The Capsule Wardrobe and a New Relationship with Clothing


After the birth of my second baby in mid-December 2014, I was feeling very frustrated by my existing wardrobe. Maternity wardrobes have never been my favorite thing, but even after I lost enough of my baby weight to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes, I was still constantly changing outfits, fussing over myself in the mirror, and complaining constantly to my poor husband that I had nothing to wear (even though my drawers were overflowing and I took up at least 3/4 of our small closet!). I did conduct fairly regular purging sessions over the years, so I didn’t hold onto a bunch of items indefinitely, but I still seemed to have too many things that I wasn’t comfortable in.

One day, I ran across this article about purging your childrens’ toy collection that a friend of mine had shared on Facebook. It really made curious about the blogger’s organization philosophy, so I started perusing the other articles on her site. Throughout her page she focused on using her time and money wisely by couponing, purging, minimalist living, budgeting, etc, and I liked a lot of what she had to say… and then I found this: The 40-Hanger Closet. I clicked on it, and immediately I was intrigued. As I started reading her post, I felt overwhelmed by the idea of slimming down my wardrobe (hadn’t I already done that a billion times?) and guilty about how much stuff I still had. But it sparked an excitement in me, so I kept reading. I read through the comments on her post and found other recommendations and ideas about this minimalist wardrobe philosophy. I kept on reading. Ultimately, her post led me to the two blogs that changed the way I feel, dress, and think about clothing: Un-Fancy and Project 333.

Both of these blogs advocate something called a “Capsule Wardrobe”. What is a capsule wardrobe, you might ask? In short, it’s a three-month, seasonal wardrobe composed of 30-40 versatile pieces (including tops, bottoms, dresses shoes, and outerwear (excludes accessories and loungewear)) that you absolutely love and feel comfortable in.

I loved this idea, so I dove in to creating my capsule right away. For the first couple of days, I spent my babies’ naptimes purging. I started out by throwing all my Fall/Winter items into a box and putting them in storage. I wanted to purge those when the season was a bit closer, so I would be more realistic about what I would actually wear. Then I started on the Spring/Summer stuff. Too big? I had a baby 3 months ago, I don’t care if I love it. The next time I fit into it, I may not even like it.  Too small? If it was only slightly too small and I was still able to fit into it AND I LOVED it, I kept it. Being newly postpartum made that that part a little tricky, but I did my best to be realistic, and it worked out well for me in the end. Pilled, snagged, stained, holes? Toss or Donate. Just not me but in great condition? Consign. My husband loved it but I only wore it to make him happy? He wouldn’t be happy if he knew I felt uncomfortable in it. Toss.

I quickly went through everything I had and was still left with over 50 items. I was determined to cut the number down more. I peeked through what I had left. A few of the items I had just purchased the month before, but they had ended up not working out *quite* right. I was torn. I didn’t want to waste that money. A few others I was emotionally tied to but didn’t like the fit. Or maybe they were favorites of my husband’s, but I wasn’t in love with them. I took all of those items and placed them towards the back of the closet. If I missed them, pulled them out again to wear over the next 3 months, and ended up loving them, they would be keepers. Otherwise, I would donate (I think I ended up donating them all…). This left me with about 30 items (and NO jeans because I had consigned my only pair). So I made a list of items that I needed to complete the capsule, and spent the next few weeks finding those and filling them in.

Now at least one of the bloggers has the rule that you CANNOT purchase anything during the 3 months of your capsule wardrobe. But…. I didn’t stick to this rule exactly. My capsule pretty much extended from April-August, so it was more than 3 months, and due to size fluctuations postpartum and learning a little bit more about myself and my style, I ended up purchasing and donating a few more items over the Spring/Summer months, and I didn’t try to really pare down on my accessories and shoes much (although I did do this for the Fall capsule). However, I still stuck to the general premise and rules, and the capsule worked wonderfully for me. Everything except for lounge clothing and underwear is now hung in my closet (which isn’t big). This made it so much easier for me to see at a glance what I had to choose from to wear for the day. I got dressed about 10X faster in the morning (and by extension spent more of the mornings with my kiddos and husband), felt much more confident, spent MUCH LESS time worrying about what I looked like, and loved every single thing I put on. I do significantly less compulsive spending (which was tough as I LOVE THRIFTING (more on that in another post)), and I enjoy what I have more.

Try it for yourself for this Fall! It will simplify your mornings, and your life. You will love it! If you do want to try it, don’t be discouraged at the outset! Putting together capsules is expensive in the short run, but if you choose items that are versatile, fit YOU and YOUR style well, are well made, and you truly love them, then you will actually save money because you will use your items for seasons to come. Also, Fall and Spring capsules are particularly challenging to put together due to the extreme fluctuations in temperature. Try to plan ahead, but don’t beat yourself up if you decide later that you need a warmer sweater or two that you didn’t account for when you were planning for November weather in 90 degree August heat. Some items may need to be rotated in and out.

Coming up soon, I will post what I ended up with for my Spring/Summer capsule, and when I finish filling it out (I just have a couple things left!), what I have in the lineup for this Fall! I had a very hard time identifying my Fall style this year due to being pregnant and postpartum during the Fall for the last two years. But I am very excited about what I pulled together for this next capsule, and I can’t wait until the temperature drops enough to pull it out! Bring on those crisp, chilly mornings!

3 thoughts on “The Capsule Wardrobe and a New Relationship with Clothing

  1. The timing on this is PERFECT for me! At 1 month postpartum with number 4, clothes are really frustrating right now. Before I got pregnant I was in the best shape of my adult life and had a wardrobe of mostly workout clothes at that point. I’ve never had too many clothes – my problem has always been too few! I’m definitely going to take your advice and build a capsule wardrobe this fall. I can’t wait to read more about your process and would love to see some outfit ideas!


  2. Preach it! Lessons from Madame Chic helped me let go of so many clothes I’d been hanging onto for far too long… (And that’s a fabulous little book about simple living if you ever see it.) Have you ever done/heard of the 30 x 30 challenge? It’s a similar idea where you take 30 items and make 30 unique outfits (one a day for a month). A friend made it look like fun (and a little crazy!).


  3. Pingback: Budgeting and Planning for Your Capsule | Capsule Cricket

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