Broke Life Fashion: Capsule Wardrobe

Growing up, I was very into dressing myself. There was one dress in particular – a white dress with a unicorn on it – that I often insisted upon wearing every day. I had very particular tastes when it came to socks, and did not believe in jeans until I was about 11, and didn’t believe in fitted jeans until I was about 17.

I learned a lot from being invested in my clothing. For instance, I learned that all of my favorite clothes to wear are kept on the floor below the hanging clothes in the closet. No matter how many times I think I put them away, that is where they end up. (This knowledge can also be applied to clearance racks.) I also learned that I tend to wear the same 15-18 pieces of clothing for several weeks at a time. Washing is optional, but I suggest it. A favorite pair of leggings or favorite graphic t-shirt frequently become part of the rotation… until its demise. (R.I.P., black v-neck.) 

Recently, I learned that there is an entire community developed around this idea.

The Capsule Wardrobe

Would You Wear: A Capsule Wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe by Breanna Rose.

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothes, accessories, and sometimes even cosmetics that you select at the beginning of a “cycle” (a month, a season, a year, etc.) and wear, exclusively, for that period of time. Exclusively.

As far as I can tell, this practice traces back to something called The Project 333. Created by Courtney Carver in 2010, The Project 333 has specific guidelines about your capsule wardrobe: 33 items, 3 months. So you’re picking 33 pieces to wear for an entire season. Wow! It sounded pretty extreme to me when I first read about it, but once I saw how people used their capsule wardrobes, it started to make sense. A lot of sense.

This method of outfit curation is favored largely by “minimalist fashion” followers. I subscribe to this label somewhat – I definitely wear the same things over and over… But what I really like about this challenge is the level of clothing quality required! When you only have a finite number of things to wear, you better make sure each ones passes the test of time.

Courtney Carver offers a $20 “micro-course” on developing a capsule wardrobe, but there are a few bloggers who operate out of capsule wardrobes and document their outfits! You know those “What I Wore For 30 Days” features that many magazines do? It’s like that, but in blog format. Talk about dreamy!

Capsule Wardrobe Resources

Although I’m a blog writer, I started as & will always be a blog reader. Fashion blogs are some of my favorite blogs to read, and nothing is more relatable and satisfying than seeing a blogger whose style I respect reusing the same articles of clothing. So often, especially in larger blogs, you see 3-6 new pieces of clothing in every. single. post. and it started to get kind of… unrealistic!

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Un-Fancy
This is (or was, rather – she hasn’t updated since April 2015) my favorite blog for capsule wardrobes! She posts outfits that directly connect to her capsule wardrobe, and includes keyword code-names so it’s easy to see which pieces are being used together. She’s got great minimalist (but exciting and only mildly trendy) style that I can relate to. An awesome blog!

Capsule Wardrobe Examples

Summer Capsule Wardrobe by Roots Wings & Wanderings

A summer capsule wardrobe by Roots, Wings & Wanderings.

A lot of bloggers have started the capsule wardrobe challenge, but didn’t get as in-depth as the ladies I mentioned above. Though they don’t document each outfit, they do have great examples of capsule wardrobes posted on their blogs! It’s a great way to get a visual blueprint for building one of your own.

Could You, Would You… Capsule Wardrobe?

I am very tempted to try out this method of dressing. It makes sense in a budget context, it makes sense in an ethical fashion context, and it makes sense in a space-maximizing context! There isn’t much here that I don’t love – outside of my control freak-ness, which makes me wary of making any of my clothes “off limits” for any given period of time. What if I wake up and REALLY NEED to wear my leather jacket in the middle of summer? Will my day be ruined? (No, but I won’t know until it’s over.)

This may be something I need to do just to get over my wardrobe control issues! Besides, three months isn’t forever… Even though I’d probably start at 2 weeks and work my way up.

Would you consider doing a capsule wardrobe? 

This post was originally published on Broke & Beautiful on August 28, 2014.

Lindsay Ginn

Livin' in your basement, eatin' your canned foods.

  • Great idea! I feel like I may get a little bored with my picks after a week…would be cool to make it work though!

    xx

    Hot Pink Day
    Libi & Lola

  • Shelley Johnson

    Love this way to set up a season full of outfits. Can be intimidating but this was really helpful, and of course fun to read as always!

  • You may enjoy the “Starting from Scratch” series on the Vivienne Files. It gives step by step instructions on how to plan a beautiful capsule wardrobe in your own color palette:
    http://www.theviviennefiles.com/search?q=starting+from+scratch

  • InOurMeantime

    Thanks for the great post!!! Wondering if you can share where the Summer Capsule Wardrobe is from, the “Roots” blog didn’t have it…in love wight the striped tee dress and would love to find it, thanks!!

  • Laura C

    I’m coming to the end of my first cycle of a capsule wardrobe, and have absolutely loved it! It’s amazing the things you think you will wear and do not touch once… Grey jeans which I thought I’d love have not been worn a single time! Already planning my summer capsule 🙂

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