I'm on a mission to simplify my life and one aspect of that is my wardrobe. Now that my babies are a bit more independent, I finally have a little time to myself and I'm using some of it to pare down the contents of my closet. The clothes therein are a mix of a little bit nicer, decent quality items, and lots of cheap-o stuff from Old Navy, Target, and Kohl's. Some things fit well now. Some are still tight since my pregnancies. Some things never fit well, yet I've held on to them for years. Those in that last category should be the easiest to get rid of, but they are still here!
A capsule wardrobe is a smaller, simplified number and variety of clothing. It should consist only of things that you love and want to wear! Remove anything that is out of season, ill-fitting, unflattering, or just a lesser version of something else you like more.
I am still figuring out my own rules/guidelines for this challenge. Some things I am keeping in mind are:
* I expect to slim down over the next several months as my baby weans. After my firstborn, I was able to return to my pre-pregnancy size and shape (pretty much). It may not be exactly the same this time, since I'm a couple years older and things change over time. But I'm not getting rid of anything that I still like just because it's a little bit too small right at the moment.
* I don't have much money to invest in really nice clothes - or interest in spending lots of money on clothes - and I don't need them. I work part-time from home and spend most of my time with a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old. I mostly need comfortable clothes that can go to the playground, sit on the dirt, withstand food stains, and be machine-washed. They also have to stay on and hold their shape while being tugged on by surprisingly strong little hands.
My first inspiration for creating a capsule wardrobe was Courtney Carver, whose blog can be found at theproject333.com. Her 333 project means that for 3 months, her wardrobe consists of only 33 items to mix and match. Everything else is packed away or removed from her life (she has exceptions for workout clothes, pjs, lounge clothes, and wedding rings - yes, she includes shoes and accessories in her 33 items!) Every 3 months, she makes a new capsule wardrobe.
So, if you're doing this with me, let's think seasonally. For me, in Colorado, we have four seasons, so it makes sense to create four capsules each year: Fall (September, October, November), Winter (December, January, February), Spring (March, April, May), and Summer (June, July, August).
But, I am making up my own rules - and if you want, you should, too! So I was thinking about doing more than four capsules. There are some months that are transitional, like September, when I might need shorts at the beginning and then sweaters at the end. March and April are also wildcards where I live. Both could be cold and wintry or quite mild and spring-like. So I'm considering a couple of strategies to address this:
* I could make 6 capsule wardrobes and switch things up every two months.
* I could even make 12 capsule wardrobes and get to use new items every month. I know some people commit to a capsule wardrobe as a way to break a clothes-shopping addiction, so if they were allowed to spend money on new clothes every month, it would defeat the purpose. That's not my situation, and I wouldn't plan on spending much at all - mostly just pulling out different things from storage (or the back of the closet - I probably won't really seal up everything I'm not using - I will just commit to ignoring it!).
* I could make four capsules, but allow an as-needed transitional period if I need to borrow something from the previous or upcoming capsule.
Another fun blog to check out is un-fancy.com, where Caroline shares her casual-but-stylish wardrobes and tips on living more minimally. Her rules allow her to choose 37 pieces, and she doesn't include jewelry in that number. She offers a free wardrobe planner that you can download here. It looks like it will be helpful in figuring out what style you want to aim for, which colors are currently appealing to you, what activities/lifestyle you need clothes for right now and which types of pieces and outfits you tend to wear the most.
And here Gina from fitnessista.com talks about planning her first capsule-inspired wardrobe. She shares a checklist with specific items listed, i.e. dark skinny jeans, neutral day dress. She is not limiting herself to a specific number of pieces, but is focusing on a "less is more" mentality and only shopping once per season.
Here Sarai of Colette sewing patterns discusses a capsule wardrobe that, of course, includes self-made items. Her whole Wardrobe Architect series is inspiring and interesting. She walks us through the work of planning and designing a personal wardrobe to reflect our own true style. This is the homework we should all do before we start shopping for our capsules (whether at stores or in our own closets).
You can also read a lot more about capsule wardrobes and minimalist style on the INTO MIND blog.
This is fascinating to research - now let's see what it's like to do it! If you're planning to start a capsule wardrobe this fall, I'd love to hear about it.