living with a capsule wardrobe

Last summer I decided it was time to overhaul my closet. I’ve never been what anyone would call fashionable, but I decided it was time for me to start wearing clothes I felt good about and confident in. Since then, I have fallen in love with the simplicity of a capsule wardrobe and can’t imagine myself ever going back to the way things were! I discovered my style, and can’t believe I actually feel happy with what I’m wearing almost every day. I’ve had a couple friends ask me how the capsule wardrobe thing is going so I thought I’d write a bit about the process to encourage you to give it a try if you’re considering it.

What’s Included

I have whittled my clothing collection down to about 40 items including shirts, pants, skirts, and dresses. Not included in that number are a handful of scarves, two belts, a few coats and jackets, about 7-8 pairs of shoes, and a recently minimized jewelry selection. I know some capsule-wardrobers like to have everything fit into a specified number of items, but for now, I like not being too strict about it. My goal is to end up with a summer wardrobe and winter wardrobe  that I switch out (though they might overlap, especially during spring and fall).

Starting Fresh

The most helpful attitude I’ve learned in putting this minimal wardrobe together is to choose items intentionally, not by process of elimination. So basically to come at the process with an attitude of starting completely over. If I look for items to get rid of, I feel all sorts of inner conflict. But if I look for what to keep, I get excited about only wearing the stuff I truly love and already wear frequently.

Say you could only choose 35 items to take with you on a six-month stay in Europe. What items would you bring? I would choose only the pieces I love, that are good quality, and that all go together. This approach really helps you choose wisely, without the emotional stress that comes from getting rid of things you might like, but that don’t serve you best right now.

Color Scheme

All my clothes follow a general color scheme of black, gray, white, and blush pink. I did this so everything would coordinate with everything else and it is just the best. There is so much less thinking required this way. It also makes it SUPER easy to pack for trips, as I recently discovered over the holidays.

Intentional Shopping

I have discovered that shopping becomes way more effective (and way less stressful) when I go having already decided what I need. As I went through my closet and searched Pinterest for inspiration the first time, I ended up with a list of a few basic things that would round out what I had. On that list were things like a black maxi skirt, a black pencil skirt, a chambray shirt, a nice white button-up shirt, a casual but still nice-looking tee, and black skinny jeans. Crazily enough, when I went shopping I FOUND EVERY ONE OF THESE THINGS just waiting for me. And believe it or not, most of them were on sale since I happened to be there at the end of a season. It didn’t require a whole lot of time browsing and trying stuff on or trying to decide if I really wanted to buy an item. Best of all: I never once felt guilty about actually buying those items, because I knew I needed them. SO GREAT.

Mini Capsules

I’ve also kind of created mini capsule wardrobes for pajamas, lounge-around-the-house clothes, and workout clothes. Here’s how they look:

– Pajamas:

  • two pairs of matching pajama sets

– Workout Clothes:

  • two pairs of mix-and-match yoga tank tops and yoga pants
  • a less stylish/more comfortable tank top & pair of loose capris
  • two pairs of running shoes
  • the cutest workout jacket ever

– Lounge/Home Clothes (my theory behind this category is that these are clothes I’m comfortable in at home, but wouldn’t be embarrassed to be wearing when the mailman knocks on the door or when I make a run to the store):

  • two fitted t-shirts
  • one fitted long-sleeve shirt
  • two light sweatshirts
  • two hoodie sweatshirts
  • two pairs of leggings

Writing about a subject like my wardrobe feels like a superficial thing, but I can’t tell you how much happiness and confidence I’ve gained from only wearing clothes I love and feel good in.  To open up my closet and get excited about what’s in there is completely new and so much fun. I’m still refining the process and learning more with every purchase, but this has been the best thing that ever happened to my closet!

BrookeMarch 12, 2015 - 2:21 pm

hi Kristin! I’m not sure if you remember me, but I’m andy’s sister-in-law. I stumbled onto Jolene Taylor’s insta account and somehow landed here (I thought this was your photography blog). I hope you don’t mind me commenting just to say hello. I also wanted to say that I’ve been so touched by the words I’ve read so far. All I could think as I was reading was, she’s such a good person and has learned so much and has been so kind to share and uplift others.! I couldn’t leave your blog without saying that. :) have a good day

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