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The Capsule Wardrobe: An Experiment

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For the past few months since moving I have worn the same five items of clothing on repeat: a coat, a pair of jeans, slip-on shoes, some boots and a jumper. OK – maybe six because I alternate the jumper between my black one and my grey one. Riveting stuff in the style department, eh? I just wasn’t too chuffed with my wardrobe. It felt ‘bitty‘ with items that I’d panic purchased for an event because I felt I had ‘nothing to wear’ – that old chestnut – and trusty pieces that I wore over and over again, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but caused me to end up in a style rut. One night I was sat, most likely procrastinating, thinking how I could get over my wardrobe funk when I remembered a blog that Jess Lively had pointed me in the direction of. It’s called Unfancy and it’s by a lovely lady called Caroline who blogs her experience of living with a 37 piece capsule wardrobe (shoes included in that number), that she mixes up every three months seasonally. It took me approximately 10 seconds of reading her site before I knew that this was something that I just had to try.

And try I have. It’s been about three weeks now since I made the jump to a capsule wardrobe and so far so good. I began as Caroline suggests by clearing out my wardrobe, setting unwanted pieces aside for friends and charity bags and taking a real look at my lifestyle and what’s actually practical. I filled out her free workbook which helped me pinย point exactly how I wanted to break the 37 items up and in end I did her recommended breakdown of 9 pairs of shoes, 4 coats and jackets, 15 tops, 7 pairs of bottoms and 2 dresses. The number thing wasn’t too horrifying for me because my wardrobe count was pretty near that number anyway, but I got giddy at the thought of 37 pieces that worked interchangeably and I could actually wear and enjoy every single item of.

I ended up stripping what I owned back to the bare bones and began rebuilding it, trying to pick out things that could work for formal and informal occasions and giving myself some comfy options for working at home days so I don’t just sit in my PJ’s – something that was seriously lacking before. I thought more practically about what I need and what I want my style to be. Oh so deep. It’s taken a while to get everything together but now I’m one happy bunny when I open the doors. Of course there’s a smorgasbord of monochrome going on but there are hints of prints, blue, burgundy and khaki that break things up a little and give me options if I fancy playing with a bit of colour.

The tough bit is going to be going cold turkey with clothing shopping until early December, where I’ve made a note in my diary that it will then be time to mix things up a bit for winter. I’ve already thrown Whistles a few lingering glances when I’ve wandered past. Come on girl – you’ve got this (just thought I’d insert a little pep talk there). I’m an avid ASOS browser/procrastinator, so I like the idea of not needing to occupy my headspace with thoughts of nice coats and leopard print boots on the reg and I’m sure my bank balance will too. Let the experiment begin…

Comments

  • Thanks for sharing this blog! You’re inspiring to me to start a capsule wardrobe too, it just seems like such a great idea and an excellent way to get organized!

    xoxo
    http://www.hellohimawari.com/

    • Capsule wardrobe or built in wardrobe an nice idea in wardrobe designing.thank to posting this blog.

  • Sounds interesting, thank you for linking the download. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    http://vodkaandarose.blogspot.co.uk

  • Sharmi Shah

    I can’t thank you enough for recommending the blog to me. I am going to go ahead with it as soon as I move! Love the post! ๐Ÿ™‚
    xx

    stayinoui.blogspot.in

  • This is such an amazing idea! I definitely want to try this out -sometimes, it’s overwhelming to have too many clothes that just clutter everything up and I’d love the simplicity of having the basics that can all be paired together!

    Hanna | LipstickLovely.com

  • Fire Flies

    I’ve been trying to put together a capsule wardrobe for ages, but I think you’ve set the cogs turning! These tips are super, thank you!!! xxx

    http://fireflies3.blogspot.co.uk/

  • viaviolet

    I just stumbled across the unfancy blog and LOVE it! I’m getting super interested in a capsule wardrobes and looking forward to putting mine together. Another great interview I heard on the Lively Show was with Kendi Skeen. She shared her idea of 30 for 30. Take 30 items from your closet and make 30 outfits. Sounds like such a fun challenge. Another piece of advice I picked up when shopping is choose items you can get $1/wear out of. If an item costs $80 make sure you can wear it 80 times!

