Capsule Wardrobe Part 1: The What and Why

This post won't have any pictures...I'm saving those for the next part! Not because they're awesome, but because I still have to take most of them. You're welcome.

So, what is a capsule wardrobe? If you go the queen of all capsule wardrobe sites, Unfancy, she describes it as this: " a mini wardrobe of versatile pieces that I absolutely love." That's pretty simple, but I think that's the point. I would personally describe it as 'a versatile wardrobe of a limited number of pieces that mix and match well, are high quality, fit well, and that I feel good wearing.' My description is a bit longer, but hey, I'm new to this capsule thing and I'll have to minimize my description one day along with my closet I guess. But for now, let's break down the description, to better understand what it is and why I like doing it.

Versatile: While I have a few designated pieces, like a party dress or really nice heels, most everything can be dressed up or dressed down. I have silk shirts that look fancy with a skirt and heels, but are also great for a date night with jeans and flats. The more versatile, the less you need to function in different arenas of life. 

Limited Number: I've heard different numbers thrown around...37, 43, 50. Really, I don't have a specific number of items, as I'm still learning, but I'm trying to keep it between 40 and 50, roughly. Less, ideally. When I say "items" what does that mean? I include literally everything other than underwear, pajamas, workout wear, and the grubby clothes you keep for things like painting or yard work. I have 2 small dresser drawers that these items can fit into. Everyday wear, dressy casual, workwear, and yes, even shoes (gasp!) all fit into the capsule category. So, under 50 of everything combined, not just of shoes, or just workwear. 

Mix and Match Well: I used to buy things that I really liked, but would only go with maybe a certain pair of pants and I had an outfit...but just an outfit. Now, I try to buy things that will go well with lots of other things that I own. This means, for me, a lot of neutral basics, with some punches of color here and there. I really like more fun shoes...I have pink J. Crew New Balance tennis shoes, polka dotted TOMS, cream suede heels, peach colored patent flats. My main color palette for clothing includes black, gray, navy, white and in the fall/winter...flannel.

High Quality: This can be a hard one at first. I already leaned toward this anyway, but it was a bit of a jump for my husband when I came home this summer with a sleeveless chambray shirt that I paid $40 for (at TJ Maxx...it was actually a $100 shirt). We'd both been in the 'buy it as cheaply as possible while still looking nice' camp, and I still am, but only if it's good quality. So if I find a high-end brand at a thrift store, score! Which I totally have...both pairs of dress pants I have are brand new J Crew pants and I paid $3.75/each for them. However, if there's something I am specifically looking for, and know I will wear well, I will pay more for it. That's the beauty of the capsule; spend $40 on one shirt I wear all the time, vs. $10 on 4 shirts that I kind of wear, sometimes. And that shirt was worn all summer long, and into the fall and even now as we approach colder weather, thanks to things like cardigans. 

Fit Well: This was the hardest for me. I was pregnant last year and in the immediate postpartum body for the beginning of this year, so when I started actually wearing my clothes again, I noticed differences. It wasn't only that not all the baby weight wasn't gone (and honestly, that's OK!! If it comes off quickly in a natural way, great. But I'm not killing myself the first year to lose it...things like sleep and mental health are far higher priority in my book), but also, things...shift. Certain parts expand or shrink, may be wider or just carrying differently than before. So some clothes just fit differently. I'm learning more and more to ignore sizes and styles and see what actually fits and looks good on my body, not someone else's. (thank you, Stacy and Clinton!)

Feel Good Wearing: Also figuring this one out. I still have some pieces that I feel good in, yet when I look in the mirror, I'm not so sure. So I'm holding on to them to try in different ways/different outfits to see if they will actually stay or not. But this one is SO important, because when you feel confident, you act more confident. Especially staying home with the boys, for me, this is a good way to make myself not feel like that stereotypical stay-at-home mom that one pictures, living in her robe, hair in a bun, slippers on. (while that totally describes me at this moment, we'll ignore that fact, K? K.)

There you have it. My definition of a capsule wardrobe. I plan to post more about the why behind it, how to afford changing your wardrobe/buying new pieces, show some pictures of my personal wardrobe and what I've learned so far, plus little tips and links to some of my favorite places to shop. 

Now go Marie Kondo on your closet and get back with me!