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3 Ways to Prepare for your Capsule Wardrobe

I can't tell you how overjoyed I am by the enthusiasm y'all have shared about creating a Capsule Wardrobe! My last letter detailed the life-changing realizations about my personal style that came as a result of distilling my wardrobe down to just 40 pieces (hint: deeper insight into what fits/flatters/vibes with me AND smarter shopping habits.

Now that I've been living with these pieces for a while (2 months, to be precise), I have even more insight to share. I've also had a chance to meet with a few capsule guinea pigs and have gathered enough intel to create a Capsule Styling service, which isn't even up on my website yet (busy month) but I can tell you a little bit about today.

But perhaps you're on the fence, or you want more individualized support but you don't want to wait for me to get my butt over to your closet to help. Welp, today I'll share some of what helped me get started with the process plus specific strategies I will be using with my Capsule Styling clients. The following tactics will also be useful for anyone who wants to get to know his or her style a little better, needs to jump-start her spring shopping list, and may even catapult you towards capsule bliss!

Consider Your Contrasts

Does your work wardrobe look entirely different from your non-work wardrobe? Do you feel more satisfied with one than the other? Extreme style contrasts could either require two capsule wardrobes or more in-depth work around integrating your on and off-duty styles so that you can feel more aligned with your style more of the time.

Take a look at your overall wardrobe and note the contrasts. Some contrasts are necessary, like the stay-at-home mom with the fully-stocked gala wardrobe I met last week, but sometimes there are aspects on either side that can be tweaked to create more balance. Like the therapist with a great blazer collection who realizes that she is actually happier and more comfy wearing a softer layer while at work. The process of creating a capsule forces us to take a harder look at what actually makes us feel good to wear, and breaks us of the habit of forcing the wear of things that we think we should (out of guilt, ideals, etc).

Consider Your Favorites

Wouldn't it be cool if you only had to choose between your favorite clothes to wear each day? Well, that's what we're working towards with a capsule wardrobe. Go ahead and pull out your top three favorite outfits (including shoes, layers, the whole shebang) and spend some time really examining them. What aspects do they all share? Do they have specific silhouettes/details/vibes/colors in common? Are there some ways you would improve each of them to be more consistent with the other (say you love to wear slim pants and looser tops but you want more of a certain color or texture)?

When you examine what aspects of the outfits you love make them your favorites, you will learn which specific details you need to include in your 40-piece capsule. My guinea pig discovered that her favorite outfits all shared subtle feminine details, and she prefers cap sleeves to sleeveless tops, soft layers to structured ones, lightweight fabrics, pale colors, and even discovered that the shoes she prefers show more of her foot than the ones she can't seem to always make work. The process of examining your favorite outfits can be incredibly illuminating on a self-discovery level because you'll start to notice exactly what you love to wear and the specific reasons why. Becoming more aware of these details will help you make better shopping decisions in the future, and will save you time, money, and guilty repercussions.

Create a Plan

The last step is to use all the information you've collected so far, and begin to put together your capsule. Select mostly neutral-hued pieces, and one or two "pop" colors and you'll have an easier time creating more outfits. The colors will reveal themselves as you begin to put things together (or maybe they already have). Some people like to start with shoes, others pull their favorite pieces first, then fill in the gaps until they've met their quota. Your capsule might break down into 9 pairs of shoes, 5 dresses, 9 bottoms, 15 tops, and 2 layers. The good news is that accessories don't count, so you'll still be able to change things up and get creative once you get going.

You will start to notice gaps immediately, but I encourage you to try to start wearing your first selections before you run out to shop. See which pieces you gravitate towards more often, and try to figure out why you aren't wearing others. I discovered that even though I had a dressy printed top in my capsule, I've only worn it once! I figured out that I am more interested in playing with textures and silhouettes than with prints and colors, so I swapped out the printed top for something different.

On Rules...

You don't have to stick to a specific number, timeline, or even go on a shopping freeze when it comes to creating a capsule. You can simply use this process as a wardrobe guide, or a tool for getting rid of stuff you don't need. My goal is to have a smaller, more wearable wardrobe overall, so I'm less strict with myself if I see something I know will work perfectly with the rest of my capsule. You'll notice what calls your name when you're shopping, and will start to keep a mental checklist for future purchases so that you'll make fewer spending mistakes.

So if you're chomping at the bit to give the capsule a try, start with these steps and let me know what happens! If you're looking for more support because you can't quite see the connections between your favorites and have no idea how to fill the gaps you're noticing, don't hesitate to reach out. The Capsule Styling service will include some prep work, a closet sort/visit, and personal shopping to fill any gaps (either online or in person). This service is still in the works, but I do have the framework already in place, so contact me and I will give you the scoop (and a discounted rate)!