  • Izzy

    I think you will also like this blog: into-mind.com, about minimalism (clothing, but also other things in life) ๐Ÿ™‚

  • emily couture

    Such a great idea and pretty photos! Love the coat hangers ๐Ÿ™‚

    emily xx

    emilycouture95.blogspot.co.uk

  • Elisha Maรฉ Iveson

    love this idea anna! and a lovely post to read on a sunday morning.

    elisha-mae I wear this?
    http://www.elisha-mae.co.uk

  • Good luck! You edited down fantastically. Living simply with better pieces is #lifegoals

    Chelsey | http://www.chelseythornton.com

  • Lauren Niko

    Ahh I love this kind of thing, it’s so satisfying to see a minimal wardrobe where everything is cherished. I’ve already Marie-Kondo-ed my room so it looks like this will be the next in my de-cluttering quest.

    Niko /// Girltime International

  • theblackblush blog

    Such a grea idea! I really need to do something like that!
    xx

    http://www.theblackblush.blogspot.com

  • This is such a good idea & wish I had the willpower to do this! Maybe one day haha

    Abbi | http://www.simplyabbi.com

  • I’ve done this since forever as we have such little space in our flat and there’s no use hanging onto clothes you only got for a special occasion. If I ever buy something I always think where else and what other occasion I wear it too – I just thought I was being cheap but apparently it’s a thing ๐Ÿ™‚

    Mel ♥ everyword.meljwills.com

  • This sounds like something I could implement, I have far too many clothes that don’t get the love they deserve!

    Jodie, xo // Jodie Loue

  • I literally started this not too long ago and I am in the mist of just adding a final few things in my wardrobe in the hopes they’ll keep me warm, but I’m enjoying the experiment so much, it’s actually at the point where I lay in bed at night and think oh I’ll wear that tomorrow, oh but I want to wear that too, I just have so much choice and I love it!
    http://www.elzbthchlmrspps.blogspot.co.uk

  • You had me until you said no shopping until December. I could never do this!!

    http://my–socalledlife.blogspot.com.es/

  • Now we just need to see what is in the edited collection… ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Emma and Emily

    I adore this idea, but when I go to my closet I can’t seem to get rid of anything! I might just have to give this a try soon..

    Emily x
    http://www.emandthem.co.uk

  • Elise Kubberรธd

    I really like this concept! Makes you think more over what you buy and the consume of clothes.

  • I’ve been trying this too lately, mostly because I’m abroad for a semester. I love Caroline’s blog, how she lays out what she’s got in her wardrobe, and how she styles her pieces together. Just curious, are you thinking of doing something like this too? I always love seeing other people’s methods.

  • Sounds really interesting, I’m going to have a look at her site. I recently cleared out my wardrobe and makeup drawers too ๐Ÿ™‚

    https://cherieedle.blogspot.com/

  • No new clothing until December? Good luck!

    Makeupmusicbooks.com

  • Having cleared a lot of my clothes and belongings after reading Marie Kondo’s book I think I would love to do this but I don’t feel quite ready yet… The number 37 makes me nervous. I think I will keep buying less and more consciously and perhaps do it in the spring when I am a more seasoned minimalist, ha!

    Inma x
    sunshineandglow.blogspot.com

  • Josie Stewart

    Good luck! I probably could narrow my wardrobe down to 37 pieces as I tend to wear the same things over and over which I don’t mind too much – I quite like having a uniform! But the thought of having to stick to a certain number would just make me shop more haha. Good luck with your challenge, looking forward to future updates ๐Ÿ™‚ x

    Josie |Sick Chick Chic

  • Grace O’Malley

    Anna where are your copper clothes hangers from? They look prettier than many I’ve seen online. Thanks!

