Happy Monday! It’s capsule week here at Unfancy, and to say I’m excited would be an understatement!
I haven’t posted a capsule in over two years you guys — that’s just plain nuts. But, during those two years, I’ve been letting the whole concept melt into something a little less intense, a little more heart-led. So I’m excited to start talking capsules again — from a new place this time.
This week is going to be fun: Tomorrow, I’ll show you my spring capsule-ish wardrobe. On Thursday, you’ll get a tour of my closet and how I organize my clothes (SO excited about that one!). Finally, on Friday we’ll tackle some Q+A like how to plan a capsule when the weather is up, down, and all over the place.
But back to today! Since it’s been a while, who’s up for a quick refresh? We’ll hit just highlights:
- What is a capsule?
- Three general guidelines
- What are the benefits? (AKA Why I still capsule after all these years)
- 2014 to 2017: How my approach has changed
- How to start a capsule yourself
It sounds like a ton of stuff, but this’ll be quick, I promise.
WHAT IS A CAPSULE?
In short? It’s a practice of editing your wardrobe down to your favorite clothes (clothes that fit your lifestyle + body right now), remixing them regularly, and shopping less often and more intentionally.
THE THREE GENERAL GUIDELINES
01 : Free yourself of clothes that aren’t serving you.
Let go of clothes that no longer fit, clothes that no longer work for your lifestyle, and items with other shortcomings. Either pass them on to someone who can use them or, if they’re nostalgic or seasonal, store them.
02: Reserve your closet space for your favorite clothes.
And make sure they fit your lifestyle, body, and the current weather/season. When a new season rolls in and the weather changes, reassess your wardrobe, pulling a few pieces into and out of storage.
03: Shop less often + more intentionally.
When you do shop, look for well-made, long-lasting pieces that bring you joy.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
There are plenty of benefits, like ditching a shopping habit, spending smarter, and deciding what to wear in less time. But here are my 3 favs (AKA the reason I still capsule):
01 | Less clutter, more calm.
To me, capsuling is like a yoga practice — it brings a calm + peace into my life that spreads into other areas, like my home and the way I spend my time.
02 | Less options, more creativity.
Keeping a capsule is a powerful reminder that I can do more than I think I can with less. It’s helping me hone my styling + remixing skills.
03 | More fun, more fun!
This one might be the most important. I capsule because I like it — it’s fun!
2014 to 2017: HOW MY APPROACH HAS CHANGED
I started capsuling in 2014, and since then, I’ve evolved my capsule philosophy a bit.
It used to be more about rules, but now it’s about intentionality. It used to be about minimalism, but now it’s about mindfulness and moderation. I used to limit my closet to a specific number, but now I go with what feels right. I used to get caught up on having a perfect, “finished” wardrobe, but now I celebrate that it’s a dynamic, ever-evolving work in progress. I used to do a capsule to curb my shopping habit, but now I just do it for fun.
Intentionality. Mindfulness. Moderation. Ever-evolving. Fun. Yep, that’s my approach now.
I still keep a small collection of my favorite clothes in my closet, and I reassess them regularly. But in general, it’s just less intense and more heart-led.
Take a look at my journey:
HOW TO START A CAPSULE
Want a clearly defined, step by step approach? Start by reading this post and using this printable wardrobe planner. I used this approach my first year of capsuling. It’s rule-oriented and intense, but I had a shopping problem back then and I needed some structure to get it under control. The good news? It worked!
If you’d like a more open ended approach start by following the three guidelines above and use this one-page worksheet to guide you. Then, adjust, tweak, and make it your own!
• • •
There’s really no right or wrong way to do a capsule. I’m evidence of that — I’ve changed my approach so much over the years. And that’s the beauty of it. It’s an idea that can be tailored to any lifestyle, any preference.
It’s not about rules or numbers or having the smallest closet out of all of your friends. It’s about trying something new, having fun, and being open to a different way of thinking about your stuff.
So what do you think? Are you trying a capsule for the first time? I’d love to hear why you’re trying it + what you’re hoping to get out of it. Are you a seasoned pro? I’d love to hear how you make it work for you. Share away in the comments.
See you tomorrow — I’ll be showing you my spring capsule-ish wardrobe. Can’t wait, can’t wait!
I’m so excited to see the evolution of capsules. Since I’ve scaled down to an 80 item wardrobe (that’s for the whole year), my next goal is to get it all into one closet and dresser. I can’t do that right now, because I share a small closet with my husband, but we’re moving in a few months and we’ll have a huge walk-in closet. My worst problem is forgetting about clothes I have, because I can’t see all of them.
Hey Carol, that will be so nice to be able to see everything! :)
littleblackdomicile blogger says
Oh I am so excited too! I can tell already I am going to love the color combos. I will dig into this later this evening. You know, my ever exciting day job calls. – Laurel
OMG ..YES I SO READY…..
wish me luck
xoxo one girl’s party
Hi! I’m trying to go for a minimal wardrobe because I’ve been shopping all my life garments (cheap) that I thought I wanted but I didn’t. The results are that I have far to many clothes than I need and….. NOTHING TO WEAR! I am sick of it so I have decided to start all over and purchase items that I like wearing and are all time classic and better quality. I chose quality over quantity! But it is not easy at all! Your article though was very helpful! Thanks a lot :)
I love this post and it’s super helpful! I’m working on de-cluttering my warddrobe and this is inspiring! I have a lot to work on! How do you get past the “well i might wear this, what if i want this later?” – while you were getting rid of things?
-Kirsten // http://www.porkandcookies.com
Hey Kirsten, if you’re not sure about an item, maybe just hang onto it, but keep it stored away for a little while. Then when you pull it out, it might feel fresh again and you’ll want to wear it! :)
I second Caroline’s advice, but with the added liberty of “it’s okay to make a mistake”. If you’ve left it in a bin out of sight (I leave mine for a year, when I’m making my next “capsule” for the same season) and never once thought of it so you get rid of it, but then 2 years later decide you really want it again, it’s actually okay. :) It’s happened to me once or twice over the years and I’ve realized that the benefits of passing along the other gazillion items of unworn clothing and focusing on the favourite items that now fill my closet TOTALLY outweigh the feeling of loss for that one shirt.
