Capsule Wardrobe Update: How it’s Changed, What’s the Same & Why I Still Love it!

Capsule wardrobe update - how it's changed, what's the same & why I still love it!

A reader recently emailed me asking how my capsule wardrobes have changed or shifted since I first started capsuling. It made me realize that a lot has changed since my first capsule wardrobe. Today I’m sharing a capsule wardrobe update with you.

I’ll share what’s still working, what has changed in my wardrobe, what I do differntly and why I still love dressing with less!

Capsule wardrobe update: What’s the same

I still love a simplified, streamlined wardrobe

Massively decluttering my wardrobe and embracing a capsule wardrobe is still one of my favourite simplifying projects I’ve done to date. I can’t see myself ever going back to a closet full of clothes again.

I honestly didn’t realize just how much lighter and happier I’d feel with fewer clothes until I went for it and made my first capsule wardrobe.

Deciding what to wear each day is so much quicker and easier. And I love that when I look in my closet every item I see is something I love and look forward to wearing.

I’m no longer sifting through clothes I don’t love or are just ok. It’s easy to decide what to wear, because all I’m left with are my favourite clothes!

And because we all have enough decisions to make during the day, I love that I’m not wasting anymore of my limited decision-making capacity on my clothes than I need to.

I still make my own capsule wardrobe rules

Although I’ve been inspired by other capsule wardrobe formulas, like Project 333 for example, I’ve never followed anyone else’s capsule wardrobe formula fully.

Simply because I know myself. If I try to tell myself there are certain rules I’m following, I immediately don’t want to stick to it.

So instead of making my capsule wardrobes about restricting myself, following a formula or a set of rules, I aim to keep it simple.

My simple goal for my capsule wardrobe is to have fewer clothes, but better clothes.

And by better I don’t mean more expensive clothes necessarily. Instead, I mean better for me, because I love them and love the way I look and feel in them.

Also, because I tend to be a huge perfectionist, I try to stay away from giving myself tangible standards to meet. For example, if I decide to only include 35 pieces in my capsule, I would feel like I failed if I ended up with 37 and would beat myself up about it.

So instead, I don’t count how many items I have or set a limit for myself. I try to intuitively decide what “enough” feels like for me in my wardrobe right now.

I can always tell if I have too many items in my wardrobe because deciding what to wear starts to get harder. I notice I spend longer choosing my clothes and it doesn’t feel quite as easy.

That’s my signal that it’s time to simplify and remove any items I’m not truly wearing often or loving.

Capsule wardrobe update: how it’s changed

Capsule wardrobe update - how it's changed, what's the same & why I still love it!
Photo by Peter Bucks on Unsplash

I no longer create a new capsule for all 4 seasons

When I first began using a capsule wardrobe, I made a separate capsule for all 4 seasons. Although I live in a place with 4 very distinct seasons, I realized I don’t need a separate capsule for each season.

Now I only create winter and summer capsule wardrobes. And add in a few transition pieces to get through spring and fall.

Our weather in the spring and fall can vary widely and be quite unpredictable. Plus, our spring and fall seasons tend to be quite short.

It was just not worth the effort to make a whole new capsule for such short, unpredictable seasons.

I have found it works best for me, to keep my capsules flexible and let them transition from winter to summer and back again naturally.

How to transition a seasonal capsule wardrobe

For me, this might mean adding a few spring-appropriate pieces to my winter wardrobe, and taking some of the heavy winter sweaters out as I no longer need them. Then, when the weather gets consistently warm enough I change out my winter capsule for my summer capsule.

And doing the same with my summer capsule as we move into fall and eventually back to winter.

Sometimes it means pulling something out from the out of season clothes I have put away in my dresser to wear on fall or spring days. But in many instances, I don’t even need to do that.

For example, in my winter wardrobe, I have a few t-shirts I wear under sweaters. I can easily wear one of my t-shirts on a warmer spring day without the sweater and don’t need to change my wardrobe at all.

But overall, I’ve found it makes more sense for me to let my wardrobe naturally shift and change through the spring and fall. Adding and removing a few pieces here and there until I feel I’m ready to switch to my summer clothes or winter clothes.

I still prefer to only have in-season clothes available in my closet. It cuts down on visual clutter as well as makes it easier to pick my clothes when I don’t have to see/ignore out of season clothes.

My wardrobe is more flexible

More flexibility is another important capsule wardrobe update I’ve noticed.

When I first started dressing from a capsule wardrobe, it was important for me to only dress from the clothes I’d chosen for my current capsule. I wanted to really know what it felt like to only dress from a small selection of clothes.

If I gave myself permission to easily grab items from the clothes I had decided not to include in my capsule, it felt like it would defeat the purpose of doing a capsule wardrobe experiment to begin with.

