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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

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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
  • 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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