The reason that this is suggested by many capsule-ers is that it makes pieces more versatile.  You can mix and match a lot more when everything in your closet is of the same color palette.  When I went through my closet to decide what would go in my capsule and what wouldn’t, there was a rainbow of colors.  However, there were also enough neutral pieces that I had multiple options with each item.  It seemed silly to me to try to stick with a palette, which would require buying more clothes when I had enough clothes for the summer.

I can see where two months into a capsule, having coordinating pieces could be beneficial because the mixing and matching that it allows wouldn’t make you feel like you wear the same outfit all of the time.  I’ll let you know where I’m at with that in August.

What’s the appeal?

That’s a lot of don’t’s, can’t’s and no’s.  Why would anyone want to do this?

This is different for everyone.  For me, I was drawn to the idea because of it’s simplicity.  I don’t have a ton of clothes.  I don’t buy a lot of clothes and I purge my closet frequently, so my closet isn’t busting at the seams with clothes that I don’t like or don’t wear.  That being said, I was in a weird wardrobe spot this summer.

Last summer, my son was 8-10 months old and nursing.  As a result of nursing him, I had lost a significant amount of weight and had to buy an all-new wardrobe because barely any of my previous summer clothes fit.  (If you’re rolling your eyes and annoyed at me, just wait.  Keep reading.) I donated most of my old clothes because 1) I don’t keep things I don’t wear and 2) I thought there was no way that I would need those clothes again. After losing 25 pounds, i thought that I would never let myself gain the weight back. …Can you see where this story is going?… I stopped nursing in November of 2016 and some of the weight has come back.  Enough of it that the new clothes I bought last summer don’t really fit.  The idea of sifting through the drawers of clothes to try to find something that I didn’t feel like failure in was daunting.  I found myself showering in the morning and dreading having to go into my room and try to find an outfit.

I also liked the idea that if I limited my options, I would be more prone to wear the clothes that I wished I would wear, but rarely put on.  As I perused through capsule wardrobes on Pinterest (there are TONS), I was inspired by how many of them included a few dresses, tailored pants & jackets. I own all of those things, but consider them “special” and don’t wear them often.  I knew that if they were part of a much more limited wardrobe, I would wear them more out of necessity.

That being said, I am a stay at home mom.  Most of the capsule examples that I found on Pinterest were way too fancy for my day-to-day.  I made sure to include athleisure pieces because they are staples of my wardrobe.  However, I also included 3 cotton dresses that could easily be worn for my days running around with my kids, but that I don’t normally gravitate toward when given more options.  I’d like to start wearing those things that I like more, and my hope is that the capsule wardrobe helps me to do that.

What do you think so far?

I love it.  I no longer dread getting dressed in the morning.  I’ll go into more detail later about how I created my capsule and what’s included in it, but one of the best parts for me is that I truly love everything in my closet.  The only items that I have to choose from each day are the pieces that I love the most.  I open my closet doors in the morning and feel like I have so much good stuff from which to choose.

Will you do this forever?

I don’t know.  Right now, I’m just focused on sticking to my summer capsule.  The way things are going now, I’d imagine that I will do it again in the fall.  I think I will just take it season by season and as long it’s beneficial, I will keep doing it.

To see pictures of daily outfits, follow me on Instagram.  Stay tuned for details on the items that I included in my capsule and why.

Capsule Wardrobe - What is it? What are the rules? How do I do it? Is it worth it? - maximizingdaysblog.com

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