I Created a 40-Piece Capsule Wardrobe....

Unless you've been living an internet-free existance for the past 3 years, you have likely heard of the capsule wardrobe trend. The term was coined in the 70s by boutique owner Susie Faux, who liked the idea of having just a few interchangeable classic pieces that can be worn in numerous different combinations. And then fast-fashion came around, and we got completely consumed by needing new stuff all the time, which has left a lot of us feeling gross, broke, and empty inside. The abundance of options can be a double edged sword (hello, shopping addiction), so the pendulum has swung back towards minimalism in the past few years, and many have embraced the Capsule Wardrobe as a way to fight the urge for more!more!more! and to simplify dressing each day.

After a few years of resisting this (I generally dress and style my clients this way and have an allergic reaction to rule-based group trends, go figure) but people kept asking me about capsule wardrobes. And then I changed sizes and realized that creating a brand new properly-fitting wardrobe was going to be too expensive to recreate. I liked the idea of only having the best versions of things I knew I would get a TON of wear out of, making my life simpler, and my style a little more streamlined. So I studied up, read the rules according to Unfancy (basically you stick to wearing only 37 items for 3 months and accessories, exercise, and loungewear isn't included) and put my own spin on it. I used the Capsule exercise as an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of what I really like to wear, why, and to hone in on my true personal style in an entirely new way.

Today I'm going to share a few of the things I learned from my month of limiting my wardrobe to 40 items (see, I can't even follow the 37-item rule), plus the key things to be mindful of if you're thinking of embarking on a similar style evolution.

Get Real with Yourself

I can see how the Capsule Wardrobe might inspire some of us to throw all the pieces we love but don't seem to ever wear into the mix and expect to magically start wearing them every day. Well guess what? If you don't dress up more than once every 3 months (hi!) then it doesn't make much sense to put a sequined dress into your capsule wardrobe, even if you can dress it down with a denim jacket ;)

I spent some time thinking about what I want my style to say before I selected my pieces, and then I strategized on a color theme, which is critical if you want to create the most combinations possible. I'm a fan of neutrals in general, but since it's warmer here, I chose lighter-hued neutrals like blue, white, cream, and grey, then added my favorite colors of the moment: blush and vibrant orangey-red. I got very real with myself and selected mostly solids & stripes, mostly casual pieces like jeans, various types of layering tees, comfy shoes, and added in one as of yet unworn skirt (because you never know). Be realistic & mindful of your lifestyle, the colors you love to wear, and the versatility of each piece you select for your Capsule.


Fewer, Better Things

Just as Capsule dressing appeals, so does the idea of owning fewer, nicer things. I'm at an age where I'm a little less inclined to purchase inexpensive trendy pieces. I want my style to look high-quality and approachable (like me!) and I don't feel much of an urge to be eye-catchingly trendy. Sometimes it's fun to get a new top for a party, but mostly I want each piece I buy to do it's job over and over until I've killed it from over-wearing. We get less sick of under-the-radar basics since they can be styled lots of ways, and wearing them to death is more realistic if they're of a really nice quality and fit.

Once I went through and did my first pass of my Capsule picks, I started to feel sad about the state of my t-shirt collection, and realized I needed to up my tee game since I'd soon be committing to wearing the shit out of them. When you create your capsule, you'll start to see where the quality and fit could be improved and can make adjustments accordingly. Your confidence about your overall style will increase as you start to understand exactly WHY you love each item, what makes each item work, and even the elements of your character each piece embodies. There's an incredible freedom that comes from allowing yourself to ONLY wear what you love.

Gaps as Opportunities

After my first week of living with my Capsule, something cool happened. I started to see MORE opportunities within my limited collection of clothes. When you take away all the shiny bells and whistles (like wear-once statement tops and crazy prints) you can see which silhouettes are most flattering, which combinations most appealing, and the little ways you might make a change here or there to get more creative. For instance, I saw that adding white jeans to my collection would give me more overall outfit options, and I purchased these quickly and without guilt since I knew they'd give me tons of wear (shopping with intention for the win!).

Another surprising result was that I now want every single item I wear to be worthy of a capsule, which has improved my entire yoga/loungewear situation too (since exercise clothes aren't part of the capsule, I could play with all my leftovers). My entire wardrobe has easily shifted into the land of intentional, and since I'm not wearing the bulk of my clothes, I can wear some of my nicer non-capsule clothes as lounge clothes and feel much more put together 100% of the time!

So if you're interested in a fresh style start, or just want to really WEAR your clothes in a more meaningful way, you might consider this exercise. For me, it's been an eye-opener in terms of the connection between style and self-care (I can quickly identify what feels good vs. what I can live without), and in terms of feeling completely confident that I'm always embodying my true personal style, no matter what I put on. What a gift!

Next Steps...

If you're interested in creating a Capsule Wardrobe or have tried one yourself, I would love to hear from you (just contact me)! I'm currently in the research phase of creating a new stand-alone Capsule Service, so I'm hoping to get some insight from others who've done this exercise. What was most challenging and where could you have used support? Did you have any major insights about your style as a result of this process?

But if you're convinced this is the best way to set yourself up for an easy breezy spring, and you don't mind being my guinea pig, you can try out Capsule creation as part of the Sort Shop & Style, Style Overhaul, or Virtual Style Shift Workshop, hit reply! I'm psyched to share how illuminating, simplifying, and positive this process can be, so let's unleash YOUR authentic style, shall we?