And if you still aren’t sure after a year, nobody’s making you get rid of it. You can either take the plunge (you’ll be okay!) or you can wait another year. Whatever you decide is a learning experience. Good luck!
OOOH! I thought of something else. I use the trick “would I choose it over _____?” when I buy clothes and you might find it useful for narrowing down your closet. :)
I’m very excited for the return of the capsule-ish!
Sometimes I bore myself into letting some clothes go. I don’t always get around to this, but it’s very effective when I do. When I put together my new seasonal wardrobe, I pull everything (all of it!) out of my storage boxes and try it all on and make one outfit with each piece. If they are worth holding on to, they’re worth trying on!
There are always a few pieces that I realize I’m so unexcited about that, that it doesn’t seem worth the time to change into them. Then it’s easy to let them go!
Also, sometimes, if there is something that I’m on the fence about, I challenge myself to wear it once a week (or every laundry cycle). Then I either decide I like it, or whatever is bugging me about it will really come to the surface.
I have never tried a capsule wardrobe so far but I love it that you came to the conclustion a capsule wardrobe should be more heart led! Thanks for sharing :)
xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
Anna W says
Love the refresh – I think you and I have flip flopped, ha! I started with a more relaxed capsule – one that had dramatically fewer clothes than my old wardrobe but was more cohesive and mixable – but now I’m excited by the challenge to get it down to a system.
My old life was more fluid, with more varied demands on my time asking for a greater variety of clothing…since then I’ve gotten married, changed climates, am working remotely, and have temporarily downsized to a tiny apartment – which means also sharing a moderately sized closet…and I’m definitely feeling tight on space. Also, watching Hubs wear a literal uniform every day and a very minimal wardrobe during time off has me wondering, ‘What is the least I can realistically live with?’
I’m excited to see where your – and my – capsules go next!
Exciting times, Anna! The evolution of it all is so fascinating. :)
Oh wow, I just had a brainstorm of sorts. I was a little limited in my creativity with existing clothes without referring to a visual aid. I wondered, “how come I couldn’t think of that on my own?” (after seeing a pic of someone with a t shirt, denim shirt over- buttoned starting half way down and tucked into jeans. And then it hit me: shorts are complex, just know that – you can leave open, belt, tuck in (different tucks) and partially button, tie…
Just realizing their complexity helps me- maybe there are other “complex” pieces, too!
Loads! think of Caroline’s tucked-in dress acting like a shirt. I think you’re right, though — it’s in the waist and the cuffs. Beyond that, I would say that buttoned shirts are also complex, because you can tie, wrap, button, half-button, middle-button, leave open, tuck, half-tuck, front-tuck, or twist them. Yikes!
Can’t wait to see your organization tips! A while ago you posted about placing workout clothes, workout bras, workout undies in the same place…GENIOUS! I finally changed up my drawers yesterday and it was so fast getting ready and dressed for my 5:30am cycle class, and with daylight savings making it only 4:30am, it was a huge help to have everything together sorted by function instead of type.
Cool! I have a question: How do you measure your “curbing your shopping habit”? I’m just curious!! Do you spend less? What % less? I have no idea what most people budget for clothes. You could share it as a % of income if you don’t want to talk in dollars!
Or do you keep track of how much each item gets worn?
Are you buying fewer items but spending about the same?
Or is it more organic…it “feels” like you’ve kicked the habit?
I currently spend about 2% of my income on clothes and would like to cut that in half!!
How to measure your shopping habit is a very interesting question!
I would love to read about that too. You don’t need to tell how much money you spend. I just wonder if you actually spend less or just use your money in a better way (buy better quality, clothes you actually wear…)
It’s often said that capsule wardrobes help to save money but my impression is that doesn’t really work, because you need better quality and more replacements when you have fewer clothes. What’s your experience with this?
That’s a great goal, Lizzy! And a great question. For me, the evidence can be summed up like this: I don’t shop for that jolt of happiness or instant gratification anymore. Shopping is fun every now and then, but mostly I feel “meh” about it and when I do shop, it’s to fill a gap in my closet. :)
Hi Caroline, I started a 33-item seasonal capsule in 2015 and it worked fine as it showed me that I could live with much less but… i ended up over-planning my capsules ahead and replacing too many items every season, which was really not the purpose. now I have a 50-piece all-year wardrobe and although I still make mistakes I am really happy with almost all my pieces and feel calmer and more contented. Thank you for your help during this trip!
Hey, Christina, This was my exact problem too. When I tried a capsule I was overthinking it and too obsessed with pulling together the “perfect” capsule for me. It actually made me shop more and it wasn’t fun. It made me feel stressed instead.
So I stepped back and now I just have one wardrobe all year that I carefully curate. This works so much better for me, and for some reason I ended up with an accidental capsule for each season with about 30 pieces. Thank you, Caroline for making me realize that this capsule journey looks different for everyone.
Wow. I’m actually a little comforted to hear that I’m not alone here– I made a similar mistake! I started capsule-ing last year. I really wanted to have the perfect capsule and move on to another project, so I bought too many pieces too quickly. In fact, my spending went way up, because I kept thinking I was finally “done” buying things, when another supposedly perfect item would show up. I hardly wore most of those items, and though this was helpful in discovering my style, it was terrible for curbing my spending or feeling grateful. So my first attempt at capsuling was pretty rocky.
This year I made a new start with capsules, clearing out the closet all over again. I realized that my dissatisfaction and my mistakes came from one main place: I “settled” for things (not just clothes! Other things in life!) that I didn’t fully love or believe in. I started asking myself with every clothing purchase: “If I could have just on [pair of pants / tee shirt / etc], would I choose this?” I’m happy to say that I’m very close to a great, functional (and more ethical!) closet, AND finally closing in on a slowdown in spending. The process has forced me to look at other areas in life in which this pattern arises for me. It might sound dramatic, but this was a huge personal breakthrough for me.
Jane! I love that question! Thank you. I’m going to start using that right away. You’re brilliant :)
Cool to see that someone out there is feeling the same way. Thanks, Maria!
You are welcome, Cristina! It was great for me to learn this too.
Love all of these stories ladies! Thank you for sharing your experiences! :)
Madeleine Rose says
Love this post and excited to see what you have in store for your Spring capsule-ish wardrobe! I’ve taken in parts of your capsule wardrobe advice over the past two years and never really limited myself to numbers. My biggest takeaways? I’ve learned how to define my style, shop with mindfulness, and take my time with trends. It’s been a fascinating journey to see your progress along with mine.
