Happy Monday — it’s fall wrap-up time! This post is coming a little out of order, but I’m just trying to keep you on your toes.
Before we jump too far into winter, I want to share a few lessons I learned about capsule wardrobes this fall. And before we do that, let’s glance back at the summer wrap up for a sec, and remind ourselves of my favorite two words, “How fascinating!”
Mistakes — of any kind — usually make us fidget + sweat. After all, if we’re being real, any mistake has a cost.
But … what if there’s another side to our mistakes? A quieter side, that’s perhaps harder to feel, but just as real.
Let me introduce you to one of my favorite people: Benjamin Zander. If I could pick anyone in the world to adopt as a grandfather, it would be this guy. He’s the renown conductor of the Boston Philharmonic + a wildly innovative, out-of-the-box thinker. He says:
“I actively train my students that when they make a mistake, they are to lift their arms in the air, smile, and say, “How fascinating!” It is only when we make mistakes that we can really begin to notice what needs attention.”
(Don’t you love that mental picture? A bunch of serious musicians throwing their arms in the air and exclaiming to themselves? Makes me smile every time.)
Another mistake? How fascinating! Another opportunity to learn something just presented itself.
So on that note, I definitely made a few mistakes with my capsule wardrobe this fall.
But that’s okay, because, how fascinating! I learned something.
1. Too much of a good thing … is a bad thing.
Ankle booties. I love ’em. But I was obviously blinded by my love for them, because I had 5 pairs of ankle booties and zero pairs of tall boots. I sure felt that mistake on cold days.
If you’re thinking of piling on here, just … maybe don’t do it. I already understand the full depth of this oversight because I had to live with it for three months.
Why didn’t I add some in? Pure stubbornness.
But hey — I did figure out how to wear socks with ankle booties in a cool way! So …
Yeah, that doesn’t sound like enough of a silver lining. I probably should have just added a pair of taller boots. :)
I’m pumped about my winter boots though — I swapped out some of my ankle booties for three pairs of taller boots. Truth be told, I don’t like riding boots, so I went with a pair of moto boots (for an edgy vibe) and a pair of shearling farm boots (for a cozy vibe). I also added in one pair of taller dress boots. They have a 3 inch heel, but I wore them out this weekend, and I forgot I was even wearing heels because they were so comfortable.
2. Heels are awesome. But not for casual, everyday shoes.
Heels are awesome for shoes that are meant to dress up an outfit. Like these. Or the dress boots I just mentioned. But for everyday shoes? Not so much.
Last fall, I could have sworn that I spent the entire season in a pair of heeled ankle booties. So that’s why I thought all these heels and ankle booties would work. But apparently, I either didn’t remember correctly or I have aged significantly in a year. Let’s hope for the first option.
3. A dark rinse jean is a must.
I got a little tired of dark rinse jeans after having them in my winter + spring + summer capsules, so I ditched them this fall. Oops. I missed them. A lot.
I will forever more have a pair of dark rinse jeans in my capsules.
4. It’s harder to plan capsules for fall (and spring). So cut yourself some slack.
When it comes down to it, I think it’s because it’s hard for me to recall what 40ºF feels like when it’s 100ºF. In that kind of heat, I can’t even think about wearing a sweater. I tried my best, but my planning was a little skewed by the hot summer temperatures.
That’s okay. I’ll get to make little tweaks next time around.
I’ve noticed that I’ve loved my summer + winter capsules the most so far. I find myself toying with a new approach to capsule wardrobes — like maybe having just two capsules … with maybe a few key pieces that allow for unexpected weather. Hm.
So there you have it! How fascinating!
I’m curious what you think — especially about #4.
I agree – it’s important to recognise our mistakes, think about what we would do next time, and then let it go. I totally squirm and want to forget about it immediately when I make a mistake, but I have to make myself come back to it or else I’ll do the same thing next time, haha
Which is your comfiest pair of ankle booties? Are there any tips for choosing a good pair? I don’t have any yet but would maybe like to get a pair.
I love the way your winter capsule is looking! Can’t wait to see how this translates to outfits, not least because I can recognise a whole bunch of items that I own so I’m excited to see how you style those pieces.
I tend to have some core summer and winter items (lightweight dress vs. wool trousers kind of thing) and then a whole load of pieces that pretty much hang in my wardrobe permanently, allowing me to segue between seasons. Living in the UK that segue can go from warm to freezing and back again in the space of a week so it works best for me! Pieces naturally fall out as the weather changes. The trigger for me is when my wardrobe “feels” too full and so I strip out some items I haven’t worn in a while and they get packed away for a few months. It’s a lot less organised that your method but it works for me and feels really natural.