  • Sandra Lavaniegos

    Good luck with the experiment! ๐Ÿ™‚ While researching the capsule wardrobe I came across the “into-mind” blog via an Unfancy recommendation and found the “signature style” concept fascinating, and also found a great Detox-your-wardrobe cheat sheet in there that helped me a lot. It is a great blog to get lost in! I found myself really immersed in the theory of everything…here’s the link if you’re interested http://into-mind.com/2013/11/22/signature-looks-the-complete-guide-part-i/

    Thankfully I don’t think Asos ships to Mexico yet haha, but anyway hugs from Mexico, keep up the lovely work and now I’m going to watch your fall edit <3
    S

  • I’m so excited to see how this turns out! I’m sure you’re going to build a great new wardrobe, and I cant wait to see it.

    blushandfairydust.blogspot.com

  • Rachel Harris

    This is such a great idea, I’m really trying to save money at the moment and in the long run it will really help me cut back on what I actually need in terms of clothes rather than just randomly buying things!

    Rachel – Cake Doesn’t Count x

  • this is such a good idea! I definitely want to give this a go. I’ve been reading her blog this afternoon and the idea of it is so comforting. I have so many clothes but, just like you (and it seems most people in the comments) only wear the same things over and over. She suggests taking everything out of your wardrobe and making a love it, maybe and no pile… so i think I’ll do that first! Please keep us updated on how you get on ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Can’t wait to read more about how this goes, I think I might have to try it for myself!

    Maddy, xo

  • Great idea Anna! I love your style, its so simple yet so chic. Can’t wait to read more! xxx

    Ciara Rose | AllureImpassionedGoddess

  • I’d love to see a tour of what you have now! Before the holiday shopping begins…, I’m so guilty of it.

  • Josie

    I’d love to see a video of the items you picked for this!

  • klv

    Not a capsule blog, but I love the blog Putting Me Together! She has helped me so much; you should definitely check her out!

  • Elena

    where are those hangers from?

  • The hangers are just <3

  • Please do a video on this! x

  • I definitely need to do this, I’ve got my wardrobe down to a third of what it was with more to go – I have my eye on some investment pieces to change up more regularly, looking forward to seeing your wardrobe change up ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Beauty

  • Is it just me, but 37 items does not seem like a ‘hard’ thing to stick to. I just feel that Caroline advocates this is being really ‘cut back’ and ‘minimalistic,’ and perhaps for beauty bloggers it is. But as a normal gal myself, I definitely don’t buy 37 things every 3 months, nor do I feel the need to. It seems a bit excessive to me. All the while, beauty bloggers are patting themselves on the back for achieving Caroline’s ‘challenge.’ Anyways let me know what you think Anna, does 37 just sound like a big number or is it actually limiting?

    • I think when you read the original post, it doesn’t advocate 37 new pieces every three month – just that you only keep 37 in your wardrobe. Every three months you assess what you have and add anything you think you need. I did try it but found i really missed shopping lol.

      http://www.julie-ellen.com

    • 37 doesn’t seem like a huge number, but sometimes you’ll have 2-3 of the same item in your closet that you probably don’t need (for example, 3 gray cardigans) which makes your closet larger than you thought it was. I started off using Caroline’s method and limiting myself to a certain number of items, but eventually realized that I just need to stick to pieces that go with at least 3 other things in my wardrobe. I think the most important part about a capsule wardrobe is that you cut back on your shopping habits, and it seems like a lot of bloggers try the capsule wardrobe experiment but just go back to their old ways in the end.

      http://www.theblissfulmind.com

  • Alejandra

    Where are your hangers from? xxo

  • Ah I really need to do this! But I’m so awful at getting rid of clothes, always find a reason to hang on to them… but a capsule wardrobe sounds so dreamy ๐Ÿ™‚

    Brigitte | brigittehayley.com

  • Aleksandra Ivanko-Deel

    Having pieces in your closet that you love is so important. If you have a wardrobe that you love it makes getting dressed so much more fun.