Definitely eager to see how you organize your closet. Organizing items is very relaxing to me and so I enjoy re-organizing my closet at the start of Spring and then again in Fall which is when I do my seasonal clothing wardrobe switch.
I’m really looking forward to the rest of your capsule wardrobe posts this week. I’m trying to organise my capsule wardrobe right now because I always get carried away in cheap shops, and buy tons of cheap clothes that only last me a month or 2. I really want to start investing in quality pieces that will last me much longer. I’m also starting to look into sustainable fashion too and I can’t wait to add a few pieces to my wardrobe from that sector too.
So exciting Kayleigh! Good luck on the journey :)
I used to have a HUGE shopping problem therefore since I discovered the concept of Capsule it kind of helped me to buy less. My solutions was if I really needed to buy something new I only did it in the second-hand shops or on 70 % sales. Other than that all my purshases where carefully planned.
Then I realised I have another problem – my work outfits are very official (which is not the style I would prefer wearing). So I worked a lot in the direction to combine my work and casual clothing. Not an easy thing to do, but also helped my to buy less and feel better than shopping for pieces for work, since I knew than some of them I will be putting on when weekend comes.
kim domingue says
Lol! Kindred spirits! I nipped the shopping issue back by shopping at a $1.49 a pound thrift store! It satisfies the urge for a “new” item or items of clothing, it satisfies the need for the “thrill of the hunt” that overcomes me every so often and it’s an outing/adventure! It’s a good interim solution. I often find better quality clothing than what I could afford to buy in shops. I find purses and belts that are brands I definitely couldn’t afford in the shops! It satisfies my need for change and it allows me to try a different or new style to see if I like it on the cheap. It allows me to feel I’m helping in the area of sustainability since I’m buying used instead of new items. And, if an item does fit properly or I don’t like it, I can use it in crazy quilt or apron making. And if it’s unsuitable for that, I redonate it! I don’t go more than once a month and rarely spend more than ten or twelve dollars.
Good idea! I’ll have to remember this if I need a shopping fix ;)
Winifred Holloway says
Kim, I hear you and second your comment. I am years younger than most of the posters here, but I used to get most of my clothes at a thrift shop that was run by a non-profit in a town 20 miles from me. The thrift shop was in an upscale area. I got great;, quality bargains for me and my children. One dress, a classic black wool, made in Paris for a customer who donated it to the thrift shop. We must have been sisters in a previous life, because it fitted me perfectly. I am a petite size so getting cool , good fitting clothes is a challenge. I wore that lovely black wool dress for so–oooo many years to events. The best 20 bucks I ever spent on a dress.
Holly J says
I love the thrill of the thrift!
Liz B. says
I can totally relate to what you are saying about working to combine your work clothes with casual clothes. I’m running into this problem a lot because my work wardrobe is very “business casual” and often not really what I’d like to be wearing on the weekends. It never feels totally “me”. I’ve had to put a lot more effort into finding pieces that I feel can work for both. It’s challenging but it also requires some creativity and makes me wear things in ways I previously probably wouldn’t have. But I still envy those who can wear jeans to work every day ;) I do love my jeans..
I have discovered a few thing that worked for me in bringing my work wardrobe and casual clothing together (also helped to feel a little bit more like “me”); ankle booties instead of flats or heels, black jeans instead of office pants (I tried it cautiously at first, but it seems nobody noticed) and neutral tees, which I wear under jackets at work and can pair with jeans at weekends. I know it’s just small things, but I feel rebellious inside while doing them :)
Liz B. says
This is so wonderful to hear and such great tips! I’m glad someone is in the same boat as me :) I just recently invested in a great pair of ankle boots to wear to work and on weekends, and I’ve started wearing black skinny jeans more recently too (I tell myself since they aren’t denim they are ok ;) I agree I feel a little more edgy wearing them at work, but I feel so much more “me”. It’s amazing how much the little things can make such a big difference!
The slow pace says
I’ve been trying capsule-wardrobring for a while, though my approach is basically: own less, enjoy more. I don’t count the pieces I own. Everything started when I moved to Germany six years ago. I realized I owned too many things. And most of them were clothes. I’m still working on a nicely edited wardrobe but now I have a rule: I don’t shop more than one clothing item per month (if I do buy anything). This way I think more about what items I need/want, I look for better quality (since I’m only buying one item, it has to be special) and I save money or I splurge in one very unique piece. I have to admit that the weather here helps a lot: when I lived in Spain we had seasons, so my wardrobe transitioned from warmer to colder months. Now I live in Winter/Autumn the whole year, so I just need good boots, a nice coat (I own a extremely good one and I’ve been wearing it non stop for six yeats and counting) and comfy, cosy knits. I guess that all I want now is a simpler life, beginning with my wardrobe!
Simpler life is really what it all comes down to! :)
I’ve been trying identify my problem with capsules. It sounds like something I’d love, but in practice, I hate it.
I’ve learned that I want my clothing to be comfy and more or less in style, with enough variety to meet my lifestyle needs, but I don’t actually want to think about it very much. For me, thinking about my clothing and style is tedious and annoying. This is a discovery, since I thoroughly admire a well-dressed person. I would love to be stylish and well-dressed, but everything in life is a trade-off. There are some things I’ll never be good at because I’m just not interested enough to take the time to learn. I have to accept that style / fashion is one of those things. This is actually hugely freeing.
So my goal, then, is to keep enough variety in my closet without having too much. (Too much variety = decision fatigue.) And I need to keep the pieces relatively up-to-date so that I don’t look like a walking time capsule. Also, switching things out four times a year is too much. Too much time, too much energy, too much bother with clothes. I’m better sticking to twice a year. Ideally, I could keep everything in my closet year-round, but the moths would get to my sweaters and the out-of-season clothes would get dusty.
To do this, I’m focusing on certain aspects of the capsule wardrobe: reserving the space only for things I love, being intentional, calculating carefully. And I’m letting go of the more creative aspects of capsuling: needing to style one top ten ways, collecting a variety of accessories, the question of matching shoes and bags, etc.
