Capsule Wardrobe / Style

the great fall capsule experiment


fall capsule wardrobe experiment / the refined woman

Here’s the thing, since having a baby, my closet has been a certifiable NIGHTMARE.

Filled with old maternity clothes, impulse online purchases from late night nursing sessions, thrift store pieces I’ve been meaning to alter, too small jeans, too big jeans, and everything in between; I have spent way more time getting dressed in the past year and half simply because I can’t find what I’m looking for or I don’t know what I even like wearing anymore. The irony is I have less time than every before to be worrying about what I’m wearing.

I’ve been inspired by my friend Caroline‘s capsule wardrobe for a long time but it just never seemed like I could really do it for myself. I have too many different spheres of activity – from running my own business, blogging, events, playdates, client meetings, working from home, getting dirty with my toddler in between, it just seemed like I couldn’t find a way to make it all work together with 37 pieces.

But my best friend Anna was in town recently and she has been doing a capsule wardrobe for a few seasons and she’s always going on and on about how great it is. And if you’re like me, you’re thinking, that’s cool that it works for YOU. It won’t work for ME. When she was in town all we set out to do was get the amount of clothes in my closet under control. As a stylist as well, I’m always buying things for photo shoots and sometimes keeping them, or buying things because I like the idea of them but then not actually wearing them ever. Anna is a ruthless cutthroat when it comes to wardrobe choices. She’s all about practicality but also appreciates fashion. Basically, she’s the friend you need when you’re out shopping for clothes, or for going through your wardrobe.

Once we started really getting rid of stuff, I started to think maybe this capsule wardrobe thing wouldn’t be such a bad idea. And the more I started to work with the parameters of building one, I found it so helpful for getting my closet, and my life, in order. As an artist who has a hard time with creating my own disciplines, I needed the structure that the capsule wardrobe system brings in order to get things under control. But the funny thing about structure is that it actually breeds creativity for me. I like rules and guidelines. I love assignments. It helps tame the madness in my mind, and then somehow I can create.

But with everything, I do believe in making it work for me. I’m not that into rules just for the sake of rules. So I ended up at something like 42 pieces, not including shoes. I did get rid of a ton of shoes! And 42, while a lot, seems to work for me. I’ll be excited to report back at the end of this season (I’m doing it for 3 months!) and let you know what I’ve learned.

Later this week I’ll be sharing what’s actually IN my fall capsule and throughout the season I’ll roll out a bunch of outfits I’m mixing and matching along the way.

Thanks for following along on the journey! I’m excited to see how much simplifying this process of getting dressed can give back towards the rest of my life.



3 comments on “the great fall capsule experiment”

  1. I love this! I have been on the fence about whether or not to continue using capsule wardrobes (I have for the last year), but you bring home a great point, it really does save a lot of time having only the “good stuff” in my closet. With three littles to dress, I have no time to waste. I think I’ll loosen up a bit from my 40ish count, but try and get to a good place. How did you know when you had just enough but not too many items chosen?

    1. actually what helped me was putting together actual outfits and seeing the outfits laid out together! it helped me realize when I had too many of one kind of top or pant, etc.

  2. I feel you! I have 44 pieces including shoes and my jackets. And since fall in NYC is fickle, I plan on doing some swapping (2 pairs of boots for 3 pairs of sandals, maybe jackets and maybe pants) when the weather gets permanently cold. It was SO hard to choose but j was so bored and blah about my clothes by the end of summer I figured I would mix things up and challenge myself. So far I’ve made tons of outfits I wouldn’t have before (ok not tons but…definitely a few!). And I have myself permission to play and have fun with this rather than be a hard-ass. So if it gets super cold before true winter hits, I’ll adjust accordingly and not feel bad about it. And in the meantime I’ll keep enjoying weather that goes from 55 and brisk to 81 and humid. The struggles of New England weather! ?

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