  • Congrats on deciding to make the transition! You can stick to it! Just think about how much your wallet will love you for this ๐Ÿ˜‰
    I love the idea of the capsule wardrobe. When i first came across her blog post about it I got rid of a LOT of old pieces that I knew I wouldn’t miss. I’m definitely not down to 37 (granted, this is counting all seasons together) but someday I think I’ll get there!
    xo
    Alex
    http://www.sincerely-alex.com

  • I would love to try this out! It sounds like such a fantastic idea. It is definitely something I’d be interested in hearing more about. Great post, looking forward to looking into your wardrobe more.
    http://www.ambermariemarie.com

  • M.

    I feel soooo tempted to do a capsule wardrobe. I just did a KonMari clean out (which I made a post about today) and started reading so much about minimalism.. But I’m a bit intimidated by the idea of such a small amount of items..

    I’m giving it some thought though… Let’s see how your experience goes!

    xx

    http://landofpermanentbliss.blogspot.com.br/

  • Lucy

    Will you do a video as well showing your 37 pieces and perhaps how your styling some of them for different occasions?

  • I have been wanting to try out the capsule wardrobe challenge for ages now but I find it difficult to pick out the proper pieces. I did a huge clear out recently and gave away 2 bin bags of clothes but i am still not where I want my wardrobe to be. My main issue is that i work in an office and the clothes i need for work are totally different from what i love to wear when I’m out and about. I downloaded the workbook and i will be giving it a go ? Any suggestion for having an office / comfy capsule wardrobe are highly appreciated ?

    Xx
    Cheryl
    http://daisycandle.com

  • Tatiana

    This is such a great idea, but I’m not sure I could ever do it. Work clothes, casual clothes, going out clothes, working out clothes. And shoes! I love my shoes! It’s worth a try. I love the gold hangers!

  • The Sunday Mode

    I’ve heard a few people now trying out this capsule wardrobe thing, it sounds really interesting and so handy for when I can’t piece together an outfit for the life of me. Look forward to hearing about how this ends up working out for you, if you think it’s a revelation I might need to try it myself.

    http://www.thesundaymode.blogspot.com.au

  • Now that sounds fascinating and pretty hard at the same time. Not sure if Iยดd be ready for that, but Iยดll have a browse and see how she does it.

    Linda,
    Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  • Love the snakeskin boots! I look forward to hearing how you get on, I really need to organise my wardrobe! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Two of my YouTube/blog favourites combine – VDM and capsule wardrobes! I love watching capsule wardrobe videos (would love to see yours) and using one myself. I recently gave my wardrobe the Marie Kondo treatment and it’s so liberating to have a capsule wardrobe filled only with clothe that I love and that suit me and work with each other. A blog/YouTube recommendation is Sydney-based Mademoiselle (http://www.mademois-elle.com/) – she shares her seasonal capsule wardrobes and has a gorgeous, French-inspired style (and her videos are beautifully edited).

  • I love watching capsule wardrobe videos and actually gave one a try this winter (I’m an Aussie so we’re in Spring now) and it worked really well for me during the colder months. Still in the process of working out my Spring Capsule though. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’d love to see you do a video on your capsule wardrobe at some point!
    Also I second what Elissa has said below – check out the youtube channel Mademoiselle – her videos are awesome!

    Lauren xx
    laurenloveslaughter.blogspot.com.au

  • Kirstie

    Every time an image of that beautiful Whistles shirt pops up I get a serious twang of jealousy!!

    Kirstie | Kirstie Pickering

  • Her blog is seriously amazing! Can’t wait to see what your capsule wardrobe look like!

  • I love this idea, I have so many clothes yet I never know what to wear and I end up wearing same pieces again and again. I’m really thinking giving this idea a go ๐Ÿ™‚

    http://mariecsdiary.blogspot.com/

  • car0linchen

    Very interesting idea, but I think that it will never work for me since I would have to throw more than half of my clothes away. But I would really like to see what you have chosen to stay in your closet, maybe in a video ;).

  • I definitely need to do this, my wardrobe is in definite need of a declutter.

