What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
There is no right or wrong way to create a capsule wardrobe. The idea is to reduce the number of items in your closet to help you create a cohesive and versatile wardrobe filled with items you love and feel great in. If you google “capsule wardrobe” you can find a variety of guidelines, but it seems the most commonly used number is 37, which is what Caroline at Unfancy suggests (she’s the one I discovered the capsule idea through). As I planned my capsule, I kept that number in the back of my mind, but tweaked the guidelines a bit to fit my lifestyle.
Each capsule lasts approximately 3 months, or a season. I am doing Fall (September – November), Winter (December – February), Spring (March – May), and Summer (June – August). These seemed like the most natural breaks for my job as a teacher and with the Colorado weather. Typically I’d start my fall capsule a bit earlier, but since I’ve been on Maternity Leave I postponed it a few weeks.
Here is how I ended up building my capsule:
- 30 basic items – this does not include shoes, accessories, outerwear, workout gear, PJs, and a few pairs of leggings I wear on homebody days. I am on the search for the perfect burgundy cardigan, so I have 1 more item to add once I find it.
- 6 work/weekend swap items – my work and weekend dress codes are different, so I chose 6 items that I will only wear to work and 6 different items I will only wear on weekend (so my capsule total on any day is still 37).
- 5 shirts that I wear on Casual Fridays at school where we are encouraged to wear our school color, royal blue. These are items I don’t wear any other time and that I have purchased specifically for Spirit Days.
I felt these adjustments still pushed me to reduce my wardrobe drastically, but made the capsule fit my lifestyle and wardrobe needs.
***Disclaimer: I am keeping out one pair of jean shorts because I still see 90 degree days in our forecast, but believe me, I’ll pack them up as soon as I can***
Why a Capsule Wardrobe?
I was inspired to try a capsule wardrobe after seeing one pop up in my Pinterest feed almost a year ago. I was so overwhelmed and uninspired by my closet at the time that I was really drawn to the simplicity. I had tons of great items, but I was just over it all, none of it felt like me. I posted more here about how I felt I’d “lost” my style. I decided to challenge myself to give the capsule wardrobe trend a try. Here’s a look at how I started purging and the steps I took selecting items for my Fall Capsule.
My hope is following the capsule wardrobe will help me declutter, discover my true personal style, build a wardrobe I love, stop shopping so darn much, and avoid impulse buying things that aren’t perfect for me.
So, here is my Fall Capsule Wardrobe. Links to these (or similar) items are on THIS PAGE.
Casual Friday Gear
I ended up with 16 tops and sweaters, 5 cardigans or jackets, 1 dress, and 8 bottoms for my basic 30 items. I bought 14 new items for the season. In all honesty, at this point in my postpartum-ness, only 6 of the bottoms fit (4 maternity versions of what I posted, 1 skirt, and 1 bought in a larger side to be able to wear now). It is with great optimism that I chose my pre-pregnancy pants for the capsule! 🙂 I would have definitely chose another dress typically, but with breastfeeding and pumping, it wasn’t practical at this point.
What I Spent
I started by selecting favorite items from what I already had and then shopped to fill in holes and update styles. Below is a breakdown of what I spent to complete my capsule. I shopped with a specific list of items I needed and most items were purchased on sale and I stuck with my budget-hunting ways by purchasing on ebay and poshmark. I did splurge on a few items from Gap that I probably wouldn’t have before, but I really tried to buy what I LOVED and not settle for things that I liked enough because the price was right. I was very conscientious about what I purchased. I didn’t buy anything that I didn’t feel good in and that didn’t mix-and-match well with the other items I had selected, no matter how great the deal was. I did find that online shopping isn’t as convenient when you have to do a lot of returns because the items aren’t perfect. 😉 This was a major change in my usual shopping attitude.
I don’t expect to have to purchase quite this much for future capsules. I bought a lot of inexpensive tops in current cuts and colors to update the more basic pieces. Lucky for me, the slouchy style tops are perfect for my postpartum body.
Here’s an overview of what I purchased (all capsule items or similar items linked here):
- White long-sleeve tee ($12.48): I originally had a short-sleeve tee in the capsule, but I decided for fall the long-sleeve would be more versatile. This was half off when I bought my gray sweater
- Cream skinny corduroys ($25): I wanted a cold-weather version of my favorite white jeans and cream cords were just the item. I purchased these J.Crew pants on Ebay.
- Oatmeal longline cardigan ($
42$10.60 with 40% off and Old Navy credit card rewards): I love the longer cardigans that are out now, and found this perfect lightweight version on sale at Gap over the summer, so I snatched it up and kept it for the capsule.
- Striped dress (c/o): I was so thrilled to be asked to collaborate with Shabby Apple. I chose this dress because of the flattering cut, ability to layer easily, and pockets! I’m a sucker for a dress with pockets.
- Striped tee ($7.80): I chose this tee for the looser cut and I loved the cream background and dark gray stripes for a warmer fall look.
- Bird print blouse ($
10$0): I wanted another print besides stripes to add interest to my capsule. I found this bird print blouse from Stitch Fix on Poshmark using credits from items I sold and luckily it was a perfect fit.
- Gray sweater ($35): This was a bit of a splurge for me, but I saw a friend wearing this sweater backwards on Instagram and I loved it. I realized this would be like a 2-for-1 deal if I could wear it multiple ways.
- Gray long-sleeve tee ($8.40): I loved this casual, loose cut. This may be redundant with the gray sweater, but it’s so comfortable I kept it!
- Bootcut jeans ($
15$0): I was so excited to start seeing bootcut jeans pop up again. I purchased this GAP pair in a larger size than I usually wear on Thredup. I really wanted to get in on the trend asap and since I had some credits from bags I sent in during my closet cleanout to cover the cost I went for it!
- Camel-colored jacket ($
52.80$0): I bought this jacket during a 40% off sale, and it was a major splurge for me. I ended up returning a few birthday gifts, so I used the money from that to buy this jacket (that makes the $0). It is so lightweight and comfortable for work and I love the color. It’s also machine washable, which sealed the deal for me.
- Blush tee ($8.40): I love this color for fall, so an inexpensive tee was an easy way to add it into my capsule. Plus, it’s super soft and comfy.
- Burgundy tee ($8.74): Ditto what I said about the blush tee.
- Black sweater ($7.03): My old black sweater had seen better days, so I bought this lightweight version in an updated high-low cut to replace it.
- Black blazer ($
18$0): I sold a handful of blazers and replaced it with this H&M basic black blazer I found on Poshmark. I love the look of blazers, but never seem to wear them much, so I didn’t want to spend a ton until I see how much I chose this one during the fall. I used credits for the purchase, so essentially spend $0.
- Black midi pencil skirt ($9): I felt this longer length is a more current style to the pencil skirt and at $9 during an Old Navy 40% off promo I couldn’t resist.
Spent $132.45 Sold $170.44
I really am so excited about wearing these pieces and learning some new styling tricks to keep from getting bored. However, I’m a bit nervous about not shopping and how I will fill that rush I get from scoring a great deal. Will I have enough willpower to resist the great deals posted on Instagram or sent to my inbox? It sounds kind of pathetic, but shopping is my hobby, my favorite past time. It’s what I do when I sneak out for a few kid-free hours. I honestly just love it and I think I’ll miss it. But, this will be good. Very good.