Creating a "Capsule Inspired" Wardrobe {My Partial Minimalism Journey}

Last week, I wrote this post, in which I discussed my thoughts on the minimalism movement and how it has inspired me to make some changes in my life.

Today, I bring you the first installment of what I have chosen to call my "partial minimalism" journey. I will be applying minimalist concepts to several areas of my life, in order to organize, downsize, and streamline. My hope is that these changes will allow me to further my ability to live with intention, and alter my view of material items and their purposes.

I'm starting with the part of my life that has received the most thought in terms of this endeavor...my wardrobe. If you are familiar with minimalism, I'm sure you are also familiar with capsule wardrobes. (If you're not, you can read about them in detail here.) But, to be short, a capsule wardrobe is limited to around 40 TOTAL clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create numerous different looks and outfits. Essentially, a capsule wardrobe is using what you need to create the wardrobe that you want.

Now, the first thing I should say here is, I did not go full capsule wardrobe when cleaning out my closet. Hence why, this post contains the phrase "capsule inspired." Basically, I used the concept to downsize in a manner that better works for me. Still not sure what I mean? Let's jump into the steps I took.

1. The first thing I felt was very important to do was put a "description" to my style. I'm not what I would consider a fashionable person, but I do really enjoy certain looks. After a bit of thinking, I decided that the best way to describe my clothing choices is "simple, with a dash of boho."

2. After I had my description, I analyzed my closet to see if there were any versatile pieces I was missing. I decided the main thing I could use was a couple of nicer blouses, and some colored jeans. I then searched for good deals and accumulated those things over the time period of a month or so.

3. Once I had the things I felt I was lacking, I stood in front of my closet and began the purging process. I made sure to pay attention to each item, asking myself when the last time I had worn it was, if it was in good enough shape to keep, etc. I also took this opportunity to count how many actual pieces of clothing I owned, and it was somewhere around 110 items. I know that probably isn't a lot compared to some people's wardrobes, but I felt like it was much more .

4. While purging, I threw away a few items that had holes in them, such as a pair of jeans and a shirt that Bell decided to use as a chew toy when we first got her. I then started a bag of stuff to donate/sell. This bag included every item that I knew wasn't essential to my wardrobe. I didn't allow myself to use the excuse of, "Well, I haven't worn it in a couple of months...but I may one day!" That was always my biggest excuse in the past. At the end of my purge, I organized all of the stuff I was keeping and did another inventory of items. I ended with about 75 pieces of clothing, which means I weeded out 35 pieces!

Above is a photo of my finished closet. (I know, the fact that the hangers don't match is probably going to drive some people crazy...but I'm working with what I have! Ha ha.) 75 items is still about twice what a normal capsule wardrobe would be, but this is what I feel is going to work for me. If I have 75ish items of clothing that I am wearing frequently and making good use of, I think that's perfectly okay.

Here is a breakdown of what my completed wardrobe consists of:

*3 skirts (2 solid, and one pattern)
*4 pairs of shorts (2 colored, one black, one denim)
*4 pairs of jeans (2 colored, one black, one denim)
*10 dresses (9 work appropriate/everyday, and one for the rare "dressy" event)
*15 blouses
*14 solid/logo tshirts
*3 cardigans (One tan, one gray, one maroon)
*2 light sweaters
*1 kimono
*1 crew neck sweatshirt
*1 rain jacket
*1 light jacket
*1 pair of yoga pants
*5 pairs of workout/pajama shorts
*10 workout/pajama shirts

Everyone has different needs, and I think that's a really important thing to keep in mind. For example, my wardrobe is pretty darn casual...because that is my personal style, and I also work in a fairly casual office environment. Some people may have to make room for more business appropriate clothing, etc. It all depends on your lifestyle!

 I have also made myself a rule...My wardrobe is not allowed to exceed 80 items, and if it does I have to purge one old item for every new item I purchase. I think this "rule" will help keep me motivated to stick with the less-is-more idea when it comes to clothing. Maybe something similar would be helpful to you!

You'll probably notice that I didn't include shoes in this, but that's because I personally don't find myself with an overabundance of shoes. I have one pair of Keds, one pair of heels, two pairs of flats, two pairs of Oxfords, and three pairs of sandals. Those 10 sets of shoes give me all of the options I need!

Phew...I think I have about covered everything that I wanted to. I'm so happy with my closet right now! Purging and simplifying really are such freeing processes.

How do you manage your wardrobe? Are you trying to simplify, or is that an area of your life that you give yourself free reign in? Maybe you follow a true capsule wardrobe? Please tell me all about it!
Linda @ A La Carte said...

I am really good at letting go of clothes that I don't wear. I have a winter wardrobe and summer one. If I didn't wear something the previous season then I usually get rid of it. Works for me. I did the capsule wardrobe when I went to Paris and it was pretty awesome.

Kristen from Pugs & Pearls said...

Great job! My closet is definitely something I could always work on. I like the idea of having a limit on the number of items. You could only have a certain number of hangers to help with that. The capsule wardrobe is great if you can do it. My needs are so different because we dress up every week in our Sunday best, and have to have a variety of work clothes. I work in an office and clean houses-two very different outfits. But, ideally I'd be causal every day! I'm so impressed with your tidy closet!

Vicky Hunt said...

Way to go! The closet looks great and I'm impressed with the number of items you own/kept. I am dying to clean my closet out and get rid of stuff but I keep telling myself to wait until we start working on our bedroom renovation. I need to lose another size so I can get rid of nearly everything and start over...lol! Love, Mama

Torrie said...

It is surprisingly liberating to pare down your closet to just the essentials...I also did a version of a capsule wardrobe (except mine had about 50 pieces), and I just rotate a few pieces in and out as the seasons change, but that's it. Although I sometimes get a little bored with things, I've overall found that it's significantly simplified my life and is something I'll probably continue doing for the foreseeable future.

Kerry Crystal said...

Great post. This is very motivating. I have wanted to try a capsule wardrobe for a long time. I think I'll give it a go soon! Have a good weekend! - crystal

StephTheBookworm said...

Nice job! I did a big wardrobe overhaul in the fall. I got rid of SO MUCH junk... stuff that I had had for years, didn't fit anymore, wasn't flattering, etc. I was down to BARE BONES then had to buy new stuff. I definitely bought too much and will have to overhaul again soon. Your closet looks great and is inspiring!

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