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Getting Started With a Capsule Wardrobe

For July and August we are excited to introduce you to Rachel Stone, a writer with a wealth of 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:

Welcome back to part 2 of getting started with a capsule wardrobe! You are interested in creating your very own capsule wardrobe and you've learned a few things from the first post in this series: An Introduction to the Capsule Wardrobe, but how exactly do you make it happen?

Consider your lifestyle

On a sheet of paper list your activities in a “normal” two week span. Full-time work? Work from home? Host gatherings? Travel? These activities give clues for the amount and kind of clothing needed for your capsule.

Another way of looking it is to imagine an activity pie chart. Include your exercise routines, work, raising children, church activities, yard work, hobbies, and downtime. Assign percentages per category with larger sections needing more clothing, and smaller sections less.

Now divide your wardrobe into these sections and note any gaps. Now you can purge the extras and make a list of what you need. For me, this simple exercise showed I usually over-purchase for dressy activities, and under-purchase for casual occasions and working out.

Consider your wash cycle

This was an “Aha” concept for me! Instead of focusing on a certain number of garments, you create a logical plan for how many garments you’ll need between laundry days. For example: for working full time and washing weekly you’d need five office outfits. A well-crafted capsule will mix easily allowing you to repeat pieces while still looking fresh.

Your “outfit formula”

An outfit formula is a combination of garments that are best for your body shape, personal style, and lifestyle. These specific pieces are your “go to” looks/pieces you happily wear again and again. While studying the fit of your

clothing over the last few weeks have you noticed a pattern? Do you prefer separates such as pants, skirts, or tops? Or are you a dress girl? Or a jeans and flannel guy? Personally, I like separates so my preferred “outfit formula” is usually a pencil skirt, top, and cardigan. By purchasing these items in various colors I’m can easily remix to create fresh outfits with fewer pieces. I suggest choosing a cohesive color palette for these formula pieces so the garments can remix easily. To see this concept in practice, check out my post: How to Use Your Capsule Wardrobe.

Example Capsule: For my capsule this season I’ve chosen to go with 40 items.

  • 10 t-shirts and blouses

  • 8 Cardigans

  • 7 dresses

  • 5 pairs of capris

  • 5 skirts

  • 3 Blazers

  • 2 pairs of jeans

Consider Your Colors

A wonderful surprise - you may already have a color palette! Check your closet and note your favorite pieces. Check your style board – can you spot a color palette? Now compare your wardrobe and style board to note similarities and differences. Decide on your color palette then streamline by cleaning up your style board and purging clothing. This will give you closet space and peace of mind to better focus on building your capsule. This was tremendously helpful to me! For more purging and organization inspiration read the Great Closet Clear- Out post.

Here are before and after pictures of my closet:

Next let’s divide your palette into two sections:

  • Base colors. These are your capsule foundations with two or three base colors working well for simplicity. Be sure your base and accent colors are cohesive.

  • Accent colors. These colors add spice and personality, and create distinction between the seasons. Accent colors freshen your look inexpensively. Choose two or three accent colors and consider cardigans, scarves, or statement necklaces as good ways to wear you accent colors.

Here are snap shots of the color palette I'm using in my wardrobe. From ivory to navy all the colors blend well!

Wrapping Up

With an idea of your personal style, body shape, lifestyle needs, wash cycle, and color palette you can begin shopping! Well, shopping based on the needs of your capsule wardrobe. By checking your closet first you can note your wardrobe gaps and create an accurate, specific shopping list.

Thank you for joining me on this capsule wardrobe journey, may you have a lovely, well-functioning closet that makes you feel great every day!

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