Welcome to part two of my journey into a capsule wardrobe! I began this whole process about a year ago, and if you want to get caught up, you can click here for part one.
Starting a capsule wardrobe can be intimidating and scary unless you have a plan. I am ALL about plans. And lists. And budgets. So when I began contemplating the capsule wardrobe idea, I followed these basic steps.
Side note: A lot of this I learned directly from Un-Fancy (Check her out - she does a fantastic job of explaining everything!) and other Pinterest people, and some of it I made up on my own. Proceed with caution: I am long winded. :)
Step 1. Pick a time frame
If you're going to begin an experiment, I think it's important to set a reasonable expectation on how long you want to try it out! When it comes to your wardrobe and your style, the last thing you want to do is begin a process that takes forever while you hate every second of it. So if you're going to try a capsule wardrobe, stick with it for a month, a season, or a year and then reevaluate.
I decided to try a capsule for a whole year because I was pretty well convinced that this would work perfectly for me - and because a good friend of mine who had fabulous style had already tried it a little bit and loved it (thanks for being my guinea pig, Jess!). However, in the back of my head, I knew that if I didn't still love it after a few months, I had no problems stopping. With no guilt!
And that, my friends, is very important.
Step 2. Make your own rules
Here is where you decide how many pieces (or a range!) you want to stick with, and what kind of pieces count. You get to customize your plan for your lifestyle. Do you want to overhaul your entire closet? Go for it! Do you want to experiment with your every day clothes and leave your workout clothes out of the picture? Own it!
For me, I decided to try to stick under 40 pieces of clothing (picking one arbitrary number didn't seem flexible enough for me). Then I decided it was realistic for me to count only my tops, bottoms, completer pieces (cardigans, jackets, etc) and shoes. I left out all underwear (for obvious reasons), workout clothes, lounge-wear, painting/work clothes and shoes, and dressy items because they are used so infrequently. This gave me a framework to begin with and seemed a whole lot more attainable!
Step 3. Go through your closet
This is where the magic happens! First of all, take everything out of our closet. EVERYTHING. Lay it on your bed (make your bed first!) and start by picking up each piece one by one. If you absolutely love it and the way you look in it and would wear it every day then put it back in your closet. If you like it, but don't love it, then set it aside in pile #1. If it doesn't fit you, flatter you, or feel good - get rid of it in pile #2. Once you're done, get rid of pile #2, but keep everything in pile #1 - just hide it out of sight. If, by chance, you find that you miss anything out of pile #1, then you can still go get it! But I think you'll find that once it's out of sight and out of mind.... you won't miss it one bit.
When I went through everything in my closet, I had a pretty large pile #1 and a fairly small pile #2. Pile #2 immediately went to my nearest clothes donation drop off, and pile #1 went into a large trash bag that I saved in the corner of my closet. Get this: I saved pile #1 for almost a year. It was only recently that I finally got rid of it! But do you know how many times I went back into that pile for clothes I missed? Zero. I missed nothing! But I'll be honest... it was still comforting to know that all my clothes were right there in case of a clothes emergency (is that a real thing?).
Side note: I chose to separate my summer clothes from my winter clothes during this step. All of my off season clothes (that I loved and didn't make it to any of the piles) went into our other closet until it was the right season to wear them again. That means your closet is only full of the things you can wear today!
Step 4. Make a budget and shopping list
By now you have a beautifully clean closet with all of your favorite pieces of clothing. It feels airy and light, and most beautiful of all - simple. I'm such a sucker for simplicity! Up until now you've been intentional about what you currently own, and this is where you get to be intentional about what you want to buy in the future! Revisit Step 1 (your time-frame) and Step 2 (how many pieces and what kind) and decide how often you want to shop, what you want to buy, and how much you want to spend.
For example: I allowed myself to go shopping for one week right after I went through my closet. Then I decided no more shopping - for three months! Every three months (when the season would change) I would allow myself to go shopping for about a week (visit a few different stores, try on different things, return things, etc) and then I wouldn't shop for the rest of that season. It's incredibly freeing, but also immensely strategic! Use those three months to make lists, research and pick out what you want next, and set up your budget. Remember to be intentional!
I currently still use a note on my phone to track how many pieces of clothing I have in each category, and which pieces I want to buy in the future. Keeping a list helps me see what I currently have and which pieces I want to purchase in the future.
And these were my previous capsules!
Step 5. Give yourself grace
This may seem like a long and complicated process - I promise it isn't. But if it's intimidating for you and it seems overwhelming and unnecessary, maybe capsule wardrobe isn't for you! That's is totally ok! Or maybe you go back up to Step 1 and 2 and make different rules! Remember to give yourself grace. The whole concept of a capsule wardrobe is to bring freedom and ease to your life so you can love what you wear and find confidence in your style. Experiment. Try new things. Find what you love and stick with it.
I hope this is helpful for you!! Next week I'm excited to share some final things I learned throughout my year long experiment - and boy, did I learn a lot! Can't wait!