When you stand in front of your closet, how do you feel?
Relaxed, as you look at your well-organized, color coordinated wardrobe that makes getting ready in the morning a dream? Or do you have to go on an expedition through decades of styles and ranges of sizes crammed into an overflowing space only to choose the same thing as always?
With the change of the season, I felt like it was time to revisit my wardrobe. I have lost some weight (and kept it off!) and it was time to assess my closet situation. I have been curious about capsule wardrobes and thought this might be a good time to give it a try. A capsule wardrobe is a collection of 30-40 essential pieces. Classics that do not go out of fashion and that coordinate with each other. This concept has been around since the 1970’s and I thought it might be a good way to simplify my morning routine.
So, I did my research (of course!). Something about the concept brought out a bit of defiant child in me. Limited pieces? Color scheme? How many pairs of shoes?!?! I took a breath, realized no one was making me do this, and started at the beginning.
Step One: Clean out your closet
Yup, take it ALL out. Try each item on. Does it fit? Does it flatter? Do you love it? Great! Keep it. If the item does not meet those criteria, get rid of it!
Step Two: Evaluate and identify staples
Now that you have a pile of clothes you love that fit and flatter you, look for the basics. Staple pieces are not trendy; they are the classic pants, tops, jackets and shoes that go with everything. As you pare down your collection, you may be surprised to see a color theme emerge.
Step Three: Choose a color palette
First is your main color, for most it is black or navy. As I cleared out my closet, it became clear that black was my going to be my base color.
Next choose your neutral color coordinating essentials. For example, classic tops and bottoms in solid colors like black, white, gray, chambray or beige. If this is starting to sound like a boring wardrobe, fear not!
Time for accent colors. Go wild! What is your signature color? Add some items that will make your base wardrobe pop.
Finally, add in some texture. Stripes, polka dots, florals! Whatever makes you smile, just make sure to choose pieces that coordinate with what you already have selected so you can mix and match to create more outfits.
Step Four: Select seasonal items
This helps round out your basic collection and swap in and out seasonally appropriate pieces. Sweaters, boots, sundresses, shorts, etc. You get the picture. The important thing to remember is to choose items that coordinate with what you have and think about the versatility of the piece.
Step Five: Maintain your wardrobe and Assess
Live with your chosen 30-40 pieces plus seasonal items for a few months. What worked? What did you miss? This is the time to find the gaps and to fill them. One site suggested creating mini capsules for categories like undergarments, formal events, “getting dirty” clothes, lounge wear and workout gear in addition to your basics. I think this is a fabulous idea because I don’t want to do yard work or Zumba in the same clothes I am wearing to the office. Another great suggestion was to pick a few trendy items each season that you don’t spend a lot of money on but add some fun!
I am still on step one my friends, so I am no expert but I am going to give it a try! Keep in mind I am still working with clothes that I already own, the point is not to spend a lot of money. You may need to add in a few basics and it is also important to consider your lifestyle. I work a 9-5 job in an office but I also need casual clothes. Maybe you hate skirts, so more pants makes sense for you. The idea is not to restrict or to conform to someone else’s lifestyle but to make your life a little simpler. The following list is one of many suggested guidelines for necessary pieces to curate your capsule. There are hundreds of resources online, but feel free to use this to get you started and see where it takes you.
Capsule wardrobe checklist:
Short sleeve tops 3-5
Long sleeve tops 3-5
Wish me luck! I will report back in a few months with the results!