What’s a capsule wardrobe?
I’ve got your answer right here.
Why 37 pieces?
I like how it breaks down in each category. For example, I knew I wanted 9 pairs of shoes, 9 bottoms, and 15 tops. Then the remaining 4 were just enough for 2 dresses and 2 jackets/coats. To me it feels generous yet minimal.
And honestly? It’s not about a number. The point is to try something new if you’re unhappy with your current closet situation. If 37 isn’t your thing, find a number that’s right for you.
Do you buy 37 new items for each season?
Nope! Each capsule is sourced from these three categories: (1) pieces I already owned that were in storage, (2) pieces that rolled over from the previous season, (3) new pieces I purchased. The amount I buy each season varies, but my goal is to strike a balance between keeping it minimal + making sure it’s a fun experience.
What do you do with the clothes once a season is over?
They go one of three places: (1) Some are rolled over into my next capsule wardrobe (2) Most are put into storage for next year (3) Worn out items are donated.
Where do you store your clothes when they’re not in season?
In 2 under-the-bed boxes.
If you have perfectly good clothes, why do you put them in storage?
It gives them a break so they don’t wear out prematurely. It also gives me a chance to shake up my wardrobe. I may be tired of wearing a certain piece, so I’ll retire it for a season — but then when I pull it out of storage 3 months later, it’s love all over again. Most importantly, it keeps my closet clutter-free which really simplifies getting dressed in the mornings.
What’s your end goal with all this?
My goal is to build a thoughtful, intentional, useful wardrobe. I’m sure I’ll still buy clothes sometimes. But I can take those purchases super slow and avoid making emergency purchases all together. You know — the “I need shoes for TONIGHT!” purchases. Instead I can purchase clothes from small, independent makers — even though they take a few weeks to make. Since I’ve got a great wardrobe underneath me, I can afford to wait. I can afford to hop off the fast fashion train.
Do you feel restricted with such a small wardrobe?
Not at all. There’s been a lot of talk lately about the paradox of choice. That is, we tend to assume that more choices = better options and greater satisfaction, but it actually causes anxiety and limits creativity. The more I’ve limited my choices in my wardrobe, the happier and more creative I’ve felt. It’s so refreshing to open my closet door and find a clutter-free zone, filled with all I need and nothing I don’t.
Do you limit your accessories, too?
While they don’t count in my 37 pieces, I still limit them because I have a limited budget. I only have a handful of accessories and since my style is simple + pared down, I tend to wear just one piece of jewelry with an outfit — either a statement necklace or my beloved Madewell bangles.
Do your clothes wear out faster?
Surprisingly, not really. Here’s why: Even when I had more in my closet, I was reaching for the same pieces again and again anyway + rewashing those over and over. I wrote a whole blog post on making your clothes last here.
Does a capsule wardrobe have to be neutral?
What’s the climate like where you live?
I live in Texas so we lean towards a warmer climate. But, just like most places, the weather can be all over the board. During my first season (winter — January thru March), we had temperatures ranging from 22°F – 91°F.
I notice you don’t wear any traditional business attire — why not?
I work from home — I’m a photographer, a blogger, and a creative business coach — so business attire doesn’t fit my lifestyle.
How can I use a capsule wardrobe if my lifestyle includes two very different styles? (i.e. corporate work + at-home with the kids)
Try applying the general concept, but build two mini capsules — one for work and one for home.
I’m not ready to get rid of all of my clothes — any advice?
Simply store them instead. Boom — safety net! It gets the clutter out of your closet but it takes the pressure off. And later, if you realize you miss something, you can go grab it.
I really like the idea of a capsule wardrobe, but I’m not sure.
If I’m ever starting something a little scary (new workout routine, new eating habits, a new project), I’ll take the pressure off myself by playing a little game with myself. I call it: “I’ll give it 3 months.” Because putting a time limit on something scary makes it seem a little more sane – even fun. So commit with passion and give it 3 months. And then if you didn’t like it, you can move on + never do it again. But you never know — you just might like it + learn something new about yourself!
And remember that it’s not meant to be a miserable experience – it’s meant to be fun! The goal here isn’t to bash shopping + clothes + style. The goal is to try something new if you don’t like your current closet situation. Trying something new + taking control of our closets can be a powerful reminder that it’s never too late to change our lives — either by changing our attitude or by changing our actual situations. Rewrite the rules a little to fit your own lifestyle and keep an open mind. If you need two capsule wardrobes (one for work and one for the weekends), go for it. If you need more clothes than the recommended 37, add ‘em in. No matter what, make it yours — and enjoy it!
I don’t have much money to spend on clothes right now.
You don’t have to spend anything to start a capsule.
I didn’t spend a cent on my first capsule. I just pared down what I already had and lived with it. Was it the perfect capsule? No. But did it teach me a TON about my wardrobe and my style? Yep!
Not having any money to spend on clothes was exactly what prompted me to start looking into capsule wardrobes in the first place. I felt envious of people with huge wardrobes, so I thought if I redefined what a wardrobe meant to me, I could find contentment with what I had.
But if you’re really wanting to get some new clothes without spending any money, host a clothing swap with your friends — they’re a blast!
Do you try to live minimally in other areas of your life?
In general, my husband and I try to own less stuff. But we aren’t extreme — we like keeping it minimal and enjoying our stuff.
Who designed your logo?
My mega talented friend, Becky Murphy.
Who takes the photos for Unfancy?
My cute husband, Aaron.