Last week I shared about My Capsule Wardrobe Project…How late in the summer of last year I’d finally had enough. I was tired of staring into a closet packed with clothes that were out of style or didn’t fit–clothes I hadn’t worn in ages but couldn’t seem to let go of.
I was tired of wasting so much time figuring out what to wear every time I had to look presentable. Tired of wondering why my closet was so stuffed but I never seemed to have the right things to wear.
It was time. Time to open the closet and see only clothes that fit and that I loved to wear. Clothes that coordinated easily into outfits that matched my current lifestyle.
Time to create a Capsule Wardrobe! READ MORE HERE about the results of my Capsule Wardrobe Project and why I resisted it for so long…
Today I’ll walk you through the first two steps of How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe. Are you ready?
STEP 1 – CLOSET PURGE
1. Remove every piece of clothing from your closet.
As a busy mom with little kids, it felt impossible to set aside enough time for this entire task, so I wound up tackling it over the course of several days. I dealt with one section at a time: pants, shirts, sweaters, etc.
2. Try on each piece.
I tried to be brutally honest about what fit, what felt good, and what looked good. Even so, I wound up doing a second and third round of purging after winter was well underway and I’d had a chance to experience my Capsule Wardrobe.
I realized I was still hanging onto some things that fit but weren’t really in style (and probably hadn’t been for some time, if I’m honest!). I was never reaching for those pieces, so out they went.
Be brave! Be bold!
3. Add each piece to one of three piles:
- KEEP – closet
- KEEP – storage (out of season items)
- GOODBYE – donate, give to a pal, or sell.
I kept boxes near my closet during the week of my closet purge. As I filled up a box of discards, it was moved to the basement for temporary storage.
Keeping the purged clothing in the basement for a while helped the process feel less traumatic. If I changed my mind about anything I’d tossed, it would still be there.
A few months later, I finally donated all those clothes! The only thing that found its way back to my closet was one pair of shoes.
STEP 2 – IDENTIFY SPECIFIC NEEDS
1. What’s your goal?
While the general concept really resonated with me–less stuff, less stress, more space, more time–I had no need or desire to implement an extreme Capsule Wardrobe. At this point, living with only 3 tops and 3 bottoms would feel enormously stressful.
My goal was to get rid of all the clothes that didn’t fit, weren’t in style, or just looked blah. I wanted to know that anything I pulled out of my closet would fit and be fun to wear.
I wanted everything to fit in my closet with room to spare. I wanted many of the pieces to coordinate for creating effortless outfits.
Read up on the Capsule Wardrobe concept:
- What is a Capsule Wardrobe, Anyway?
- All Seasons Capsule Wardrobe
- How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe
- Outward Expression
- 4 Tips for a Minimalist Wardrobe
2. Evaluate your lifestyle.
I spent a lot of time pondering what I wanted and needed from my wardrobe. My main lifestyle activities include a mix of casual and dressy activities:
- Many days at home as mom and homeschool teacher – This year I’m making a determined effort to wear something-other-than-yoga-pants, even when we’re “just at home”. I do feel like it sends a message to the boys and to myself! that serious business is on the agenda. My at-home wardrobe still needs help, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.
- Weekly homeschool co-op – Casually polished, with layering options. We meet in an ancient building with an ancient furnace and I’m juggling a toddler the entire time. Sometimes I’m cold, sometimes I’m on fire. I need sturdy yet stylish pieces that can be added or removed as necessary.
- Weekly church service – Call me old fashioned, but I like to dress up for church. I totally don’t care if others wear jeans or casual street clothes, but for me it feels much more respectful and appropriate to dress up a bit.
- Weekly essential oils classes and meetings + other leadership commitments – This is basically a mix of what I wear to co-op or to church.
- Weekly date night – Ditto.
- Outdoor adventures – I chose to exclude this category for my Capsule Wardrobe. Maybe I’ll tackle it next year! For now, I’ve got a stash of active wear for nature explorations and a few old things for gardening and such.
3. Identify specific wardrobe needs.
- broad – Thinking through my lifestyle activities helped to clarify the broad types of pieces I’d need: skinny jeans, leggings, a skirt, big cardigans, long shirts, dresses, etc.
- refined – Next, I browsed catalogs, Pinterest, other blogs, etc. to develop a better sense of exactly which colors and styles I was drawn to.
- specific – Eventually, I was able to make a list of specific items: gray leggings; tan military jacket; long, short-sleeved shirts in grays and blacks; short gray boots; tall, flat, brown, casual boots; skinny jeans–one gray, one bright; etc.
These free printable worksheets were so helpful.
I hope this helps as you consider your own closet makeover, and I’d love to hear where you are in the process!
Stay tuned for How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe – Part Two…I’ll share Step 3, which is all about shopping for the specific list you’ve created.
The Capsule Wardrobe Series
Kathleen Henderson is the Yankee behind the Homestead, where she keeps up with Mr. Native Texan, three busy boys, a large dog, an assortment of chickens and an organic garden on three beautiful acres in Northern Virginia. Yankee Homestead is where she organizes her tips, tricks and resources for a healthy life. Favorite topics include real food recipes, gluten-free living, essential oils and home remedies, all things natural and nontoxic, plus mommy musings and homeschooling resources. Find out more on the About page