Mini Capsule Challenge

Hi everyone! I’m so excited about this post today…

If there’s one thing I’ve seen repeatedly posted on Instagram since the New Year began, it is that people are wanting to reduce the amount of “stuff” in their lives. I’ve seen posts about purging closets, adopting the word less for 2016, reducing tech time, and so on. In fact, I’m right there with you!

I get a lot of questions about how I started my capsule, but even more I get comments from women who say they’d love to try a capsule wardrobe, but aren’t sure they could do it. In all honesty, if I can do it anyone can (so cliche, but so true). My favorite hobby is (or should I say was?) shopping and bargain hunting and I really didn’t think I could give it up. I had a full closet, tons of off-season clothes in storage, and I just kept buying. I had so many clothes that most of my tops were only getting worn once per season. (hands cover eyes)

I decided about a year ago that life was really feeling hectic and I just wanted it to be more simple. My closet was the easiest place to make an immediate change. It’s the one place I have total control over and it was feeling totally out of control. I know it can be daunting and overwhelming and feel like a huge commitment, so let’s start small. A mini capsule challenge, as a way of trying it out on a smaller scale.

20 items for 21 days

Here’s how it works:

  • Select 20 items, including shoes, from your current wardrobe. Really try to make them 20 of your favorite and most versatile pieces (you know…the ones that you feel great in, look great in, and wish you could wear every day?). Accessories, PJ’s, workout gear, and outerwear do not count.
  • Push everything else to the back of your closet or even go as far as to box them up and get them out of your sight. While you’re at it, maybe do a little closet purge! 🙂
  • Wear only these 20 items for 3 full weeks (I’m doing mine from February 8 – February 28 and I’m hoping some of you will join me so we can all be in it together 😉 This gives us almost 2 weeks to select and plan items).
  • Mix, match, and get creative finding new ways to style your items.  Make new outfits from old pieces rather than buying new. Pair different pieces together, layer, add a different accessory to make it look new. Use the three weeks to challenge yourself not to add to your wardrobe either.
  • Use the hashtag #20items21days to share your outfits on IG or search for inspiration.
  • Have fun! It’s only 3 weeks and it’s a great way to test the capsule waters and see how it feels to live with a simplified wardrobe. Worst case, you miss all of your clothes and feel like you have nothing to wear (but at least then you’ll know the capsule thing is not for you). Best case, you fall in love with your closet and decide you’d like to continue the capsule.

Here are some great references:

  • The best closet clean out guide EVER: I think the idea of just starting with what you truly, truly love and building from there (if necessary) is such a great way to approach this.
  • I have had trouble balancing my work/weekend wear, and this is a great way to use percentages of your time to help you split your wardrobe between work and casual items. While you’re on the Brass Clothing site, check out their history of the capsule wardrobe and how to begin building a capsule posts, too.
  • Here’s another way to think about splitting your 20 pieces with some examples. This link uses spring/summer clothes, but there are tons of links within that post to other seasons, ways to pair outfits, and workbooks to help if that’s your thing.
  • This is my capsule process.
  • Some of my favorite capsule/minimal wardrobe blogs: Seasons and Salt, Thoughts by Natalie, All Things Ali J., Harben Porter, Cassidy, Lizzy Loves HealthUn-fancy.
  • I use the Stylicious app on my phone to help me plan outfits. I took photos of everything in my capsule and uploaded them into the app and can create different outfits. I have a whole “lookbook” of outfits that are actually my real pieces, so I can find something to wear when I’m rushed or not feeling inspired. It also has helped me to see how many different outfits are possible. With my old closet, no way I’d take all those pics, but 20 items? No problem!

I’m going to be doing this challenge too. After looking at which items I was and was not wearing, I realized I could do with even less and I think it will really help me get creative and develop my sense of personal style if I focus on fewer items, but love each piece and feel it fits my style goals.

Is anyone out there willing to give this a try?!

20 items for 21 days…who is in?

More about Paige


      1. Becky,
        Yay!! I hope you’ll join in. I’m already getting excited about picking my items and figuring outfits.

      1. Yes! I’d love for you to join in. I’m pretty close to picking my 20, but I’ll make a few last minute choices when I see a 10 day weather forecast!?

    1. I am in totally in. I still have way too many items to be a capsule wardrobe, but I’ve made progress

      1. Lorraine!
        That’s awesome. I still have items in my capsule I don’t wear, which tells me I need to hone in even more on my style. I’m excited you’ll be joining in!

    1. count me in! Sadly, winter in Minneapolis doesn’t seem to allow for wardrobe flexibility. Do people have capsules specifically for the seasons?

      1. Kelly,
        Yes! I am doing mine in 3 month “seasons”, so right now it’s all winter clothes. I think you can make your seasons and capsules work for you. Spring will be tough because of the varying temps here, but I’m going to focus on lots of layers. All of my off-season clothes are in storage under my daughter’s bed. This 21 day challenge will be a great way to test it out and see how a capsule feels!
        Thanks so much,

    1. Ooo, I’m tempted. I may join in too. I’ve already decided to ONLY wear dresses and skirts to work during the month of February so that in itself may help me narrow down my mini capsule to 20 items.

      1. Amy,
        What a cool idea to only wear dresses or skirts? Is there a reason behind it? I had a coworker do dresses in December (I forget what she called it) to bring awareness to human trafficking. I hope you join in!
        Thanks for reading,

        1. I did Dressember (I think that’s what it is called) in 2014 and really liked it! And of course, the reason for it was of interest to me too. It’s great to bring awareness to causes. I mainly decided to do just dresses in February to challenge myself and force myself out of jeans. (I was on maternity leave from mid-October to late-January so it was really just something fun to do as I eased back into work.) As I was choosing my 20 items, I decided I couldn’t do just dresses (well, I could have but I wanted more flexibility) so I decided this challenge was enough. Maybe I’ll do just dresses in a summer month, or just wait until Dressember rolls around again. 🙂

    1. Hi Paige! I wanted to say thank you for such an awesome idea! I’m going to jump in and give this a try, the 20 items for 21 sounds like a really great way to focus on being more creative during the winter blahs. I’m really excited about it and wanted to say thanks – your blog is really awesome and I think its really inspiring that you can make a capsule warobe work with having a job outside the house, it’s something I haven’t seen many do and I think its very cool. 🙂

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