Organized and Productive Living

Capsule Wardrobes: Where to Start

Four months ago I stood in front of my clothes rack and announced to the universe, “I have nothing to wear.”

I’m sure you’ve done this as well.

Like me, I’m sure you have plenty of clothes to wear. On that day, however, the problem I was facing was that I couldn’t decide what to wear. Perhaps I was in a hurry, having not planned out my outfit the night before as I like to do. Perhaps I was feeling uninspired because at the end of a long, hard winter nothing felt fresh and exciting anymore. Perhaps it was just that I had too many choices and I was overwhelmed that day.

Whatever the reason was, I decided that I was finally going to create a capsule wardrobe. I had been researching and reading about the idea for some time, I just wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to it. A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing which can be mixed and matched to create a variety of outfits during a three month period of time. There are a range of number of items you can have in your capsule, from two-dozen to thirty-three to however many you need, but the basic idea is the same.

I had already applied the Konmari method to  my clothing a few months prior (that’s a post for another day), so I assumed it would be an easy process. Not owning a closet, I only have a few places to keep my clothes. I keep my pajamas, tee shirts, socks and intimates, along with workout clothes and loungewear in my dresser.

How to Get Started with a Capsule Wardrobe

Next to my dresser, on a curtain rod live my scarfs. I have them hung through shower curtain rings, which works out fantastically. Over the past six months I have pared down my scarf collection to only my most worn scarves. I had a rather large collection of many colors, but found that I was always choosing the same ones over and over. I pared out the ones I rarely wore and I’m much happier with what is left.

I have a hope chest I inherited from my Gramma after she passed away that houses my hand-knit items and  heavy sweaters, that lives at the foot of my bed. Light weight sweaters are hung on my clothes rack.

Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

This clothes rack is where the rest of my clothes live. I have my clothes hung in the following order from left to right: dresses, jeans, pants, sweaters, button down tops, blouses, plain tee shirts, tops, tanks. They are hung within their grouping from dark to light with the darkest colors on the left and the lightest on the right.

Getting Started with a Capsule Wardrobe

On the bottom of this rack is where I keep the shoes I have chosen to wear in the season I am in (this was spring; March-June.) What is missing from this photo are my leather booties and 2 pairs of riding boots which are stored in a first floor closet. I have a cat who likes to paw at shoes and I don’t want little claw holes in them. In the basket to the left of the rack is where I keep my off season shoes, and in the canvas bin is where I store my sweatshirts.

Getting Started with a Capsule Wardrobe

I had read the list of items at bemorewithless.com, and I read about the capsule wardrobe Lindsay at PinchofYum.com created. They both seemed very minimal and I wasn’t sure I could be that extreme. Lindsay went with 9 tops and 5 bottoms. That worked for her and is great, but I felt like I needed a little more variety.

I read about a website, cladwell.com, where for $15 ($5 per month) you could create a three month capsule wardrobe with their assistance. They help you pick out nine colors (3 neutrals, 3 main, and 3 accents), and then based on the style you tell them and the activities you do in your life, they help you choose what pieces to have in your capsule. I was in. I figured I would try it for the spring and see how it went. From there, I believed I would be able to sort out where to go from there on my own.

I went up to my room and had a long look at my clothes. My plan was to use only what I already had in my possession, and I knew that there were some pieces still in my collection that weren’t working for me, or that weren’t necessary. I spent a few hours one Sunday afternoon and really went through my clothing, one piece at a time. Did I really need three pairs of dark grey dress pants? Not at all. I kept the pair I liked the best, and placed the other two into the donate pile. Was it necessary to have so many different colored cardigan sweaters? No, especially considering I didn’t look good in all of the colors. I sorted out which ones I thought I wanted to keep, and added the rest to the donate pile. I took notes on what colors were predominant in my wardrobe, and made note of colors I had because other people told me I looked good in them. I had a feeling those items wouldn’t make it through the final cut. I was ready to use these items to pare down even smaller into my first capsule.

As I looked at the pile of clothes to donate, I realized that they were items I seldom grabbed for when it was time to choose my outfits. I believe we wear what we feel good in, and what we believe we look good in. If we have an item in our possession that we bought because it was on sale, or we thought it was cute, or whatever the reason, it’s of no value to us if we never wear it.

*update

In this post, I go into my experience with the Cladwell website, how I determined which pieces to pick to go along with their suggestions, and  how I decided that I needed to add in a few more. I also shared how my first three months using a capsule wardrobe went.

 

 

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