Welcome to my wardrobe epiphany! My new fashion goal is to create a capsule wardrobe. This post is all about how I prepared my closet (and myself) for a capsule wardrobe. I have an obscene shopping problem. And this problem stems from waking up in the morning and never being able to find anything to wear even though I have a full closet of clothes. So I just keep buying new clothes. Sound familiar? Lately I have been so overwhelmed by my closet, so I wanted to do something about it.
I also think some of my shopping problem is due to my body size. I am tiny, like my nickname when I was growing up was “Sliver.” So finding clothes that fit me while shopping isn’t always easy. Therefore, when I did find something while shopping, I felt that I had to buy it because the chances of me finding something that fit me again are very slim. It is not uncommon for me to try 10-15 items on that don’t fit me because they are too big. So then I would buy stuff that I didn’t really love because hey, it fit me right? I know…it’s a silly problem to have.
What is a Capsule Wardrobe
Then I stumbled upon the concept of a capsule wardrobe: a small wardrobe you can mix and match to create many outfits (e.g. 25 pieces of clothing and 50 outfits). Capsule wardrobes are made up of staple pieces and typically have a color scheme so you can mix and match everything easily.
You guys, right now my closet is out of control! I am sharing a picture of it but I am pretty embarrassed in doing so. First, because our master bedroom is one of the rooms in our house that has yet to be touched by the remodel plan…so super cute bi-fold doors and brown carpeting can be seen. Second, my closet is a mess and jammed packed!
Not so pretty looking, huh? Here are the steps, I used to pave the way for my capsule wardrobe.
Pre-Steps to Creating Your Capsule Wardrobe
Step 1: Clean out the closet – COMPLETELY!
I cleaned out my mess-of-a closet until it was completely empty. For fun (or maybe not) I counted the number of pieces of clothes in my closet. It was 139! That’s not including any of my swimwear, shoes, boot socks, etc. That is a lot of pieces of clothing to be waking up every morning and saying I don’t have any clothes to wear. And that’s not even including my dresser (hangs head in shame) which I estimate to have another 130 pieces of clothing in it.
Step 2: Find your favorites and your necessities.
Once you clean out your closet, find your favorite and necessity pieces. When I was finding my favorites, I asked myself:
- Am I in love with this piece?
- Does it make me feel amazing in it?
- Do I wear it frequently?
When I was done I had about 30 pieces that were favorites that I wore regularly and loved. This was a huge wake-up call for me. You mean to tell me that I have 100 pieces of clothes in my closet that I don’t feel amazing in!? Well, then what’s the point of having it all?
I considered necessity items as items that I may not wear regularly or feel amazing in but they are a necessary part of life. These include items like sweatshirts that I will need for the brutal Wisconsin winters or dresses that I wear to weddings, Packer jerseys (Because you know I’m from Wisconsin), or all of my work clothes for the house remodel.
Step 3: Wade through the rest of your clothes for donate/sell items or “probation” items
Next, I went through the clothes and took out things I really haven’t worn in a long time or didn’t feel amazing in. This was a lot easier than it has been in the past because I had already gone through and pulled out my favorites. My probation items were items that I still wear, more due to the fact that I feel like I have nothing else to wear, but they don’t give that, “wow, I love my outfit!” feeling.
Step 4: Look for Trends
Now that you have gone through your wardrobe you can look through trends. First, look at trends that you see with your favorites. Is there a certain color that stands out to you? Are your favorites more casual or dressy? This will allow you to start thinking about colors you want to use in your capsule wardrobe and what style of wardrobe you gravitate toward. Next, look at your probation items and ask yourself why they didn’t make the pick as your favorites. Is it comfort? Fit? Color? This will give you even more insight into your style as well as things to keep in mind/avoid for future purchases.
Step 5: Put both your Favorites and Probation items back into your closet
After I went through my closet I needed some time to digest the number of clothes I had as well as analyze my previous purchasing decisions. Putting the clothes back in the closet allowed me to have that time to process all the information I learned instead of just jumping into the capsule right away. I am glad I did this because it allowed me time to improve the way I think about my clothes and how it comes together as a wardrobe and not just a closet full of outfits.
Step 6: Put Your Probation Items to the Test
While you are giving yourself time to process the information, this also gives you time to put your probation items to the test. If you go a week without wearing the items, then it’s time to let them go. Or if you really have a hard time with that, try all the items on and think critically about them, how do you feel they look on you, how do you feel when you wear them, etc.
***Keep in mind, if you’re not someone that needs time to process, then stay tuned for my next post on the actual creation of my capsule wardrobe.
Here is a picture of my closet after wading through the clothes. Keep in mind this is necessity and favorites together. At this point, I also had some work clothes that I classified as necessities as well.
My realizations up to this point
- Getting rid of clothes is hard. For some people, it’s an emotional thing because the clothes are tied to memories. For me, it was a money thing. I felt guilty for all the money I spent on clothes that I didn’t love. This is what brought me to the point of creating a capsule wardrobe.
- My wardrobe was not balanced at all! I have my comfy clothes that I wear when I am just at home, my clothes I go out in public in, and also my work attire. Needing to have three separate wardrobes for each part of life is probably why I ended with the number of clothes that I had but I always felt like I had nothing to wear. GOAL: work on buying balanced pieces that I can wear across “settings” of my life.
- When looking for trends in my favorites, I noticed that I had a ton of neutral colors, especially black and grey. I believe I ended up with this because of good intentions. I think I tried to buy neutral colors so it was easy to coordinate. However, it left me with all neutral and no patterns and textures to balance it out. Goal: incorporate cohesive color, patterns, and textures.
- Nothing coordinated which is the whole premise behind a capsule wardrobe. When creating a capsule wardrobe it’s important to have many pieces that go together. That is what allows you to grab and go. Goal: Rethink the wardrobe into things that can be mixed and matched.
- I did not balance my bases. All I have are blue jeans, leggings and 2 maxi skirts that are very difficult to mix and match with. No midi skirts or shorts for this girl. Yikes! How have I gone this long without even a pair of shorts?! Devastate Boredom, has an excellent post about the importance of balancing your bases here. She also has a book called: Secrets of the Capsule Wardrobe: How to Find Your Personal Style & Create a Happy, Confident Closet! You can get it on Amazon here.
- I was disappointed to find that a lot of my probation and donated items were things I have bought within the last 1-2 years. This tells me I have not been intentional with what I have been buying.
Well, I think that is enough information for now. Do you have a ton of clothes but still feel like you have nothing to wear? What do you think about a capsule wardrobe?