Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

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You guys know I’m all about self-care and doing things that make my life easier. Sadly, one of my biggest challenges in life is pulling myself together, clothes-wise. I cannot, to save my life, go clothes shopping and come home with an outfit that fits, is flattering, stylish, or looks nice. I just don’t have this gift.

Unfortunately, because I just can’t even with clothes, my closet is a hot mess. I barely wear 80 percent of the clothes I own because they either don’t fit, need to be hemmed, or just don’t go with anything else I own.

WHY did I buy them in the first place?

They were either on sale (hi, I’m cheap!…errr… frugal!) or it was cute but in a size I wanted to be, not a size that I actually was. so now it hangs in the closet, patiently waiting for me to fit into it. Or I really liked it but it turns out I didn’t already own something to go with it.

Maybe I needed something fast and I hate shopping so much that I grabbed the first thing that resembled what I needed and headed to the register. Or worse, I didn’t even bother going into an actual store and I bought it online. When it arrived at my house, it was not exactly what I wanted and I didn’t hate it enough to return but I didn’t love it enough to wear it, either.

This led to me standing in my closet in my underwear for 20 minutes every day.

When I went back to work full time, I did some quick shopping (the best kind, as far as I’m concerned) and I bought what I thought I needed to build a starter work wardrobe. And you guessed it… I bought stuff that didn’t fit, didn’t look good, or didn’t match anything else I owned. Getting dressed every day was an uber-chore. I started wearing the same handful of outfits over and over out of sheer frustration but I knew pretty soon my coworkers were going to start to notice and maybe get a little worried about me, you know…mentally.

So what I did about it.

I’m delegated. I recognized that this wasn’t something I was good at or had the time and/or energy to learn to do. I did a quick Google search (It may or may not have contained the phrase Find someone to pick out all my clothes) and I was greeted with a few options:

  1. Hire a personal shopper – a lot of department stores have this option. You give a member of their staff an idea of what you’re looking for (clothes for work, a night out, a special occasion, etc) and they pull together a few looks for you to try on. I’ve never done this but I’ll tell you that right off the bat, it involves going to the store so I don’t like it. If you get there and the stuff they’ve pulled just isn’t ‘you’ then you need to wait for them to pull a few more outfits. This defeats the purpose for me because I want to get in and out of the store (if I have to go in at all!) as quickly as possible.

  2. Sign up for StitchFix– This is a monthly service that pairs you with a stylist and they send you a monthly shipment of 5 items based on your Style Profile. Buy what you like, return what you don’t, and the shipping is free both ways. You’re only charged for what you keep.  Know that you have to be very specific in your questionnaire about what you want them to send and what you do not.

    Being that I’m petite with a short torso and a large chest, there are certain items that I just will not wear. As it turns out, I have quite a list of DON’TS, such as, I don’t do horizontal stripes, high neck tops, or fruit-patterned clothing. Wouldn’t you know that I got all of these in one shipment? I realize I’m picky for someone who can’t shop for themselves. It wasn’t a complete bust, they did send me a couple of cute pieces that I kept but sadly, I needed more help than StitchFix could offer.

  3. Cue the Capsule Wardrobe - DING DING DING!
    Susie Faux coined the phrase ‘capsule wardrobe’ in the 70’s. Donna Karan popularized it in the 80’s. Now you can search Pinterest and find a capsule wardrobe for every shape, season, and color scheme. The meaning of the phrase has changed over time, though. Originally it referred a few high quality staple pieces worn season after season, but it now refers to a collection of about 40 clothing items (this number varies) that can be interchanged to create a season’s worth of outfits.

This concept speaks to me. 

When I first heard about this concept I thought “Yes! It’s genius! It’s like Garanimals for grown ups!” (ICYMI- Garanimals is a brand of children’s clothes containing pieces that were made to coordinate with each other based on the picture on the tag. Match the picture on the tag and you’ve got an outfit that goes together. I’ve said for years I wanted Garanimals to expand to adult clothes for people, like me, who just don’t have an eye for what goes with what.)

This was the solution I needed.

Thankfully, I found Alison at Get Your Pretty On and she does all the heavy lifting. She designs the capsule wardrobe, provides the shopping list (and there are items at all price points!) and she shows you how to mix and match all the pieces so you always look put together.

She even has different capsules depending on your style (casual vs dressy) and she updates them every season!

You can find out more about this here in the GET YOUR PRETTY ON CAPSULE WARDROBE CHALLENGE page.

Before you start…

Before you create your capsule wardrobe, inventory of what you’ve already got. Go through your closet. Make 3 piles and name them Keep, Donate, and Trash.

·      The Keep pile is for everything that fits and is in good condition, or has some kind of sentimental value.

·      The Donate/Sell pile is for items that are still in good condition but do not fit properly or can’t be paired with anything you own or think you may own in the future. If they’ve got a decent resale value consider selling them on ThredUp. You can use this money to purchase items for your new capsule!

·      The Trash pile is for everything that is not in good condition. You’ve worn the life out of it, literally, and it’s got nothing left to give.

Remember to use Ebates or MrRebates if you plan to do your capsule shopping online! If you aren’t familiar with these two sites, they are online shopping rebate programs. It’s like a built in online discount!

Once you’ve made physical space for your new, awesome wardrobe, get shopping! You can find her staple wardrobe here plus she does seasonal capsules so you always have the option to switch things up!


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 Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.

Self-Care, Lifestylelaurie mallon