My 30 item capsule wardrobe: Winter 2019
You should know by now that I am a complete sucker for a capsule wardrobe. After changing my own closet to a more capsule-system about 2 years ago, I have steadily made my way through the rest of the family’s closets. Today, all 4 of us have a capsule, some just bigger than others.
My own capsule started out as a basic capsule plus a core capsule. After running this system for close to 2 years I decided that I was making life way too complicated, and so I have devised another plan. My new system works for me, and I think it will be a lot easier to explain as well. I will do a post soon about the complete system, with a handy ebook. But, I must warn you that there is a big difference in starting a capsule from scratch and building a capsule from clothes that you already have. Since most of us do not swim in cash, for this post I will assume we are doing the later - building from what we already have.
My new system to utilise your current closet in order to build a new capsule wardrobe works in 3 steps:
Step 1: Closet clearing
Take out everything from your closet. Empty the laundry pail. Make sure you have every single piece of clothing that you own, on your bed.
Start sorting through the pile, dividing the clothes into the following piles: YES! (clothes that you love, that looks good on you and that you feel good in), MAYBE (those things that you can wear if you had the right top/bottom/shoes, that might look good, that might work, etc.), DONATE and CHUCK (always first try to repurpose, even if you just use the old clothes as rags to wash the car). Don’t think too long or hard, take this on an intuitive whim.
After sorting, immediately remove the clothes that you want to donate - bag them and put in your car - and the ones you want to throw way or repurpose. Remove them from your sight.
Take the MAYBE pile and try all of the items on. If they look old/worn/outdated or simply bad, chuck them. If the item looks good on you, and you like it and will wear it, add it to the YES pile. After finalising the MAYBE pile, remove the clothes that you want to donate/throw out. You will be left with only the YES pile.
Step 2: Plan
Start by writing down the items you like wearing, and that can usually be found in your closet. This will form the backbone of your capsule. For me, that list is short: jeans, comfortable top and sweatshirt, sneakers, boots and scarves. If you want to work on the 30 to 40 item system, then that means I have at least 30 items that I can still add.
Look at your YES pile. Remove the items that you identified in the above step. Further sort the pile into 3 sections: warm (clothes that you can wear when it is cold), cool (clothes that you can wear when it is hot) and both (things like jeans and leggings that are fine all year round). If you are planning your winter capsule, then box up the cool clothes.
From the clothes that you have left, remove your active wear (unless you wear it as leisurewear, in which case it will count towards your 30 to 40 items), sleepwear, and formal wear. Then sort the remaining clothes into tops, bottoms, shoes, dresses and accessories. Decide beforehand if shoes, jackets and accessories will form part of your capsule (so will they contribute to the number of items?). I count shoes, jackets and scarves, but leave out jewelry, handbags, and coats.
Now see how close to 30/40 items you can get. For this system to really work, you roughly need 4 jackets, 8 bottoms, 12 tops and 16 accessories/scarves/shoes. If there is a gap that you cannot fill with the clothes that you have on the bed, then you are allowed to go shopping ;-) When you do buy new clothes, keep in mind the new item must go with at least 3 other things in your closet (to make at least 3 outfits), it must be of good quality (so durable, to last years), and preferably classic instead of simply trendy.
Pack all of your clothes back into your closet, taking care to treat the clothes correctly. If you have space, hang as much as possible, but definitely dresses, pants and jackets.
Step 3: Wear
As easy as that! I did my winter closet in this way, and although it is not 100% the style and look that I would like to have, I managed to build it without having to buy anything. My style has changed drastically, and as I buy new clothes I try to move closer to that look. My winter capsule for 2019 consists of the following:
Casual boyfriend jeans
Smart skinny jeans
Black faded jeans
Grey belted chinos
Black cotton leggings
Orange boat neck top
White cotton casual top
Striped black and white wide t shirt
Woven blush top
Black boat neck top
Black cotton shirt with interesting back detail
Striped boat neck
Knitted off the shoulder top
Burgundy longer-length shirt with keyhole detail
White cotton stretch short-sleeved tshirt
Grey striped cotton stretch short-sleeved thsirt
Emerald green midi dress with short sleeves
Jackets and coats: 4
Black bomber jacket
Blue denim jacket
Brown leather lace-up brogues
Brown leather ankle boots
Black leather flat-heeled boots
Rose gold sneakers
Orange and brown scarf
Solid black scarf
Burgundy, black and brown scarf
Total: 32 pieces (2 coats that are not supposed to be part of the total)
That is all of my clothes, except what I exercise in and what I sleep in. I feel comfortable having 30 to 40 items in my closet; I feel that gives me enough freedom to wear what I feel like, while restricting my choices in order to make it effortless to get dressed. I can add a few items should I find ones that I love - I would love to have another dress, a denim skirt, and an oversized woolen sweater. But even without these pieces I feel my wardrobe is sufficient to see me through winter. To prove my point, here are a few outfits that I can make with the items that I have: