Capsule Wardrobe | How Mine Works


Yesterday I talked about the start of my capsule wardrobe project; today I plan to go into a little more detail on what “capsule wardrobe” means to me and the structure that I use. I’m still using Caroline’s model for the most part, but I’ve made a few tweaks to make it personal and practical for my life.

I build a capsule for each of the four seasons: winter (January-March), spring (April-June), summer (July-September), and fall (October-December). When I started working on my first one, I thought that I’d rearrange the structure, because in my mind, winter was more like December through February, spring March to May, and so on. But I’ve realized that, for the climate I live in (southeastern Pennsylvania), winter really isn’t over yet in March, and September is just as hot as July and August.

Side note: that schedule still isn’t perfect…for instance, on the first of April this year, I definitely wasn’t thinking about wearing shorts or sandals anytime soon — we had some 30-degree temps even in the last week of April! — but now, with a couple weeks left before I officially switch my wardrobe from spring to summer on July 1st, I’m certainly not wearing any of the sweaters that I was wearing all the time two months ago. So yes, the in-between seasons are a little trickier. I simply swapped some of my “spring” things out for “summer” things once the weather turned hot. My closet sometimes changes as the season progresses, but I try to keep the number of items in it the same.

The number 37 seems to be perfect for me. (But if you’re considering creating your own capsule wardrobe, feel free to choose a smaller or larger amount that feels right to you!) My 37 pieces include tops and bottoms as well as shoes and outerwear. That number does not include the things I wear to sleep or to work out or to go with my husband to work (he is a farrier, and working with horses is inevitably dirty and smelly). It also does not include underwear (camis, leggings) or accessories (hats, scarves, jewelry). I like to break the 37 down into categories when I’m working on forming my capsule for the next season, and this is the base model that I work off of.    {printable copy}UntitledAnother side note: I’m not a super strict budgeter…I might have 5 or 7 pairs of shoes in a given capsule, for example, but then I’ll shift the other numbers around in order to bring the total back to 37.

I’ve had a blast learning to think outside the box and put together outfits in creative ways in an effort to utilize those 12 bottoms and 15 tops (or whatever the numbers may be) in balanced measures and various combinations. In the process, I’ve begun to notice the colors, prints, and styles that I gravitate towards and that are the most versatile. (See a few such pieces in yesterday’s post.) These observations serve to help me make clothing purchases that are “worth their salt.” It didn’t take Caleb long to notice that I was spending a lot less money on clothes, as a result. 🙂

The Un-fancy Capsule Wardrobe Planner, a free tool from Caroline Rector, helps me choose pieces for each season that will serve both my preferences and my lifestyle well. I use it as a guide for deciding which pieces fit my capsule and what to keep an eye open for as I shop.

Speaking of shopping, I don’t limit myself to the two weeks before a new season begins. I don’t enjoy shopping very much, and I especially dislike it when I’m under pressure to find something specific. So, it works much better for me to watch for things I want over a period of time, and buy it when I find it.

For the curious ones, you can sneak peeks at my Winter and Spring capsules on Pinterest. (And while you’re over there, by the way, check out my The Realization of Good board for easy access to my posts which you can repin for future reference or share with friends!)

In a future post, I’ll talk about the app I use in conjunction with my Capsule Wardrobe and the part it’s played in helping me figure out my style and make the most of my budget.

Have questions? Ask away!

13 thoughts on “Capsule Wardrobe | How Mine Works

  1. Hey Melanie! I currently have a box of my clothes sitting at home that I need to get rid of… What consignment store did you take your clothes to!

  2. Oh wow, never even heard of capsule wardrobes yet. It’s got my mind spinning. Hmmmm….I’ll definitely be making some changes in my closet. 🙂

  3. You put a lot of thought to this. I admire that! I feel that caring for what we own is really great thing, because it is rather going away from consumerism in my opinion, because you are really caring for and you really enjoy and use all your stuff and clothes very resourcefully, instead of buying more and more for bottomless pit of our empty soul. Not saying that you have empty soul you know!! Thank you for awesome posting! 🙂 👠👗👢👘👚👕👟

  4. […] Some of the items I thought I was going to re-wear from last year ended up getting the boot because they either didn’t go with enough of my favorites or didn’t fit my current style or life. There are a couple things I’m still looking for (like a simple pair of light gray skinny jeans…who knew something so basic could be so elusive?!) and I may have added a thing or two to my shopping list just this week. The current count stands at 32 (and as always, the goal is 37 or less). […]

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