The Kind Of Capsule Wardrobe...
I feel like I’m a tiny bit late to the game, ok well maybe about 6 years late but who’s counting. I’ve finally decided to take the plunge dip my toe into the idea of a capsule wardrobe, my tiny baby toe that is. I love clothing, accessories, shoes… you name it. I’ve never met a scarf that I didn’t love and I would see a piece and just have to have it. However, having a closet full of great pieces does not always translate into have a great wardrobe.

 I would often buy pieces for a look that I thought I wanted but they were never things I would want to wear to sit at a desk for 8 hours. I found myself always reaching for the same pieces, the closer it got to laundry day the more difficult it would be to pick my outfit for the day; all my favorite pieces were dirty.

I have done hours’ worth of research on capsule wardrobes. I love the idea of grabbing a top and bottom and being chic in two seconds flat. But how was I supposed to get through the season with 10 tops? I’ve pinned thousands of pictures of people’s capsules and their outfit boards and they always look so amazing but the thought of wearing the same pants twice in one week makes my little fashionista heart sad.

But I decided to give it a go but I thought I would take a different approach and see where I wound up. 

Every single blog or article or pin would start the same way: step one-empty your entire closet and put it all on your bed. That sounds like an awful day that’s going to end with all my clothes being dumped on the floor when I want to go to sleep.

The first step I was taking toward my capsule wardrobe was to leave my house and get as far away from my clothing as possible. I grabbed my computer and a notebook and headed for Starbucks because that’s how all good things start.
One Can Never Be

-Oscar Wilde
Once nestled into a big comfy chair, coconut milk latte in hand I was ready to begin.

Step One: Think

Think about your clothing that is. My goal here is to make a “keep” list. I broke my clothing into the following categories: Tank Tops, Shirts, Sweaters, Pants, Skirts, Dresses, Jackets and Shoes. If I were to go home and get ready what tank top would I pick? Shirt? Sweater? And so on. Because I wasn’t at home I had to think of my closet and picture myself wearing it. Naturally the first items to come to mind were my favorite “go-to” pieces. If I do this process at home with a pile of my clothing in front of me, I will try on a piece, remember why I bought it and fall in love again thinking to myself “I wonder why I never wear this.” It goes in the keep pile and again I NEVER end up wearing it. I’m not saying you’re going to go home and throw away everything that’s not on your list but you need to be able to identify a few key items from each category.

Once you have your “keep” list you can move on to step two and it might be time for a refill on that latte.

Step Two: Pinterest

Or wherever you get fashion inspiration from. I had already done a ton of research about capsule wardrobe and I’m “pinning” outfit ideas all the time. A few week before I sat down to make my list I made a special Pinterest board just for this “work capsule.” Creative I know! It was a combination of specific outfits as well as other people’s entire capsules that caught my eye for one reason or another.
As I scrolled through Pinterest I looked for patterns and similarities between the things that caught my eye. I noticed I pinned a lot of outfits with a classic white button down top (yet I don’t own one, who doesn’t own a white button down?) Chambray was common as well as olive green. It’s important to look at the overall aspects of an outfit as well as the details. What shapes are you attracted to? This step is just for inspiration and to get a good direction toward your capsule.

Step Three: Combine your real wardrobe with your Pinterest wardrobe

The key here is to be realistic. I noticed that I pin and wear a lot of outfits with a flowy top and slim bottom. The silhouette looks good on me and in my current wardrobe it’s the clothes that I keep reaching for. It comfortable and super stylish. Thankfully this part was pretty easy for me since my current keep list meshed with my Pinterest wardrobe. I have realized that I buy a lot of fitted tops and sweaters, they look great in the store while I’m standing in front of a mirror with my gut sucked in and perfect posture. However, sitting at your desk after a big potluck lunch, not so flattering or comfortable.

