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My First Capsule Wardrobe

Whoorl Winter Capsule 2015

Happy New Year! My resolution for 2015 is to continue to simplify, simplify, simplify.

Speaking of simplifying, the capsule wardrobe train is pulling out of the station, and I’m officially on it. I’m excited, especially now that the hard part of editing my closet is over, and I’m here to explain this phenomenon in hopes that it might inspire you to simplify your closet too. Last year, I kept on noticing the term “capsule wardrobe” floating around, and all I could think was, “why are people willingly burying their clothes?” (Right? Am I the only one who drew that conclusion?) I never really probed any further because this chick was not interested in digging a hole in her backyard.

Turns out, a capsule wardrobe has nothing to do with shallow holes behind your residence. Nope, but it IS about seriously editing your wearable wardrobe. The entire concept is perfectly explained by Anushchka at Into Mind. Let me just say, if you are interested in living a simpler, more deliberate life, Anushcka is your girl. First off, her website just epitomizes simplicity and style. Secondly, checklists and templates and workbooks, people. A WOMAN AFTER MY OWN HEART.  Start with reading her post, A Beginner’s Guide to Minimalism, and then you can dive into her posts on wardrobe.

Why did I decide to build a capsule wardrobe? Well, it’s pretty simple. After cleaning up my makeup and skincare routine, and getting rid of tons and tons of bottles and creams and potions and blushes and crap that I never used, that aspect of my life became so much easier and less stressful. Instead of staring into a drawer full of god-knows-what (as well as frequently buying more stuff to cram in the drawer) in an attempt to satiate myself, that time was now being allocated for more delightful pursuits. (Like sitting in a warm, comfy chair by my south-facing window and reading a good book. Not a tough choice to make.) I now only possess what I use on a daily/weekly basis, and that feels really good, if you are wondering. Really good.

Here’s the thing. Somewhere along the way, we’ve been programmed to think that the more options we have available to us, the happier we will be. Trust me, I struggle with it on an almost daily basis, and I’m watching my children begin to exhibit the same behaviors. (Scary.) The joy of playing, wearing, and experiencing things is being replaced with the adrenaline rush of acquiring things. (And let’s not even get started on the whole objects and things vs. moments and experiences issue.) For me, I love the hunt. The perfect bag. The best juice cleanse. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve felt that little adrenaline rush when clicking “buy now” after doing all the research necessary, and then waiting for the item to arrive. But when the package finally arrives? And I open it? It has already, almost instantaneously, lost all its magic. It’s just another thing that will take up space in my home.

The more options we have available to us, the happier we will be. You all, I declare that false. False, false, false. The more options we have available to us, the more needless anxiety we create for ourselves. The more options we have available to us, the more limits we put on our ability to create and be imaginative. And your closet is just a teeny tiny part of the big picture, but we all need to start somewhere. Possessions are a great first step.

So! For me, this is a natural progression. It started with my diet, then my self-care habits, then my makeup drawer, followed with my closet, and who knows what will be next. I might be living in a teepee in the near future.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

WINTER CAPSULE WARDROBE RULES:

1. For the next three months, you will only wear 37 items (including shoes) in your closet. The number doesn’t have to be 37, but keep it in the 30ish range. If you research capsule wardrobes, you’ll see that peoples’ rules differ (some don’t include shoes, for instance), so it is really up to you, and it doesn’t have to exactly mimic another person’s capsule. You are already making a big leap, so pat yourself on the back. But on the same note, don’t include 60 items in your capsule. I mean, come on. Many of you will notice, despite having tons of clothing, that you actually only wear 20-30 items anyway.

2. The rest of your clothes and shoes can either be donated, sold, or packed away for the next capsule. The crucial part is that they are not easily accessible to you, so you won’t be tempted. If you aren’t feeling confident about permanently getting rid of your clothes, just pack them away and put them in the attic/basement/back of your closet. Also, you obviously don’t want to get rid of something that you might wear in another season. I have many summer clothes packed away for now.