Your blog has helped me process this and work through my own needs and goals. Hopefully I can move forward with these new, more personalized and realistic vision for my wardrobe. Thanks for always encouraging us to keep things real, and to ask “why?” when things don’t work!
MK, thank you for sharing! I’m always grateful when people share what works and what doesn’t for them — it looks so different for everyone, but I’m sure someone out there can relate to your experience! :)
Sarah kuhn says
Brittany | Words like honeycomb says
woohoo! so pumped to see your capsule-ish! it has been fun following you this whole time and seeing how you have changed and adapted <3
Laura Blanton says
Love, love, LOVE!!! *sing songy voice required*
Excited to see how you organize tomorrow’s post as well! :)
Love all your tips! I’ve gotten to the point where I’m trying to be more responsible with my buying and buying clothes that are ethically sourced. It is *super* hard to find great clothes that didn’t come from a sweatshop, but I’m trying to be all about that slow fashion right now!
Caroline, your timing couldn’t be more perfect! I just printed your capsule planner last night.
I read the book “The Life Changing Magic Of Tiding Up” recently and I discovered that the clothing section was the hardest, and therefore left to the end.
I spend the most ridiculous amount of time sorting thru, picking outfits, organizing, my clothing …. I mean this is life and I feel I am wasting it away on what to wear and how to wear it!
I finally decided enough is enough. I live with so much environmental and emotional attention everywhere else in my life, it’s time my style and my closet reflect that!
Thank you for being a guide and an inspiration! I am so stoked.
Thank you Caroline.
I’d love to see more sport/workout outfits too!
Yes please!! I was wondering the same thing :-)
Katie @ 24 Carrot life says
I’ve been following your blog for a while now and you’ve totally inspired me so I’m finally doing my first ever capsule wardrobe for spring this year. I want to really discover my style, shop more intentionally, purchase sustainable and ethical clothes, and get creative with what I already own. I’m using your planner and will be sharing more on my blog. I can’t wait!
Great goals, Katie! :)
I cant wait to see your closet space! I’m sure It will make me jealous…I have the tiniest closet ever and no space for a dresser in our tiny bedroom. :( So I struggle with storage of items like sweaters which I know I’m not supposed to hang. But without a dresser not sure what to do. Anyways, I am committed to trying a real a capsule this spring! My problem is my kids. I have a toddler and I often have to change my shirt due to all the hugs + sticky baby fingers. haha! So I have decided to give myself a break on the limited number of base layer shirts. I have several of the same basic tanks and tees, and I will be including those as an item “category” where 3 similar shirts might count as 1 item in the overall tally. so if I have a mess to change out of half way through the day…I can just swap for a similar shirt and still be in the same outfit essentially. I am excited for this week on your blog!
Anna W says
Sara, I love the interchangeable “categories” you have – I love the versatility of having a uniform where you can swap things in and out (lose on top, fitted on bottom, or vice versa).
Also, I have found that those velvety clothing hangers to be great for 90% of my sweaters. They don’t stretch out the shoulders or the sweater body…the only ones I’ve had issues with are loose-knit sweaters that are heavier and have stretched out some while hanging, so those I hang by folding them over the velvet hanger (like this: http://images01.purewow.com/images/articles/2015_10/sweater.jpg?auto=format,compress&cs=strip&fit=max&ixlib=imgixjs-3.0.3&w=1600).
I second those velvet hangers for sweaters. I fold the sweater in half lengthwise, then fold the arms over/down, then hang the sweater over the crossbar of the hanger like a pair of trousers. It limits the folding-lines and prevents the shoulders from pulling out of shape.
I also read in “How to Get Dressed” that you can fold the sweater in half lengthwise, then place the sweater so that the “neck” of the hanger (where the skinny hook attaches) is under the arm of the sweater. Then you fold the arms down over one side of the hanger and the body of the sweater over the other side. A velvet hanger keeps it from slipping around.
Alternatively, if you have sturdy hangers with a bar across the bottom (but no velvet), you can simply fold the sweaters in half lengthwise, fold the sleeves across diagonally, and flop the sweater across the bar widthwise. If that made any sense.
Don’t hold yourself TOO closely to the numbers if they’re causing you grief. :) Remember, it’s supposed to make your life easier!!
I had a massive wardrobe after working in retail (and to be honest, I get a real thrill out of thrifting /spending in general) and finally worked up the courage to capsule in order to change the way I spend money, and to give my wardrobe a more concrete identity. I’ve always stored my off-season items(mostly out of necessity), but last week I managed to pare down to a 66-piece spring/summer wardrobe. Your worksheets were essential for getting to that point, so thank you! I am excited to see where I can go from here!
I did the seasonal capsules now for about a year and found myself frustrated by weather issues, the “rules” and feeling limited. I just did another big clean and cut and came up with my year round capsule of 54 pieces of clothing not counting bags, shoes, or accessories. I think I love it!!! So excited to see you’re back to capsuling because you are who inspired me in the first place!?
Starting my first capsule this spring, and I’m excited and also a bit scared! I’ve never really had a shopping problem because I’m not that big of a spender to begin with… My problem really is that I always bargain shop for the sake of a good bargain. Now I’m faced with having to spend a little more and developing a wardrobe that I absolutely love and don’t feel like a dork in! For me that means spending a little MORE time and money on clothes, but will save me time getting ready and make me feel better about myself in the long run. I’m approaching it more like a self-care routine. We’ll see how it goes!
i’ve been using a capsule since the fall of 2014. i definitely have loosened up a bit over that time, as well. i think part of the reason i don’t feel the need to be as rigid anymore is because i now actually like the clothes that rotate in and out of my closet AND i know what works/doesn’t work for various seasons (not that i don’t have more to learn or that i never want to shop again ever). i started out with a lot of clothes that i didn’t necessarily like, so i had to make a lot of decisions what should stay and what should go. i didn’t have the budget to replace all of them at once, and i wanted to see what i actually DID and DIDN’T wear, so i was more strict with the “rules” of te experiement. but over the past couple years, i’ve revised my wardrobe a good bit, and i think that makes it much easier and more fluid.
i also just feel like i trust myself to keep up the good habits i have learned through capsules, so i am not giving myself such clear boundaries. it’s kind of the same with my health and fitness journey…i used to feel much more rigid about it because i didn’t trust myself not to “fall off the wagon.” but now i feel more relaxed about it because i believe it is actually part of my life and that it isn’t going away.