I personally found it much harder to shop in December than in September, because the web sites don’t have much that is new and most everything else was out of stock in my size. Definitely the stores seem to shop twice a year rather than 4 times a year. However, I really did like having a chance to add some new things rather than waiting until March. I’m almost done, except for one more top that it seems just isn’t out there.
How facinating! I like it.
This is my first time doing a capsule wardrobe,I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and it inspired me the most to do it kind of you way,it’s easier to me,this is kind of my style too.my problem is that I only have 45 pieces in my whole,entire wardrobe ( including shoes) so I’m doing it with just 20 pieces.I hope it works.
michiko Hammond says
Great post and insight! :)
Yay! I was hoping this post would come! I love finding out how it all worked out for you. I especially LOVE being reminded of that image of musicians flinging their hands in the air ‘HOW FASCINATING!’
On the boots front I am feeling exactly the same needing tall flats, but that is mainly due to a injury I can’t wear heels at the moment. But having a real problem finding the right shade to match my new favourite handbag! haha! One thing I have realised is that I don’t have many cardigans or jumper/tops which has been my big mistake this autumn, as in Scotland layering is key!
I don’t have enough experience so far to think much about having 2 wardrobes verses 4. But I think trying to plan ahead for 3 months is hard enough but 6 month would be too much for me. Would the shops even be the right season? Or would it be perfectly times for sales as you were buying so far ahead? Now that sounds like a plan! haha :)
Thank you for sharing x x x
I so agree with you on #4. I live in Houston and let’s be honest, we don’t have four seasons. As I’m putting together my capsules, my plan is to have three – hot weather, cold weather, transitional. Not sure how it will work out, but it seems logical!
I like that! It’s the same way in Georgia. You’ve got me thinking. ;)
I think fall and spring capsules are harder simply because the weather is more variable. I don’t know exactly what your climate is like, but over here April especially can be anywhere between 10°c to high 20s, so having a capsule specifically for that time of year would be pointless.
Personally, I tend towards a spring/summer capsule and an autumn/winter capsule, and say around September I’d start bringing in stuff from the autumn/winter one, and then start bringing out the big winter guns, and definitively putting away the lighter summer clothes, around November (even with thick tights, a summer skirt can be surprisingly drafty when it’s only 5°c outside). It’s similar in Spring, if it’s warm one day, after the severely vitamin D-deprived winter months, I’ll probably want to put on something light and breezy, and still have the option of jeans and a sweater in a few days’ time when it’s raining and blowing a gale again.
Although, since most of your actual shopping for capsules seems to be already done, it’s mainly a question of how to organise your wardrobe, isn’t it?
Regarding your surfeit of ankle booties, do you use some kind of tool to visualise the whole capsule and put together outfits before making purchases? Like, Polyvore for instance. Because, I find that helps to determine if you have too many of one kind of thing.
Anyway, it’s great to have insight into someone else’s process, and yes, mistakes are completely essential to the learning process!
I’ve been reading your blog now for about a month and toying with the idea of creating capsule wardrobes for each season. But here is my thing, I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy and have not been able to shif this weight after my son arrived due to a severe back problem. So now I have a wardrobe full of uk size 10 clothes and am now a size 16.
I’ve always been a careful spender and always believed in quality and not quantity so everything I have in my wardrobe is something I love or need.
So now I have to create a wardrobe for my size 16 self and it’s been difficult because I’m still learning what suits my shape and size now. But what I have discovered so far on this journey is that how little you actually need and have found myself thinking exactly what you are thinking now, two capsule wardrobes would be enough, a fall(autumn as we like to say in the uk)/winter and a spring/summer. This for me would allow enough variation so I don’t get bored with the clothes for 6 months. I also think that I could do my capsule wardrobe with less pieces. I’m going to start planning for March Spring/summer – I should be in much better shape with my back by then.
Thank you for your blog, it’s been very inspirational and entertaining. It’s helped me get my confidence and passion back for clothes!
Nas, don’t give up hope of getting back to your normal weight. I gained an ENORMOUS amount of weight in my pregnancies and although it did take time to get back to normal I did eventually (by cutting out grains and sugar and watching portion control) and have been pretty much the same weight as before my pregnancies for several decades now. I do remember the horrible feeling of thinking I would never be able to lose the weight and feel myself again. (I had gone from a size 6-8 to a size 18, and the 18 was on the tight side!) Not sure I’d do a capsule wardrobe at a time like this but if it helps you feel better do it!
I only have a spring/summer and a fall/winter capsule and I love it. I’m really new to capsule wardrobes and your site has been a great inspiration to me. I think planning 4 capsules throughout the year was a bit overwhelming for me, so that’s why I started with only two.
