Is your closet filled with items you don’t love? Same. Which is why systems home in handy. Systems are awesome. They help me take the messy parts of my life like meal planning, mornings, my workouts, etc. and transform them into something user-friendly. This month I’m taking a peek into my closet with the phrase capsule wardrobe in mind.
What is a capsule wardrobe? It’s cutting your entire clothes inventory into a mere 33 items that you’ll wear for the next three months. I promise it’s not as boring and/or limiting as it sounds. It’s actually kinda freeing.
(image credit: Refinery29)
But do you know what sounds REALLY limiting? Refinery29 writer Connie Wang wore the SAME OUTFIT for an entire month. Now, there’s zero part of me that wants to be in the same leggings day after day, but a capsule wardrobe has a tone of surprising benefits.
Perks of a Capsule Wardrobe
○ It’s budget-friendly.
○ It reduces decision fatigue. Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual after a long session of decision making.” (Thanks, Wikipedia.)
○ It reduces stress. Psychology Today has an awesome article that explains this really well: Why Mess Causes Stress.
○ It challenges you to be more creative with what you have.
○ More free time. Outfit planning takes less time. You spend less time shopping. You spend less time doing laundry. You spend less time cleaning. (See a pattern?)
○ You’ll finally realize that those stretchy, tight black skirts you’ve collected since college have no place in your adult life. You know what I’m talking about.
There’s more, but I’m getting too excited to explain how this works.
The phrase capsule wardrobe goes all the way back to the 70s, coined by a London boutique owner named Susie Faux. It was popularized twenty years later by Donna Karan who released a 7-piece classic collection.
In our case, it refers to cutting back your closet to just those 33 aforementioned beloved items.
There’s a few caveats that I’m going to cling to because I love having variety in my workout clothes. These outliers are: sleep clothes + athletic wear should not be counted in those 33 items. But now’s a good time to weed out those spandex leggings that are a little too tight or the sports bra that’s totally not cute and you’ll probably never wear again. Another exception: you may keep some formal clothes for future weddings, posh events, etc. (Want to annihilate that closet clutter, though? Limit yourself to three.)
I’ll be doing the next three months alongside you, if you choose to start now! Here’s what I chose. (And, yes, I am a leggings + long shirt fanatic. IDGAF.)
Steps to Create a Capsule Wardrobe
1 – Gather.
I collected all of my clothes, laundered them, then splayed them out on the kitchen table. Get three trash bags. One is for items to donate, one is for ‘too far gone’ clothes that need to be trashed, and the last is for out-of-season clothes to re-evaluate in three months. Then get a laundry basket for your 33 selections.
2 – Attack.
Take a moment to consider your lifestyle. I work at home, so my options lean toward casual. But if you work in an office, you’re obviously going to have to have a roster of business clothes.
First remove anything you haven’t worn in the past year or can’t imagine yourself wearing in the next year.
Then remove anything with visible holes + rips (unless they’re meant to be that way), unsightly stains, anything unflattering to your body type, anything that doesn’t fit. (Totally go ahead & do a little fashion show.) Other stuff in this category: clothes that you like but their color palette is weird, skirts that are a lil’ too short, stilettos that you bought on sale but will literally never wear because you might break your neck. You get it.
Take out all of the out-of-season clothes. You’ll look at these later because it’s hard to imagine rocking a crop top when there’s snow on the ground.
Wholefully’s capsule wardrobe article had an excellent series of questions:
○ Does it make me feel awesome?
○ Is it in good shape?
○ Do I have an occasion to wear this?
I have a few additions to this:
○ Is it a quality piece?
○ Is it comfortable?
3 – Evaluate.
At this point you should have clothes that you’ve recently worn, that look damn good, and (if you’re a semi-thoughtful shopper) vaguely share a color palette.
You’re going to have to be a little choosy now. And since this is not a concrete system and you’d like to be a little less rigid, totally stow a few “maybes” into your seasonal bag. If you have a hankering for that floral button down during the next three months then totally rescue it. The point is this isn’t to turn you utilitarian. It’s to simplify and bring you more peace of mind.
Choose your 33 pieces.
During the next 3 months
○ Be mindful of your mornings. Do you feel less stress? Is your free closet space making you feel less anxious?
○ You don’t have to cut out ALL shopping. So if you do find yourself in a thift store, H&M, or Forever 21, ask yourself if the item you’re considering will fit in with it’s other 33 fellows. Take a look at the quality. Will it hold up through multiple washings? Will you feel confident wearing this?
○ Remember that this is a process. You may find that you chose totally wrong pieces. Donate and replace them. Move forward.
Let me know if you’ve implemented this! I want to know —
What part did you find the hardest? Easiest?
Did you make any changes to the above? How did it work?
Capsule wardrobe veterans: any tips & tricks to the rest of us?