3. Items that are not included in the 37 are accessories, pajamas, workout clothes, and undergarments. Also, vacations and special occasions should be times when you can divert a bit.

4. When preparing for your capsule, feel free to buy a few items that will help complete the overall look you are trying achieve for the season. I assure you, a capsule wardrobe is not an exercise in never shopping again – I will always love to shop – it’s helping you to identify the items that truly make you feel good about yourself and sticking with those and those only. However, once the capsule time period begins, you are not to buy any clothing items for the remainder of that season.

5. There are 4 capsules per year – for the four seasons. As you approach the next capsule (let’s say the last few weeks of your current capsule), you can prepare and purchase any items to help complete the next season, but ideally, you will be carrying over many items from the previous capsule and/or pulling items out of storage.

6. There are probably more rules, but let’s just do this thing.

Here are some great capsule wardrobes for inspiration.

Elise at Enjoy It

Dawn Michelle at Minimalist Beauty

Amy at Mom Advice

Caroline at Unfancy

Courtney at Project 333

Caitlin at Greater Than Rubies

For winter, I purchased 8 new items to complete my capsule. (They are denoted with an asterisk below.) Since moving from mild Southern California temps to a state with an actual winter, I was in need of some warmer clothing, so I tried to go for timeless items that could last for seasons to come. Luckily, most were purchased at great sale prices/promotions since it was right before the holidays.

Most importantly, the capsule concept can work for any budget. You don’t need to purchase any new items if you don’t feel the need. Now that I’m in my forties, I’m definitely leaning towards quality over quantity – some items in my capsule are fairly expensive (jackets, shoes, and denim), but they are pieces that I’ve acquired over the past few years and expect to keep for years to come.

Without further ado, my winter capsule.

whoorl winter capsule 2015

Ivory Silk Tank ::: White Button Up ::: White Sweatshirt ::: Ivory Cable Knit Sweater (Similar)

whoorl winter capsule 2015

Grey Sweater Coat* ::: Faded Chambray Shirt ::: Chambray Tunic (Similar) ::: Boxy Grey Sweater

whoorl winter capsule 2015

Black and White Plaid Shirt ::: Yellow Wool Sweater (Similar) ::: Red Silk Blouse (Similar)* ::: Buffalo Plaid Shirt

rowfour

Grey Merino Wool Poncho* ::: Black Silk Blouse* ::: Heathered Black Roll-Up Tee ::: Charcoal Turtleneck Sweater

whoorl winter capsule 2015

Black Blazer (Similar) ::: Faux Fur Jacket (Similar) ::: Blackwatch Plaid Dress (Similar) ::: Black Ponte Legging

whoorl winter capsule 2015

Distressed Skinny Jean ::: Distressed Boyfriend Jean ::: Black Ponte Skinny Jean ::: Dark Denim Jean*

whoorl winter capsule 2015

Grey Leather Jacket ::: Striped Wool Coat (Similar) ::: Black Parka* ::: Navy/Black Car Coat (Similar)

whoorl winter capsule 2015

Black Leather Heeled Booties* ::: Charcoal Leather Booties ::: Black Leather Booties* ::: Camel Leather Booties

whoorl winter capsule 2015

Cognac Knee-High Boots (Similar) ::: Silver Oxfords (Similar) ::: Black High Tops ::: Cognac Oxfords (Similar) ::: Black Knee-High Boots (Similar)

There you have it – now it’s time for your thoughts. How would you like to see my capsule wardrobe covered in terms of this blog? Are you mainly interested in seeing the initial capsule, like in this post or would you to like to see outfit combinations created from the capsule throughout the time period? I’m definitely looking forward to your feedback – if you want to see outfits during the capsule period, I’m up for that, but I don’t think anyone wants this website to solely become a capsule wardrobe blog. What would you all like to see? I’m trying to figure it out, and you all always have great suggestions.

