Capsule Wardrobe 101

I have heard from a lot of people that they would love to do a capsule wardrobe, but that they just don’t see how it will fit into their lives.

And honestly?

With a traditional capsule concept, I do think there is only a certain group of people who will really thrive within its confines.

That’s where Truncation is different.

I’m not here to tell you that you have to limit your clothing to a predetermined number or that you need to follow a certain set of rules (although if that’s your thing then more power to you!).

What I am here to do is to try and help you figure out a way to cut out the clutter from your lives so that you can focus on things that are truly important to you.

In other words, “less” looks different for everyone and trying to fit your “less” into somebody else’s “less” really doesn’t make sense.

What I want to do here at Truncation is to encourage you to find your “less” (let’s see how many times I can use that word shall we?) and do what works best for you and your own unique lifestyle.

But before I get ahead of myself:

a capsule wardrobe is a small, functional wardrobe filled with a set amount of clothing that you wear for whatever length of time you choose without adding anything new to it. This is what mine looks like:

  • I have an all season capsule wardrobe (i.e. a small closet with pieces that will work for all seasons).
  • In that small wardrobe I include clothing and shoes, but I don’t include:
  • weather related jackets and coats, workout and loungewear, purses and accessories/jewelry.

Alright. Without further ado, here are my four steps for creating a capsule wardrobe:

Step One: write down why you want to start a capsule wardrobe.

and then create some sort of list or vision board of goals that you hope to accomplish by paring down your wardrobe.

I can tell you from personal experience that this step really helps when you are three months down the road and you start to feel the itch to add more to your closet.

Being able to look at your list/board and remember why you started the whole thing in the first place will give you a renewed purpose.

Also, use this step to start defining what you want your personal style to actually look like.

When doing the capsule process you really need to nail this down because a capsule should be filled with pieces that will work seamlessly together (for the most part, although it is always fun to have a few “fun” pieces just because).

Step Two: Take everything out of your closet and pile it on the floor.

I know, I know, in the capsule world everyone says to do it and I resisted this step for a while because I didn’t think it was necessary.

But for real… you need to do this step.

I would suggest grabbing a glass of wine, putting on some tunes that soothe you, lighting a candle and going to town.

Put everything into categories by clothing type and then try on each item.

If something doesn’t fit, doesn’t work with your body type, or is the wrong color on you, etc. put it aside into a “deal with later” pile.

Take a picture of any item you’re not sure about. This helps you to see yourself in that item a little bit more objectively.

Mirrors can lie, but pictures often don’t.

Try to be as objective as possible with this step and if you find that you can do that better with someone else there, then by all means invite someone over to help you out!

Just make sure it is someone who will be honest with you.

When you are done, keep only the items that you really feel good in and that feel like “you.”

Step Three: separate your clothing into different piles.

This is the step where most people get hung up.

I get it, it’s hard to get rid of clothing that you spent money on and that you really loved at one time.

But it’s these clothes that created your over saturated wardrobe and it’s getting rid of these clothes that will give you the huge sigh of relief that you’re probably craving.

Separate these clothes into four piles: to give away, to keep for sentimental reasons only, to store for later, and to sell.

The sentimental reasons pile will be entirely different for each person, but in my pile was a few t-shirts that I wore a ton in college and an odd assortment of clothing items that I wore for important moments in my life.

The store for later pile can either be clothes that don’t work with the current season, or clothes that you’re just not willing to part with quite yet (which is okay by the way, you don’t have to get rid of everything on the first go).

Again, deciding what to get rid of and what to sell will be entirely up to you, but I would suggest using the money that you get from selling clothes to invest in a few new items that will “round out” your new paired down wardrobe… after completing the final step.

Step Four: add a little “you” into your capsule.

Now for the fun part.

Your capsule should reflect who you are!

So, yes it’s important to have a closet of basic clothing items that will be versatile, but don’t forget to add some items that make you feel a little va va voom.

take some risks: add that sparkly jacket, the fur mustard yellow vest… whatever it might be that puts a little pep in your step.

Doing a capsule wardrobe doesn’t have to mean boring!

Just keep the less versatile clothing to about 25% of your wardrobe.

Step 5: make slower choice and breathe a little.

Because I have an all season capsule, I DO shop throughout the year…

but I make a point to never shop when I’m using it as therapy and it must always be within budget.

So go ahead and shop if you want to, just be smart about it.

Here’s the thing:

We’re conditioned to believe that we need EVERYTHING.

Being intentional is so important! Live with what you now have. Figure out what you really do need/want to make your new, smaller wardrobe something that will actually work.

If you don’t have a capsule wardrobe that works, then you won’t stick with it.

When it’s all said and done, you should be left with something you LOVE.

If you aren’t, then you might want to start back up at Step One and work your way down the list again.

And don’t feel like you have to create the perfect capsule.

Happy capsuling!

Until next time,