I learned a lot by exclusively dressing from the clothes I’d chosen for my capsule.

Not only did it make it abundantly clear which items I loved and which I didn’t like all that much. But it also showed me that I don’t need endless options or more clothes to feel satisfied with my wardrobe.

Now that I’ve gotten used to dressing from a capsule wardrobe, I am more flexible with making adjustments to it as I’m living with it.

For example, I occasionally add items into my capsule during the season. And I also take things out if I notice they’re not working or I’m not wearing them. Sometimes I donate items I’m removing. And other times I put them away in my dresser if they aren’t working for the weather, etc.

Paying attention to what I’m wearing is key

The key for me is paying attention to what I’m wearing and what’s not getting worn often. It’s a matter of consciously and continually evaluating my wardrobe as I’m using it.

If I notice there’s an item I’m not wearing, I make a point to wear it in the next couple of days to decide if I love it or if something about it (color, style, fit, etc.) isn’t quite right.

My wardrobe has gotten bigger and smaller

And speaking of adding items in and out of my capsule, one of the biggest shifts and capsule wardrobe update I’ve noticed is that my wardrobe has gotten bigger and smaller. I’ll explain!

Smaller: Fewer clothes in storage

With my first capsule wardrobes, I kept anything I still liked but didn’t include in my current capsule wardrobe in our spare bedroom closet. Some of the items were out of season for the current capsule. But many of the items were in season, I just hadn’t chosen them for my capsule.

Over time, I began noticing which items I was always choosing for my capsules. As well as which items I rarely chose, or didn’t wear much when I did include them in my capsule.

This has allowed me to further declutter my wardrobe, getting rid of the “maybe” or “just in case” items I was keeping because I thought I liked them, but didn’t actually wear.

I realized if I don’t love an item enough to choose it for my capsule, I probably don’t love it enough to justify keeping it. And letting go gets easier the more you do it!

Now I have very few items stored in the spare bedroom closet, aside from some out of season items and my small selection of more formal and dress clothes. Just about all of my in-season clothes are currently in my capsule. I’ve weeded out anything I don’t absolutely love and enjoy wearing.

I have a couple of things I’m hanging on to, even though they’re not in my current capsule, because sometimes it’s hard to let go. And it’s about progress, not perfection!

Bigger: Slightly more clothes in my capsule

At the same time, the number of items in my current capsule is slightly higher than it was when I first started using a capsule wardrobe. My current capsule includes roughly 50 items.

Of course, I could choose to dress with fewer items, but I feel comfortable with the number of items I have. And the key point is that I love each item in my wardrobe.

For me, it’s less about the number of items I have. And more about how my wardrobe feels and functions for me.

As I said, if it feels like there’s too many choices, my closet feels too full or my wardrobe feels overwhelming in anyway, I know its time to edit and pare down my capsule.

I have higher standards for my clothes

Another important capsule wardrobe update is that the longer I dress with fewer clothes, the better I get at refining what stays in my wardrobe.

My standards for what earns a place in my wardrobe have risen a lot. I no longer let things stay if they are just ok or not bad. Each item has to be something I love if it’s going to keep its place in my wardrobe.

When you have fewer items in your wardrobe, you don’t have any space for items that aren’t pulling their weight.

If I notice an item is bothering me in some way (fit, style, color, etc.) I don’t keep it in my wardrobe. I now know it will just sit there unworn, forcing me to make a decision each day not to wear it.

Only the best of the best gets to stay!

Capsule wardrobe update - how it's changed, what's the same & why I still love it!
Photo by rocknwool on Unsplash

I am clarifying and refining my personal style

The longer I dress with less, the clearer it becomes what I look and feel my best in.

One thing I really love about a capsule wardrobe is that it’s helped me create a loose daily “uniform”. I’m not as committed to my uniform as Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, but I know the outfit formulas I like most.

And knowing my preferred uniform formulas makes getting dressed even easier.

For example, I’m honing in on what colors I prefer to wear, and keeping those colors as the majority of my wardrobe. For me, this looks like a lot of black, along with some charcoal grey and burgundy.

I’m less concerned with having variety just for the sake of variety in the colors of my wardrobe. And instead, embracing what I like and actually wear most days.

I’ve also learned that in this season of life, comfort is key for me. I still want to look put together, but it has to be in a way that makes me feel comfortable in my clothes. I’m not willing to put up with clothes that don’t feel good.

Also, the longer I dress from a capsule wardrobe, the less attention I pay to trends. And the more attention I pay to my own preferences, personal style and how I feel in my clothes.

And when I feel good in my clothes, I not only feel more comfortable, but I also feel more confident!

I still buy new clothes, but I shop differently

I have realized that I still enjoy shopping for new clothes and adding new items to my wardrobe on occasion. Just because I have a capsule wardrobe, I’ve decided it doesn’t mean I can never add anything new.