I also like it because I have less clothes. I have about 40 items in each capsule to help account for weather fluctuations and I use layering as well. I hope you find what works best for you!!
Hi Caroline! I don’t yet have a capsule, but I’ve been following you since I heard you on The Lively Show and I’m definitely leaning that direction. I live in the DC metro area & it can be 2′ of snow or a real feel of 110 between humidity & heat or somewhere in between. Having had various sized closets over the years, I found just switching out my wardrobes twice a year (spring/summer + fall/winter) works well. I just avoid the thick sweaters when it’s a 60 degree fall day and avoid tank tops during the cooler days of spring. I add or subtract per season, but not quite a capsule. As I put away my summer stuff during the fall, I tossed or donated a lot of clothing (some of it 10+ years old I only recently stopped wearing) so my spring/summer box was only about half full when it was stored….that means spring/summer will require some new items-or a curated capsule! I’m excited to see the evolution of your blog!
I know this sounds kinda creepy, but are you the same Emilie who posts in comments a lot on Popville? I always like your comments there and it would be hilarious if you follow another blog that I do as well.
We should meet and discuss figure out how to make a capsule wardrobe in DC!
I’m also a DC gal! Can we make a DC capsule wardrobe group?
I’m all about it!
Hey Maddy & Liz! I don’t post on Popville (idk what that is :( ), but if you, Maddy have a blog, we def may have connected via comments there. I’d love to see your capsules or see how you are developing yours. I’m @emiliekyle on twitter & we can connect from there, sound good?!
Tania [girlwithanakita] says
I love posts like these. It makes me realize that you’re figuring things out as you go along. I got hooked with your capsule idea, and after my first attempt, I realized that I need something even smaller. Your focus is to spend less time figuring out what to wear, which is something I’ve always had trouble with. After I figured out my style, thanks to you :), I realized I want to take it further and have a truly small collection of clothing so I can also stop worrying about clothes in general.
I’m currently working on this and will hopefully be able tp share it mid January!
Thank you for bringing the process to my attention!
Laura Rugadza says
I’d be interested to see your small capsule wardrobe! I have a small one too & would love to see someone else’s!
Since following your blog, I have been inspired to start a capsule wardrobe. And I love it! Speaking to #4, this is exactly how I decided to approach things. I live in Texas too, and well, we just don’t have 4 true seasons here. So I allowed myself more items to a capsule, but only will have 2 of them- Fall/Winter with all its boots and light sweaters and Spring/Summer- with mostly shorts and light tops/tees. Thanks for all the inspiration! This is my new favorite blog!
I have just two capsule-wardrobes: spring/summer & fall/winter. About 1/3 of my entire wardrobe I can wear year-’round, about 1/3 (heavy woolens, etc.) have to be put away in the summer, and about 1/3 (lightweight linens, etc.) have to be put away in the winter. Then when I get up every day, I check the weather and dress accordingly. I keep all my clothes in one closet, and move to the back of the closet out of the way the previous season-specific clothing when the temperatures for the next season have been firmly implanted. Then if, say, there’s a late-spring cold-snap I can easily access some warmer clothing-pieces from the back of the closet.
I love my mix ‘n match wardrobe, and usually only have to buy 1 or 2 pieces a year to replace worn out clothing after they are no longer repairable, plus 3 white tee-shirts every summer because I completely wear them to threads every summer. My family was raised on this type wardrobe, timeless, classic, but current/modern & not boring. I remember my friends madly shopping for event-dresses, and my mom saying how calm the party-season was for our family because our wardrobes were already prepared for any occasion but never looked like we were wearing the same thing to every party, so no frantic last-minute shopping for any of us. I guess those lessons stuck with me…
Sarah sky says
Do you have a blog? Sounds like you know what your doing.
Thank you, I’m flattered! But no, not a fashion blog, just “raised good”, an old-fashioned Southern upbringing, & I’ll pass your comment on the the persons responsible: my parents. Anyway, I’m well aware my capsule-wardrobe-system won’t work well for everyone, but it works great for me.
As for blogs, I did have a blog:
because, as I tell my students, “I’m a nerd in disguise..or at least I Hope I’m in disguise…” I’ve been asked a lot to start up this blog again, and so I most likely will do so sometime in Spring 2015.
Hope you are enjoying beautiful end of the year weather, wherever you are, Sarah!
