Welcome inside my closet! All the outfits I post here on Unfancy are made up of these pieces. Cool, huh? My goal is to show you how much you can do with a small wardrobe. This post will be a quick-ish run down of what’s in my capsule wardrobe + strategies I used while shopping + what pieces I get the most out of.
My style for spring is a mix between organic (soft fabrics, neutral colors, flowing shapes) and cool (black leather, edgy accents, dark colors). I like to pick two opposite styles and then play in the middle. That way, I don’t get bored with my limited pieces. I can style a super edgy outfit, a super organic outfit, or hang out somewhere in between.
TOPS // 15 pieces // Splurge level: minimal
This was me a year ago: “Spend good money on a basic white tee? Scoff.” See, I used to subscribe to this idea that if I was going to buy a top, it had better have serious pizazz. So I was left with a closet full of pizazz-y tops that I actually didn’t like to wear because I couldn’t style them with other layers–they were too loud on their own. But look at all the things you can use to add life to a basic white tee: bottoms, layers, shoes, accessories, bag, lip color, hair style…LOTS of ways to play!
So my 15 tops are pretty much a yawn, huh? Neutral colors, not a lot of pattern. The only pieces over $50 are the two chambrays (which I’ve owned for years anyway) and the red peplum top (which was a gift). But that’s okay–bring on the layers and stuff!
white vee / another white vee / cream sweater
boheme tee / striped tee / cream vest
striped top / black tank / home tee
baseball sweater / light chambray / dark chambray
utility vest / safari shirt / peplum top
BOTTOMS, DRESSES, JACKETS // 12 pieces // Splurge level: medium
This is the section where I splurged a little more. Why? Because great bottoms can elevate a simple top. Most of my going-out looks are made up of a simple top with a statement bottom, like this outfit.
When I went shopping, I’d ask myself, “Would I reach for this over my boyfriend jeans?” I seriously could live the rest of my life in those jeans, so if I wouldn’t reach for it over those staples then I knew I’d never wear it–back on the rack it went. If you’re on the fence about a purchase, just ask yourself, “Would I reach for this over my [insert favorite item here]?” This little trick goes a long way in preventing shopping regrets.
My MVP is my black leather jacket. It took me forever to spend the money and just buy it already, but I’d dare to call it my favorite, most versatile, most valuable piece in my entire capsule wardrobe.
leather jacket / midi dress / midi skirt
flowy shorts / dark jeans / striped dress
light jeans / jean shorts / boyfriend jeans
knit skirt / patterned skirt / utility jacket
SHOES // 9 pieces // Splurge level: maximum
My shoes were the most important part of my capsule wardrobe, so there was a lot of splurging going on here (think around $100). If you think about it, shoes really dictate the direction of an outfit. You can wear a cute dress, but if you pair it with flats it’s casual. If you style it with heels, it’s suddenly fancy. Shoes are a wardrobe super power. Use ’em.
When I started pulling everything together, I knew I wanted 9 pairs: 3 heels, 3 flats, 3 sandals. I love working in 3’s because I can have a casual option, a dressy option, a colorful option. Meh, you’ll notice I deviated a little bit from that, but that’s a good strategy to use if you’re at a loss.
gladiator sandals / sandals / ankle booties
running shoes / woven flats / dotted flats
One last thought…
I actually just realized that I only have 36 pieces in my capsule wardrobe. I’m one piece short of my own 37 rule. Goodness, I can’t even follow my own rules here. :)
And on that note, as you’re building your capsule wardrobe, remember the purpose is to feel lighter, happier. Not to stress about a specific number. If your lifestyle calls for a different number, I’d love to hear how you’re making it work for you.
Sara from Sweden says
LOVE this post! Thanks for the inspiration!
Oh my goodness, I just found your blog and have been devouring it! I am in love with your style and you are completely inspiring me to ditch 3/4 of my closet and simplify my wardrobe.
