For about three years, I have been obsessed with minimal closets. Have you ever been on Pinterest and looked at the photos of the most perfect closets, beautiful in their curation and not overflowing with stuff, and think to yourself “How in the hell does this person keep their closet so pristine, and where are the rest of their items!?” I thought that getting rid of a ton of clothes, only purchasing pieces that were transitional through seasons (which I do anyway), and hiding things that weren’t beautiful (like socks and beanies) was the way to have a gorgeous closet. But I still had way too much stuff, and I wasn’t going to get rid of my $1500 boots because they took up too much room.
I never paid any attention to articles on Capsule Wardrobes because I thought that it just meant you had X amount of pieces, and that was it. Well, that would have been fine in Los Angeles where the weather doesn’t change ever, but what about in Massachusetts where the weather is so freaking unpredictable? How can I put my ten different coats in a capsule wardrobe and only have twenty other items for the three other seasons? Do you know how many shoes I have!? But then I started looking into these capsule wardrobes more, and realized that they are per season, not for the entire year.
I am a minimalist in general. I don’t own a lot of things. But I am also a person who is obsessed with fashion. I’ve been obsessed with it since I was little, where my parents’ threats to me were that we wouldn’t go shopping if I didn’t behave myself. I was also in the fashion world: I was a stylist, a designer, a fashion photographer, managed couture stores, and owned a specialized clothing store in LA. Every season (when I lived in a city) I would go to every couture store and look to see what they were doing. Now I do it online. I like to be able to pick out on the street what someone is wearing or where a trend started. So asking someone like me to minimize my clothes, accessories, and shoes down to thirty pieces à la a traditional capsule wardrobe ain’t gonna happen. But I do still want that minimally curated looking closet, and the lack of clutter calms my brain drastically.
Generally, a capsule wardrobe is used because it’s easier for people to pick out what they’re going to wear when they have a limited amount of items to choose from. Having been doing a capsule wardrobe for the last month, I will admit this is true…mostly. But I think I’ve remedied my issues with the limitations, as you’ll see later on in this post. I’m trying out a capsule wardrobe on my own terms, and if you’re going to do the same, I suggest you find what suits your needs the best as well. Rules are made to be broken!
So let’s get started talking about this interesting journey I’m about to partake in.
GENERAL CAPSULE WARDROBE RULES
I’m taking this list from one of the biggest bloggers on capsule wardrobes. The blog is Un-fancy, and I spend a lot of time reading it because the images and layout are so gorgeous that I just can’t help myself. Here is what Caroline, the writer states:
- Pare down your clothes to 37 items
- Wear only those 37 items for 3 months (1 season)
- Don’t go shopping during the season
- Plan and shop for the next capsule during the last two weeks of your season
- Less is more
- Your 37 items should consist of tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, and shoes. It should not include workout clothes, jewelry, accessories, purses, swimsuits, pajamas/loungewear, underwear, and the jeans you paint your living room in.
The other main rules are pretty simple: everything needs to go together and everything needs to work for the season.
Okay, so with this being said, here are my rules for my capsule wardrobe:
ALEXX’S CAPSULE WARDROBE RULES
- Pare down clothes up to 50 items
- Wear only those 50 items for 3 months (1 season)
- Shop whenever the hell you want, but make it mindful. What you purchase, you must swap out so your capsule still equals 50 items or the item has to wait until its appropriate season
- Plan for the next capsule and shop for the items whenever you come across what you need
- An equal balance between comfort and fashion, but things need to still go together
- Your 50 items should consist of tops, bottoms, dresses/jumpsuits, outerwear, shoes, purses, and accessories. It should not include workout clothes, jewelry, swimsuits, pajamas/loungewear, underwear, event clothing, or the clothes I wear to the woods.
I’ll tell you why I gave myself these specific rules:
40 items seemed like a good number until I started thinking about all of the clothes I wouldn't get to wear because I was limiting myself to 40. 37 is too arbitrary for me, plus I like even numbers. So up to 50 I went. I currently have less than 50, but 50 is my cutoff.
