This is not a style blog. I don’t keep up much with trends or fashion. So why share such a detailed post about my wardrobe?
What do leather booties and chambrays have to do with living intentionally, building a strong marriage, or anything else I regularly write about here?
More than you’d think.
**If you just want to see the pictures of my capsule, scroll down. All photography by @jensane.
When I read about the concept of a capsule wardrobe on the un-fancy website, I knew immediately that I would do it. The capsule wardrobe is about feeling good in what you wear, and it aligns perfectly with how I’m trying to live my life: using my resources well, paring down the unnecessary things in life that weigh me down and distract me from the real priorities.
I know that making fewer choices makes me happy, and that planning spending is key to getting out of debt and being wise with money. The capsule wardrobe is a the perfect application of these principles in my closet, where I’d been left frustrated and discouraged in the past.
The capsule wardrobe takes many of the ideas I wrote about in my intention ebook and extends them to your closet!
Here’s what the un-fancy website says about the why behind a capsule wardrobe:
To me, a capsule wardrobe represents more time and energy for what really matters (less time spent deciding what to wear / less time spent shopping / less time doing laundry or caring for clothes) more money for our dreams + helping others (less money spent on clothes that never get worn) and more contentment and happiness.
Does that resonate with you like it did with me? I’m someone who works best within boundaries of my choosing. While feeling put together and comfortable in my clothes is important to me, I often feel overwhelmed by the clothes I have and even more overwhelmed when I shop for new things.
The capsule wardrobe wasn’t easy to compose, but it gave me the structure I needed. I love that I now have these versatile pieces that I can wear throughout the fall without getting bored, and that I’ll have the challenge (and blessing) of not spending any more money on clothes until the next season! Contentment has been a huge byproduct of our debt free journey, and the capsule is another place to continue learning that lesson.
What exactly is a capsule wardrobe?
From the website I used for my process: it’s a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear.
Un-fancy breaks it into 37 pieces: tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear and shoes.
(It doesn’t include accessories, jewelry, workout gear, pajamas, underwear, socks.) She came to 37 by breaking it down into 9 pairs of shoes, 9 bottoms, and 15 tops, then the remaining 4 for 2 dresses and 2 jackets/coats.
Keep in mind that a capsule is just for a season, so summer sandals aren’t included in a fall wardrobe, for example.
The key differences between a capsule wardrobe and what most of us have already:
- you carefully curate the capsule so that you LOVE everything in it
- it’s versatile so you can make a bunch of outfits from a limited number of things
- it’s budget friendly because once the capsule is built, you don’t shop until the next season
Step one: pare down
I live in an old apartment building with really small closets, so I was shocked at how many items I had when I counted. I immediately filled a ThredUp bag to the brim with items in good shape that I no longer like or wear. (Read more about ThredUP here.)
Bonus: if you send your stuff to ThredUp, they’ll pay you or give you credit for the items they accept. And it’s super convenient – they send you a postage-paid clean out bag and you simply fill it up and hand it to your mail carrier. Cleaning out my closet with ThredUp helped offset the cost of anything new I bought.
Step two: work through capsule wardrobe planner
I downloaded the wardrobe planner from Un-fancy and worked through it:
Lifestyle – half casual, one quarter business casual, and one quarter going out or to an event. (I took into account holidays. conferences and special events this fall.)
Words associated with my ideal style – classic, elegant, comfortable, polished, effortless, neutral, pops of color
Brands – J. Crew outlet, Nordstrom sale, Stitch Fix
Colors – major: navy and blues, maroon, denim, grey, black // minor: red, mustard, floral, camel // accents: pinks, greens
Go to pieces – skinny jeans, cozy sweaters, ankle boots, leather boots, cardigans, midi skirt, plaid button down, denim chambray, navy vest
Shopping list – Before I started shopping, I made a Pinterest board and spent a lot of time online deciding what types of items I wanted to buy. I bought more new things for this season than I have for any one season in several years. A decent number of my fall clothes were wearing out or several years old, so they didn’t make it past the purge.
We will also make our last DEBT payment this month, so there was a little extra in the budget for me to put towards clothes. My ThredUp payout, Stitch Fix credit, and shopping sales during two different months helped me offset some of my new clothing costs.
Keep in mind, the idea ISN’T to buy 37 new things for every capsule. Most of my items are things I already had and loved.
My shopping list: white Converse // camel blazer // striped flare dress // Halogen top // midi skirt // vest // Oxford booties // red leather flats // black skinnies // grey crochet top // polka dot Artist tee // plaid pullover // stripe skirt
Step three: assemble the capsule
Here’s where it gets fun! I’ll share these by category:
long sleeves from left: artist tee (J. Crew outlet) // plaid pullover (Brickyard Buffalo flash sale) // floral sweatshirt (Target last year) // Harlowe plaid button up (Stitch Fix last year) // denim Chambray (Nordstrom Juniors sale) // Halogen shirt (Nordstrom sale) // blue polyester shirt (Nordstrom BP from two years ago) // green plaid (Nordstrom BP two years ago)
short sleeves clockwise from top left: White House Black Market top (consignment store two years ago) // Madewell tee (J. Crew outlet last year) // coral cuff striped shirt (Brickyard Buffalo flash sale) // cotton long sleeve tee (Nordstrom rack last year) // lace bottom henley (Nordstrom BP last year) // Lucky geometric tee (Nordstrom rack last year) // Cosette Crochet Detail Knit Shirt (most recent Stitch Fix) // red cap sleeve tee (Nordstrom BP from college)
necklaces: not included in 37 items, but both are from Stella and Dot.
outerwear from left: J. Crew cardigan (consignment store two years ago) // navy vest (J. Crew outlet) // Banana Republic elbow patch cardigan (consignment store two years ago) // camel blazer (Nordstrom juniors sale)
scarves: not included in 37 items, but both scarves are from J. Crew outlet – left is from last year, right is new.
bottoms clockwise from left: grey midi skirt -similar (Nordstrom juniors sale) // black skinny jeans (latest Stitch Fix) // J. Brand skinny jeans (Anthropologie) // Citizens of Humanity boot cut jeans (consignment store two years ago) // striped cotton skirt (H&M)
clockwise from bottom left: classic white Converse (Nordstrom) // Oxford booties (Steve Madden) // houndstooth flats (Gap outlet last year) // grey suede strappy flats (Shoemint last year) // brown leather boots (Steve Madden last year) // red leather flats (Target) // lattice brown leather flats (Shoemint last year)
one more shoe shot for a different angle:
I really enjoyed making my first capsule wardrobe! We started playing with outfit combinations, but this post is so long that I’m going to save those pictures for future posts. Series, anyone?