I really like this idea for 2 capsule wardrobes because its mentally freeing – does that make sense? I think for me its also less work – not as much planning? So when you have gone through a year of capsule dressing, your work is done. Accept for maybe replacing worn out items. I think this might be my MO this coming year. I basically did my fall/winter together. I am piecing together the basics because I needed to get a new wardrobe anyone as I got myself healthy this year and lost a bunch of weight. This capsule wardrobe thingy is the trick. I am so thankful for your presence here on the web because I found you at the perfect time – my time + money have been spent on more important things then what to wear and shopping. And, I love that. You have reminded me (and taught me) that less is so freeing, and so much more – that creativity and identity emerge when I am forced to build with what I have. It has spilled in to other areas of my life. These are good reminders as we prepare for Advent.
I discovered your site just before your fall capsule this year, and started my own version this fall. But I was definitely having trouble with the fact that fall here (I’m in Missouri) can go from 80 degree temps down to freezing, and planning for that was tough. I ended up deciding to have a few extra pieces so I still had a couple pairs of shorts and a couple sleeveless shirts for the hot days. It’s funny that you mentioned a twice-a-year concept, because that’s exactly what I was considering to move forward. In any case, I’ve loved this concept, and have really made some great changes to how I deal with clothes. I so appreciate all the time you’ve put into this blog!
Love it! How fascinating- I think I’ll try that in my 8th grade math class- it would be cool for my 8th grade math classes to embrace mistakes with the idea of learning from ….. we’ll see. :)
I agree that fall capsule seemed harder than winter- you’re so insightful… it is the weather transition. Thanks for the warning for spring capsule.
Wearing socks with my ankle booties in a cool way today!
Thanks Caroline! These are by far the most helpful posts! I sort of do a combination for #4 but I’m also newer at the capsule wardrobe so I’m not sure how I will like it in the long run. What I do is create 2 main capsules for both winter and summer. Then I have 2 mini capsules within that specifically for fall and winter and transition them in depending on when the weather gets cold. So for example most of my light long sleeves are in the main capsule and I transition in all my thick sweaters once it gets cold. Since I’m in the south I do have short sleeves etc. that are a part of my fall mini capsule. Not sure if that makes sense but it’s helped me feel like I need less each season, still mixes things up part way through and I can let the weather dictate a little without having to do a massive overhaul of my wardrobe.
I totally AGREE that fall was a tough one to plan. First, it was my initial endeavor into the capsule wardrobe. Secondly, when it suddenly got cold & started snowing in early November I was all… Ummmmm, yeah, I’m freezing. Luckily, at that time I was only actually wearing around 20 or so pieces so I had no problem with heading out & thoughtfully adding to my capsule. You’ve really helped me be more purposeful in my shopping but not only that, I’m able to actually NOT shop or walk into a store & be ok leaving with nothing. That’s pretty cool.
Also I’d say about 30 of my items I use for both fall and winter and then I transition in 10 weather appropriate options.
Corrie @ Brooklyn Bliss says
I LOVE that quote!! It’s so true on how mistakes make you more mindful of what needs attention.
I also agree on your #4, planning the fall capsule was difficult just due to not knowing how to plan for the weather. Since I’m pregnant, I thought I’d be able to get away with some lighter weight, non-maternity jackets for as long as possible and boy was I wrong! It’s been so chilly in NYC I had to introduce a maternity coat (that actually buttons) in early November. I also way over-estimated my love of heels. That changed drastically once my belly really came in. So my winter capsule is now full of really cute, dressy flats.
I also wanted to take a quick moment to thank you for sharing your capsule method with the world, and especially with me. The only place my husband and I have room to create a nursery in our tiny Brooklyn apartment is our walk in closet. I was initially petrified of figuring out where all my clothes would fit if not in there. By trying out a Fall Capsule, I learned I can easily live with less than 40 pieces, all of which I can fit in a free-standing wardrobe (including shoes, handbags and everything!) in another room. When we cleared out our closet this weekend my husband then noticed the change in my wardrobe collection and he was VERY impressed and looking now to do the same thing. So thanks to you, my baby at least has a room! Haha!
Looking forward to seeing your Winter Capsule and outfits!
Thanks for telling us about this–that’s a Great solution & idea! Minimal wardrobe, minimal living space, =D
I love that quote! It makes you think that mistakes are so small and learning is just a way of life. It puts a great perspective on mistakes! Thanks so much for posting!
I’ve been following you since this summer and am only on my second capsule, although I haven’t allowed myself to shop and do a proper wardrobe planning for either of them. I have also been thinking of two capsules instead of four a lot. Most of my pieces really overlapped in A/W and I have a feeling that S/S will be no different. The only problems I have with the 6 month capsule is how long I’d have to go without shopping (That’s a long time to live with the “how fascinatings!” Lol), and not having the safety net of more pieces for the seasonal shifts that are appropriate. I keep imagining wearing my dark fall items that are light enough for warmer weather in the late winter for the transition to spring and it’s so unappealing. I’m sure that would just be a result of bad planning but it makes me nervous! Regardless, I’d love to see how you work out a 6 month capsule! I do love the idea of less planning + less stressing so maybe I’ll give it a go with you for spring!
