Capsule Wardrobe: The Why & The Plan

by starleewhite

For the last year I’ve been really intrigued by the idea of a capsule wardrobe. Most of you probably know what this is…a wardrobe of around 37 higher quality items that are worn with more frequency. The thought is that each piece is selected with intention so it can be worn in heavier rotation, mixing and matching with several other pieces in the wardrobe. Instead of having a closet full of rarely-worn clothing that may be cheap and ill-fitting, you have only items that express your style, fit like a glove, are of higher quality material, and are your natural ‘go-to’s’.

Why is a capsule wardrobe appealing?

There are several reasons for me:

  • Quick & easy! What really propelled me forward to actually try a capsule was having a 2nd kiddo. With just one baby to care fore, I managed to plan out outfits and get myself ready each morning. With a toddler and a newborn…it’s just a game changer! What I need in the morning is something quick and easy that requires little to no thought but still looks put together. So the idea of having just a few items in my closet that all mix well together, I can essentially grab-and-go!
  • Identifies personal style. Many of you know I am a recovering fashion blogger. 😉 When I was in my prime of fashion blogging I was always on the hunt for something new, whether it was thrifted or not, to add flare and style to my wardrobe. Often times this resulted in quick impulse purchases that left my personal style all over the map! I guess you could say I didn’t really have a personal style, I would try anything, wear any color, go with any trend, etc.
    As I get older I’m much more interested in building a wardrobe that reflects who I am (as I learn more about who I am) and functions well with my lifestyle as a mostly stay-at-home mom.
  • Budget friendly. Instead of making impulse purchases on a whim (and usually regretting them), a capsule forces you to stay within boundaries. With each new season, I can identify what items I might be lacking for my next capsule, and save up to purchase higher quality versions. It requires a bit of research and patience, but honestly I’m excited about that part. It seems hard to spend several hundred dollars on 1 pair of shoes, but if you will be wearing them daily and for several seasons, they will quickly show their value. The thrifter in me might struggle with this part, but I’ve been having a mind/heart shift with all of this lately. Which brings me to…
  • Appeals to my faith. As I started to read the blog Un-Fancy (check her out!), I was resonating with so much of Caroline’s journey to a capsule wardrobe. She doesn’t come at it from the context of a Christian faith (I have no idea where she stands), but I feel that the idea of consuming less and appreciating what we have really lines up with my values as a Christ follower. Like Caroline, I have realized that I use shopping as a way to deal with stress or feel better about myself. Like a little high that will fill today’s hole. Instead, I need to be running to my heavenly Father when I’m struggling or stressed…not to TJMaxx!
    Additionally, as a seamstress I’m beginning to realize how complicated it is to sew clothing! This leads me to ask, who is making the clothing I wear? How much are they getting paid? If I’m paying so little for this Forever 21 shirt, who is getting the short end of the stick?
    This is a shift I’m slowly starting to take in a lot more areas of my life. I am craving quality and honesty not only in my wardrobe, but in the items purchased for my home, and even in my relationships! As I start my capsule wardrobe this first round, I’m using clothing I already own which does include pieces from fast fashion stores. But my goal is to be increasingly aware of the purchases I’m making and honor the Lord in that way.

So where do you start with all of this?

Caroline’s blog has a handy capsule planner that I utilized, in part, to help me take a step back and think through my life and identify what kind of style I wanted to have.

To start, I simply thought through how I spend most of my time. I went through each day of the week and came up with percentages that would help me narrow down the clothing I would need for each activity.

57% of my time is spent on the go with the babies. I need to be comfortable, able to move easily, and wearing something that I won’t mind getting spit up on (thank you, Wally!).
14% of my time I’m doing something where I want to look just a smidg more cute and put together. This could be going to Bible study or out with friends.
29% of my time I need to be a little more dressed up. I work one day in an office and we go to church on Sundays where I enjoy dressing up a bit more. Neither of these places require anything too fancy, but something a step up from my mommy moments would be nice.

Next, I thought through words that I want to identify myself and my ‘vibe’, if you will. I came up with:

Comfortable, Natural, Feminine, Effortless, & Classic

I think this step is huge. In order to curate a wardrobe that speaks to your personal style, I think you have to stay within a color category. It might sound boring, but I find that I’m always drawn to certain bloggers and instagrammers that have a very consistent color scheme. To figure this part out I simply looked in my closet and saw what I had already been drawn to the most, the colors that naturally appealed to me and that I felt comfortable in. For me they are:

Major Colors (2): Blacks/Greys & Indigo Hues (denim, chambray, navys)
Minor Colors (1): Whites/Creams
Accents (3): Blush Pinks/Berry, Earthy Greens, Cognac Browns

What are my final selections?

A true capsule wardrobe has 37 pieces not including accessories or lounge clothing. For this round I am allowing myself 40 pieces b/c Kansas has a wide range of temperatures in the Fall. If all goes well, I will wear only these items in rotation for 3 months, Sept-Nov!

TOPS(1-16), JACKETS (17-20), BOTTOMS(21-28), SHOES (29-37), EXTRAS (38-40):

  1. Grey & white striped tank
  2. Blue & white striped tank
  3. Navy blue plaid high-low button up
  4. Blush pink t-shirt
  5. Heather black t-shirt
  6. Plain white v-neck t-shirt
  7. Burnt mauve 3/4 sleeve top
  8. Oatmeal long sleeve flowy top
  9. Tan & white striped thicker boxy top
  10. Blush pink & white striped side-split top
  11. Jersey knit berry colored flowy top
  12. Short-sleeved denim flowy top
  13. Navy blue jersey knit 3/4 sleeve
  14. Thin striped blue button-up
  15. Hunter green dressy blouse
  16. Mustard boxy top (made by me!)
  17. Denim jacket
  18. Black leather jacket
  19. Green military jacket
  20. Light khaki trench jacket
  21. Grey distressed high-waisted skinnies
  22. Black high-waisted skinnies
  23. Denim high-waisted skinnies
  24. Boyfriend jeans
  25. Army green skinnies
  26. Black leggings
  27. Dark gray a-line skirt
  28. Chambray skirt
  29. Cognac brown crisscross sandals
  30. Black Birkenstocks
  31. Cognac brown ballerina flats
  32. Tan strappy leather booties
  33. Leopard flats
  34. Open-toe cognac brown heel
  35. White Converse
  36. Cognac brown ankle boots
  37. Black chelsea combat boots
  38. Brown open sweater
  39. Burnt orange open sweater
  40. Denim vest

For accessories I’m utilizing 2 scarves, 1 braided leather belt, 1 white leather backpack(diaper bag), and very minimal jewelry. Easy for my mommy lifestyle!

Final thoughts?

Given that I just had a baby 2 months ago, I’m allowing myself the freedom to switch out items (particularly pants) if my body changes during this 3 month time. For me it’s not as much about sticking hard-fast to the rules as much as challenging myself to live with less.

I’m really excited to try this out and thankful for my sweet friend, Krista, who is doing it with me! The whole idea of consuming less and living more is just so appealing to me. Less stuff to manage and more time to give to those I love!

(I’ll be sharing pics and updates to come! I start on September 1st, this Thursday!)