How Not to Make a Capsule Wardrobe


Like a lot of other people on the internet, I’ve taken an interest in the somewhat minimalist, make-the-most-out-of-your-closet lifehack known as the capsule wardrobe. Popularized by Caroline at, a capsule wardrobe is

a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear…a 37 piece wardrobe that includes tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, and shoes. (via)

Caroline offers a few tips, some of which I chose to ignore:

  1. 37 pieces. Mine was 34 pieces, which included 10 shirts (1 of which I never actually wore), 4 collared button downs (1 of which I, again, never actually wore), 2 pairs of leggings, 4 pairs of pants, 3 skirts (1 of which I wore once), 4 dresses, and 3 cardigans/blazers (all of which I barely wore), and 4 pairs of shoes.
  2. Three months (or one season). I actually made my season September – November, since temperatures would be consistent in Phoenix.
  3. No shopping. Obviously I still continued to get fixes to allow me to build and help me incorporate more variety over the three months.
  4. Buy for next season in the last two weeks of the current season. Also important: shop your closet, put together your inspiration boards, and complete your wardrobe planner beforehand.
  5. Less is more. This is kind of where I totally screwed up.

Now, here’s what my wardrobe looked like in my closet: just one section to look at every morning.



Now, some of you may have noticed in these images that basically every seasonal autumnal color is represented in at least one item. I thought this would be a great idea, but it was terrible. My wardrobe lacked a true sense of cohesion, and it limited my combinations significantly (nope, I don’t have the confidence to rock a rust top with berry pants). For winter, I’ve narrowed down my color palette significantly.

I also thought a lot about layering, which was somewhat dumb because it was still in the hundreds when I first started doing this. Even now, it’s usually in the sixties or seventies when I leave work. Layering and “cooler weather options”? Not that important in Phoenix. Make sure your wardrobe works for your climate and style, not just what other capsule wardrobes look like.

I’ll post a second installment next week with my winter wardrobe and how I applied lessons from fall!

Anyone else have capsule wardrobe tips? Leave a note in the comments!

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