This week I picked out my favorite pieces for both the spring/summer season and for the fall/winter season while donating everything else. It felt amazing to get rid of all of the clothing that I did not feel outstanding in. I’ve narrowed down my capsule wardrobe to 15 pieces for the spring and summer and another 15 pieces for fall and winter. Some of the pieces that I kept can actually be worn all year round which gives me a few more options if needed.
The key to creating a capsule wardrobe that works is to pick pieces that can be mixed and matched effortlessly.
Yesterday I wore a sundress that I thought was really cute. I noticed that although it was somewhat cute, I didn’t feel my best in it. There was another dress at home that would have made me feel my best, and these two dresses were far apart in comparison in quality. Sometimes it takes acknowledging how you feel wearing something to determine if it really should remain a part of your capsule wardrobe.
This experience only emphasized to me the importance of absolutely loving every item in your capsule wardrobe especially if it is only going to be 10-15 pieces per season.
A capsule wardrobe contains clothing that can be dressed up or dressed down and worn daily no matter the occasion. Depending upon your lifestyle, it can also be very easy to create a capsule wardrobe that can go from work to weekends with little effort. Once I removed all of the distraction, ultra trendy, and worn out clothing from my wardrobe, I was able to see that I already had much of what I needed to create a solid capsule wardrobe with a few tweaks here and there.
I’ve decided that items such as evening wear, outerwear, workout apparel, cotton or jersey t-shirts/tank tops, and accessories will not be included in my capsule wardrobe and instead be considered as extras. This doesn’t mean that I plan to have excessive extras either. Let me explain why I’ve decided this.
A cocktail dress or formal gown is definitely not everyday wear, yet having one or two may be necessary where the little black dress may not be formal enough. I’m considering outerwear as a heavy winter coat or spring rain jacket which may be needed depending upon where you live. There is no way I’m going to count my dance leotards, tights, or leggings as part of my capsule wardrobe because I can’t wear them to lunch or dinner out. Cotton/jersey t-shirts and tank tops can be dressed up, but most of the time they are used for layering pieces or a much more casual look. I will discuss a capsule wardrobe for shoes and bags in another article.
I’ve decided that creating an extreme minimalist wardrobe such as only having 10 items all year round does not work for my lifestyle.
Yet minimizing my wardrobe to only presentable and well thought out clothing can still be very freeing and enjoyable. It definitely helps me understand how to put outfits together with ease and grace without stressing in the morning anymore. Who knows, I may downsize my seasonal capsule wardrobes more if I feel in the future, yet I’ve come a long way from trendy shopping, wearing crazy non-versatile pieces, and having a wardrobe of over 300+ items with “I have nothing to wear” syndrome.
Now to break down the basic capsule wardrobe and how it can be translated to both the spring/summer season and the fall/winter season.
For the spring and summer a white, cream, or taupe blazer is perfect. It instantly dresses up a t-shirt and jeans with ballet flats or heels or takes your favorite dress to the office with ease. This is one item that I currently do not have in my capsule wardrobe for summer, yet am keeping my eyes open if I can find one that fits my budget and my style goals. In the winter I prefer a black, navy, or charcoal grey blazer. Finding a blazer with a unique cut or collar can make a difference. I used to despise blazers thinking they all looked like that boring square shaped black suit. Yet now I see them as a transforming staple piece and look for unique cuts and styles.
2. Neutral Dress
The little black dress is the best fall and winter dress any woman can have. I think that this dress should be a simple silhouette such as a shift or wrap dress. In general this dress should have the ability to be dressed up or dressed down with the right accessories. For summer the neutral dress still has a simple silhouette yet is in white, cream, taupe, camel, etc. I currently do not have a simple neutral dress for summer in a lighter color, yet consider my black maxi dress to work perfectly for now.
3. Colored Dress
Pick your favorite color and find it in the perfect fit dress. My colored dresses for both seasons are actually very similar in color. I have a raspberry long sleeve wrap dress for the cooler months, and a fuchsia silk tunic dress for the warmer months.
4. Print Dress
Having a print dress brings some excitement to your wardrobe. A wardrobe of only solid colors can be a bit boring in my opinion. I currently do not have a specific print dress for the fall, yet adding tights and boots to my spring print dress with a blazer or cardigan will work perfectly because it has 3/4 sleeves and is cream and brown.
5. White Blouse
I used to think the white blouse was a boring white cotton button up or matronly silk blouse which isn’t me at all. Recently I found an ivory sheer button up blouse (in the picture above) which layers effortlessly over my summer dresses and also works layered under a sweater for the fall. Take note that the white blouse can also be ivory, cream, or a light taupe. Find out what color works best for your complexion.
6. Chambray/Denim Button-up
The chambray or denim button-up shirt has so much versatility. If a denim shirt seems too trendy, then the timeless chambray shirt is the perfect replacement. I like using my denim shirt as a summer jacket as well. This shirt also works well in the fall and winter as a layering piece.
7. Colored Blouse
Depending on how much color that you desire to have in your wardrobe, this blouse is another option for adding even more color to your capsule wardrobe. You could also use this as another neutral blouse, and use your printed blouse for more color instead.
8. Print/Textured Blouse
Having a fun printed or textured blouse brings more variation to your capsule wardrobe. Finding a top that will look just as good with your favorite jeans as it will with trousers or your skirt for work is ideal and can easily take work wear into the weekend without a second thought.
My favorite pair of jeans still remains to be a pair of high-waisted wide leg jeans. They certainly are not classic, but I can wear them all year long and I love them. My other pair of jeans are dark wash denim jeans. I prefer a skinny jean, yet whatever style flatters your figure the best is the right style for you. Dark wash jeans are easily dressed up or down.
I currently have a raspberry faux wrap mini skirt for summer and a black skirt which I can wear all year round. For work attire a pencil or a-line skirt in a season-less wool fabric would be ideal. For the hot summer months you could choose a lighter fabric in a lighter color.
11. Trousers/Cigarette Pants
I have skinny black trouser which can be worn almost all year long if it isn’t too hot. For the fall winter season I have a pair of high-waisted cigarette pants (aka tapered skinny leg cut) in taupe which looks great with heels or boots. Since I tend to wear dresses more during the spring and summer, I leave this category mainly for the cooler seasons.
12. Shorts/Extra Pants
You may or may not want to make shorts part of your capsule wardrobe. I wasn’t as in to them last summer, but this year I feel a bit different about them. It could be because I recently found a pair of silk navy bermuda shorts seen in the above picture from a consignment shop. This is one category which can be replaced with a pair of white jeans for summer and another skirt or pair of lightweight pants for winter.
Depending upon your personal style a cardigan sweater may be ideal as it gives a polished look similar to a blazer. I currently have a sweet grey hooded poncho which I have worn and loved for years, and another cream sweater which layers well all year long. This coming fall I’ll most likely swap out my grey poncho for a more versatile option.
To only wear your very best clothing daily is a new concept for me, yet I love it. It also makes me keenly aware of anything that doesn’t make me feel my best.
Allowing myself to always look presentable is something that I deserve. It just means having respect for yourself. A capsule wardrobe makes it so much easier to get ready every morning since you’ve already put the work in initially. It does not have to cost a fortune to create your capsule wardrobe since many of the pieces you most likely own already. All it takes is some decluttering to see them. If you shop consignment which is what I do, you can find quality pieces for a fraction of the price too.
I’m noticing that it is not that difficult to look your best daily when all of your clothes are exactly what you love to wear, and you are not giving yourself 100+ options. Share your thoughts below!
(Image by Dawn Michelle)