Instead, I’ve changed the way I shop for and buy clothes, shopping more intentionally and thoughtfully.

Because I have higher standards for what gets a place in my wardrobe, it has to be something I really love for me to add anything new to my wardrobe.

I also make sure I am continually editing my wardrobe, especially if I add something new. The “one in, one out rule” is one way I keep the number of clothes in my wardrobe from getting too large.

As I’ve been refining my wardrobe to only include items I love, there have been instances where I am left with a gap. In these cases, I have carefully and slowly shopped for new pieces to fill the gaps.

For example, I had a burgundy cardigan that I really loved the color, but didn’t love the fit and the thinness of the cardigan I had. I knew I would miss not having a burgundy cardigan because I wore it a lot. So I shopped for and found a new burgundy cardigan that fits great and is heavier.

The key is making sure I’m shopping slowly and intentionally for anything I’m adding to my wardrobe.

I usually first try living without an item to see if I even miss it. Then, if I do, I’ll be patient and take my time shopping for a new item, keeping my standards high and not settling for anything I don’t love.

It’s still a learning process and I make mistakes

This is not to say I never make wardrobe mistakes anymore though!

I am more careful about what I add to my wardrobe. But even though I work hard to shop slowly, carefully and intentionally, as well as know my personal style preferences better, I have bought things that didn’t end up working out.

But again, it’s about progress, not perfection. I try to use these mistakes as a learning opportunity to help me shop more intentionally moving forward.

I’ve also realized just how easy it is to get sucked into marketing campaigns, even when I know less is more!

For example, this fall I knew I wanted to replace my burgundy cardigan. As I started looking for a new option, it was like I opened the floodgates. I saw all the cute sweaters available and felt like I needed them all!

Even though I know I prefer a smaller wardrobe, it was easy to get sucked into the marketing campaigns and promotions. Not to mention the FOMO feeling when you feel like you won’t be stylish enough, or good enough without following the latest trends and styles.

These are hard habits and feelings to let go of. And it definitely doesn’t happen over night.

Just remember that embracing a capsule wardrobe is not about creating the “perfect wardrobe”. It’s about creating a wardrobe that makes life easier, instead of adding more stress and decisions to your life.

Focus on progress, not perfection. And if you make a mistake, learn from it and move on!

Capsule wardrobe update

My approach to creating a capsule wardrobe has definitely shifted over time. It’s more flexible now and I make my capsule work for me – making my life easier without adding any extra stress to my life.

Although keeping my capsule wardrobes seasonal and curated does require some extra effort, that effort is more than made up for in the time, energy and decisions I save myself by dressing with less!

Do you have any questions about my wardrobe that I didn’t cover in this capsule wardrobe update? Let me know in the comments below and I’d be happy to answer them!

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12 Comments

  1. Interesting. Because I’m new to your site I’ll have to research what a capsule wardrobe is. How does one get started? I have several closets of clothes and I love them all. I’d love to minimize what I have.
    Your concept sounds like one I could adapt to. Believe me I would be a case study on the whole issue! Your advise is appreciated.

    1. Hi Joan! Clothes can be some of the hardest things to minimize. I have quite a few posts about decluttering your wardrobe and starting a capsule wardrobe. I’d start with this one all about how to make a capsule wardrobe.

      You may also find this post helpful, 12 Reasons We Keep Clothes We Don’t Wear & How to Move Past Them

      Along with this one, The Best Trick to Purge your Wardrobe & 6 Questions to Help you Purge

      You can find all the posts I’ve written about capsule wardrobes here. If you have any questions as you check out these posts, let me know and I’d be happy to help! Thanks for reading!

  2. I completely know how you feel about rules and number restrictions on capsules. I did a Project 333 fall capsule last year, but quickly decided that the number was tripping me up and I felt bad if I “broke” a rule. Freedom is simplicity! =) I also noticed, like you, that seasons need transitions, not a full overhaul. I’m looking forward to refining my style and wardrobe over time and it’s so much less stressful with a capsule format in place. It truly is about finding your comfort place!

    1. Yes! I completely agree with you – it’s all about finding what feels like “enough” for you and having a capsule wardrobe format that makes your life easier, without adding any extra stress!

      I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who doesn’t like to break the rules – even if nobody cares but me! I definitely agree that there is freedom in simplicity, I love that, in fact!

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts and experiences. I always love hearing about what works and doesn’t work for other people when it comes to capsule wardrobes!

    1. Yes, I will absolutely share more about this Carli! I have had many requests to share what’s in my own capsule wardrobe, so I will be putting together a post in the next couple of weeks to show you what’s in my capsule and how I approach all the extras.

