Have You Heard About Capsule Wardrobes?

by Alison Gerber

capsule cut

“Ever buy some fun new clothes, but end up wearing your old favorites anyway? Me too. Ever go to your closet and feel like you have nothing to wear, even when your closet is filled with clothes? Me too!”

And thus begins the call to the “capsule wardrobe” experiment by Caroline @ Unfancy in 2014. The idea? To make a wardrobe of only 37 mix-and-match items, each of which you totally love to wear.

The process is as follows (taken from here):
1. Pare down the items in your wardrobe to just 37.
2. Wear only these items for 3 months (a season).
3. Don’t go shopping for clothes at all during that season until…
4. Plan and shop for your next “capsule” in the last two weeks of the season.
5. The amount you buy for the next capsule is up to you.

Included in the 37 items are: tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, and shoes. Separate from the 37 items: workout clothes, accessories and bags, pjs, underwear, painting clothes.

The number itself is kind of arbitrary. Caroline claims it was chosen for being both “minimal and generous” at the same time. Really, that was the breakdown that worked best for her:
9 pairs of shoes
9 bottoms
15 tops
2 dresses
2 jackets.
There’s no way that breakdown could work for me. I would do way less shoes for starters, and way more dresses. I suppose this is a tricky early step: working out how to best breakdown the numbers without inflating the wardrobe too much.

Her process for choosing what items to carry into the first season includes taking everything out of the wardrobe, putting must-wear-I-love-you-so-much items back in, and then trying to build a wardrobe for the season around that. You can read more about her process here.

Anyway, does this sound like an interesting/useful project to you? It does to me. My wardrobe is out of control. I have tubs upon tubs of clothes, and clothes on the floor, and who knows how many clothes that rarely if ever get worn. I need some way of wrangling it all.

Except: here are my worries about this particular assignment. Everyone who is really into capsule wardrobes right now are super minimalists in the way they dress: almost no patterns, no color: zzzzzzz. I couldn’t live. Is it possible to make a versatile wardrobe for a crazy pattern and color loving girl such as myself? Second, this woman’s budget for clothes is about 5 times what mine is. Before the season I can hardly go spend $550 on my dream wardrobe for the next 3 months. I would still have to store things that are not seasonal for the following year, and some things I think I hold onto purely because I’m afraid I’ll need it later and not have the money. Can this be done on a budget?

What do you think? Do you think this is a workable system for you? For me? I’d love to hear your thoughts.