I created my first capsule wardrobe for the spring/summer season of 2013. Since then I continued creating two seasonal capsules twice a year. I have learned so much about my own personal style by focusing on only key pieces each season. By observing what few items actually continue on to the next year and why, I am hoping to make better choices in the future.
I’ve decided to no longer create two separate capsule wardrobes during the year, and instead focus on just maintaining one. I can honestly say that designing two wardrobes kept me shopping too much as well as purchasing items that don’t stay for the long haul. It is very true that when you have a smaller wardrobe that some pieces may wear out sooner. At the same time there are particular pieces that tend to work out season after season.
1. Discover Your Primary and Secondary Wardrobe Items
My primary wardrobe pieces are jackets, denim, and simple versatile dresses. These are the types of pieces that have gone with me from season to season. Yet this is only true for high quality clothing with a great fit. I’ve literally wasted money not purchasing high quality primary pieces, nor recognizing how these items translate in my wardrobe throughout the year. By ensuring these pieces are always in my wardrobe, I can then look at the secondary pieces that bring everything together.
It took me awhile to figure out that I love a great button up. In general I’ve chosen to keep my secondary pieces simple in design and color for versatility. My secondary pieces include button up shirts, tees, sweaters, and skirts.
2. Statement Items Don’t Need To Be Trendy
My statement pieces give texture, color, and individuality to my wardrobe. These are also items that go with me from season to season. It’s not trend focused, but more about creating wardrobe interest and excitement. I no longer feel that I need a lot of statement pieces. I’ve been in a “less is more” mode for everything.
3. Seasonless Dresses are Priceless
I really wanted to fill my wardrobe with amazing dresses although it seems much easier said than done. I really love high quality versatile and seasonless dresses in solid colors, yet they aren’t always the easiest to find especially shopping consignment stores. I did find a cute chambray dress and two chambray jumpsuits for spring/summer, yet they won’t all continue into my next capsule because of fit or the “go-to” factor. Dresses that can be dressed up or down and be worn all year round are absolute gems. So far I have only two seasonless dresses that I adore… my black 3/4 sleeve shift dress and red sleeveless midi.
4. The Material and Fit is EVERYTHING!
I shop predominately at consignment shops, and I’ve sadly bought my share of secondhand disposable clothing items. I’ve also purchased pieces that didn’t quite fit ideally which was another huge mistake. My focus is now about having a wardrobe full of high quality natural fabrics such as cotton, wool, linen, silk, and leather as well as pieces with a super flattering fit.
Sometimes you can have an item tailored to perfection like I did with my favorite red dress. Yet if something is too small, or isn’t even of high enough quality that you want to spend money to have it tailored, then leave it in the store. I have sworn off synthetic fabric blends as well as PVC, and I won’t get anything that doesn’t fit divinely. I have become very selective with what I purchase. I will leave a store empty handed before repeating past mistakes.
I have also downsized my collection of shoes because of the fit and comfort factor. This is sometimes something that you find out much later on and can be a huge disappointment. Even after having paid for shoes to be fixed or stretched, if the shoes still hurt in any way, I let them go. I figured there is no point having any shoes that rub my feet the wrong way, or have me walking funny by the end of the day no matter how much they cost. If the shoes don’t work out, I sell or donate them.
5. Limiting Your Options is Actually a Blessing
I’ve had uneasy feelings donating bags of clothing, yet what is the point of having pieces that I don’t get excited to wear. It doesn’t feel good looking at your wardrobe as trial and error, yet learning from past mistakes really makes you your own personal stylist. Instead of focusing on the initial joy finding the piece, and then allowing disappointment of it not working out to set in, downsize to only what you love.
By limiting your options in your wardrobe, you have also eliminated everything that never really worked out, so you won’t be reminded every time you open your closet of an unfortunate choice. Also if you change your mind later on about an item it’s ok. Sell it, donate it, or pass it along to a friend. There is no point trying to make it work. You will actually be happier if you just let it go, learn from your mistake, and let someone else love it.
6. Black Isn’t The Only Neutral
I tried desperately to add a lot of color back into my capsule wardrobe this past season. In essence I was overcompensating for my past habits of purchasing so much black. In lieu of black, I have found my love of navy as well as lighter neutral colors such as tan, cream, white, and light grey. I’ve honestly never become bored with neutrals, but I have with certain colors.
7. No Capsule Wardrobe Is Perfect
No capsule wardrobe is perfect, nor should it be. The stress of perfection is just that… a whole lot of stress. I’ve desired to share perfect capsule wardrobes on Minimalist Beauty in the past. Searching for perfection had me purchasing things that should have remained in the store, and working overtime to have 15 perfect and exciting items. The items in my closet don’t define me. They are simply how I choose to present myself.
With the current capsule wardrobe I am creating, I have let go of it being the ultimate minimalist wardrobe. I don’t expect every item to last forever, but I do hope to find a few pieces that will continue to go with me from season to season. My everyday clothes should make me feel put together, comfortable yet not frumpy, and work for my lifestyle.
Creating a functional wardrobe doesn’t have to be complicated, just well thought out and executed. Most importantly you need to adore it, learn from it, and enjoy the process!
(Image by Dawn Michelle)