Also, are you in or what?! #capsuleforevah

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46 Comments
  • Missy

    January 5, 2015 at 9:02 am

    I have to say, I love the intentionality of capsule wardrobes. I bet you had to actually sit down and plan which items you were keeping and which items you wanted to purchase, right? (as opposed to just shopping and buying random pieces that you like – which is how I operate at the moment).

    Now that you’ve shown us your entire wardrobe, I’d love to see the different outfits that you can put together with the individual pieces.

    • whoorl

      January 5, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Oh yes, the planning is a HUGE part of it. I could write 10,000 words on the process. You learn a lot about yourself in the process!

      • Amanda

        January 5, 2015 at 11:10 pm

        I would love if you wrote an in-depth post about the planning process. I’m interested in doing a capsule wardrobe, but I have no idea where to start!

        And I’d love to see outfit photos!

  • CC

    January 5, 2015 at 9:10 am

    I’m curious to see if you might get bored with your wardrobe after a bit, or if you find that by mixing and matching, you feel your wardrobe is complete and diverse. Or maybe you’ll even discover that, after a few weeks, it just doesn’t matter if your wardrobe is uniform and you find the simplicity in your “uniform” is wonderful.

    I really love this idea! Please keep us posted on outfits and outcomes!

  • Megan

    January 5, 2015 at 9:11 am

    A heavily restricted budget affords me the luxury to not have clothes options. Phew! Being broke wins again!

  • Sarah

    January 5, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Please post photos of the outfits you create with this capsule! I love this idea but would love to see it in action.

  • whoorl

    January 5, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Maybe I can post a roundup bi-weekly, or add it into my Friday Odds and Ends post? I don’t want to overwhelm, but creating the outfits is a huge part, I think. I like to see ideas in action. :)

    • KateB

      January 5, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      I was going to suggest a bi-weekly post. Just enough to see how you mix and match but not too much. I like the idea of having a couple of weeks (instead of only one week) so you can see some of the same things in different ways.

  • Andrea

    January 5, 2015 at 10:33 am

    i would like you to share your struggles with the capsule wardrobe as well as the positives. I started the process on this but did not have the stamina to finish it out. :)

  • Jen

    January 5, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I would love to see outfit combinations from the collection as well!

  • Luisa

    January 5, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Outfits, please please please! I feel like that’s key to a great minimalist wardrobe, knowing how to combine what you have. Plus I miss your old Flickr outfit pics! Hashtag ancient reader ;)

  • Stephanie

    January 5, 2015 at 10:58 am

    This is exactly where my head and energy has been due mainly to Un-Fancy! I love that you posted some other blogs that are doing this! I 100% agree- the more options the more stress / anxiety. I really enjoyed this post!

  • Holly

    January 5, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Hmm this makes me want to go home and count my clothes. I work in the office seasonally in the winter, work at home, and do the stay at home mom thing. So I restrict clothes by making sure that tops either work with my jeans at home or can be layered in with professional attire. I also do the one thing in, one thing must go out. I think I may be doing this capsule thing already!

  • Denita

    January 5, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I would love to see either a weekly or monthly outfit round-up and then a re-cap at the end of what worked really well for you and what changes you will be incorporating for the next. I would love to read about updates about how it is mentally changing you, like how hard is it to not “shop” or resist the sales, etc etc.

    This intrigues me, my closet needs a major clean-out, so this is something I will be thinking about.

  • Ellie

    January 5, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Please do post outfit photos! I love this idea and am seriously toying with it and would love to see it in action. Also, I looooove that moto jacket!

  • Katie M

    January 5, 2015 at 11:36 am

    I’d love to see how you vary your outfits using the same pieces over and over. I always fall into ruts wearing the same pieces in the exact same way.

  • Nyree

    January 5, 2015 at 11:52 am

    I would love to see outfits as well. I buy tons of pieces of clothing but have the most difficult time putting those outfits together, and would love to see how you pair everything.

