Alright. The big capsule wardrobe reveal is here. And, yes, I know how silly this is. But, really, I can see why the internet is abuzz with capsule wardrobes. We are a people living under the yoke of luxury. Even those of us who aren’t rich. We don’t know when to replace and when to reuse. We don’t know what to save and what to share. We want to be generous but also responsible. We feel burdened by all our stuff. Yes it’s a #firstworldproblem but that doesn’t mean it’s not #alsoarealproblem.

On my first post about what a capsule wardrobe is and why I wanted to do it, I asked you to link up any of your wardrobe posts, new or old. They’ve been really inspiring to read. The link-up is still open. I’m linking this post up. Please continue to link yours up. Let’s do this crazy together. And if you need more inspiration, keep checking back there.

So, step one for me was deciding what kind of capsule wardrobe I wanted to do. There’s Courtney’s Project 333 method which is more about decluttering your life than on having a perfect wardrobe. She encourages people to work with what they have, and not buy anything new for their first capsule. Or there’s Caroline’s Unfancy method, where you dump a significant percentage of your wardrobe and start over, with pieces that you love and that mix and match and that fit your current body and current lifestyle. And that you’ll hope to use again in future capsules.

It’s easy to say that Project 333 is the right approach and Unfancy isn’t. Especially since her budget for clothing is significantly higher than many of us. But I don’t think it’s quite that simple. I know that, for me, I needed to do this in a way that I would love it and stick with it. So, I went with someplace in the middle. (Hey, I feel like I’ve said that before . . . )

I wanted to mostly work with what I already had, but also supplement with a few new things. I wanted to end up with things in my closet that were useful and, whenever possible, beautiful. And only that. But that’s what I’ve always wanted. I’ve cleaned out my closet a dozen times and always ended up right back in the same place.

So, step two was to commit to the method. I don’t know why, but I feel WAY more motivated to do this now that it’s a THING. It has a name, and rules, and a community. It’s more than just a general awareness that my wardrobe is out of control, which I’ve had for YEARS. It’s a plan of action, with a proven track record of success. Also rules. Have I mentioned I like rules?

But the problem is that the rules vary. Some people do thirty-three, some thirty-seven, some more. Some include formalwear, shoes, coats, and accessories in that count, some don’t. Most have four seasonal capsules, and that’s it. But I knew I was going to have to account more for seasons of life (because nursing, pregnant, both, neither) and less for seasons of the year (because Southern California).

My plan was to get down to forty pieces, inclusive of formalwear and coats and shoes, excluding running clothes and accessories.

Step three was to actually DO IT. And there I had some help. My friend Crysta Halpin, aka The Wardrobe Weeder, is starting a wardrobe consulting/styling business and I got to be one of her guinea pigs. (Need help? In SoCal? Email her. She will help you:  crystahalpin @ yahoo . com) Also, I blogged it. And if I blog it, I do it.

Also part of the closet now: entire empty sections of closet! One bajillion empty hangers! A tiny tuxedo and part of a St. Olaf Costume!

Crysta came over and we followed Caroline’s basic method: EVERYTHING OUT OF THE CLOSET. Everything. Out.
We made piles on the bed of . . . LOVE IT: Fall, Winter, Spring/Summer, and Maternity/Postpartum, a MAYBE pile, and a TOSS IT pile.
From the LOVE IT Fall pile, I tried stuff on and we made outfits, and took some photos. I actually wish we’d thought to take more. I’m not sure I remember them all correctly. We would grab a thing here or there out of the MAYBE pile, and even once from the TOSS IT pile, to make complete outfits. Things that I love, that fit now, that I can nurse in, and that are seasonally appropriate went onto hangers and into the closet. I ended up with forty-two pieces at that time, and instructions to get four new things to round out the capsule.
Then we went through the other LOVE IT piles again, to be sure I really did love those things, they were in good enough shape to hold on to, and they fit into outfits. I saved twenty to twenty-five pieces each for winter, spring/summer, and maternity/postpartum. I have two deep drawers in my closet, so off-season stuff went in those, and the maternity pieces went into a storage tub on one of the shelves. Shoes I wanted to save for other seasons went onto a different shelf, but pushed way to the back so I can’t really see them. When the time comes to switch to a different capsule, I’ll keep some things from my current capsule in the rotation, and I’ll supplement with some new things.
Which brings me to . . . step four: Buy some new things.
Here’s what I got. (Amazon Associate links.)


I spent a total of $164.
In the interest of full disclosure, and in case you want to be twinsies . . . these items are also pretty new. I got them for my birthday last month.

Step five was to sit with my choices for a few days. My new things came (I heart you Amazon Prime). I saw what I felt like wearing and what I thought maybe could still go, so I weeded a few more things out. I’m officially down to forty pieces now.
And here they are . . . 
sleeveless navy tee
band-waist coral tee
ruffle neck white blouse
high neck lace ivory blouse
sleeveless tie neck blouse
ivory and taupe stripe long sleeve tee
white long sleeve tee

slouchy rainbow cardigan
slouchy taupe pullover
whimsical dot cardigan
drapey off white cardigan
library cardigan
short sleeve cowl neck pullover in olive
multicolor zigzag cardigan

patterned ankle boyfriend jeans
skinny capri jeans in olive
annunciation stained glass leggings
wide leg trousers in citrine
high waist skinny jeans
black capri leggings

patterned circle skirt in ivory and orange
high waist stretch denim pencil skirt
brown velvet appliquΓ© a-line skirt
hight waist pleated khaki skirt

metallic ballet flats
neutral elastic espadrilles
leopard ankle strap wedges
navy dot platform espadrilles
laser cut tall leather boots
suede ankle booties
olive green sneakers

stretch navy blazer
patterned short sleeve twill blazer
high neck waterproof coat
shawl neck sweater coat

dolman sleeve gathered waist dress in plum
red floral silk dress
chiffon mini shirt dress
denim shirt dress
library dress

My final thoughts on the process are . . . I am really, really glad I did this. If anything, I wish I could have extricated myself from a few more things. Maybe thirty-three IS the magic number. Even down to forty items, I still feel like I have more than I need, and certainly more than most women have had throughout history and all over the world. BUT. It’s a huge step in the right direction. I feel so, so, so much better about my closet now.

And I’m feeling inclined to wear more cute stuff more often. Here are my capsule wardrobe outfits so far (two pairs of shoes in these photos didn’t make the final cut):

Simplicity is a virtue. Having a more simple wardrobe means that more of my time and energy can be devoted to more important things than clothing choices. Generosity is a virtue. Some of the things I did not keep were really nice things. But they didn’t work for me. Hopefully they will work for someone else. Prudence is a virtue. So I didn’t just chuck it all. I could become pregnant again, so I saved some maternity clothes. Even though it’s eighty degrees here in LA again, odds are I will need those sweaters at some point, so I kept a few. Trust is also a virtue, and it’s maybe the most important one for me throughout this process. In the past, I kept so much of that stuff because of What Ifs. What if I gain weight? What if I lose weight? What if I move someplace cold again? What if get invited to a ball? But all those What Ifs were weighing me down. I made the best choices I could for my current state of life, and the reasonably foreseeable future. And the rest I got rid of. I have to trust that what I have will be enough. And more than enough.
It is SO NICE to be rid of FOUR garbage bags of clothing.
I think Betty is the next stop on the capsule wardrobe train. ‘Tweens are really hard to dress. So probably I’ll be blogging that at you too. Stay tuned.

And here’s why I think any of this matters at all:

WHY WHAT I WEAR MATTERS