This is not a style blog. I don’t keep up much with trends or even read style blogs. So why share such a detailed post about my wardrobe, again? (Click here to see my fall capsule 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.
I originally read about the concept of a capsule wardrobe on the un-fancy website last fall and immediately built my first one. 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 spending with a plan 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 my 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 winter 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.
For the winter, I ended up with 34 pieces: 3 pants, one dress, 3 jackets, 19 tops, 2 cardigans, and 6 pairs of shoes. Most of these were carried over from my fall capsule, or from last winter.
Keep in mind that a capsule is just for a season, so summer sandals aren’t included in a winter 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
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.
Step two: work through capsule wardrobe planner
I downloaded the wardrobe planner from Un-fancy and worked through it:
Lifestyle – three quarters casual, one quarter going out or to an event. (I took Christmas and holiday parties into account, as well as the colder weather.)
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: white, green // accents: royal blue, pink
Go to pieces – skinny jeans, cozy sweaters, ankle boots, leather boots, plaid button downs, denim chambray, navy vest, puffy jacket
Shopping list – For my fall capsule, I made a Pinterest board and spent a lot of time online deciding what types of items I wanted to buy. This time, I made another Pinterest board to use for planning and carried over many items from my fall capsule. (This capsule is technically for December-February, but I got a few things as Christmas gifts, and a few things on sale after Christmas, so I waited to finalize it until the end of December. Depending on the weather, this capsule will likely see me through most of March while I put together my spring capsule.)
Keep in mind, the idea ISN’T to buy 37 new things for every capsule. Most of my items are things from last year or from the fall that I already had and loved.
My shopping list: grey cords // casual sneakers // cheetah flats // casual heart tee // chambray // plaid buffalo check shirt // maroon leather detail shirt
I acquired 10 new things, but several were Christmas gifts (the puffy jacket and two cardigans.) I am shopping with an eye toward quality now that I’m building capsules, so I’m trying to only buy things I’ll carry over into future capsules.
Step three: assemble the capsule
In this post, I’ll share all the pictures we took of the clothes by themselves. We didn’t get all 34 items for this post, but I’ll be sharing the rest in a future post where I’m wearing them!
from left: necklace (Stella and Dot)// navy cardigan (Gap) // artist tee (J. Crew outlet) // cardigan (J. Crew) // Cosette Crochet Detail Knit Shirt (fall Stitch Fix) // Harlowe plaid button up (Stitch Fix, 2013) // navy vest (J. Crew outlet)
clockwise from top left: chambray (J. Crew outlet) // buffalo check button up (J. Crew outlet) // black criss cross sneakers (Steve Madden outlet) // houndstooth flats (Gap outlet, 2013)
headphones: happy plugs (Urban Outfitters)
from left: blue polyester shirt (Nordstrom BP, 2013) // green plaid (Nordstrom BP, 2013) // color block striped tee (Gap outlet, 2013) // Halogen shirt (Nordstrom sale)
from left: Popbasic tee (referral link gives us both $15 credit) // maroon tee (Nordstrom Rack, last year) // grey flecked tee (Mossimo, last year) // grey lace back tee (Love on a Hanger, several years old) // olive lace bottom tee (Nordstrom BP, 2013)
necklaces, from left: Beautiful and Beloved // Nordstrom BP // Banana Republic // J. Crew outlet
clockwise from top left: necklace (Beautiful and Beloved) // cable knit cream sweater (J. Crew, purchased from consignment store in 2012) // J. Brand skinny jeans (Anthropologie) // brown leather boots (Steve Madden, 2013)
After making a second capsule, I’m sold. I genuinely wear everything in my closet, and spend WAY less time deciding what to wear each morning.
What do you think of this idea? Have you tried it? What makes you want to try it or holds you back from trying it?
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