I'm pretty sure in my 35 years of life I have never been considered a fashionista. I go through phases of really enjoying clothes and fashion, but my casual lifestyle has never made room for super expensive or fancy purchases. I did have a job for a long time that required me to be on stage in front of a lot of people, but dressing for that setting always stressed me out much more than it was fun to pick outfits appropriate for the environment. Since moving to a new city I've become both annoyed with my closet and intrigued with fixing it. I have spent entirely too many mornings staring at my clothes, sliding the hangers back and forth and back again hoping for a different shirt to appear or a pair of jeans to catch my eye that maybe I had overlooked. I decided to be proactive and take back my mornings. I did a little research (does browsing Pinterest count as research?) on capsule wardrobes. Capsule wardrobes could be defined as a few key items of clothing that can be mixed and matched to create multiple different outfits. I love the mix and match part, but not so much the "few items" part. I despise laundry too much and I already own several pieces that I liked and didn't want to start from scratch. After reading several blog posts on the subject I came across one that I liked and got some great tips from, and from there I kind of decided to come up with my own plan.
Leslie's plan for her wardrobe:
- Get rid of anything I don't like or absolutely don't wear. This will make the rest of the process go much smoother. If you are only left to work with items that you like and that fit, you will be much better off. Let's talk about fit for a minute. I am a serial "when I lose a few pounds that will look really cute on" shopper. I had so many items in my closet that I never wore because they didn't fit. If you don't feel comfortable in your clothes, you will not wear them. Period. End of story. Don't buy things in hopes of them fitting later. If you are in the process of losing weight then I would suggest waiting until you've reached your goal and then attempt this. There are lots of things you can do with these clothes you want to get rid of. You can try and sell at a consignment store or a buy/sell/trade page, or you can donate them.
- Decide on three main categories of dress. As a stay at home mom, my days consist of doing stuff around the house, running errands, and occasional school functions for my kids. The helpful blog I found listed six categories to choose from: Active (gym, kids, etc.), Dressy (formal events, etc.), Lounge (movies, baking, etc.), Work (office, meetings, etc.), Fun (restaurants, dates, etc.), and Daily (groceries, errands, etc.). I chose Lounge, Fun, and Daily. This does not mean I threw out any item of clothing that didn't fit into one of these three categories! It just helped me focus my style and my core pieces.
- Pick neutral and accent colors. I decided to focus on three main neutrals and three main accent colors in my wardrobe. This was actually much easier than I thought it would be. I went straight to my closet. My wardrobe is overwhelmingly black and gray. I'm not a morbid person, I just like wearing dark colors. It's what I feel comfortable in. So two of my neutrals were easy. For my third I chose white/cream because I knew it would work well with black and gray and I liked white/cream, I just didn't have many pieces in my closet that I liked to wear. As far as the accent colors, again, I just looked through my clothes. Of all the colored items, most were either red or blue (or some shade of those two colors). I had recently purchased an olive green utility jacket and vest as well as a camo jacket. I am really digging the olive green apparently, so my accent colors were done.
- Sort your clothes. I'm a pretty organized person so I've always tried to keep my closet in order. I have always separated things by like style. Pants, tanks, short sleeve, long sleeve, sweaters, jackets, dresses. For the capsule wardrobe, I kept my categories the same, but I pulled out anything that didn't fit into my colors (except for jeans, because denim just goes with everything). I even sorted my scarves. Most of the blogs I read suggested limiting the number of items. For example, 9 shirts, 5 pants, 5 shoes. Ummmm, no. I'm sorry, but 5 shoes??? Shoes are my weakness. I know I MOSTLY wear about 5 pair of shoes regularly, but that doesn't mean I WON'T ever wear those cute wedges or heels at some point. And like I mentioned earlier, I don't like doing laundry. Fewer items means washing more often. Maybe that sounds lazy or spoiled of me, but whatever. I don't need that kind of negativity in my life! The clothes I moved to the "not in my colors" side of my closet are staying there. I'm not getting rid of them (just yet), because there may be a time when I want to wear that cute orange top or I may need that fun colorful maxi dress next summer because I love that dress.
- Fill in the blanks. Now that you have your capsule pieces, see what you're missing. I really wanted a simple cream colored sweater. I had several black and gray options, but nothing light colored. When I went shopping it seemed so much easier. Instead of coming home with random items that didn't go with anything I had, I shopped with purpose. I knew exactly what I was looking for and didn't buy things that I would regret or return later.
After just a few weeks, my mornings are totally different. Picking outfits is easier and more fun. I can pick out nearly any pair of pants and any top in my closet and they will go together. And I have coordinating jackets, scarves and accessories that I can compliment with and make the outfit awesome! I know this method isn't for everyone and it may not last forever, but for now it's working for me.
Here are some of my favorite outfits and pieces from my closet.