Jasmine Hanson says
#4…I pondered this same notion over the weekend. Minnesota weather, a one year old, and a limited budget make creating four capsules a year nearly pointless for me. Cheers to making the capsule wardrobe work for your own life, and cheers to Caroline for her daily commitment to showing us how it’s done!
Caroline, if you plan on having guest bloggers again, I hope I have the courage to send in my take on being a Fancy/Un-Fancy at home mama!
Texas Jak says
I find it difficult to plan seasons ahead, especially when the current temp is polar opposite. This is blaringly true when it comes to shopping for winter coats and jackets. Living in Texas and trying to plan for winter weather off season is damn near impossible. So I feel your pain.
I’m wrapping up my FIRST capsule wardrobe! I’m very proud of how it went. I am shocked that even with just 40 items of clothing to chose from, there were pieces that I NEVER WORE.
Things I learned:
~I think I’m going to have to switch my seasons around a little to make it work for me: December-February for winter, March-May for Spring, June-August for summer, and September-November for fall.
~I need to think about spending more on shoes and gradually increasing my collection of really quality pairs. Cheap heels just are NOT doing it for me.
~I should have included more t-shirts (long and short sleeved) and fewer sweaters.
*throws hands into the air* How fascinating!
I like the idea of two capsules, and I will be interested to follow your journey if that’s what you choose to try. BUT for now I’m loving having four with a significant amount of carry-over from fall to winter (and theoretically from spring to summer–we’ll have to see what happens). It helps break up the monotony and makes me FEEL like there are more defined seasons even though I live in a state where we kind of have seven months of winter. :)
Thanks for sharing “mistakes” and also those wonderful reflections on mistakes!
I’m a newbie, but stepped on immediately with two capsules: Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. Maybe because I’m always cold anyway, even in October. Right now I’ve got about 50 items in each capsule but I aspire to reducing to 45.
I adore your blog: you are making a great contribution to so many of us. Happy holidays!
In regards to #4… I live in Michigan and I have figured out/ was reminded the hard way that winter and fall (and spring too I suppose) tend to be the same season much of the time. Cold and sometimes unexpectedly snowy, yet still able to see the seasonal changes. I can totally get on board with having 2 casual capsules with key pieces. (I say causal capsules because I also have a year round capsule for professional clothing that I wear to work every day.) Honestly, I am kind of doing that with my fall and winter capsules this year. It is only my second capsule ever, but a lot of my fall clothing rolled over into my winter capsule and because I wear my professional clothes all day Mon-Fri, I didn’t get to wear my casual clothing all that much this fall. I just added some sweaters and tall boots and a new, heavier jacket. I’ve lived in MI my whole life and I can’t believe that I had missed some of these key things about the seasons when doing my fall capsule. But hey, like you said, sometimes our minds are tricked by the warm weather and I forget what it is like to have to brush snow off my car in October!
I think #4 is what holds me back from paring down my wardrobe more. In Indiana, the weather changes from needing a heater in the morning to needing the AC in the afternoon! Also, we might wear short sleeves on New Year’s one year and have to bundle up the next. It makes it so hard to plan. Guess I need to think layers, layers, layers.:-) I think I just need to bite the bullet and thin my closet out as much as I can. It might not be down to 33 items but it would definitely be better than it is now! Thanks for all your inspiration!
hello! it’s such good idea to look back and take note of mistakes/opportunites at the end of each capsule. i’ve done the same, because i won’t remember them next time around otherwise. :) i’ve been doing the two capsules instead of 4. i do a cold weather simple wardrobe and a warm weather simple wardrobe. the in-between times pull a bit from each and it works out great. less pieces overall. the part i have taken from your 4 capsules is that i could have a couple things that i switch out in the middle if i get bored with something…like a white button-down in the spring switching out a dark plaid button-down from the autumn. i like seeing what works for other people and being inspired. :)
Tricia B says
This is exactly what I do!
I like having the 4 capsules to keep me from being bored. There is a lot of carry over but it keeps things interesting adding new pieces from storage and shopping for new pieces to fill in the gaps. Just when I’m getting bored, it’s time to switch. Before I was constantly shopping…but not adding much to my wardrobe because I was not being intentional.
I agree completely. 2 would be boring, less joyful, once you’ve done it for a year, it gets easier anyway. Honestly my winter and fall wardrobes aren’t too diff but it’s still nice and fresh feeling to review the clothes, colors and themes.