  • JS

    January 5, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    This might seem random, but I am having to deal with this now, as I find myself in that awkward stage of pregnancy where I just look fat, and where all my jeans and everything that feels like what is essential to my wardrobe doesn’t fit, thus requiring me to wear things I typically wouldn’t wear. I think I typically gravitate toward a uniform anyway, but I realize without intention or planning or creativity, this looks so thoughtful and well planned. I would love to see the outfits, but what would you do with a maternity wardrobe if you didn’t want to just buy a bunch of low quality clothing? And, also didn’t want to spend a fortune on expensive clothes because hopefully this new size won’t be forever!

  • Pamela

    January 5, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Inspired! I would love to see a once-week summary of your outfits. I would also love to hear more about your simplification of diet and self care too!

  • Hannah

    January 5, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I think capsule wardrobes are such an interesting idea, it’s really refreshing! I really like the way you’ve explained it here, very helpful! Hope you have a nice day :)
    Hannah x
    Hanniemc.co.uk

  • Alyssa

    January 5, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    I would love to see more on this. i was already moving in this direction and have come across a few posts on it lately. Also, diet, self-care, schedule…. simplifying is inspiring!

  • Samantha

    January 5, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I love this and would love to see how you mix and match your capsule items over the season!

  • Megan

    January 5, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    I’m so glad you’re on the Capsule Wardrobe train too! It’s nice to find more and more people doing this and sharing it with each other. I think it’s great to see how each of us interpret it.

    Over the last few months I’ve been simplifying many areas in my life too and not long before Christmas I decided to tackle my wardrobe too. I started a blog about my capsule wardrobe experience to share my progress with my family and friends (initially) I didn’t realise that so many more people would be interested. It’s very cool!

    I’m going to be following your blog now, and hope to see how you style outfits out of your capsule too. Perhaps if you didn’t want to take over your blog with outfit posts you could do a weekly overview or similar. Just an idea :-)

    http://styleventure.co.nz/

  • Jenny

    January 5, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Another vote for outfits in action, I always have the worst time even packing stuff when even though I mix and match fine on a daily basis.

  • Mari

    January 5, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Sarah,

    I love this post. I love your blog. It would be awesome if you continued to document your simplicity journey. I am getting married this year, and my fiance and I are moving in together. This means I am doing some major cleaning out of stuff of my own. I love gathering smart tips from others.

  • Marissa

    January 5, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    A weekly or biweekly post of outfits would be great to see how you end up mixing and matching (and definitely layering in the cold) your various items!

  • Karen

    January 5, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Weekly or biweekly posts, if weekly is too much, would be great. I love this idea. I recently returned to work part time. It’s a business casual environment and my only limitation is I can’t wear denim. I bought 3 pairs of pants and incorporated 2 older pairs into my work wardrobe. I’ve got a good supply of sweaters and blouses that I can dress up or down. It’s been super easy to get dressed for work, no standing in front of the closet for hours as I’d done in my past work life with a too big wardrobe. But I don’t know if I could do it with all my clothing and I really have a bad habit of liking something and buying it in many colors, especially when it’s on sale. And I LOVE boots …. they get me through cold CT winters. Looking forward to following your experience.

  • Giselle

    January 5, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I love this capsule idea and have been excited since you first mentioned it. I would very much like to see a weekly or bi-weekly roundup of your daily outfits!

    Also, a couple of things you didn’t mention on this post but I think either mentioned before or they were covered in the link you provided when you first talked about it that answer many of the questions above are:
    1. You have unlimited accessories, so that can help immensely in finding creative ways to keep your outfits interesting
    2. Ideally, every single item can be considered your ‘favorite!’ This way you will always have something to wear that you feel amazing in AND it’ll take a lot longer for you to get bored.

    To me, 2 above is the most important lesson of the capsule wardrobe. To be in LOVE with every single piece in your closet will do wonders for your mood and confidence every single day!

    Thank you for introducing us to this concept and for sharing your personal capsule. I love it!

    Giselle

  • Kristy

    January 5, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I did my capsule wardrobe on Sunday. I knew I wanted to do it and knew I should have the pieces already, I din’t really want to buy much of anything. Admittedly, I bought a shirt from Anthro that I loved and knew I would use as a capsule piece.

