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An Introduction to the Capsule Wardrobe

For July and August we are excited to introduce you to Rachel Stone, a writer with experience in the realm of organizing. Rachel is passionate about helping those who feel overwhelmed find peace. We share her passion for simple, effective organizational tips and so we look forward to sharing her experience with you! You can find more of her writing on her blog:

Have you ever wondered if there was an easier way to get dressed, put outfits together, or shop for clothes? If you’ve had these thoughts (and the related frustrations) the capsule wardrobe can help!

What is a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe is fairly small collection of clothing specifically chosen to suit you and your lifestyle and is easily mixable to maximize your outfit options. Capsules can be designed around warm or cool seasons, dress codes at work, for travel, and much more. A well-designed capsule wardrobe can serve a full time corporate employee, part time worker, an entrepreneur, or those who work from home. You can think of a capsule as a personal, flexible picture album expressing who you are and your unique lifestyle.

The common question that comes with the capsule wardrobe concept is: “How many garments or items should a capsule contain?” Popular numbers can range from a 40 piece capsule all the way down to a scant 10 items! This is where finding the right-sized wardrobe for you and your unique lifestyle is important.

Why have a capsule wardrobe?

The goal of a capsule is to streamline your clothing choices to fewer, better garments. This will lighten the load in your closet, allow you to get dressed quickly, will fit you perfectly, and be so “you” in style! In the long run you’ll save money by making better purchasing decisions, with more rewarding, less stressful shopping trips. In addition, having a capsule will help you choose higher quality clothing that lasts longer. A stress-free closet is possible!

What makes a capsule wardrobe?

Let’s say you chose a mid-range capsule wardrobe of 30 items. This would including tops, bottoms, dresses, and layering pieces such as blazers, cardigans, and vests. For your capsule you might prefer 12 tops, 3 dresses, 3 skirts, 5 pair of pants, 3 cardigans, and 2 blazers, and 2 vests. These pieces would consist of a unified color scheme and would all mix and match creating many, many outfits without stuffing your closet.

How do I get started?

I began by checking online for books, blogs, and Pinterest ideas on how to compile capsule wardrobes of different sizes, styles, and for various needs. Here are the steps I used before creating mine. Each step could be a post on its own, but for now let’s summarize.

  1. Determine your personal style.

  2. Discover your body shape and most flattering cuts and proportions for you.

Your personal style.

This is one of my favorite steps in the process! To discover your personal style I’d recommend creating a style board on Pinterest* or collecting photo clippings from catalogs or magazines. Start by pinning or collecting whatever clothes catch your eye. It may be a pant suit, slacks, a cozy sweater, stylish shoes, or a cheery summer dress. Simply begin pinning and collecting, waiting to review your collection until you’ve have about 50 pieces.

Now study your collection, noticing anything you’ve have more than twice. This shows styles and colors your eye is naturally drawn to. By repeating this process over a few weeks and studying your collection you’ll begin to see patterns. A piece you chose at first may now seem out of place alongside the rest. Removing these pieces will unify your developing style. Reevaluation of your style board is free and fascinating as you explore how you uniquely express yourself through your clothing, style, and color choices!

For a more in-depth post on personal style you can read my post: How to Discover Your Personal Style.

Your body shape.

Discovering your body shape and best proportions is fairly simple and allows you to quickly determine which styles will work for you. These “invisible” techniques help make or break a “look”. Start by choosing items in your closet that currently fit you well. Try these pieces on and determine why that fit works for you. Over the next few weeks pay attention to the fit, good or bad, of your current wardrobe. This information is invaluable in knowing how to shop for your specific shape. Again, I suggest Pinterest as a great source for studying your specific body shape with the goal being to create visual “balance”.

Study your proportions. Are you long in the torso? Shorter legs? Broader shoulders? There are styles and cuts created to best flatter all kinds of body shapes. This initial footwork will reward you with clothing that suits your shape perfectly (and is easier on your budget). Who doesn’t love the outfit that makes them feel great?

Stay Tuned

Now that you have a feel for your style and shape, follow along with me as we discover how the fabulous capsule wardrobe can work for your unique needs and lifestyle! Stay posted for part two in this series next month.

*If you would like to learn how to use Pinterest you can find a helpful guide here:

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