I’m totally new to your blog, but I absolutely love it. I live in Orange County, so when I’m thinking about what works for me, I’m going to start with 3 capsules: November -February, March-June, July-October. These timeframes are based a little bit more on the weather than the seasons, which are skewed here in the OC. I am also going to do 50 pieces per capsule. I work from home, but I’m out and about for meetings and when I am out, I have to be in professional attire. While some of my work pieces mesh into my regular wardrobe, others do not (i.e. conservative work dress and suit pants.) So, to compensate for the longer season and the additional work attire, I decided to add extra pieces. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks for inspiring simplicity and living with less. I’m super excited to get going. Also…does anyone know any guys who have embarked on this journey?
“When it comes down to it, I think it’s because it’s hard for me to recall what 40ºF feels like when it’s 100ºF. In that kind of heat, I can’t even think about wearing a sweater. I tried my best, but my planning was a little skewed by the hot summer temperatures.”
Ain’t that the truth. My first attempt at a fall capsule was a total disaster and really resembled a Spring capsule. I reworked the whole thing a few weeks in because I’d skewed the whole thing was too warm.
Kristi Andres says
I am doing just two capsules.. fall/winter and spring/summer. I am not fixing on a number but I am limiting myself a bunch. I like having just one bin of stuff I’m not wearing now and some things in the closet. It’s working well so far. I’ll keep you posted though, this is my first capsule.
Ever heard of the 5 piece french wardrobe?
What I’ve seen people do is pull their basics into one or two(ish) capsules, but they make 5 purchases every season to allow for statement, colorful and seasonal wear. Then they update their basics as needed.
With your plan of maintaining capsules, rather than building them, it might be a fun idea to work with!
It’s my plan after I gather my seasonal basics next summer or fall.
Thanks for letting me read!
We only have two “seasons” over here in northern CA, so I opted for 2 capsules/year for that reason and to save money. 3 Months per capsule didn’t seem like long enough for me personally (especially when I’m trying to stop myself from constantly shopping), but after my first capsule this fall, I’ve found that 3 months is plenty of time to figure out what is absolutely ESSENTIAL and what is not, even if I don’t completely flip my wardrobe upside-down. Mid-season, I bought a pair of black high rise skinny jeans, and am on the hunt for the perfect striped tee and riding boots — my deemed “necessities” (I was also a sucker for booties and ended up with 3-4 pairs when I really only needed maybe 1-2; glad to not be the only one!). Instead of a full capsule change for fall/winter and spring/summer, I’m doing a “mid-season edit” to add or subtract 1-3 items that I really love, or am really not using.
Into Mind’s piece on building a wardrobe in a French way (replace basics as needed with 5 key pieces per season) is what I’m aspiring to, and your blog has been so helpful! It’s so nice to have a connection with other women nationally about shopping and living with less, so I’m grateful for the community you’ve built — your blog feels like a safe space for me to reflect and grow, and it’s really invaluable to me at this point, as I’m sure it is for other readers too. Thank you so much, Caroline!
Heidi C says
Regarding #4: That is how I initially set up my capsule, with a spring/summer and a fall/winter. I only started this past summer, so I can’t speak to how the spring went. For fall, I found myself reaching for more of my 3/4 length shirts and cooler options in the early fall, and more for the sweaters in the later fall, as you might expect. So much so, that I found I essentially only had 2/3 of a wardrobe for early fall because it excluded all my sweaters, and 2/3 for late fall (and winter) because it excluded all my not-warm-enough items. So now I’m planning on splitting my fall and winter wardrobes, and my spring and summer wardrobes, to try to accommodate this. I’m not very familiar with the weather in Austin (I live in Kansas City), so maybe combining spring/summer and fall/winter would work for you!
I love the idea of having two capsules. I’ve been trying to pare down my wardrobe into 4 capsules but it just didn’t work for me. My outfits, right now, are pretty much work clothes and pajamas. It’s a little disheartening.
Can’t wait to see how you move forward!
I’ve loved reading everyone’s comments and suggestions on sticking with four capsules or going down to two. My first reaction was I like four because if I’m tired of something than I have a reason to change things up. I know normally by February, I’m sick to death of all my winter clothes. Same at the end of the summer. This fall was the first capsule wardrobe I created. Even thought I live in a climate that has four seasons, spring and fall are so variable and short lived that I feel like my winter wardrobe will mostly be a repeat of my fall. Perhaps I need to create a small transitional capsule that I can add in for the rare warm days the crop up in fall, winter and spring.
I live in Southern California and I think a two capsule wardrobe is best for me. The seasons begin and end in May and November. Your blog is great. Keep up the good work!
