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The Truth About Capsule Wardrobes

How many times have you heard about how great + amazing having a Capsule Wardrobe is?

Many times I’m sure.

Before we get too deep into this discussion, let’s first clarify exactly what a Capsule Wardrobe is. According to Wikipedia, a Capsule Wardrobe is a term created by Susie Faux, who describes it as ‘a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.’

In other words, a streamlined wardrobe that contains only a few (usually under 40), essential + classic pieces.

Doesn’t that sound like a dream? I mean, who wouldn’t want a highly efficient wardrobe right?!

Here’s the catch, in order for you to create a great capsule wardrobe, you first need to get crystal clear on what essential and classic looks like for you and your lifestyle specifically.  Also, in order for you to narrow down your closet to a select few, you have to know how to chose quality pieces that give you the best versatility.

Bottom line is this; you can’t just decide you want a capsule wardrobe today and have one tomorrow. There’s some prep work involved. But fear not beautiful, because today, I’m about to break all that prep work down for you, and set you up for ultimate Capsule Wardrobe success!


STEP 1: Determine Your Body Shape

I know, I know, you’ve heard me say this a 1000 times before, but guess what…this will ALWAYS be the first step I recommend because well, it really is the first step. If something doesn’t suit your body, there is no step 2… there’s nowhere else to go. So please do yourself a favor and arm yourself with the knowledge of knowing your body shape AND how to dress for it. I have a body shape calculator on my site that reveals your body shape to you instantly, plus a corresponding guide on what types of clothing to choose and stay away from.


STEP 2: Determine Your Lifestyle

What does your day-to-day life look like? Do you work in an office or from home? Are you meeting with clients in person or virtually? Are you a mom? There are so many factors that will dictate your wardrobe choices, and knowing what these factors are ahead of time, will not only give you a lot of clarity, but it will also allow you to make smarter and more efficient clothing choices. So, write down ALL the aspects of your lifestyle that require you to be in specific types of clothing. Be as detailed here as possible. Start by listing your undergarments and end with your accessories. During this exercise, you may realize there are items you need but don’t have…make a list of these items too.


STEP 3: What Are Your Wardrobe Habits?

While you may have a healthy sized wardrobe, statistics tell us that most of us only wear about 20% of what we own. The question then becomes, which garments from your closet do you end up wearing most often? Which are your regular go-to’s?  Once you’re able to answer that question, you’ll be able to determine the types of clothing you reach for most frequently.

Here’s the best way to get an accurate gauge of what your best go-to closet items are. Keep a journal of what you wear for the next 30 days. You can either keep track of your looks in a notebook, by writing down each garment in your outfit. Or you can take an image of yourself in front of a full length mirror and save the images (just be sure you can see each garment clearly). Once the 3o days are up, make note of the top 10-15 items you wore the most and why. This will be super helpful info when you’re ready to create your capsule wardrobe.


STEP 4: Do a Closet Cleanse

Here’s how to do a Closet Cleanse effectively and efficiently:

  • Have 3 garbage bags (preferably clear) ready, a full length mirror, 3 sheets of paper, snacks, a drink & a playlist handy
  • Using the 2 sheets of paper, write ‘Alter’ on one of them, ‘Give Away’ on the second, and ‘Consignment’ on the third
  • Remove every item out of your closet and drawers and lay them in a pile on your bed
  • Try on every item on your bed and determine if the garment meets the following criteria, in this order;

a.) it suits your body shape

b.) it suits your lifestyle, and

c.) it’s a garment you’re most likely to wear, based on your outfit journal from Step 3

  • If a garment almost fits great and just needs a quick tailor job, put it in the bag for alterations
  • If there’s a garment you haven’t worn much and is name bran item, put it in the bag for consignment
  • If a garment doesn’t fit + it can’t altered + it isn’t a name brand, put it in the bag for give away

In order to achieve a really effective wardrobe that makes sense for your body and lifestyle, You have to be as discerning as possible in this step.

Be sure to write to down any gaps you have in your wardrobe.


STEP 5: Plan Your Capsule Wardrobe

Now that you’ve cleaned out your closet, you should have a list of items you need to purchase to maximize your wardrobe and create as much versatility as possible. Slowly add these items into your closet as you find them. Remember to be just as discerning about buying an item as you were about keeping one during your Closet Cleanse. Feel free to take away from your closet as many items as you bring in. This will ensure your closet remains lean.

As you may have guessed by now, this process could easily take you months to complete, which is TOTALLY okay. A highly versatile and efficient wardrobe can’t be created overnight. It takes planning, commitment & careful analysis. So please don’t be discouraged. Take it step by step and I promise you’ll end up with a closet that you’re excited about and makes your life easy!

Have you ever created a capsule wardrobe before? If so, I’d love to hear about it, in the comments below!



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