Hi Megan! Thanks for your sweet comment, girl! Excited for you and all that’s ahead! xoxo Caroline
Jenna B. says
I just found this blog a few days ago, and I’m already hooked! I adore your style and this whole idea! I’ve slowly started to adjust my thinking w/clothing to quality over quantity, beginning to whittle my wardrobe down. It’s hard! But I’m so glad I found this for inspiration. Thanks, Caroline!
Hi Jenna! Thanks so much for your sweet comment! So excited for you! xoxo Caroline
I’m really enjoying this concept! Still have to clean out my closet though, it’s kind of daunting! Is there a reason you’re not having links open as a new tab? That would be super helpful, so readers can click on a clothing item and not have to reopen unfancy every time ;)
Hi Erica! Thanks for the feedback! I’m down with anything that makes it easier on y’all, so I just updated all the links to open in new tabs. :) xoxo Caroline
just wanted to let you know that the link for the cognac woven flats takes you to the anthropologie heels you have in the top row. so with that…where are the woven flats from?? :D
Hey girl! Thanks for the heads up, the link is fixed now. The flats are from Anthro too. :) xoxo Caroline
Leanne Caroline says
I love this post Caroline! Thank you. It’s so helpful seeing everything laid out; I can really imagine your closet now. My own wardrobe refining and purging is continuing. And you’re so right, having less does make you feel as though you have more. Without those wrong pieces clouding the closet space – and your own judgement – putting together outfits is easier (I had a practice session on the weekend while using your capsule wardrobe planner). I still have more than 37 items; there is little to no overlap between my work clothing requirements and my play clothing requirements. Still pondering on that one and what further tweaks I can make. Can’t wait to read and see more from this gorgeous blog. Simplicity and style. Perfect.
LOVING the new blog Caroline! I am a neutrals girl myself and completely agree with the search for the perfect white tee. Really enjoying your less is more concept, it’s just so hard to get rid of those older pieces forever :)
Thanks for sharing your wardrobe and where you got your pieces from! I went through my own closet yesterday, and I’m far from 37 pieces, but it sure opened my eyes to my style! I originally thought I liked darker neutrals, only to see that a good chunk of my tops are orange/coral/pink. Surprise! I’m really looking forward to cultivating my wardrobe more as time goes on, and following your blog as inspiration! :)
Awesome! I must say, though, I love wearing bright colors! They just go better with my skin tone ;) Having said that, your wardrobe has inspired me to narrow mine to basic pieces in the bright colors I like: I don’t need (or have the space to keep) six yellow slightly different tops; I just need to select my top two and rock ’em with different accessories/styling/bottoms/scarves/shoes…
Wow. The helpful clarity of your blog is transforming my closet AND thought life on style. I’ve forever struggled with not understanding why I can’t seem to find the right ways to let my style shine forth, and because of your post(s) I now am figuring myself out. Thank you! By the way, I have a conundrum–life in interior Alaska means we have wonky seasons that make it hard to work with. Meaning, spring is 1 month, summer is 3, fall is 1, and winter is 7. It’s the long winter that makes my wardrobe seem monotonous. I’m a lover of neutrals, and adding color makes my life feel complicated, although I suppose it might be necessary to somehow beat the dreary winter through. Any suggestions on creating a minimal capsule wardrobe for such a long dark/cold period of winter?
Hi Jerri! Thank you so much for your sweet comment. I’m so glad you’re figuring out your style! :) I’ve always read that there are 4 ways to add interest to an outfit: color (but I never really go for color), shine, pattern, and texture (my personal favorite). So I definitely don’t think you have to go color if you’re more of a neutrals gal. Being from Texas, I’m not super familiar with the concept of a long cold winter, but I do think neutral, textured layers might be your best friend. It would add interest and variety, without adding color. And then on top of that, you can always add a few jewelry pieces you absolutely adore. Hopefully this helps a little! xoxo Caroline
Oh, of course! BRILLIANT idea. Thank you! By the way, I’ve purged 60 pounds of clothing so far and feel so much happier. Still narrowing things down, and just had a lightbulb moment today when I read your July “Rule-of-Threes” post: my casual taste in fashion is what I dub the ‘naturalist or rugged outdoorsy’ look, my fancy fashions are all 100% ‘classics’, and somewhere in the middle of these fashion tastes is my love for Scandinavian/Nordic inspired outfits like tunics with clogs. I’ve forever struggled with merging these three styles together cohesively, and now finally I get it, thanks to your post on the rule of threes! Why? Because when I’m casual I’ll wear a sporty tee, when I’m fancy it’s a chic blouse, and when I’m up for something I between, I pick my embroidered folk top, etc.