I love that perspective, Joy! :)
Madeline Mudd says
I’ve been wanting to do a capsule for some time now, but I don’t want to commit to too many rules. A “capsule-ish” is perfect! I’m so looking forward to reading your post tomorrow!
I’m a huge fan of this concept. I’ve been doing it for a year and it really works.
Loooove this change in approach and attitude. Been following you since 2014 and this is great!
It feels so good to have mainly clothes I’m happy and content with and not worry about a given number.
My problem is exchanging the “ideal capsule” for “this lifestyle with this body”. Can you do a post on that?
I’m nursing and hoping to do so until august but I struggle with the easy access clothes that requires. Not to mention being comfy, but OMG the thights and t-shirt uniform is driving me crazy haha. Sorry I’m babling, look forward to the rest of the week ???
I’m in the same exact boat! Between being an in-between size, needing to sort seasonally AND needing to separate out everything I can’t nurse in (goodbye to many of my favorite spring dresses and jumpsuits), I’m kind of overwhelmed. Dying to get my wardrobe to a decent place where I like everything AND it works for nursing, but I’m at a loss as to where to start. Plus I just want to throw all of my winter clothing out the window but we’re getting a blizzard tomorrow so :( haha so much angst!
same here! nursing, and hoping to keep nursing until about August. I’m still losing the last of the baby weight, and my old clothes mostly fit, but not quite the same, but mid weight loss is a tough time to shop. My nursing style has evolved and gotten smarter (this is my second baby), but will always be challenging. I’m trying to focus on shopping more responsibly, but for maternity and nursing clothes, that is nearly impossible, and who wants to invest in such a short term wardrobe? I am feeling inspired to come up with a spring nursing capsule. Maybe just organizing what I have and being more mindful will help it feel more intentional? I only have a small collection of nursing friendly clothes anyways, so it should lend itself to a limited capsule…I hope!
I’ve seen a lot in the way of second-hand maternity and nursing clothes, both in specialty shops and online. I hope that helps! I’ll be there in a couple of years, too.
I’ve heard about capsule wardrobes more frequently in the past year and always thought, ‘There is no freaking way I could possibly do this. I love shopping too much!’ I picked up the latest Magnolia Journal and read the article that you were featured concerning capsule wardrobes…again, all I could think about was how impossible that system seemed for me, but I how much I really want to try.
Over the past several months the themes of simplicity and intentional living have been frequent conversations between me and my husband. It’s strange how many times in podcasts, movies, and conversations I was being reminded of how living a more intentional and simplistic lifestyle could be so much more fulfilling and life giving.
I made the decision to dive in by beginning where I struggle the most, shopping. Ugh! I read your blog, listened to podcasts, watched Youtubers describe their experience, and looked more into the Project 333. I’ve just begun this process, but I’ve never been so excited about my wardrobe and the possibilities of overcoming an annoying and honestly expensive habit.
I’m doing my best to work with items in my closet and not completely replacing all I have with those quality long term items (trust me, it was hard not to convince myself that purchasing a new wardrobe wouldn’t be the best idea ever…my husband also was fearful of that). My strategy is to purchase a few items that are missing or need to be replaced now and keep the items I currently own that are in good condition and I love. As items begin to wear, I will begin to replace them.
For anyone that knows me, fashion is something I have always loved. I guess a part of me thought that downsizing meant that I couldn’t be as creative, expressive, or fun. It is crazy how wrong I was! I’ll be honest it has been a bit of an adjustment for me to mentally accept paying more for clothes. I’m an avid bargain hunter who previously thought spending more than $20 on any type of shirt/blouse was a complete rip off. I’ve had to remind myself that investing in items that you wear more frequently and last longer has a greater return on investment than the $5 shirts I wear once a year.
Thank you for your openness and detail!! I’m such a type A personality, rules and boundaries make large lifestyle changes like this seem conquerable. I’m so excited to see your capsule and feel encouraged as I continue this process!
Thank you for sharing, Joy! I’m pretty excited for you to give it a try and see how it works for you. Good luck! :)
I’ve started 30 items capsule last year it was great <3 sounds exciting
‘Share’ by August Harvest
Caroline thanks for sharing your journey! Being retired for 2 years (financial services) I am still discovering the “new me” and how to dress for my lifestyle.
Woohoo—let go of the corporate suits!!
Gals–appreciate all of your replies, everyone is inspiring and supportive.
Looking forward to learning more
This community is great, isn’t it?? Thanks for joining in , Bobbi :)
kim domingue says
I’m looking forward to seeing how you deal with the up/down/crazy/all over the place weather conundrum, lol! We live in coastal Louisiana so our Winters can be a mishmash of every season/weathercondition known to mankind! Our daughter’s wedding was this Saturday. The rain cooperated and went around us, the temperature was comfortable for sleeveless evening dresses (reception was in an outdoor pavilion) and there was a light, balmy breeze. Perfection! After the reception, we went home for a “nearest and dearest” after party. When I got out of the car my teeth started chattering….. the temperature had dipped dramatically in under 45 minutes! And this party was outside as well! You should have seen us scrambling to find coats, wraps, sweaters jackets, throws and afghans for everyone to put on or wrap up in, lol!
Does anyone have thoughts or other blogs that discuss transitioning out of a maternity wardrobe? I’m 33 weeks so I’m fairly set with what I have in my wardrobe now (I only keep what fits in my closet, all “normal” clothes are packed away), however the season will start to change just when the baby is due (upstate NY so our Spring comes late).
I’m trying to figure out when/how to turnover my closet so I have clothes that fit, feel good, and are seasonally appropriate to wear post-baby. I want to try(!) to avoid feeling lost/frustrated while getting dressed on top of a changing body and sleep deprivation! Some of this I might not be able to figure out before, but any thoughts/tips would be MUCH appreciated from this helpful community!!
