Getting started with a capsule wardrobe

Last year I cleared my closet out to add storage and make room for more ironically enough.

I thought organization was my issue, but throughout the process of creating piles to donate, trash, and keep, I realized that very few of my clothes made me feel good when I was wearing them, so I only put those minimal items back in the closet and haven’t looked back.

I’ve read a bunch of blog posts about getting started with a capsule wardrobe and although I usually love rules, the thought of following a set formula for everything in your closet stresses me out. I’m not going to limit myself to any set numbers or specific clothing items. I really think figuring out the perfect wardrobe is personal and unique for everyone.

Three strategies for getting started (like right now!)

  1. Go through all of your clothes all at once. Put only the clothes you would love to wear every day back in your closet. All the other ones? Hang on to them. Put them in storage until you are confident you won’t miss them and can say goodbye to them for real.

  2. Give yourself two or three weeks of only wearing your favorite clothes. Did you find yourself repeating outfits in that short time? This is a great exercise for identifying what you really like to wear and will make it easier to say goodbye to the excess. 

  3. Very slowly. Challenge yourself to remove a few pieces every week. It might be hard at first, but eventually you’ll start feeling like you are only a few eliminations away from loving everything in your wardrobe. This way takes the pressure off to make any rash decisions or make too abrupt of a change. 

Keeping it minimal

  1. Take your time. If you find yourself wanting to make an impulse purchase, try keeping a “want” list. Instead of buying the thing right away, jot down what you want and the date. Check back in a couple of weeks or months and see if you still want the thing. You can then either give yourself permission to buy or you can have the satisfaction of crossing it off the list.

  2. Steer clear the clearance racks. Seriously. A good deal is tempting, but in my experience very rarely find things I truly love there. I shop with a very specific shopping list. I want every new item I bring into my wardrobe to be intentional and getting me one step closer to being the closet of my dreams. 

  3. Be really picky. The perfect clothing is out there for you. Trying things on, return the things that don’t work, and call in the pros to get things hemmed and tailored. If something fits you perfectly, you’ll feel great in it and be happy with it for years to come.

  4. Life is too short to have a bad day because your socks were falling off in your boots all day. Throw. Them. Away. I have been purging things ongoing as they fall into disrepair and it feels so good to not have things pile up and weigh you down. Stained shirt? Good bye. Actually, maybe keep that to use as a cleaning rag! But you get the point! Let it go. 

Still worried about downsizing? There are more benefits than you might even realize.

  1. The biggest perk that I am not surprised about is that less clothing = less stress. My stuffed closet was a source of frustration for me, and since I start and end every day in my closet, it was worth investing in the time and energy to clear it out and make my closet a more pleasant place to be.

  2. Less clothing has made me feel more stylish. I have room to focus on the items that fit me and suit me best, which has helped me find my personal style and even gives me a little bit of wiggle room to play around with the trends I feel most drawn to. 

  3. Having less clothing has actually made me want less clothing, which has turned in to being able to invest in higher quality pieces when I am ready to buy something new. Each piece is an investment. 

  4. Less clothes might not exactly mean less laundry, but it does mean that I can pay closer attention to the care instructions, which helps my clothing last longer. I have few enough pieces that I know exactly which pieces need to be laid flat to dry or can be thrown in the dryer. 

  5. It’s better for the environment. Having less is a choice that we can make for our sanity and also for the planet. Clothing waste is a big deal. At the very least we can actually wear and love what we have. 

I’ve been living with and loving my small wardrobe for over a year, and I find myself continually editing it to make it even smaller and more intentional. It’s a work in progress and STAY TUNED because I’ll be sharing every single thing in my entire wardrobe soon! 

This post was written for the  Collected Eclectic blog.

Collected Eclectic was a passion project focused on recording the process as Grace and Michael van Meurer transformed their builder grade home in to something special.

124 blog posts were published between 2018 and 2021. Explore the complete Collected Eclectic archive here

Learn more about the project here

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