Wow! This is seriously the website I’ve been searching for! I’m an aspiring minimalist and I’ve been stumped on where to start with the whole capsule wardrobe thing, especially since most of the examples I’ve seen so far are either geared toward an older crowd (I’m in my 20s) or suuuper boring. You’ve given me the inspiration that I need to finally do this thing. Thank you so much!
Hi Liz! I’m so glad! I actually felt the same way, which is why I decided to jump into the blogging world. Thank you for your sweet words, and I’m excited for you and all that’s ahead! xoxo Caroline
You are so fresh and unique with this, I’m so glad I found your blog! I’ve been getting upset at reading blogs where someone is wearing a ‘new’ outfit every day, it seems so unrealistic. But you are just perfect.
Love love love your ideas and style. my wardrobe has always been a problem, and now i will follow your ideas and trim down and out all my excess (that I do not wear)
When I get home from work I am totally doing this. I FLOVE your site!
OMG, My daughter just introduced me to Unfancy. I am super excited. Off to my closet to purge and organize. 37 here we come..
Hi Caroline! I just found your blog last week and have already thinned down my closet to 37 pieces, great ideas here!! Thanks for doing all the organizing. I remember seeing you mention an ap somewhere to use for photographing your capsule, but I can’t find it now…can you mention that again please?
I just came across goolging how to build a wardrobe and it’s brilliant! i think you may have saved my closet! I have a 1 year old and there are SO many clothes that just will never fit me ever again unless i go on the celery stick diet. new hips and a butt! with that i am purging my closet this weekend and getting rid of alot of pants and skirts and made a pact to myself that every week on pay day i will buy something new to re build and this really helped me. love ppl like you that help ppl like me :) rock on!
This post is so incredibly helpful for me right now. I’m trying to work out a capsule wardrobe and minimise my shopping addiction and this definitely shows that you can have a minimalistic closet but still look stylish :)
Hey there! Just discovered your blog today via Pinterest. Really cool. When my husband and I moved to Amsterdam this year we pretty much lived out of our suitcases for eight weeks while we waited for the rest of our belongings to arrive. We were both really surprised at how little we missed our stuff!
Anyway, slightly off topic…where is the black & white stripe blouse from?!?
I love this advice. I’m certainly very minimal, and feel the urge to purge constantly. The one thing I struggle with is wardrobe. It is so stressful to go into my closet and have one or two things in there that fit my style or personality. It’s also hard to get rid of things when you know that you can’t afford new ones right now. lol.
Where do you usually shop? + where did you get these adorable clothes!
Lately i’ve beeb meaning to minimalise my wardrobe and wasnt very sure about what i want and what i dont…am glad I came across your post. It is very helpful. Thanks so much!
I am so drawn to this idea, but I’m having trouble with one aspect: What do you do if your “work” clothes are distinctly different from your “I’m being me” clothes? Do you have two capsules? Or do you suggest minimizing both even further to bring the total down? I know you said “Do what works for you,” so 37 may not be my number, but I’m curious to see what you have to say on the subject. Thank you.
Create a work clothes capsule….some pieces may be able to flow over to your ‘regular clothes’ capsule for a fancy evening out. Interchangeability will keep you creative and inspired to try new combos.
Wow my mind is just blown! This style of wardrobe is both chic and affordable (which is pretty awesome). Thank you for making this amazing blog to help all of us who just can’t seem to decide(⌒▽⌒)
Brittney j says
Love this idea! Im going to give it a try! Im trying to
Minimize my wardrobe and incorporate styles that work . Especially for my profession.