    Amelia Rose | Beauty and Lifestyle Blogger

  • Happy Chick

    2nd photo, ankle boots – SWOON!!! Goes against the whole cutting back thing, but PLEASE share the brand of both pairs…… forever gratefully yours x

  • circafashion

    So will you show us your capsule? So glad you are doing this, it is alot of fun and it works. And all that shopping will really slow down once your really start purchasing things for the long haul, that look great every time you put it on. The capsule will help you really see what works for you

  • Donna

    You should look up project 333 too. It’s the same principle, 33 items for 3 months. It’s supposed to make it easier to dress with less choice and also allows you to appreciate items without being obsessed with them!

  • Corinne Iaia

    Love the idea of this, you’re always inspiring me to get organized and edit down my essentials!

    http://www.necessarynothings.com

  • Marcia van der Werf-Santana

    I am so extremelly curious on how you’re going to face the 37 items thing… Video, please!!!!

  • Elina

    Can’t wait to hear your verdict, I feel like I’m a style rut all the time now, and a capsule wardrobe sounds so appealing, but I’m too scared to make the jump to it! xx

    http://www.luxamundi.co.uk

  • Rachel

    This sounds like a great idea! Definitely something I might try myself…

  • andyliu

    http://goo.gl/MGMRtA
    FIFA 16 TITLE UPDATE 2 Update patch officially released

  • Danielle

    2 dresses, not an option for me – I probably have 50+! Mixtures of work, casual, summer, going out, smart-casual and ones for parties/weddings. Lots of them rarely get worn but I wouldn’t want to get rid of them either.

  • Georgina

    This is amazing going to check Unfancy out now! Need to stop buying primark trash!
    http://www.thestupidzone.me

  • I’ve been so tempted to try this out, but the pack rat in me is fighting!! I’ll definitely check out Unfancy though!

  • Stylish Sister

    Please provide a link to the gold hangers, I need them!

  • This sounds like this is the answer to my wardrobe problem. I have been putting off re-arranging our closet for fall-winter for the past 2 weeks. I’ll definitely try this concept out but I may have to tweak it a bit. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ll probably write about this experiment on my blog soon. ๐Ÿ™‚ (www.ABPharmFam.com)

  • courtney

    THOSE HANGERS THOUGH

  • Selene

    I’ve made practically the same thing during this change of season without knowing about the blog you recommend and I’m pretty satisfied! I only have to purchase some basic cardigans (maybe a black and a grey one) and some comfortable ankle boots with a medium heel (I have flat or high heels ones) and I’m done! No waste of money and more organisation! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Sarah Noel

    I just discovered Unfancy too! I’m obsessed. I hope she goes back to blogging soon. Since I became pregnant, I’ve been thinking of experimenting with a capsule. What better time?

  • Kloe

    Thank you for the idea and links! At first I thought it was crazy, then I realized it could definitely work and save me headspace (less shopping and less time spent to put outfits together)! I have 6 black tank tops, I only wear one of them, 5 pairs of neutral pumps, I only wear 2 or them, etc. You do not have to throw away or give everything that is not in your capsule wardrobe, stock it for another season or another year if you really like the piece. Next weekend I definitely will start the experiment too!

  • Danielle Mercado

    I AM going to do this. I live a simple lifestyle but have a ton of clothes. Time to downsize

  • LJ Parell

    I definitely like the idea of this, and I want to size down, but 37 pieces isn’t realistic, for me. I feel as though if you get down to one tank/jeans/sweater/t-shirt etc., you would have to do laundry quite frequently. I do wash every day, but I also air dry a lot of my things. I suppose it depends on your lifestyle. Still, it’s inspiring to at least go from 7 white tee’s to maybe two.

  • Sally Mavin

    I’m on my second season if trying a capsule wardrobe (after reading Un-fancy too!) and I love it! I can’t imagine wanting to do anything different. I feel like everything fits really well, I have tons of choice and can justify spending more on nicer items because I buy less. I’m interested to see how you get on ๐Ÿ™‚ If you want a peak my post about it was here (hope that doesn’t sound spammy but thought it was relevant) Good luck! http://www.queenieandthedew.com/2015/08/my-first-capsule-wardrobe.html