Capsule Wardrobe Coles Notes

Picture the scene.  A grown woman, 4 months post-partum, sitting on her bedroom floor surrounded in a pile of clothes. A big pile. She’s so tired and lost she can’t even cry.  She just sits there – looking at herself in her full length mirror.  She doesn’t recognize her body…but she doesn’t hate it either.  How can someone with so many clothes have nothing that fits?

The woman was me. And this was the moment I decided to start from scratch.

Enter in…the capsule wardrobe. 

Let me preface this post by saying that a capsule wardrobe is NOT for everyone. Personally, I had already been on a path to living a life of “less”.  In our house we have started to get rid of the clutter (physical and otherwise) aiming to keep only what serves us and clearing out the rest.

To give a capsule wardrobe a try you have to be open to less. You have to want to change the way you look at clothes in order to create a meaningful & mindful  wardrobe that serves your actual life as it is now. 

Not sure this is you? Let me ask a few questions:

Do you find yourself constantly buying new jeans even though you have at least 5 pairs in your closet?  Are you convinced that the perfect jeans don’t exist…no jean can possibly be the perfect fit, color, wash, length, and rise?!

Do you ever find yourself running late for work/church/dates/functions because you have tried on everything you own and none of it seems to be working for you that day? *Ever cried about it???

Do you “need” to shop every time you are invited to a party/event/night out?

Do you ever go shopping for something specific but get home with a bag full of clothes only to realize that you still don’t have what you went for?

Do you feel uncomfortable in your clothes?

If you have answered yes to most or all of these questions…then you will benefit from a capsule wardrobe.

So how did I get started?  Well, I read and re-read just about everything over at Un-Fancy.  Caroline is amazing and although I don’t follow her method exactly (and you don’t have to either) her blog and ideas were the road map I worked from.

First Steps:

  • Read the Un-Fancy blog, take the time.
  • Start a Pinterest board called “spring capsule wardrobe” and just start pinning. Don’t think about it too much.  If you see an outfit you like Pin it.  Don’t overthink it. Then after you have collected pins (over a few weeks or so) look your board over.  You should see a trend of what you like.  This is a good place to start.  I did this and it was extremely helpful.  I did NOT know what my “style” was until I did this. When I looked back it was comically clear.
  • Take a REAL look at your life.  What percentage of time are you at work/home/out during the day/out at night.  Is your lifestyle casual or more formal?  Put actual percentages on it. (Un-fancy has a work sheet that will take you through this).
  •  Stop copying or dressing like someone else, dress like YOU.
  • Please remember that “style” isn’t about trends or being a certain size or weight. Its time to say goodbye to picking yourself apart…dress the body you have now. Decide what you love about your body and accentuate that. Always. Every time. 

Decide on a color palette for your wardrobe. And stick to it. If you do everything will “go” with everything and you outfit options will be vast. Stop buying shirts that only go with that one skirt or pair of pants. Stop now. 

Choosing a palette? Again I’m no expert…I stuck with the basics – black, white, grey, all shades of denim, then I chose two colours (for my fall capsuke)…olive green & cranberry. 

This makes shopping super easy. 

Remember you can add “color” in your shoes/accessories/outerwear. If you are a color lover.

Time to go through what you have…again “unfancy” explains this well. But basically I recommend you empty ALL (I repeat all) of your clothes into your bed. ALL.

Keep items you love (not kinda like). Sell or donate the rest. If it fits into your “capsule goals” keep it. 

I encourage you to be ruthless. If you have hoarding tendencies or emotional attachments to clothes…pack them up and put them in your basement. I’m guessing you will forget all about them. Then the next time you clean the basement you can donate them all. 

Now…go shopping! With a list of what you need to fill the gaps. The idea of the “3 month” capsule is that you literally shop 4x a year. Now…when you are getting started it takes a bit. But after a full year the idea is that you will only need to replace a few items each season and pick up a few new items dependant on styles. But at that point it’s not about “adding” it’s about keeping a very small number of clothes. If you get something new it replaces something that is being donated/thrown out/sold. 

I cannot tell you enough how much I love shopping & dressing this way. I used to wander stores thinking “do I like this?” I used to dress according to who I was going to be with or what we were doing. I almost never really liked what I had on. I had a closet full of clothes I hated. Nothing to wear. I was a slave to shopping. 

Now I shop with a plan. I know what cut of pant I’m looking for. I know that I prefer a v neck to a scoop neck and if I can’t find what I’m looking for…I wait instead of settle for what is at the store now. 

And my closet isn’t stressful. I change my outfit WAY way way less often. Leaving more time to enjoy my family or drink a coffee…hot. 

This post really is just the tip of the ice burg. Please visit unfancy or do your own”capsule wardrobe” research. It’s a movement! 

Let me know if you decide to take the plunge! 


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