Congrats, first off! My daughter was born on Memorial Day (2014), and I live in New England, so probably similar weather as you’ll have. I had a boy last summer in mid-July too. It’s a tricky transition, and I think a lot depends on how your body responds to these massive changes, and also whether you’ll be nursing. After my first, where I ‘snapped back’ fairly quickly, it was still 3 months before I was out of maternity clothes and my things fit-ish. Slower for me with my 2nd, which has been hard at times to accept. So some thoughts: pick up some easy, summery maternity dresses that will also be nursing friendly if applicable, that you can wear in your last few weeks pregnant and then all summer. I also got a pair of maternity shorts and a skirt, to pair with a nursing tank and loose t-shirt or tank layered on top. You can fold down the high belly panels as you lose weight, and the folded waist type skirts/yoga pants fit me well as my body changed. Dresses worked well for me because it’s one thing to throw on and look/feel put together in that new baby haze. I think the most important thing is to realize the 4th trimester is real! You will need time to recover and your shape and size will shift a lot, Make sure whatever you have is easily washable too :) I did post-partum shopping at places like target, old navy, and ThredUp has been a great source, to get some things in larger sizes without spending a lot until my regular clothes fit again.
Thanks for your thoughts, dresses sound like a great idea. I’m on the smaller size so probably just going a size up in “normal” clothes could work and not feel like a lost investment. I’m itching to liven up my small black/white/green maternity pieces, I might satiate this by pulling out my spring scarves. Although it’s currently a snow storm outside so it’s not like Spring is here soon :)
Congrats Emma! Ditto to everything Robin said! I just had a baby last spring and I was dying to get out of my maternity clothes too! I gave myself some time to get back into pants in general with all the shifts and changes in the postpartum period. I was so thankful I had a baby when I did because dresses and skirts are so forgiving!
In addition to shopping your closet for any dresses or skirts that might work, also any flowy looser tops or button ups work great for if you are nursing.
If you don’t like the panels on maternity shorts, I found that Old Navy’s linen drawstring shorts worked great for me both in the postpartum period and now! linkL http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=508244012&vid=1&locale=en_US&kwid=1&sem=false&sdkw=mid-rise-cuffed-linen-blend-shorts-for-women-4-P508244&brandCvoSid=TWXXNWUX832Z&sdReferer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.oldnavy.com%2Fproducts%2Flinen-shorts.jsp
In addition to making sure everything is easily washable, I would also say now isn’t the time to be a minimalist–if you have doubles of things it works great for whenever you get spit up on, etc (speaking from my third outfit change of the day with a 10 month old lol). Works great for mindless midday outfit changes!
Chelsea thanks for your thoughts — having multiples of what works is such a great point. I’ll keep that in mind as I review my entire wardrobe in the next few weeks and pick out things that will work for the transition time. Thanks!
I stored my clothes for the warmer season and now I’m looking forward to meet them again and seeing and wearing them for the first time since I put them away. If I had them in my wardrobe the whole time, I’d probably just having a nagging feeling because I’d feel like I never wear them enough.
That’s the thing I like most about capsules.
Annette Silveira says
This week sounds fun! I just spent the weekend clearing out unloved clothes and reorganizing my closet so this comes at the perfect time. Can’t’ wait.
I love this! I started my capsule about a year and a half ago, and I think my approach is pretty similar to yours. I don’t have a capsule to restrict myself with harsh rules, but rather to intentionally choose items I love, and over time curate a closet of clothes that bring me joy. The minimizing has just been like a happy side effect! I’m so looking forward to reading what you share this week. :)
I’m really excited to see it! The weather is all over the place up here on the west coast of Canada. It was sunny and warmish one day, the next day it snowed heaps, and then the next day we have a rainstorm and it all melted. West coast in a nutshell. Weather could change in a minute!
So cool, Caroline. Thanks for sharing! Excited for capsule-ish week…ahhhh!
Loved this post! Can you please send the links for the items hanging in this picture? They all look so lovely together! Thank you!
Hey Jessica, links are up now. You can see them here: http://www.un-fancy.com/capsule-wardrobe-101/my-capsule-ish-wardrobe-spring-2017/ :)
Jenn Rairdan says
AHHHHHHH !!! This post made me so excited! I heard of your capsule warbdrobe a few years back and got really excited and wanted to do it! But it didn’t quite work for me.. after a couple years I revisited the concept but this time more freedom and understanding! IM very excited for the next couple posts!
Hey Jenn, sometimes it’s just all about timing, right? :)
Sharon @ A Journey of steps says
I find as I evolve so does my closest – with it becoming a bit more refined, choosing quality over quantity and leaning more towards sustainability. Initially when I was refining my closest, I “KonMaried” the heck out of it. I found the question does it spark joy quite useful even if my maybe pile was a tad big. It was a great starting point to allow me to see the gaps in my wardrobe and start researching and searching for either more sustainable or secondhand gems. So your definition of a capsule wardrobe really resonates – no strict rules, but being more intentional in our choices. I also have been starting to view some of my clothes through the lens of what I could make out of them. I just got a dress (that was previously a friends) altered into a gorgeous skirt. So feel its a win win, helping local dressmakers and being sustainable by using what I already own. I’m sure many more creative alteration ideas to come. :) Season dressing can’t wait to hear more on that! It’s crazy here in Ireland at times it’s like 4 seasons in one day (which makes having a seasonal wardrobe not an easy option)!
Very cool, Sharon! Thanks for sharing your experience. :)
I love this new, refreshed idea of the capsule wardrobe, and hearing about how your thinking/wardrobe has evolved. I’m quite relaxed with mine, but I get so much out of it.
Sarah Clark says
Yay! I’m so excited to follow your new approach on this. I started my capsule wardrobe a couple months back and I totally feel ya with the whole ‘feeling too controlled’ kinda thing. Basically, i’ve been rotating between the same three outfits for the past two months because I’m stressed about how controlled I made my capsule. Also, I jumped right into it and after the first week I realized that over half my clothes I wasn’t satisfied with. They didn’t fit me or my style so I never ever wore them. And with the controlling aspect, I felt like having a capsule wardrobe restricted my quirky, unique, fun style. I limited my articles of clothing and therefore felt like I had to have specific ‘necessities’ which ended up being someone else’s ideas of necessities (that I found on Pinterest) instead of my own. So I’m really excited to see how you’ll do this and to follow along! I’m starting my spring capsule in just a few weeks and I was just plain stressed about it seeing how my winter capsule didn’t work out too well. But now I’m excited to have a different approach to it. Looking forward to your post tomorrow! xoxo -Sarah
We’ve all been there Sarah! Many mistakes — or “fascinating” moments — along the way. :)
Samantha Lee says
I love that you’ve adopted a more laid back approach to the capsule wardrobe. I haven’t tried it yet, but I think if I did, I’d have to first start out with the rules – until I got my closet under control – and then could relax a bit. Good for you for keeping it going all these years!
