The capsule wardrobe: everybody’s doing it! I’m certainly no exception. I read some advice a few months ago that suggested I should dress for the job I want, not the job I have. Since I’d like to find a different job anyway, maybe something more professional than retail, I figured I’d start over from scratch.
Obviously, building a wardrobe from scratch can be expensive. Since I started shopping for this new wardrobe back in March, I’ve spent about $650 on it. Looking at clothing prices today, that’s actually not that much! I shopped primarily at second-hand clothing stores, including Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Stuff Etc., and Plato’s Closet. When I did shop for new clothes at retail stores, it was for the basics like leggings, tanks, underwear, and socks. Things you wouldn’t really want to buy used, you know? I also bought a brand-new purse, because that was the only way I was going to get one the color I wanted.
There are some downsides to buying used clothes. Some of them need repair. I’ve had to fix several holes and re-stitch hems, or take in pieces I like but which are too big. But there are plenty of upsides, too! The price, for one. Clothes at places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill range from 75 cents to $5 a piece, on average. And when the prices are that low, I don’t feel bad donating something back to them if I wear it and decide I don’t like it.
Now, on to the wardrobe!
I read a lot of blogs and articles about capsule wardrobes. Some are really strict in the number of clothes you wear, some are more generous. Basically, you have to figure out what works for you. Most of them agree that you need a core set of “timeless basics” (whatever that means). You should also start with a color scheme, picking 1-2 neutral colors (black, navy, beige, grey, white, brown) along with accent colors.
I chose black and white as my neutral colors (plus a small splash of grey), and teal/aqua/turquoise as my accent color(s). Really, I love anything in the blue-green range. I’ve got pieces that run from almost green to dark teal to turquoise. As long as the colors play well together, you’re good to go. The object of the capsule wardrobe is to be able to mix and match just about anything and still look good.
Back when I was doing my KonMari cleaning, I went out and bought exactly 36 black velvet hangers for my closet, along with two skirt/pant racks which hold four pieces each and one that holds six. Those hold pretty much my entire wardrobe. I have a dresser as well, but the bulk of my capsule wardrobe resides in my closet.
Let’s look at a breakdown of what I have!
Here are the tops:
- 6 sleeveless blouses
- 6 short-sleeved blouses
- 2 3/4-sleeved blouses
- 6 long-sleeved blouses
Next are blazers/cardigans/sweaters. These are great for layering over blouses or dresses. I have a lot of them!
- 1 sleeveless cardigan (so… a vest, I guess? But more drapey)
- 2 short-sleeved cardigans
- 2 3/4-sleeved cardigans
- 1 3/4-sleeved blazer
- 2 long-sleeved cardigans
- 1 long-sleeved blazer
- 4 sweaters (in the dresser — don’t want to stretch the shoulders out!)
And the dresses:
- 3 black dresses (the LBD, a knee-length sheath, and a maxi dress)
- 4 printed/patterned dresses (all knee-length)
I hated wearing skirts and dresses for the longest time — all the way up until after college, actually. When I found work as a waitress I started wearing skirts, and then I got into the goth and lolita scene for a couple years and began wearing skirts and dresses more. Now I have lots of skirts!
- 4 printed/patterned skirts
- 4 solid-color skirts
Lastly, the pants:
- 1 pair black dress pants
- 1 pair black skinny ankle pants
- 1 pair black skinny jeans
- 1 pair dark denim skinny jeans
- 1 pair dark denim bootcut jeans
- 1 pair medium denim bootcut jeans
And that’s it! I find that this is the amount of clothes that work for me. My tops outweigh my bottoms, but I usually wear my pants, skirts, and dresses 2-3 times before washing them, and tops I wash after 1-2 wears depending on how much I sweat during the day. It’s always fun mixing and matching to see what new combinations I can come up with.
Obviously I have other clothes besides these, like my underwear, workout clothes, two swimsuits, some basic tank tops and leggings for layering, some casual clothes I can’t wear to work (t-shirts and shorts), loungewear for around the house, and what I call my “crap clothes” for wearing when I know I’m going to get dirty (like playing in the garden or painting). Plus there’s all my cosplay and steampunk clothes in the basement closet (but I did get rid of some of those too!).
Oh, shoes and accessories, don’t forget those! Maybe I’ll write another post about them later.
Anyway, that’s my capsule wardrobe! I hope this is at least a little helpful in showing you what works for me, so that you can start to find what works for you!