Creating A Capsule Wardrobe – How To Get Started

Hangers Capsule Wardrobe

Do you ever feel like you have so many clothes, but nothing to wear?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you look at the clothes you currently own?

Do you ever want to wear a particular item of clothing, but can’t find it because it’s buried under other clothes you never wear?

 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should consider creating a Capsule Wardrobe.  It sounds intimidating, but I’ve tried it and it’s not!  Read on to learn more about what a Capsule Wardrobe is, how I tackled it, and the benefits it can bring.

What Is A Capsule Wardrobe

The concept of the Capsule Wardrobe has been around since the 70s (so about as old me – gah!) with the idea of having a small collection of clothing that can be mixed and matched together for a specific season.

 

I first heard of the idea from the owner of the gym I attend, and creator of The Million Pound Mission podcast (you can find it on iTunes and all the other podcast-y places), Adam Schaeuble.  As he discusses in this episode, he currently owns 79 pieces of clothing, and that includes counting 2 for each pair of socks.

At the time I heard this, I thought it sounded quite extreme and didn’t think it was necessarily for me.  What I did know though was that my closet was a disaster-zone and it was frustrating the heck out of me – look at this horror!  And this isn’t all of it – there’s another section to the right with clothes crammed into it, and shoes under my bed and various other places in the house.

 

It was time to do something about it.

Before Capsule Wardrobe

The Big Clear Out

Taking my own advice on decluttering, I decided not to tackle this in one go, and rather started with a one-hour block one afternoon to make what progress I could – this approach was a lot less overwhelming.  It also meant that it gave me some time to consider certain items rather than feeling pressured to make a decision on a few things I was unsure about.

I started the clear-out with gusto, but one hour was enough as I was starting to run out of steam.  I came back to it on 3 more occasions so it took me about 4 hours total.

Just Two Decisions

I kept it simple and asked myself these two questions:

Will I ever wear this again?

If no -> Put it into the giveaway pile

If yes -> Will I wear it in the next couple of months?

If no -> Put it into a suitcase

If yes -> Hang it back up

 

Letting Go

Decluttering is definitely a process of letting go – not just of the items themselves, but also the many things they represent.  The first question, ‘will I ever wear this again?’, turned out to symbolize so much more.

I had to acknowledge that there were certain clothes I was never going to be thin enough to wear again.  This can be hard to admit!  To be fair, some things in my closet were over 15 years old, so I spent some time reminiscing on an era which is now passed – ah the memories of youth!

I had to accept that even though I paid good money for some pieces, I was never going to wear them because I just didn’t like them. (I had a shameful amount of clothes with tags on that I’d never worn – I hope to not do that again.)

I had to be ok with the fact that even though some clothes were beautiful, they were never going to look good on my body shape.

[Side note, I did some trying-on of clothes one afternoon and determined that my body shape is ‘Depressed Pear’.  Boy we can be so hard on ourselves but I did make myself laugh.]

Implement Capsule Wardrobe in Under 4 Hours

Clothing By Numbers

Here’s what went into the giveaway pile:

21 dresses, 6 pairs of shoes, 6 skirts, 4 cardigans, 4 tops, 5 shirts, 4 suit jackets, 2 coats, 3 wraps, 3 pairs of trousers, 2 rompers, 5 pairs of leggings, 2 pairs of jeans (67 items)

Here’s what went into the suitcase:

9 dresses, 3 suit jackets, 3 tops (13 items)

 

 

Here’s what I have left in my closet:

6 dresses, 6 pairs of shoes, 4 skirts, 6 cardigans, 10 tops, 4 shirts, 1 suit jacket, 2 wraps, 4 pairs of trousers, 4 pairs of leggings, 4 pairs of jeans (51 items)

By my slightly dubious math skills, I believe I have 62% less stuff to deal with in my closet now!  (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that, it wouldn’t be the first time…)

 

 

Unused coathangers
Capsule Wardrobe

Benefits of the Capsule Wardrobe

I am LOVING my newly slimmed-down collection of clothes – I found clothes I’d forgotten about because I could never see them and I’m enjoying wearing them again.  Aside from that, here are just a few of the benefits of the Capsule Wardrobe.

  1. You can easily see all your clothes and find what you need – they’re not all smooshed up together
  2. You actually like everything in your closet which makes it easier to pick something you want to wear each day
  3. There is less to choose from, so less decision making needed
  4. You only have things that suit you in your closet, so you feel good in everything you wear
  5. There is less urge to spend money on more clothes as you have everything you need

As you can tell, I haven’t gone totally hardcore on the Capsule Wardrobe, but I already feel that I want to pare it down further.  Even with 50-ish items I can see I have more than I need.  I know there are at least a couple of items that should have gone in the give-away pile.  I decided to go easy on myself though – I figured it’s like getting a hair cut and that it’s better to make smaller changes rather than lop it all off and regret it.

I didn’t include workout wear and the undies ‘n socks drawers in this, but they will be next!

It’s also great to give away good quality clothes to great organizations: The Salvation Army and My Sister’s Closet – a local organization which provides free professional attire to low-income and at-risk women pursuing employment: awesome!

 

 Are you ready to try the Capsule Wardrobe?

Here is a great article from WhoWhatWear.com that will give you some ideas on how to get started!

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Comments (4)

Un-fancy.com also covered this very well, and Elizabeth Suzann (whose work I love!) is currently documenting a 10×10 challenge on Instagram. I telecommute full time so I’m a joyous slob, very few clothes I mostly made myself so they always fit. Clothes are great but they’re even better when you feel comfortable enough in them that they become a second thought. Interestingly, when I started learning dressmaking I also did a huge closet clearout, complete with a pie chart of type of garment (nerd!).

Stefania – I LOVE THIS!! Firstly being a joyous slob sounds wonderful :-). I love the notion that once your clothes are comfortable you spend less time thinking about them, I think that’s really true.

I will check out the sources you mentioned. I think the longer I do this, the more I will evangelize about it, I haven’t done it justice in this article. Even putting away laundry is less of a hassle now.

I’d love to see some of the clothes you made!

I’m doing this. Hopefully this weekend!

I wear the same Ten things over & over anyway! My closet is going to be amazing! Thanks for the inspiration!

Great!! At first letting go of things feels hard, but once you get into the swing it, it’s incredibly freeing. Let me know how it goes!

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