living a well tended life... at any age

would you try a “capsule wardrobe”?

In my wanderings around the web lately, the term “capsule wardrobe” seemed to be popping up everywhere. And then one of my fave bloggers Natalie posted about it in greater detail (and seriously – just as I was about to publish this post, THIS appeared on none other than the hallowed pages of Apartment Therapy!).

Well Natalie’s post led me to Caroline’s blog – Unfancy – and I found myself reading HER entire lovely blog. I became fixated on the concept of a capsule wardrobe, and decided to give it a try!

So what – exactly – is a capsule wardrobe?

capsule wardrobe

You start with a fixed number of items (the magic number seems to be 37): tops (15), bottoms (9), shoes (9), dresses (2) and jackets (2). And this comprises your wardrobe for the upcoming season. You can swap in and out as many accessories (jewelry, bags, scarves) as you like, and things like underwear, workout clothes and pajamas aren’t part of the count.

You can read these posts by Caroline to learn more (I swear you will wind up spending forever over there if you do, so just DON’T say I didn’t warn you). But the goal is simply this – by working with less clothes, you actually give yourself more options. In addition, you’ll (hopefully) start making more mindful purchases, and (theoretically) spend less time and mental energy figuring out what you’re going to wear.

AM15 capsule wardrobe

Are you in?

The first thing I did was a MAJOR purge. Caroline suggests taking every item you own off the rack/out of the drawer and tossing it on the floor/bed/whatever.

Done.

I spent one solid evening going through each piece, and making a few piles: 1) put back, 2) donate, 3) put up on Poshmark and 4) “undecided”.

Many (many) bags later, my closet already looked significantly more sparse. And I was feeling fantastic. I was looking only at clothing that I really loved – and REALLY wore. I hadn’t even created my capsule yet and I could already see the benefits.

Next, I had to decide on a time frame for my first capsule. Caroline follows the calendar year, divided into four three-month “seasons”. But she lives in Texas, where they don’t have the extreme winters we have here in New York. And………….I wasn’t quite ready to dive in to a three-month commitment.

Yet.

Two months, to start, felt right – and April/May would be consistent enough weather-wise to not leave me hanging with nothing to wear.

I got a bit of a late start with the holidays and all, but without further ado – my “A/M15” capsule wardrobe (new purchases in bold)!

AM15 capsule wardrobe tops

oversized white shirt/oversized chambray shirt/denim shirt/printed blouse
navy-white striped tee/black-gray long tee/white slouchy tee/gray long sleeve tee
black-white striped sweater/gray sweater/navy-white striped shirt/gray-white striped slouchy top
fitted white shirt/gray v-neck tee/white v-neck tee

AM15 capsule wardrobe bottoms

flared khakis/light wash legging jeans/pixie pants
flared jeans/dark wash legging jeans/jean skirt
white skinny jeans/cropped sweats/medium wash matchstick jeans

AM15 capsule wardrobe shoes

black closed-toe clog/cognac open-toe clog/flat black sandal
navy sneakers/gray sneakers/black suede skimmers
tan suede ankle boots/brown oxfords/black suede Birkenstocks

AM15 capsule wardrobe dresses

shirt dress/maxi dress

AM15 capsule wardrobe jackets

leather jacket/belted trench coat

I’ll post outfits every few weeks and let you know how things are going. But what I’d really love is for you to play along! Would you consider trying a capsule wardrobe? Do you think it would be too limiting, or do you like the challenge of working with less?

12 Comments

  1. Karen on April 14, 2015 at 8:46 am

    I would love to do this! I call my style “Chappaqua Amish,” because I basically wear the same thing, with slight variations, every day. Still, I have tons of stuff in my closet that needs to go. Can I keep my favorite t-shirts? And my raggedy Nantucket sweatshirt from 1985?

    • sherisilver on April 14, 2015 at 9:55 am

      “Chappaqua Amish” – I LOVE this! 😉 Caroline made a point of saying that clothes with sentimental value rank high – so YES to the raggedy sweatshirt! Let me know if you do it!

  2. Kerri on April 14, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Sheri, great post and how fun! Spring seems like the perfect time for the purge and a new approach to dressing. On the heels of reading Forever Chic 🙂 it should be easy for me to know what to keep and lose. If not, guess who I’ll be calling up?

    • sherisilver on April 14, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      Thanks Kerri! I’ve no doubt that you will NAIL this.

  3. Nique on April 14, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    Soon brave to do this. Every time I’ve tried to start I stop. The idea of a single color palette for months scares me. Interested to see your variations.

    • sherisilver on April 14, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      You don’t have to keep to a single color – that’s just me! 😉

  4. Margaret Vira on April 15, 2015 at 11:21 am

    This strategy will change my life.
    Seriously!

    • sherisilver on April 15, 2015 at 11:23 am

      Would you be surprised to hear that I had you pegged when I was writing this???

      • Margaret Vira on April 16, 2015 at 5:18 pm

        does that mean I can hire you to identify my 37 pieces?! xoxo

  5. adrienne on April 15, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    love your choices. still working on mine. also still trying out stitch fix, which is probably in total conflict with this idea….can’t wait to see outfit posts.

    • sherisilver on April 15, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      Been so curious about stitch fix – do you like it??

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