I definitely have 2 unofficial ‘capsules’. I live in Australia, and where I live we get 2 months of coldish (for us!) days where it might be around low 20s celsius in the day most days (with a few 30 days thrown in at times!). So my summer wardrobe goes for probably 8 months of the year-shorts, dresses, skirts with a few light jackets and jumpers and jeans, and the winter one goes for about 4 months-with thicker jumpers, more jeans, but still a few shorts and tees thrown in.
That works for me because we don’t have 4 distinct seasons. We have hot and warm and cool! xx
I love your blog- it’s just the right inspiration I needed at just the right point. I gave up clothes shopping for 2014. I originally decided to do this to reduce my shopping & because I own enough clothes. I love duplicating outfits from Pinterest with things already from my closet… But like many, I wear many of the same pieces over & over. And I also hate doing laundry because I can put it off until I have a mountain.
The idea of a capsule wardrobe, as I was trying to decide what to do after a year of abstaining from clothes shopping, was fascinating! As I reviewed how you tackled beginning your capsules, I realized I needed to come at it a little differently. I made lists & started a wardrobe review, armed with new knowledge of how I can wear some things I own & which things I like to wear most, I’ve begun to see my capsules come to life with very little effort…. like they were already all there, but crowded in my closet hiding each other during inactive seasons. I potentially have very little shopping at all to do. I still have some laundry & finishing to do, but I’m excited to create my 4 season capsules during 2015, including what I’m calling “crossover pieces” that I can add into a capsule when weather dictates a need to add to the current capsule (ie: winter boots, shorts, etc.)
I love planning & that’s what makes this process successful, I think. Thanks for sharing, I’m looking forward to more!
your idea for #4 is definitely interesting. i think for my capsule wardrobe i’ll have to do only two seasons. i live in florida, and we don’t really have seasons (at least not consistent ones) … so it’s been hard for me to try and plan for each one. not to mention the weather is so up and down here in the fall and winter – it can be anywhere from 80 degrees to 40 on any given day from october to january/february. i’ve been struggling with the idea of a capsule wardrobe and i think this is really one of my biggest obstacles in making and maintaining one – the weather is so inconsistent, i just don’t know what pieces to include because i don’t know what to expect! maybe a mix of warm and cool weather clothes in one capsule?! we’ll see… anyway, as always, looking forward to seeing what you do with the winter capsule! you are truly an inspiration and i love reading the blog everyday.
Jenna L. says
As a response to your #4…that’s exactly the conclusion I came to myself after this fall capsule! I live in Texas also, and when planning my winter capsule, I found it to be not-so different from fall. I started to wonder if I could minimize even more and just have a fall/winter capsule and spring/summer capsule. And that’s exactly what I plan to do! But I’ll have a little overlap for those months that can be unpredictable (usually September, half of October, and March). It just seems like a natural progression, and I’m excited to whittle my wardrobe down even further.
I love your attitude around learning from mistakes. I’m a bit ahead on the curve of building capsule wardrobes- if I can even call my wardrobe a capsule. But I do focus on having a lot of cute summer and winter outfits- especially winter outfits. Living in Wisconsin, I face up to 8 months of winter, and you bet I get bored of seeing the same clothes, no matter how much I love my purchases. On the other hand, I skimp on other things- no point owning flats with my lifestyle. It’s all about what works for your life+style :)
Oh my goodness, yes. I am so with you here. This is my second year back in the tip-top of Michigan and I hear you on the 8 months of winter options.
Just curious why you don’t like riding boots?
I am thinking about doing #4 myself. Mostly because there are really two seasons here: winter and everything else. Well, autumn is a distinct season as well, but I think I could just add a few lighter-weight + short-sleeve options to winter, start it toward the middle of autumn, & then just pull out my winter outerwear when it snows and I’d be golden. (I don’t include outerwear in my capsule, mostly because it’s all I see in winter and I am outside a lot in varied snowy + cold temps so I like all of my existing options. :) )
I live in the midwest where the weather is so unpredictable from one day to the next. I also freeze in the air conditioning in the summer so I use many of my sweaters year round. Space is not an issue so I find that for me it works to have one all season wardrobe. I hang them by color and within each color starting from cami’s and working my way up to long sleeves. I used to have so many clothes I was forgetting about things I loved, I went through and got rid of lots but still clung to too many. As time goes on I am finding my true style and I keep going back and culling more and more and I am getting pretty close to where I need to be. Thanks to this blog I have really taken a close look at all my pieces and figured out where I was lacking and what I was buying over and over. Amazing how really knowing what you have can stop the urge to buy. Before I would buy something because it was cute or on sale, even if I had something similar already. Now I am able to look at things and say…that is so cute, I love it…but I don’t need it! That feels so good! I love this post, it is a great help in this whole process, thanks!
