Fashion in a Capsule

The road to happiness is littered with old clothing.

The other day, I was nearly out the door to work when I stopped myself. Thanks to that LA winter heatwave (hello, 91 degrees), I was dressed in a sundress I’d bought in college from a Goodwill in Boston. Cute, but in the back of my mind it was stressing me out majorly. Is this too short for work? Does the top look a little faded? How well does this actually pair with this sweater?

I knew that if I went to work in that dress, I wouldn’t be able to focus on anything important. Rather than brainstorming projects for my interns or making strides on my paperwork, my headspace would be consumed with second thoughts about my choice of workwear. Plus, what does an old, slightly short sundress say about me to new freelancers coming by the office? Nothing good.

I have decided that it is time to give my wardrobe a complete makeover, a little bit at a time. It’s time to graduate to a slightly better level of dressing, one that 1) flatters me, 2) is comfortable, and 3) projects a positive image to others.

Since I’m a complete beginner when it comes to anything fashionable, I turned yet again to Pinterest to help me get started. That’s where I discovered a piece about capsule wardrobes by Caroline Rector on the site The Everygirl.

Capsule wardrobes are defined as “a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion…which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces” (source). Basically, it’s a miniature wardrobe (usually for a season) that is specifically designed to go together, taking the thinking out of getting dressed in the morning.

Caroline’s version of the capsule wardrobe consists of 37 pieces total – but there are many, many versions that exist. I decided that I liked Caroline’s method enough to follow along, and this past weekend I started my journey with a tour of my current collection of clothing.

First stop? Goodwill.

Caroline’s method says the first thing you should do is go through the clothing you have. You must literally take everything out of your closet and drawers; I dumped everything on my bed.

Next, you sort your clothes into four groups: love it and would wear it right now, maybe, no, and seasonal (as in, it’s winter now but you’ll definitely wear that maxi dress come summer).

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Goodbye forever!

I can be pretty decisive sometimes, so I skipped the maybe pile completely and went with what my gut was telling me. Things that I had hesitations on went straight into a garbage bag headed for donation.

For anyone not as impulsive as I am, Caroline recommends putting your no’s and maybe’s into storage for the time being. That way, if you miss anything, you have a chance to reclaim it.

My first thought after the cleanout was wow, I have so many hangers now. The entire process was cathartic and invigorating, and suddenly my room was filled only with clothes that I love to wear.

The next step for me is taking a hiatus from buying any new clothing for the next three months or so. This will allow me to learn more about my styling preferences and give me time to plan the additions I’ll need to complete my capsule.

Interested in planning your own? Check out Un-Fancy’s free wardrobe planner workbook.

Happy capsuling!

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