I think the clothing that I was keeping around because I once loved it was making clothing choices very difficult. I always had the best of intentions while shopping but when it was 5am and I’m standing in front of my closet I just wanted something stylish AND comfortable.
Don’t forget to think about shoes here. I think a lot of times shoes are shown separately and can come across as a mental disconnected from an outfit. I can’t count how many times I have fallen in love with a pair of shoes, gotten them home and asked “what in the hell am I going to wear these with?”

Step Four: Finish your latte, thank your barista, and head home to rev up that washer and dryer

I think this next part is the worst! But it is a necessary step; do the laundry. Seeing as most of my “keep” list was in the dirty laundry pile is was essential for me to start with laundry. Even though I knew my plan was to go through all my clothes I hung everything up and put it away properly. The only thing I didn’t do was iron, who irons their clothes anyway?

Step five: Weeding

I suggest this be done a different day than your list making and your laundry doing. For me, by the time I made my list, got home and finished laundry it was almost time for bed anyway. But don’t wait too long or you’re just going to have to do laundry again.
When you’re ready to take the plunge into actually weeding out your clothes it’s best to start with a clean space with minimal distractions. If you’re doing this in your room, make your bed. Also, make sure you have what you need in there i.e. a full length mirror, lots of coffee and some non-stop tunes.

Instead of putting ALL of my clothing on the bed I decided to do it in sections again. I stayed with the same categories I had used for my “keep” list earlier.

First I tackled shoes. I love shoes and have about a million pairs and when I walked away from Starbucks I had a pretty hefty “keep” list in the shoe department.

I set aside all of the shoes from my keep list.

I started by getting rid of all of the shoes I really never wear. There actually wasn’t very many, I do well with rotating them but you know that cute pair of shoes that give you the worst blister ever…yeah get rid of them!

Next I got rid of any shoes that serve the same purpose as another. I had two pairs of black patent leather pumps and two pairs of black flat boots. If you can reach for either pair and create the same overall look, there is no need to have them both…keep your favorite and get rid of the others.  

Get rid of anything that’s damaged. This is an obvious one but I’m notorious for keeping this stuff around. Maybe I’ll fix it some day or maybe the magic closet elves will fix it for me…if they haven’t fixed it by now they're probably not going to.

Next I took an inventory of everything that was left. I moved everything that I LOVE to the keep pile and the rest went in a “maybe” pile.

It’s time for shoe "shopping" and by shopping I mean trying everything on from your maybe pile. I suggest wearing an outfit that is similar to your typical style for the best comparison. As you’re trying on all your shoes picture yourself actually shopping. If I were at a store right now would I decided to take these home with me? If the answer is no, they go. If the answer is yes, they can stay...for now. Be stingy with your "yes" pile. Dont keep somehting that you dont L-O-V-E. If all of your clothes truly end up being mixable you will always reach for your favorite black ankle boots before those uncofortable 4 inch tall pumps.

If you're still ending up with a lot of maybes or a "I'd wear these more if I had the right pants" set them aside and come back to them later.


Don’t try shoes on with your oversized fuzzy sweatpants,they won't look good
Once I went through everything I had three piles. Keep, Donate and Maybe. The keep pile immediately got put away in my closet. The donate pile went in a sack by the door to take to Value Village and the maybe pile went into a big blue IKEA sack in another room.

I still ended up with way more shoes than the typical Capsule Wardrobe but it was a start. I had just about cut my shoe collection in half. 

Lather Rinse Repeat

I know that last portion seems super lengthy but weeding out my shoes only took about 20 minutes. Moving on to clothing, this step might take a bit longer for each category because there is a lot to try on. I like to throw on some black leggings and a fitted white tank top, this gives me a neutral base for trying on shirts and sweater.
I also do this if I know I'm going clothes shopping, Throw on a big sweater before leaving the house and it really speeds things up in the dressing room 


The basic steps are the same for each clothing category. It helped me to keep in mind the questions I was asking myself about each piece. When purging my closet in the past I had always tried on a shirt I never wear and asked myself “why don’t I wear this, is looks great?” This is not the perspective to take…instead it was helpful for me to think about the clothes I do wear and why I wear it.


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