My capsule wardrobe: every morning I swallow a pill and clothes appear on my body, and they fit and match perfectly!
Actually-a capsule wardrobe is one where all the pieces more or less work together.
Susie Faux started the concept in London in the 1970s. A capsule wardrobe should consist of good quality, timeless pieces. Decorate them with seasonal or trendy accessories. The main clothes will cost more but last a long time. Better for the environment, your morning minutes, and eventually your pocketbook.
The idea has gained steam recently. Courtney Carver started Project 333 in 2010, and I think that is when it started to become A Thing. She started challenging folks to limit themselves to 33 items of clothing or less for 3 months. In 3 months, you can swap out the clothes for another 33. At the end of each 3 months, you can evaluate what pieces worked, which didn’t. Are there things you wished you had? Anything not fitting right? Anything that will carry right over into the next 3 months?
My journey into capsule wardrobe life
I decided to jump into this experiment (a mere 9 years after it began!) because I am trying to minimize my stuff. And something i noticed is that I would have certain pieces of clothing that moved from my closet to my out-of-season box and back to my closet without ever getting worn because it was:
- Fantasy self gear.
- Stuff I didn’t necessarily like, but fit well.
- Somethings I thought I was supposed to own.
For instance, I hate the feeling of shiny linings in clothes. But I need to own a proper black skirt, right? And this one is nice! Or! Oh, one of the biggest culprits! I bought it for super cheap and it is a really good quality brand! Never mind that I don’t ever wear it, it is a Liz Claiborne!
Two things would happen in my closet most mornings
- It is a normal workday, so I ignore every fancy or ill-fitting thing in my closet and pick up a pair of jeans, plain t-shirt, and a sweater.
- -OR- It is a day where I need to dress up, so I try on and toss aside 3-4 outfits because they don’t fit right or don’t look just so, or they look good but I don’t have the right shoes, or the right tights, or….
Embracing the capsule wardrobe
Cy was super duper helpful in the project. He suggested I count my clothes, including:
- Necklaces (I don’t wear any other type of jewelry besides a watch and my no-complaint bracelet, and those don’t count)
I can’t remember the original count, but I got it down to 120, and felt good about it. 120 is 4 seasons of 30 each, right? I told Cy that was as far as I could go. Since our weather is so variable in PNW, it is nice to have all things at arm’s length.
But then I started to think about it. Hm, there are still so many clothes in my wardrobe, and so many things I pass by on my way to what I want to wear. And I still had a lot of shoes. Cy had me count up my shoes. He said I didn’t need to do anything more, just count.
There were 11 pairs of shoes under my bed and in my closet.
And I have only 1 pair of feet! I thought about some of them, why I never wear them: they are uncomfortable, or impractical, or don’t work with any of my outfits. I gave 3 pairs away, packed away the boots and a pair of shoes that work better with tights and so are better fall and winter boots, and I was left with 6 pairs, including one pair that I only wear around the house or for Dex walks, so they don’t count towards the count.
And with the overhaul of the shoes, I was ready to really confront my wardrobe. The scales fell off my eyes and I finally saw the challenge for what it was. Although the weather is variable here, summer ranges from 60s to 100s. I wouldn’t need heavier sweaters. I could get away with one pair of jeans. Since I work a 4 day workweek, I only need a 4 days of good clothes and can wing it for 3 days per week.
I have realized that I like dresses most of all.
My ideal outfit is a basic dress, pretty scarf, leggings or tights, and a sweater. I only kept out clothes I loved. My count was 40:
- 5 dresses
- 9 shirts
- 1 pair of pants
- 1 pair of shorts
- 4 skirts
- 3 scarves
- 2 cardigan sweaters
- 5 pairs of shoes
- 7 necklaces
- 4 pairs of leggings
This was 41 things. I realized that I didn’t like one of the shirts and gave it away. 2 of the skirts are on the bubble and they went back to the garage. And I added one more scarf. With that, my summer wardrobe count was 38 items.
I didn’t take pics of my whole capsule wardrobe, but here was all my hanging things.
It was so freeing! I would wake up in the morning and everything in my closet is something I liked, that I know fits well, and will work with everything else.
Ok, I SUPER cheated on this last point.
The two skirts that stayed in my closet: one all black, one black and white. All of my shirts: t-shirts that shades of grey, navy, or black. And one lightweight hiking shirt that is button down and tan. My only pair of shorts were cut off jeans. And dresses make their own outfit. My leggings are neutral colors as well. My scarves add interest and color. Having all neutral colors and spicy colored scarves makes the process so much easier!
Capsule wardrobe hack: The scarves
One hack I allowed myself was that I changed my scarves once a month, instead of once every three months like I did with the rest of my wardrobe. My scarves are very bright and receive a lot of comments, so it is easier to notice repetition and easier for me to get bored with them.
I have finished my summer capsule and I am moving on to my fall, as the temps are starting to drop here. The only surprising thing was how much I enjoyed this! It simplified my mornings, it made laundry easier, and I got so many compliments on my wardrobe this summer.