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How to Start a Capsule Wardrobe

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How to Start a Capsule Wardrobe

How did I finally start my capsule wardrobe?

  • I got inspired by others.
  • I procrastinated.
  • I dared to be someone.

For years I had been flirting with the concept of a minimal wardrobe. I read articles and blogs about the benefits. I talked to my cousin about it before she packed up to live in China for a few years. I asked probing questions of a friend who had to get minimal in clothing when she moved from a big house to a small boat. Yet I had a closet full of clothes–80% of which I was not regularly wearing. While I had experienced the benefits a minimal wardrobe when traveling, I wanted to experience the deeper, more long-term benefits of bringing this concept into my daily life.

After this slow brewing of desire, my devotion to a capsule wardrobe bloomed on November 1, 2015. One-hundredish days later, I’m here to report how it started…

I Got Inspired by Others

Just what is a capsule wardrobe, you beg? Susie Faux, a 1970s London boutique owner, is said to have been the first to refer to a capsule wardrobe as a collection of essential items of clothing that would not go out of fashion. In 1985 Donna Karen furthered the idea when she debuted a capsule collection. In 2010 Courtney Carver modernized the capsule wardrobe with Project 333. In 2014 Caroline Rector defined it as, a simple wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear. And in 2015 Matilda Kahl, an advertising creative, wrote about how she wore the same outfit every day for three years. Using their stories as inspiration and their philosophies as guidelines, I define my capsule wardrobe process as such:

  • Create a 35ish-item capsule every three months
    • Include clothing, shoes, outerwear
    • Exclude jewelry, accessories, underwear, sleepwear, workout clothes, & special occasion frocks
  • Move all other clothing out of site & out of reach
  • Only shop for new items when you near a change of capsule and you have defined a gap

I Procrastinated

I fussed in my head. I lingered in front of my open closet. I dreamed of how things could be. And then I dawdled and delayed some more. I looked at example charts of how to build a capsule wardrobe. I read statistics about how much time is wasted rifling through wardrobes. I spent time posing as the female victim when the media seemed to make a big deal out of man’s decision to wear only two suit colors. And that’s not all. With red cheeks I admit that I also shopped.

I Dared to be Someone

Without having it planned, one day I woke up and decided today is the day. In about 45 minutes I removed everything from my closet, put my foundational pieces back in, and then thoughtfully added show layers that would mix and match well and were seasonally appropriate.

After clinging to capsule wardrobe how-to research, I finally let go and dared to become the someone I had been imagining for years. Someone who spends less time thinking about clothes and suffers less daily decision fatigue as a result.

capsule wardrobe wintercapsule wardrobe jewelry

Now in my second capsule season, a minimal wardrobe mindset has spread to other areas of my life. My non-capsuled collection has shrunk. I now have a capsule of jewelry. I’ve downsized bathroom jams and jellies. My inbox is ship shape. My paper files are nearly non existent. My breakfasts almost always have an overnight oatmeal base and my lunches a foundation of miso soup. Meanwhile, nobody has seemed to notice (save for my husband who fell in love with the 23 year-old me who wore the same burgundy leotard/blue shirt/cream sweater outfit every weekend). I spend few less time thinking about clothing. And I spend more time feeling and dressing like myself.

How about you? How did/will you start your capsule wardrobe?

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