Building capsule wardrobes feels second nature to me now. I have been making them since 2015 and I have a rhythm and system that works for me.
As I share this rhythm and system with you, know that you can adjust and bend this to make it work for you.
When I started building capsules, I followed the wonderful guide that Caroline Joy lays out in her blog Unfancy. I started with 35-37 items a capsule, and now I hover somewhere around 25 items. There is no perfect number, you need to do what makes the most sense for you, not what suits someone else.
That being said, I know it can be helpful to have a guide to follow. Here are my steps, process, and guide to building my capsule wardrobe. I hope it helps get you started, without boxing you in or limiting you.
If you try this, PLEASE tag me in your outfit posts on Instagram! Or hashtag #simpledaysbonnierae, and I’ll find them.
Step 1 – Imagine
A capsule wardrobe without a vision or a vibe is nothing. When you are working with such a small number of items in a wardrobe, you need to like the items you choose. If you choose a bunch of items that are great in theory but you actually hate wearing or don’t fit the season you are in – what’s the point!?
It’s time to hop on Pinterest or your saved image section of Instagram to find outfits you love for the season you are entering. Here was the inspiration for Fall 2020, I am still searching for the perfect clog.
As you search and grab images, be open to new styles. Try to move quickly and save the images that speak to you. Maybe one post is about the top, another one is the shoe. Start compiling without judgment and without limiting yourself. Who knows, an entirely new style might emerge!
If you have never made a capsule wardrobe before, it is now time to follow the KonMari method with your clothing. In short, take every single item of clothing you own and pile it on your bed or in your living room.
When I say every item, I mean it! Check your car, your closets, your attic, your garage. Every jacket and shoe and sock and glove better be on that pile! When you have it all together, it’s time to sort. According to KonMari, you must hold each and every item and ask yourself if the item sparks joy for you or not.
Does it make you smile? Does it make you light up? Do you envision taking this piece with you into the future?
If you get stuck, return to step 1. Look at your planning and your vision, does the item you are holding fit in? Is it part of the life and person you are creating? If yes, keep it. If not, thank it for its service and let it go.
Your capsule will be dependent on your lifestyle and where you live.
I am able to dress casually at work, and Virginia experiences all four seasons. So when I plan for fall, I take this into account. I look at average temperatures across the season where I live. And I plan for any special events I may need to dress up for.
I have a separate capsule for conferences and special work events, and a mini capsule for loungewear. Exercise wear and lounge clothes are not part of your day to day capsule.
Tackle one thing at a time. If you are planning for Fall 2020, take the out of season clothes that remain after your declutter and store them. I place mine in two protective containers and store them in a closet.
With all that remains, you are already forming your capsule. Take a second look and make sure that your items are all joy sparkers.
Next, assess what you need. Maybe you need a great pair of vintage jeans and a scarf. Maybe you gave away some boots that you didn’t love and are in need of a new pair. Go back to your inspiration board and look at what you loved. What are you missing and what will you replace it with?
When I shop, I stick to Madewell and Poshmark. I only look for what I need. I only shop a few times a year, when forming my new capsules. I also set a budget. This will look different for everyone. Your budget and your needs should be realistic. And most of your capsule should come from what you already have.
The fashion industry is a huge polluter and contributor to human rights abuses. Do your best to use what you already have, without holding onto items that no longer suit you. A balance that will come easier each time you build a capsule.
Tips and tricks
– Use what you already have.
– Do not skip the planning stage – it will make each step after that much easier.
– Be flexible with the number of items in your capsule, try not to compare yourself to others (if you NEED a number, try to stick to 33-37 items.)
– Get inspired by other resources (Unfancy and Project 333 are two of my favorites.)
That’s it! Be sure to follow my Instagram for outfit posts and Q&A’s – and please share your capsules and outfits with me!