Fall is, by far, my favorite season of the year! It also happens to be my favorite season to shop for clothes. But with all this buzz lately about capsule wardrobes and “streamlining your life”, I’ve vowed to take control of my shopping habits and scale back as we head into the new year.
“What is a capsule wardrobe”, you might ask? The idea is that you simplify your wardrobe to only a handful of pieces you love to wear, that fit you well, and that are all interchangeable. You rotate the capsule seasonally and, subsequently, eliminate the dreaded “I have NOTHING to wear!!” syndrome from now until the end of time. Capsule wardrobes don’t just apply to mom’s closet, either – you can utilize the same principle for the entire family!
So where do you start? We’ve put together some tips for you as you undergo the process of sorting through your closet. When you’re all finished? Our friends at Glad have got you taken care of! Fill a Glad trash bag with the clothes you’re ready to part with and visit Glad to Give to select a local charity to donate your goods to. Glad will arrange to have your bags picked up! You’ll feel great, cleansing your life of excess clutter, and knowing that your gently used goods are going to someone who will greatly benefit from them.
Before you begin, empty the contents of your closet – you read that correctly. It helps to start with a clean slate, and emptying the closet entirely forces you to examine each piece before you place it back in your closet. Ask yourself: “do I love this piece”? If the answer is “yes”, it goes in the yes pile. If you’re feeling like you’re just not ready to give this piece up right now, it goes in the maybe pile. And if you find yourself asking “is there any reason I’m actually still holding on to this piece?”, then it goes straight into the no pile.
Choose a number that is challenging but also feels comfortable to you for your capsule wardrobe. Multiples of 3 work really well for this type of collection, but 33 doesn’t have to be your end-all, be-all number! It might be helpful to make a full pass through your closet first, count up what’s left, and challenge yourself based on that number. If you’re starting with a lot of pieces you already love or if you live in a place where the weather fluctuates often, set that number a little higher – maybe it’s 50 or 75 for you to start with. There is no judgement in this process!
The beauty of the capsule wardrobe is that it’s seasonal so you’re really only dividing your closet up into pieces you can wear comfortably for each season, then swapping them out 3 months later! This is a huge relief to those tackling this project for the first time: you’re not whittling your closet down to only 30-some pieces for good, it’s just until next season.
Guess what? PJ’s, workout clothes, undergarments, etc. don’t count towards your overall total! That means if you *really* love your yoga pants and can’t bear to part with any of the 25 you may have, you don’t have to for the sake of your capsule wardrobe. However, if you’re holding on to ratty old t-shirts or sweatpants with stains all down the front, it might be time to let them go…
Ok, now we get to the fun part: within each category, you want to allow yourself to keep at least one neutral piece, one bold, solid piece and one patterned piece. Capsule wardrobe does not necessarily have to be synonymous with “lack of color”. If you’re more inclined to pieces of color, allow yourself one neutral and two patterned pieces -whatever combination works best for your personal style.
Less really is more with the capsule wardrobe. Not only is it proven that clean, organized spaces lower your stress levels and help clear your mind, but when there are less options to choose from in your closet each morning, you don’t feel as overwhelmed – you’re able to quickly choose an ensemble and get on with your day in half the time it would take for your to sift through the pieces that you don’t really like that much.
Similar to “less is more”, but bears repeating, especially when it comes to filling in the holes of your new capsule wardrobe. Once you think your capsule wardrobe is starting to shape up, you’ll likely need to fill in a few holes in order to make your capsule function best in each season. When you’re purchasing a new item, think about quality versus quantity: would you rather invest in a leather jacket that can be worn year after year or spend the same amount binge shopping at a fast fashion retailer on 12 different colors of leggings that are likely to go out of style in the next few months anyway? BONUS: you win extra bonus points if you donate a piece of your wardrobe for every new piece you buy!
This is really what we’re after. With your capsule wardrobe, you should be able to reach into your closet blindfolded and effortlessly put together something you’re going to feel supremely confident in! You know you love it, it fits you well, and it’s practical.
…which brings me to my next rule: practicality trumps all in the capsule wardrobe! If it’s a bridesmaid’s dress you wore once time 7 years ago, and will likely never wear it again, why hold on to it? Be practical about your lifestyle when you’re analyzing your capsule wardrobe. If you are a stay-at-home mom, for example, it is likely that you don’t have much practical use for silk tops and power suits on a daily basis (I am, of course, speaking in generalities here – I know there are some mamas out there that could prove me wrong!). If that is the case, it might be wise to focus your wardrobe on pieces that are easy to wear and wash, should they end up covered in oatmeal, mac and cheese, and coffee stains.
It’s really important to consider each piece individually, but also as part of a whole, when you’re building your capsule wardrobe. Do you love that sweatshirt you’ve had since high school with the puffy paint kittens emblazoned across the front? You might. But can you easily build an outfit around it with the other pieces you’ve selected for your capsule wardrobe? All of the pieces from your collection need to work together and be interchangeable.
Final rule: your capsule wardrobe does not have to take shape in one fell swoop! Revisit your closet as many times as you want or need, shaving off a little here and there. Can’t bear to part with certain items that you know you need to get rid of but just can’t, for sentimental reasons? Pack them up in a box and tuck them away in the garage. You can revisit them any time you like!
Need even more inspiration before you get started? Visit Glad To Give or follow #GladToGive via social media for heartwarming stories about how your goods are benefiting those in need!
This post is sponsored by Glad.