Shelly at pursuingmommygreatness says
I live in the Bay Area in California where the weather is pretty tolerable 90% of the year. As a result, I have always thought that out here, I would have to adjust, and just have two capsules that sort of blend into each other a bit- one Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. I like your idea on combining a couple and having two broader capsules. It also feels a bit easier on the “rules” side of things. I don’t feel guilty about transitioning in certain items late, and I don’t feel bad about acquiring other things early if I have to. :) Win-win.
I’ve been thinking about two main capsule wardrobes with some seasonal changes probably focussing on winter & summer. I’ve done two capsules (spring & summer as I’m in New Zealand) so far since following your blog and have loved having a wardrobe of clothes that I love to wear. I still have gaps and I’m using mostly clothes I already have, once I culled the ones I didn’t love. When I do shop now, it is very intentional rather than random. Loving your blog!
Jelena - Mom minimalist fashion says
At this moment I am actually preparing my first capsule wardrobe, before the sales in my country are starting and I am also thinking about the #4, having just 2 capsules. I already have a minimalist wardrobe, with less then 32 pieces, but I want to make it full functional for almost every occasion, so I decided to try it out. In Slovenia we have a big temperature difference and there is almost no difference between fall and winter. So lets see …
Merry Christmas and all the best to all of you,
On #4–given the weather/climate in Texas, 2 capsules may make a lot of sense. In other states, where the seasons change every few months, 4 seasonal capsules may be better. I’m in Minnesota, so I feel like I need a super-sized winter capsule, small fall/spring capsules, and a summer capsule.
I’m into the idea of only having two capsule wardrobes. I live in PA and there’s really no hard line between fall and winter here. The season for fall and spring wardrobes would just be too short. It was straight up cold here back in October, and it will be cold until April (or maybe even May, like last year). I’m new to the idea of capsule wardrobes and have done some major clearing out and implementing recently. I’m working with less than half the pieces you are right now, but it’s AMAZING and I feel good when I get dressed now! Thanks for the honesty and inspiration. Happy holidays!
I definitely had trouble with fall! I tried September-November and included lots of cozy sweaters and scarves – and then the weather was in the 80s through October! BUT it made me realize I could do with far less than I’d originally thought. And surprisingly I didn’t get tired of my plain white tees (1 had four identical ones I’d counted as ‘undergarments’ for layering…). As I packed up my fall items I donated quite a few pieces that I didn’t love (and weren’t new because I’d been mostly ‘making due’ with older pieces) and made a mental note to buy more tees next year. Thanks for the inspiration!
Lana @ The Truth About Blondes says
Two capsules sounds really great. Then you can let the capsules bleed into each other, and really get some cool outfits, like a bright floral dress with sweater tights if it’s still too cold in the spring.
I love the idea of only having 2 capsules, but for me, I think I would get bored. Maybe, really, what I have in my closet is just boring and I need to step it up! I just finished my first 3 month capsule, and I’m so so ready to get some pieces new and some switched out! But hey, it’s what works for the individual, right? Love your blog, you inspire me to be more thoughtful and creative.
I love reading what you’ve learned and your thought process behind the capsules. I’d love to get to the point of a capsule wardrobe sometime, or some type of minimal closet. I have a lot of work to do still in defining my style and having money to buy some necessities before then though. Your blog keeps me I inspired to work toward that goal of a small wardrobe that I love.
April Gross says
I am new to your site. I do not in any way consider myself a fashion-anything, but I’ve found as I’ve entered my 30s that the way I FEEL in my clothes means a lot more to me than it ever has. Which is what led me here.
I’m also very much in agreement with you on #4. I found project 333 a long time ago, but as a Texas girl I had a really hard time considering how to make a seasonal wardrobe in Texas. After a year of doing this, do you truly feel it’s possible with our very strange/not always season specific weather? I would feel a lot of struggle getting excited about big sweaters (my favorite) when it can still easily be 100 degrees Fahrenheit in September.
Looking forward to reading more of your blog and starting my own capsules!
Liesl Gordon says
Just wanted to say that you are absolutely gorgeous! And I simply adore your style (& life) philosophy!
The idea of a Capsule Wardrobe has long been percolating in my head, and I have started, to a degree. However, seeing you and yours, has inspired me to dig a little deeper ─ allow myself to LetGo some more!
I also love that this whole physical-fashion-wardrobe exercise runs beautifully parallel to life….& herein lay the amazement of the endeavour in its entirety!
I LOVE your outfits even more, BECAUSE it is borne of simplicity, minimalism and a well-curated Capsule Wardrobe! Am loving the Benjamin Zander wisdom too!
Thanks for sharing, beautiful!
Really looking forward to more of the Un-fancy goodness! xo