I love this post. I like to start out each season with a capsule wardrobe. I call it my “starter” wardrobe. Then, I expand on it throughout the season. It is difficult to stick to a certain number of pieces, but it’s a great starting point for me when the “few” pieces work together.
Thanks for the inspiration.
Love the “starter” wardrobe, Aimee. Makes perfect sense! :)
Miss Field says
Hi Caroline, thank you SO MUCH for the simplified planner!! It’s so nice to have it all laid out so I can just put together my capsule for the new season. I’m somewhat new to the capsule idea but I’m so much loving it! Thank you for your blog and tips it’s so much fun!!
Meaghan rae says
I’m excited to see what’s in the capsule. I have visions about a capsule wardrobe but only made it as far as konmari’ing my clothes. Someday maybe …
Estelle Pérot says
I started a capsule wardrobe last winter not because I shopped too much but not enough. I would wear the same jeans 5 days a week and leave the beautiful dress I bought sitting in my closet for a year without touching it. I had a 15 pieces fall-winter capsule rolling on a day to day basis. Shopping more, finding new ways to style forgotten pieces, finding way to fell confortable in dresses and skirts. Intention, from the beginning. It is the key to everything. But I find it hard work to keep aware of the weather, the activities of my day instead of putting on any clothes that sits on your chair. Also, I realised that my jean+sweater+boots is the most convenient as I live in an oceanic/ rainy climate like England and as I am a teacher on my feet all day.
Anyone out there with this kind of shopping problem. ( or maybe I am some sort of a man. My partner lives throughout the year with a fleece jacket, a raincoat, two pants and five t-shirts. Quite capsulish, hey ?)
No, you are not alone! I found this approach a nice way to get out of those easy-grab-routines I fell victim to a lot. Now I manage to put more clothes into rotation and as a result I have more fun wearing my entire wardrobe.
Tia Teilli says
Great post! Thanks for sharing xx
It’s all about timing.. My journey started in 2010 with 333 project and detoured in 2012 with a stage 3 bc diagnosis. Everything went out the window while fighting for my life chemo, radiation & 2 year reconstruction process.Now approaching my 5 yr survivor status & my 48th birthday next week my life is in refocus mode. This approach is more my speed . I started rereading my clutter books last week .on my kindle and postponed my closet a week to mentally prepare. Reading the comments has been inspiring. Thank you all for sharing. I think the year capsule is my best option for my needs the seasonal option seems overwhelming with returning to work the last year my style has become more simple over time . My precancer self enjoyed the seasonal but post cancer me chooses the simplest option. Last year I allowed my teenage daughter to clear my closet and used stitch fix (she ordered & selected ) for a year as a gift to my new phase in life. It was refreshing to give that power away . I chose the seasonal stitch fix every 4months and tried styles I never considered. I learned about body style and each fix came with a shopping card and showed how to mix and match. It was a perfect way to learn. Having your guide with work sheets is just what I need to restart & refocus. Adding your blog to my reading list as well. Reading your evolving journey helps those of us struggling to find our way. Thanks for being authentic in your process.
Thank you for sharing your story, Laura. Hope you are well!
I am new to the fashion world and have no clue about how to find “quality” pieces to invest in. What do I look for? how do I know what is quality?
Think of quality as the reverse of the reasons to get rid of a piece. (discoloration, loosening at seems, fabric getting bulky/pilling/see-through, every that bothers you basically). Now a lot of this can be influenced by type of fabric, quality of tailoring and so on. A seam can be sown onesided or twosided, which is more durable, so the garment might last you longer. What’s more, a lot of these things you can check even before you are actually trying an outfit. That’s why I always look at the inside of something I want to try on. After you start looking at garments, you sometimes find certain brands or shops perform significantly better at this than others. Or you get your own preferences in types of fabric. And next thing, you start referencing these as quality brands, shops, fabrics. Hope this helps. Have fun on your journey!
I’ve always had a small closet because I easily get overwhelmed. I recently started capsuling because I had a baby and all of my clothes stopped fitting and my lifestyle changed too. I quit my corporate job to stay at home and all of my clothes no longer matched my lifestyle nor my new mom bod. So that’s why I started a capsule wardrobe. =)
Shelbi | Urban Girl’s Closet
Pamela W says
First look at your blog — love it!
Last year, I used to live in a tiny apartment in a town with my boyfriend. Because of work, we moved into the city to a bigger flat, bigger bigger flat.
I started to work on a smart closet, eco-live, etc. but with all these changes… I fell into my old habits again and I feel that right now is impossible for me to re-start working on an acurate closet… What can I do? Has anybody felt like this? Is it normal that I could not get it?
Love your page, your work, your lifestyle.
Hey Natalia! I say just go for it. It’s never too late! It doesn’t mean you have to completely start over, but you can take little steps to help you feel more focused. We all have those moments where we feel like it’s not working. I have faith in you. ;)
Sarah Ulerick says
I’ve returned to your blog at the perfect time! I’m very excited about your spring capsule and your heart-led approach. I tried a capsule for the first time this winter and loved going to my wardrobe to get dressed, with a simpler palette and comfortable clothes. I’m retired, so the demands of a work wardrobe are gone. Still, even though I don’t have that pressure, I want to get dressed in real clothes every day and CARE about how I look! Building my first capsule brought intentionality to my clothing choices. And I’m a recovering shopaholic, which is a bad habit for retirement: lots of time and less money! Dangerous combination. I’m in an un-cluttering course offered by Joshua Becker (The More of Less author) and have shared a link to your site. We are experimenting with Project 333 rules for a month. Gotta say, I like the relaxed approach better! I’m looking forward to reading your blog this week. Thank you for your insights and thoughtfulness.
Hi Caroline! I am trying to set up a capsule wardrope for a few months. The first change in my lifestyle is my shopping habbit. I used to buy what I want without thinking, now I am trying to have versatile pieces. However I could not obey the number rule, but I am happy with this small change. I think this is a dynamic process and some other advantages will be added to my life by time. ?