I have a lot of accessories (mostly hats and belts). If I didn’t limit myself to them, I wouldn’t wear them because I get overwhelmed with how many I have. This happens quite frequently, actually. Adding them to my capsule wardrobe not only forces me to wear them, but also adds different styles to the outfits that are on rotation for 3 months.
I don’t really give a crap about jewelry or purses. I never have. I don’t include jewelry because I don’t want it to take up space where clothing that I do care about can sit. But I do include purses because if I didn’t, I would be standing in front of my five purses for hours trying to figure out which one to use. I curse them every day for not being pockets.
I’m a Taurus and therefore a planner by nature. If I’m putting my beloved clothing and shoes into storage, I want to plan for the next time I’m going to wear them (or even see them!). I already have most of my summer capsule planned out, even though it won’t be transitioned to for over a month. But with this being said, it also allows me to think about what I need for that season way ahead of time. If you know fashion, you know that clothing comes out a season prior to what it currently is (i.e. Autumn/Winter clothes come out in July/August, Spring/Summer clothes come out in January/February). I don’t want to wait until the last two weeks of my current capsule to figure out what I’m going to need, then spend my time frantically searching for the perfect item. That’s stupid. When I was in LA a couple weeks ago, I knew I needed a new pair of white sneakers for Summer and I knew which ones I wanted. So I went and bought them. They’re sitting in my closet waiting for June 10 to come around to be worn, but now I don’t have to worry about them. I also knew I needed an easy day bag that didn’t annoy me, so I bought that as well. For Summer, I still need a belt bag and a new waist belt, but I have the time to not only look for the right ones, but also fit them into my budget.
If you love to shop, don’t deprive yourself of purchasing something you love just because you’re adhering to the strict rules of a capsule wardrobe! Just don’t impulse shop, and be mindful that if you purchase something for the current season, you’re going to need to switch it out for something you already have. Make sure you like it more than what you already have, cuz that thing you’re switching it for won’t be seen for another year!
I’m also not including event clothing in my capsule. Strangely, I live in a world where random events come up: weddings, work travel, spontaneous travel, openings, fancy dinners, etc. I’m not going to plan hypothetical events prior to me even knowing about them, so all my dress clothes are going into one area where they are accessible but don’t count as part of my capsule. They’re not events that can utilize everyday clothes, so why try to mix them?
Lastly is a mixture of comfort and fashion. If you’re a woman, you know these two things are not necessarily synonymous. I work from home, so I’m obviously not going to wear tight jeans and silk blouses when I’m making product, cooking, or sitting at my computer. That would just ruin my clothes. When I’m melting butters over the stove or whipping oils together, I’m generally in sweatpants and a tee shirt. Luckily, loungewear doesn’t count for the capsule! But also, if I’m running errands like going to bottle return (which reeks of old beer and sticky syrup), getting an oil change, or mailing product out at UPS, I don’t need to be wearing heels, so this is where comfort comes in. Tee shirts, loose sweaters, and moto boots are perfect for me. I save my blazers, silk button-ups, and waxed denim for things like markets, meetings, and delivering product by hand. Your lifestyle is probably way different than mine and you might need suits for five days of the week, but maybe your weekends are just like my comfy days. Just make sure to balance your wardrobe with stuff that feels good and stuff that looks good. Hey, I know that my old, beat up H&M sweatpants aren’t the sexiest of pants, but when coconut milk powder and lavender buds spit all over me, I really don’t give a shit what I look like, just what I feel like and how easy it is to wash my clothes.
At some point, I will probably address the issue of storage regarding off-season clothes and my personal hatred of storage in general, but for now, let’s pretend it doesn’t exist.
I look forward to showing you my Spring Capsule Wardrobe next week, and I hope you consider joining this journey with me!
All my best,Alexx