Hannah Squiers says
Love this idea!! Where did you get your wooden hangers? I like the idea of special hangers for the capsule items :)
Oh my, this is beyond helpful!
I am struggling right now with packing for a big trip, and realizing that my wardrobe NEEDS to be consolidated. This post helped me realize what my *favorite pieces* are (i.e the ones I am packing!!) and the ones that I don’t necessarily need. I had a question regarding how to get rid of the stuff you kind of like/don’t love. Did you just donate everything or should I sell them?
Hello! I’ve recently come across this minimalist wardrobe idea and I’m really fascinated by it. I’m slowly easing into it as it’s pretty hard to let my stuff go. Anyways, I absolutely love your outfit ideas and I’m so glad you post the links along with them. I noticed that the link of the striped tee from your Spring capsule has expired and I just wanted to let you know that its back and if you wanted to fix it for later viewers – http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?vid=1&pid=989782002
After reading the article on reducing wardrobe to 37 pieces and looking at your pieces, I realized that I will need to actually build two wardrobes; one for business and one for casual. I am so excited to do this. I might bring in a friend and have her help me purge.
Laura Miggins says
I have just stumbled across your website and I’m in love! Your style is so effortlessly beautiful! It has definitely inspired me to try out this new lifestyle! I am usually pretty good at coming up with outfits I love but I’ve run into one major issue: shoes. I work in a research laboratory where my legs and feet need to be covered during working hours (in case we spill acid or break a beaker, etc.). During this winter, its no problem, cute boots all the way! But for summers in Austin, I have no clue what to wear! Do you have any tips for how to style outfits with this one stipulation?
I just discovered this blog and am enjoying it very much. I know the post is from a year ago but where did you get all your items? In particular, the $22 striped blousey top, the striped skater dress, and the chunky black heels?
Hi! I just found your blog and I love it, but I’m dying to know where everything is from, especially the tops! Would you mind including that or letting me know? Thanks!
Do you remember the prices for most of your clothing shown above? And where it was bought?
All fine by me and it sounds abolutely like something I need. But I notice practical issues! If you are going on a vacation to the South of France, you will need more than one shorts.. How do you do that? Because if you are on a vacation for 2 weeks, you would need more clothes, no?
Mechelle henderson says
I just clicked on the link for your olive green “factory utility vest” and found it was originally $88, and is now sold out…but what I want to share is how certain items may be found elsewhere at a lower cost. I have a very similar utility vest from Old Navy, which I may have paid $35-40 if that, but it is nice heavy material and details like yours. I also want to encourage readers to look at local secondhand stores–we have Plato’s Closet for younger-looking styles, and Clothes Mentor for us “grown up” women. My daughters love Clothes Mentor because they know you can find beautiful items that didn’t work for someone else, but they light up on the right person. I will share your blog with them because maybe the philosophy will help them discover their style right away–I am excited about paring down my closet accordingly! Thank you!
Agnieszka Chromicz says
Hi. A friend of mine shared your blog with me as I’m finding it hard to manage my wardrobe size. I’m impressed that you paired yours down to 37 pieces. I’m also scared as well to do extreme cuts to my own closet.But I’m wondering what do you do with your wardrobe after one season passes and you move on to the next? Do you donate your clothes or keep using them next year? I’m asking as I have favorites from years ago.
Hi Agnieszka! I pared down my wardrobe a LOT, but I definitely use a lot of my clothes year after year. Some things are in my capsule year-round and others are seasonal. So the things that rotate in and out are just stored under my bed until they are needed. :)
Caroline, I’m popping in here because I was concerned that Agnieszka might think you really only have 37 items and to be clear that you have more than 37 items….that’s just a comfortable number of items for YOU to build a seasonal wardrobe and that your other clothes you tuck away, be it in storage containers or drawers, etc. The 37 items does not include your winter wear, your workout gear, your cleaning the house clothes, your swimsuit/s, or various outerwear [vests, jackets, coats]. It might be interesting for your readers to know actually how many items of clothing you have….just a thought.