A little over a year ago, I discovered the magic of the capsule wardrobe. You may be familiar with this concept, but in case you’re not, here’s a quick explanation. The idea of a capsule wardrobe is to create a small collection of clothes that mix and match so well together, that you only need a minimal amount of clothing to create a wardrobe with a wide variety of looks. My previous blog post, Gotta get going. A fashion post. (I love Fall!), gave a great example of how capsule wardrobes have helped me spiff it up a bit.
A popular capsule wardrobe concept is Project 333. The idea is to wear only 33 items for 3 months. I loved the idea, but it seemed a little too restrictive to me, so I came up with my own system. When I first organized my fall wardrobe this year, I set up four mini capsules and cycled through them each day. This system gave me a great deal of variety and allowed me to use different color schemes, yet it was still easy to choose an outfit. The smaller wardrobes limited my choices enough, while still giving me plenty of options.
After a couple of weeks, though, I realized I wasn’t really satisfied. I still had too many clothes in my closet. I also realized that I had some items in my capsules that I really didn’t want to wear on a daily basis, but I still access to them. My closet should have been neat and tidy, and my options should have been easy to see at a glance. Instead, my closed looked like this mess you see here.
Seriously, yikes. Then I read an article published by Fashion Magazine called, “You’re Doing the ‘Capsule Wardrobe’ Wrong.” Which began: “People of the Internet, listen up: enough with your bloated versions of the “capsule” wardrobe. You keep saying that word; I don’t think it means what you think it means.”
So yeah. I had to admit, I was doing the bloated version. And I wasn’t really getting what I wanted out of it! I figured out that I was trying to create capsules that would serve ALL my dressing needs. That works for some people. If your life is very casual, you may use leggings for a workout and then for a going-out-to-lunch outfit another day. Maybe you get up every morning and put on your work clothes, and then wear them all day, until bedtime.
In my life, I need different kinds of clothes, or maybe I should say different categories. I read this in Project 333: “These items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing (you can only wear your workout clothing to workout).” Once I stopped trying to fit ALL my clothing needs into my capsules, I was able to organize my closet in a way that really made sense. I cut my four “mini” capsules in half, leaving me with just two, and I eliminated many of the pieces that “bloated” my capsules until I was down to just 18 in each, for a total of 36 items. And I organized and acknowledged my other clothing categories to meet my other dressing needs. Not a bad days work.
Here are my clothing categories:
- Pajamas. I have very specific pajama needs. Shorts and a tank top. I used to sleep in sexy nighties (THAT was a long time ago). Then it was flannel pjs as I got older and colder. Brrr. Then came menopause! Now I sleep hot. So summer, winter, spring, and fall, it’s short and a tank top for this gal! The lesson here: know your needs, and meet them.
- Schlubby wear. AKA scrubs, sweats, couch potato attire. For days when I’m shclubbin’, chillaxing, or otherwise lying like broccoli. This category includes a couple pairs of sweats, some old tees, and a few oversized, warm, cozy sweatshirts and sweaters. Remember, not every day is a capsule day.
- Yoga and running gear. Easy peasy. Yoga pants and a few workout tanks. A couple of Under Armour tops for warmth. A note about the yoga pants. I have been buying mine at Fred Meyer for quite a long time. They’re affordable (usually in the $30 – $40 range), comfortable, and flattering, and they last a LONG time. As someone who does yoga daily, that really means something.
- My daily wardrobe. This is where the capsules come in. I may wake up in pajamas, schlub my way through the morning, and then hit the park for a run, (or run my morning vinyasas – sun salutations make me happy!), but eventually, I shower, change and get going on my day (most days). So post shower, this is where I go.
- Construction-wear. This is for the days when I’m working on a project. This may include, but is not limited to: building a greenhouse, replacing a window, or cutting a hole in a wall. (That’s my next planned project. Hey, Vini. It’s happening.) Clearly, these clothes are old. And stained. And probably torn.
- Special occasion, “fancy” wear. This is the category that was messing with my capsules the most. I need them in my closet, but I don’t necessary want to wear these items on a daily basis. This includes clothes for church on Sunday, or date nights with Vini. Now that the kids are grown, I’m happy to say, there’s a lot more romance these days. (Ooh la la.)
So, problem solved. I set aside space for clothes to meet all of the above needs, including my two capsules for every day use. I could have made one capsule – 36 pieces in all, but I was really interested in keeping each days’ choices to a minimum. I found it easier to create two separate capsules, 18 pieces each, as follows:
- three bottoms
- eight tops
- three toppers
- four pairs of shoes
In addition to the section of “fancy” clothes, I also have a section of “fancy” shoes. I find that basic shoe styles in basic colors work best for capsule-wear. But gosh darn it, I LOVE shoes. And I’m just not willing to live without my leopard print pumps, burgundy suede heels, blue leather wooden wedges…you get the idea. I feel the same about my other accessories. I don’t limit them to specific capsules, but I have limited the TOTAL number of purses, scarves, and jewelry in my closet. I like the number four here. Again, it allows for variety without creating chaos or decision paralysis. Can you believe this? One blogger wrote, “Purses. You only need one.” Maybe SHE only needs one. I need four. Day in and day out, I lean on my capsule clothes, but when the mood strikes, my fancy clothes are ready and waiting.
Now my closet looks like this:
Ah, neat and tidy!
And my capsules?
My capsules are so easy to see! Getting dressed is a breeze. I wear something different every day. And love everything I wear. And the overflow? What I love went into storage. When I’m ready for a change, I have many other options to swap in. No shopping necessary. What I don’t love will go to someone who will. And the empty hangers? Anyone need hangers?
How do you keep your closet organized? Do you capsule wardrobe or do you have another system?
One last thing. One of the joys of blogging is the discovery of other peoples’ blogs. I’d love to refer you to Courtney Carver at BeMoreWithLess. Courtney writes about simplifying; not only our closets, but our lives. The more I grow in life, the more I want to let go. There’s a wealth of great information and ideas here, so check it out!