    It was fairly easy for me, the thing it helped me with the most was putting away clothes that are out of season. My closet was so packed of items that I didn’t need, I couldn’t see what I had, was dissatisfied with it as a result and always looking and buying more.

    Today was day 2 of dressing from my capsule and I think I’m in love.

    It also really helps that workout and lounge clothes don’t count, because on a bad day, I can easily wear those!

    All that said, I love to see what pieces other people pick and how they put them together, so I wouldn’t mind seeing a daily outfit post or maybe a weekly round up? Even a quick insta?

  • Lindsey

    January 6, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Would love to see outfit posts on how you’re combining everything! I haven’t bit the capsule wardrobe bullet but may be getting close… :)

  • Amy @ MomAdvice

    January 6, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    I’m SO excited that you are trying your first capsule and I have always found your style so inspiring. Heck, I’ve even bought items from your closet :) The first one is hard, but I had a harder time the second time because I thought about it too much. I am having to go back and retool a bit since I cut down the number even more of items the second time. It really is a learning process, but has made my mornings SO much better! Thank you so much for pointing your readers my way- I am honored! xo

  • Alicia

    January 6, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    I would totally love to see the outfits you create from your capsule. One of my favorite magazine features has always been when they do something like this. So maybe you can take a quick snapshot over the next few weeks or so and share them in one blog post. I don’t expect a daily wardrobe post, but seeing how you actually wear the items in your daily life would be so helpful.

  • sha

    January 8, 2015 at 10:17 am

    Please post outfits! Either daily/semi daily throughout the week, or an end of week roundup, and even if it is nothing but a picture of the outfit. Having them frequently would be more inspiring and helpful, I think, to those of us who need visual guidance.

  • Karen

    January 8, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Three pairs of Rachel Comey boots at $400 a pair? Would love to see some shoe options that aren’t so $$$$.

    • whoorl

      January 8, 2015 at 11:20 am

      Like I said in my post, I’ve started to focus on quantity over quality over the past few years, especially when it comes to shoes. Unfortunately, cheaper boots and shoes with heels are very uncomfortable on my feet and back, so when I find a brand that feels good and I know I can wear for years to come, I am going to purchase them. Luckily, there are tons of less expensive ankle booties options out there. I would check Piperlime, Zappos, and even Target.

      That’s the beauty of a capsule wardrobe – price points can (and will) differ for every person, and remember, I’m just showing readers what’s in my capsule as an example, not trying to persuade you to buy what I’m wearing.

  • Kristen

    January 8, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    I didn’t see any dresses, I was curious if you kept anything for a special event? Or how that factored into any of your decisions? I was thinking like work events, cocktail parties, a wedding perhaps, etc. Something you’d want to get dressed up for

    • whoorl

      January 9, 2015 at 11:33 am

      Hi Kristen, I mentioned in rule #3 that special occasions aren’t included in the capsule. If I have a wedding or something similar to attend, I plan to pull a dress out of storage. Hope that helps!

  • Haley

    January 9, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Sarah, what is that gray sweater coat like? Is it heavy material? I heart it!

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  • Erin

    January 12, 2015 at 8:54 am

    2 questions: Have you tried the Rag & Bone newbury bootie? Wondering how the Rachel Comey compares. I have a few pairs of the Rag & Bone (bootie addict alert…) but I’m loving those grey bad boys up there. Second: would love to see that Joie poncho styled/outfit post. It’s been in my Neimans online cart for a month now!

    • whoorl

      January 28, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      I prefer my booties to hit right at the ankle bone, so the Newbury booties sit too high on my leg, but they are cute!

  • Shana

    January 29, 2015 at 8:16 am

    I’m just wondering if the links for the white sweatshirt and the black roll-up tee are correct? They both go to the same item and it doesn’t really resemble either of them.

    • whoorl

      January 29, 2015 at 8:26 am

      Yes, they are the same item. I have them in Heather White and Heather Black.

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