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
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.
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
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!
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
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!