Your blog is one I always return to! I like that you’re relaxing your rules on your capsule–having more freedom with it. A couple of years ago, you inspired me to try capsule wardrobes and they worked relatively well for me at the time (I think I may have still shopped a little bit during that time). But really, I think that what attempting a capsule wardrobe taught me was to be more aware of my spending, to get rid of clothes (whether donating or throwing them away depending on condition) when I no longer need them, and how to build a good basic foundation. It worked well when my color palette was mostly black, white, and gray, but after a year of these colors, I found that I really missed prints and color, mixing and matching. I do think that I’m a more aware shopper now!
Kelly W. says
Love this and definitely made up my capsule closet!!
Thank you for your lists and post!
I took the approach of keeping my drawers the same (I’m a Jean gal too, 2 nice pairs of slacks!)
Then for the closet I sifted through all my items and paired down my everyday pieces to 40. It’s so freeing to let go of pieces that used to work and now are not in my daily picks. Kept a few nice dresses set aside the ones I never grab! Same with Cardigans! It’s crazy how much you accumulate :) and then you notice based on your piles all the similar colors and styles you gravitate towards.
Can’t wait to have a more limited collection !
I thought about decluttering my closet thanks to capsule wardrobe but it sounds too controlled for me.. Know that I see your post, I’m really considering about going into it. BUT I will wait till it’s holiday so I’m sure to have a all afternoon do to so.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us :)
I did a capsule wardrobe along with you maybe two years ago and loved it. Since then, however, I’ve had a baby and my sense of “my” style has been thrown completely off-kilter. I’ve been haphazardly buying things and realizing they don’t work for my life now or don’t feel like “me” anymore and have now accumulated a lot of misses. I’m feeling frustrated and have an overwhelming desire to just sell almost all my clothes and start over… but I don’t even know what I would buy. Any ideas about how to rediscover my personal style?
Hey Jill! It can be quite a process to completely start over, but I’m sure you have a few pieces you love to wear? Build on that! It’s a great place to start. Then it might take a little trial and error, but once you regain your focus, I’m sure you will feel better about rediscovering who you are and what you want as far as style goes. Good luck! :)
While I was pregnant this past year, I needed to work with a “capsule” wardrobe of maternity clothes. It worked so nicely for me and was a great way to curb my shopping habit. Definitely looking forward to being more intentional with my clothing and keeping with the capsule habit. Any ideas on how to work with the Postpartum “nothing fits” phase? I’d also like ideas on out of season clothing storage in a tiny apartment. I live in the bay area, and space is at a premium.
Hey Amanda! I don’t have any personal experience with this (obviously!) but I’ve heard readers talk about thrift store shopping for the in-between phase. That way you don’t have to spend a lot of money buying clothes that won’t be around forever.
For storage, I just have 2 bins (as seen here: http://www.un-fancy.com/capsule-wardrobe-101/closet-tour/) Hope that helps! :)
This is great! I’ve really been inspired by your site and your approach to capsule wardrobes as I get closer and closer to my move to England. It feels like the perfect time to assess my closet as I consider shipping costs and the fact that most UK places are more suited for a wardrobe than a closet. That I shouldn’t overwhelm my husband-to-be with all 20 flannel shirts I own. ;)
I love your blog! And I’m glad you’re back :) Right after you got back, I went on hiatus and I’m just now catching up. I’ve been struggling with clearing out my closet because I don’t want to get rid of (give to a good new home) the clothes that don’t fit because I’ve gained weight. Feels like admitting failure :/ but after reading your post I’m motivated to follow your advice to give away/discard everything that doesn’t fit and make me happy right now. I love to shop, so if I end up needing a smaller size it won’t be a hardship to purchase. It will feel so good to look at my clothes and know I can wear anything there. Thanks for being inspiring ;)
Your guide and worksheet was so helpful in my recent transition to a capsule wardrobe! It took me two full days to sort everything out, but I have never felt so light. Any tips for an imperfect capsule wardrobe? I love the pieces that are left, but some don’t necessarily mix with the others and can’t really be considered versatile. Should I give them away in exchange for new, well-made, versatile pieces? I remember you saying that you should challenge yourself to work with what you have, but it’s still a little over the place. Thanks!
I am the complete opposite–I hate shopping. I am not very good at fashion–if I could wear jeans and a t-shirt every day I would! But, I am starting a new job soon, so I am going to try this! My other problem is not many of the clothes I have currently fit me well, I recently had twins (okay a year ago, but my poor belly doesn’t look like it has been a year!) so I’ve been loathe to buy new things. But I need clothes for work, so I’m going to go through my closet and store those things I love but don’t fit right now. How to know when to let them go, whether I will ever make it back to that pre-twins size?! Ha. But I am excited–I love the idea of having lots of options of what to wear with a minimal closet. That definitely seems my kind of style :) So thank you!
I have a really small build-in closet and we have not enough space to make it bigger or purchase other storage option. And I stored some of my clothes for decades! I have clothes that are older than 10 years and I still wear em and thats why I have TOO MUCH.
I pulled out lots of clothes recently to build a capsule wardrobe and hopefully I am on a right way. Still 45 pieces left but I will reduce again and again. This article here is so helpful. I think I will make it :) Best regards from Germany.
Hands down, this is THE BEST POST EVER WRITTEN on capsule wardrobes. It’s succinct, poignant, and invigorating. I am in awe at how brilliantly you demystify the closet clearing process–which ultimately stems from the act of brain-clearing. As you’re well aware, our closets–whether we like to admit it or not–are so often a reflection of the emotional junk we’re trucking around, day in, day out. Thank you for renewing my vision and focus for intentional living, both in and out of the home. After all, doesn’t every good revolution start in the home?
Kassandra jackson says
I live in Hawai’I and I want to create a capsule wardrobe but not sure how to do it since we have 2 seasons
I’m going to get this done this weekend, amidst wrapping presents and baking cookies.
I don’t have a clothes shopping problem, so I plan to use your intentional worksheet. I’ve gone through Marie Kondo’s method before, but I am excited to reassess! I am not great at organizing my closet for the different seasons, and I know I have some things hiding in my closet and dresser that I have simply forgotten about and that no longer serve me with where I am in my life.
Especially having recently turned 30 and being about to start a new job with a tweaked professional wardrobe in mind, this seems like the perfect time to do this!