How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

I was getting ready for our 6-year anniversary dinner last week. We were going out for Hibachi and I hated every outfit I tried on. I didn’t want to wear anything too fancy but I wanted to look nice and feel good. Nothing in my closet was working, and my closet was absolutely packed. The next day I cleared out my entire wardrobe and packed up a contractor-size black bag to bring to Goodwill. I was done having a closet full of items I never wore. Instead, I’ve decided I will build a capsule wardrobe full of neutral, basic pieces. One I can mix and match with seasonal items and everything flows.

I’m a stay-at-home mom and, to be honest, I have very little time to sit and try on three different outfits every day. I feel so much better when I look better, especially when I stick to my morning workout routine, and I’m so much more productive all day! I wanted to simplify my wardrobe and be able to quickly throw together an outfit I feel confident and comfortable in. So I did and I highly recommend doing so if you hate everything you put on!

Step 1: Go Through Everything You Have

The first step to building a capsule wardrobe (according to the fashion “experts” on Pinterest) is to go through your current closet. Try on every piece of clothing you have. Toss anything that doesn’t fit or that you don’t LOVE. Don’t hold onto anything “for when I lose those 5lbs” or any items that you haven’t worn in more than 9 months.

Keep basic pieces. Black, white, gray T-shirts. Jeans that fit just right. That black dress that you’ve had for 6 years. You don’t want to start from absolute scratch because things will get expensive quickly if you are replacing EVERYTHING at once.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Do you work out? make sure you keep ~3 workout outfits
  • Do you do DIY home projects? Make sure you keep a pair of pants and an old shirt you can throw on when you decide to paint
  • How many bras do you really need and how long have you had the ones you’re currently wearing?

Once you go through all of your clothes, get them ready for donation, consignment, or sell somewhere like Poshmark. Then you are prepared for step 2!

Step 2: Make a List of Basics

The whole point of a capsule wardrobe is to save time and money. So the best place to start is with the basics that you can carry through each season. Think of plain t-shirts, a tank top for layering, and jeans for different occasions. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Step 3: Pick a Few Seasonal Pieces

There are going to be pieces that only work for the current season. That is okay! Your goal with season items should still be to stick to neutral colors as much as possible. You want items that won’t go out of style too quickly. Bonus points if you find an item that you will be able to wear through more than one season. For example, I got this sweater and this cardigan. I plan on wearing both through fall, winter, and early spring! They are both neutral colors so I can get a few years out of them at least.

And of course, don’t shy too far away from any fun patterns. For example, flannel for fall. I have this flannel Shacket that I am just in love with!

Step 4: Don’t Lose Sight of the Goal

As you continue on this journey remember the goals of our capsule wardrobe:

  1. Put together outfits quickly by limiting options
  2. Look and feel great in all of your clothes

As you go through the year, keep your wardrobe in mind. If you are looking at adding a new piece, does it fit in with the rest of your clothes? If you can’t get at least 3 outfits with what you already own, it’s probably going to be best to put that item back. Unless, of course, you absolutely LOVE it on you.

We’re moms, we want to spend less time figuring out what we’re going to wear, and more time playing with our kids or tackling our to-do lists. Keep it simple, keep it neutral, and these goals will be so much easier to attain throughout the year!

I hope this helps you get started minimizing your wardrobe at the very least. We can all have the wardrobe of our dreams, it might just take some time! If you start on your own capsule wardrobe journey, please share any great items you find and love!

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