      In the meantime, as far as shoes and purses go, I keep it quite simple, especially during the winter. As far as shoes go, we live in a cold, snowy climate, so I wear my heavy winter boots the vast majority of the time. I do have a pair of nicer booties I wear when dressing up, but for me, it’s pretty much boots all winter long! I don’t have the patience to switch purses often, so I have one purse I use pretty much every day. I also have a larger tote bag I use when I have to carry extra things for a meeting, appointment, trip, etc.

      I used to wear more scarves, but haven’t been wearing them much lately. I have donated most of my scarves, and have just a couple of favourites I love the most now. Jewelry is one area I’m not that minimal with. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry every day, but I do have quite a few pieces I love. I used to make and sell jewelry, so I have some pieces I’ve made, as well as quite a few special pieces I’ve bought or been given that I really love. I keep my most frequently worn pieces out and accessible. Then keep my other pieces in a drawer in my closet. I have decluttered my jewelry collection a lot, so I only have items I really love left. I find because they are small and well organized, it doesn’t bother me to have a larger collection. I think the key is finding the right balance for you – if it feels overwhelming, it might be time to let some go.

      I hope that helps. Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for my next post with a full tour of my capsule wardrobe!

  3. Hi Melissa,
    I would be interested in seeing your pieces, or at least a list of types of pieces that work for you. Also, I have a hard time limiting my workout and gardening clothes, because they are the ones that need washing so much. I find it easier to just have a drawer of each than having to wash more often. Do you have any tips on that topic? Thanks for the blog!
    Angela

    1. I’m glad you found it helpful, Angela! I will be sharing a detailed look inside my own capsule wardrobe in the next couple of weeks so you can see what’s in my capsule.

      As far as workout and gardening clothes go, I would try to figure out what “enough” looks like for you. Try to think about how many outfits/items you typically need before doing laundry again. Then, go through what you have and pull out your favourite, go-to items. See how many that gives you. Is it enough? Often we keep extras or backups, just in case, but rarely actually wear them.

      And another thing – if having a drawer of each works for you, that is totally ok too! My whole goal when simplifying my wardrobe is to make life easier, without adding any stress in the process. If you feel comfortable with the amount of workout and gardening clothes you have, it’s totally fine to keep them! If you feel overwhelmed by the amount you have, you might want to try to pare them down a bit. The key is to find a balance that works for you!

      Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for my capsule wardrobe tour in the next couple of weeks!

  4. Great post! You have a lot of thoughtful posts about capsule wardrobes that are so helpful.
    I have wanted to simplify for a few years now but kept getting tripped up. I finally figured out that I didn’t really love what was in my closet so I went on a journey of discovery on how to dress myself. First, I finally got straight my body type (definitely a pear shape!) and exactly how to dress it to play up its benefits. This did not include wearing bigger and longer tops but learning all about fit, drawing attention to the correct areas, color theory, outfit balance, etc. Then I needed to get my style figured out. I found my playful side while still enjoying classic styling. Finding clothes that fit all of my new “rules” has been a bit challenging but I decided that I would no longer settle. I am worth having clothes I love and feel great in. Viola! Now I have a smaller set of clothing, all items I love, and I no longer feel the pull to constantly shop because I am content with what I have. I still do shop, I still do need to get rid of pieces that aren’t cutting it, etc. but am so much happier. The struggle is real but the results are worth it. It took me about 2 years to learn and rework my closet but it was time well spent.

    1. This is amazing, Jenifer! I absolutely love how you spent the time figuring out what kinds of clothes work best for you, then slowly rebuilding your wardrobe to only include things you love. This is so great and exactly what I strive for as well – a smaller wardrobe that’s carefully curated to only include items I love. Thank you so much for sharing more about your experience and the process you used to arrive where you are now. I really enjoyed reading about your journey and am so happy to hear you now have a wardrobe you love! Thanks for reading and thanks again for sharing!

  5. I am new here! And like what you share, confirming my own conclusions how to sort out and prioritize my wardrobe so the art of dressing is simple, a pleasure, and not totally life consuming.

    I do wonder if you ever share your personal wardrobe (photos, not trades 😄). Fashion trends aren’t important to me but staying current within my style is. So I’m ever on the lookout for good “how to dress” sense in every way.

    1. Welcome, Margo! I’m so happy you found me and this post was helpful for you. Yes, I just shared a look at my wardrobe so you can see how I apply these ideas in real life. Here’s the link:
      Spring to Winter Capsule Wardrobe

      I’ve written quite a bit about dressing with less, you can find all the posts related to reducing your wardrobe here:
      Capsule Wardrobe

      I hope this gives you a starting place. Let me know if you have any questions. Simplifying my wardrobe has been one of my favourite decluttering projects to date, so I’m always happy to talk more about it. Thanks for reading 🙂

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