Your capsule wardrobe is intended to last you 3 months. Those 3 months will be your season. Summer, winter, fall, and spring capsules. It is absolutely up to you if you completely replace your entire wardrobe each season. I can’t afford that so I swap out items each season and have several that are staples throughout the year. Be mindful of the season when thinking of what you will need and how many of each item you want that season.
Each time you make a capsule wardrobe for the season you will have learned a bit more of what works. Adapt and adjust accordingly. A capsule wardrobe is intended to make things easier; being stuck on rules at the expense of creating something that will work for you is silly.
You need to decide what style clothing your capsule wardrobe needs to accommodate. Do you need mostly office clothing or athletic gear? Plan accordingly. Do you often go out on weekends and need cocktail dresses? Keep that in mind. Make a list of the type of clothing you wear in a month and put a number next to each type for how many days you wear them. Now you can plan the number of pieces your personal capsule wardrobe will have.
This isn’t the time to pick out clothing. Don’t look at your wardrobe. Now is the time to simply look at your lifestyle and what your lifestyle requires from your wardrobe.
Now that you have an idea of what your wardrobe needs to do for you you can plan the number of clothing pieces you are going to try to stay within. And if it is going to include accessories or if you will count those separately. A general rule of thumb is to start with 33 pieces for a lifestyle that only regularly requires one type of clothing. So, if you generally only wear yoga pants and a t-shirt with very little need for anything else, the number 33 is probably about perfect for you.
However, for every type of clothing that you see yourself wearing at least twice a month add an additional 3 pieces to your number.
I generally can wear jeans and tops for all of my work. The only exception is when I go to an event, cocktail party, or convention and it is necessary to wear cocktail dresses or something similar. These happen about once a week, for me. What I wear to these varies based on the event. Often I am speaking or needing to represent a brand in a straightforward manner. For this, I tend to wear a more traditional dress or slacks. But, when I am representing NellieBellie at an event or speaking event I wear a bit more unconventional cocktail wear. So, I chose to expand the 3 pieces rule to 5 pieces. It seems fair ;). I do wear workout gear and painting clothes almost daily. But, because I wear the same 2 outfits all the time I chose not to even include them in my capsule wardrobe. So, the number I have chosen is 38 pieces.
For me personally, I have chosen to include my shoes and bags into that number. This is a personal decision because I know that I will willingly buy shoes and bags every day of the week, if I could. Limiting how many I have has forced me to only buy what I love and dramatically reduced that urge.
I have not, however, included accessories in my number. I am a girl with simple tastes in accessories and don’t have a lot, as it is. I have about a dozen necklaces, earrings, and bracelets as well as a couple scarves. I DO count a scarf or shawl as a piece if it is a big budget piece and will work to create outfits.
Do NOT get stuck on a number. Start with more items, if you need to. You can always crop your wardrobe down if you find that you aren’t needing it as large. Just get started, somehow. You’ll be glad you did.
Now that you know what you wear the most often you can decide how many of one thing you think you would need. Remember the seasonal needs when making this list.
This is an example of my summer capsule list:
1 party purse
1 everyday purse
1 Laptop/Camera Bag
3 dresses (1 traditional cocktail, 1 non-traditional cocktail, 1 basic)
1 floral skirt
1 jean skirt
2 traditional jeans in different washes
1 ripped/faded jeans
1 colored pants
1 dress pants
2 light sweaters/cardigans
1 light jacket/blazer
1 button down white shirt
1 chambray shirt
1 basic t-shirt
2 casual shoes/flats
2 heels (1 patterned, 1 traditional)
I’ve included a printable for my upcoming fall capsule wardrobe check-list. This is what I will be using coming up in a couple of weeks. I hope it’s useful to you. Click on the image below to get to the printable…
The very first thing I do for each season’s capsule is plan my colors. My personal preference is to stay with neutrals for the majority of my clothing pieces and choose a couple coordinating colors for accessories or a top or two. Doing this eliminates having to “match” your clothing, it allows each of your pieces to work together, and it keeps it easy to know how to shop.
For instance, my spring wardrobe is jean, white, gray, and mint green for accents. I do use white with small patterns, gray with large black or white patterns, and even white and gray stripes. I like mixing patterns in similar colors so using my colors in varying patterns works just fine for me. If that isn’t a you thing then be a bit more traditional in your patterns or stick to solid colors and use pattern sparingly.
Look in your current wardrobe at the colors you already are wearing all the time. Those are probably the colors to go with. Just be sure at least one neutral color to allow mixing and matching easily.
Current Wardrobe finds:
It can be tempting to decide to just get an all new wardrobe with pieces that “work”. Don’t do it. Until you have used a capsule wardrobe for a while you won’t know enough about what works for you and will absolutely make poor choices initially. Your best plan is to use what you already have, as much as you can.
- Go through your wardrobe and put everything you DON’T love with a big love in one pile. Let’s not use those, if we can help it. Mmmm-kay.
- Go through the remaining wardrobe and put everything that doesn’t look FANTASTIC on you in another pile. Let’s try not to use those either.
- Go through the remaining wardrobe and put everything that isn’t in the right color scheme that you have chosen into another pile (this is why I recommend you choose colors you already tend to wear often or you’ll be getting rid of a whole lot more clothing than necessary). Let’s try not to use those either.
Now with the remaining pieces, look through your list and see if you can fill some of those items with the clothing you have left to choose from. If you have multiple pieces for one item on the list choose the item that is material that withstands wear, a color/pattern that matches easily, doesn’t require special undergarments, and/or is a great brand. Go ahead and stash those other extras in a box in the closet, if you like. If you find you are missing an item or two… yay! If you can afford it, go shopping. If you can’t afford it … go ahead and look through the items you set aside from your wardrobe to see if there is something as close as you can possibly get to the item that is missing. And keep your eyes out for a budget-friendly replacement.
Now that you have followed those steps you have a capsule wardrobe. Go you! With this first capsule wardrobe it’s all about adjusting, learning, and testing. Don’t spend alot of money or time. Expect to have items you don’t wear as often as you thought, or items you wear out. Remember these things for next time.
Head to the CAPSULE WARDROBE: ultimate guide for the most complete info.
Accessories to make your Capsule Wardrobe perform BIG found HERE
For why I’ve chosen to have a capsule wardrobe go HERE.
For more info about our sensible/minimal lifestyle go HERE.
For more info about Janel go HERE.
And don’t forget to pick up your Fall 2015 Capsule Wardrobe Checklist HERE.
Hey, it’s kind of like a choose your own adventure :).!!