Maria’s Guide to a Capsule Wardrobe

Hi there! My name is Maria Burnett, I’m a 22 year old accounting associate, cat lover, photographer and avid outdoors-woman living in Kentucky. Abbie has let me interrupt the usual blog flow to talk about my capsule wardrobe journey.

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“What is a capsule wardrobe?” This is a question I’ve been getting ever since I professed to have one. A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing that specifically fits the owner’s needs and personal style in a cohesive way – usually comprised of approximately 30-40 items. At least that’s how I would define it. Google a “capsule wardrobe” and you’ll come up with at least twenty different explanations! But for every individual, a capsule is tailored specifically for them. When I first heard of capsules and the minimalist closet I was just as skeptical as you. Only 35 pieces of clothing? How in the world could fewer clothes make getting dressed easier? And wouldn’t you get sick of wearing the same thing over and over? It just didn’t seem possible. But the more I read and learned about it from some great blogs and Youtube channels (My favorites are http://www.un-fancy.com and https://www.youtube.com/user/allinicolecherr) I was blown away by how put together and comfortable all they all seemed.

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I’ve been capsuling for about a year now and I absolutely LOVE it. As my personal style and clothing identity has grown, I’ve bought fewer and fewer clothes. I am much less likely to impulse buy, and I am hardly tempted to grab the newest styles from cheap stores, i.e. Forever 21, American Eagle, H&M, or Target. Instead I am happy with the choices I’ve made and I’m content with what’s already in my closet.

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Let’s get down to how I built my capsule. It may not be the way for you, but it might give you a place to start!
1) Go through your closet. Take stock of what you consistently wear and the pieces you bought and haven’t even taken the tags off of. (We all have those tops that were iffy but the sale was sooooo tempting!) Chances are, you already have a core part of your closet, you just haven’t noticed because of how cluttered it is with the things you never wear. After you’ve donated everything you don’t want anymore you may have pieces that you aren’t sure if you want to give up. Things you still love but may be out of season, or you haven’t had a chance to wear yet Push it to the back of your closet and give it a couple months. If you haven’t even though about it, toss it!
Subpoint 1 – if your closet has a lot of seasonal clothing that you can’t wear at the moment, throw it in a storage bin and forget about it! Then the next season you start building your capsule, your old, loved items will feel like new again! For FREE!
2) Figure out what pieces go together. A capsule works the best when almost all the pieces are cohesive. Each one can give you a large numbers of outfits when paired with a different jacket, pair of jeans, etc.
3) See what’s missing. When I first started I had a lot of things to wear, but after step two, I realized that I had a good start but there was some gaps that needed filling. I remember I needed an open front brown knit cardigan because it would go with almost every single piece in my wardrobe! You get the idea!
4) After you’ve decided what pieces you are in need of, research before buying. Instead of grabbing the first sweater or pair of jeans that fit your needs, make sure it’s a trusted brand, a quality piece, and if you are someone who tries to buy ethically made clothing – take a look into the company’s standards. When I started my capsule I decided that I would try to buy quality clothing that were classic pieces that I wouldn’t have to replace year after year.
5) Enjoy your streamlined mornings. Having a capsule has allowed me to get ready and out the door within ten minutes on the craziest of mornings. Not having a million choices of clothing that don’t work well together used to have me trying on pieces for thirty minutes before I was satisfied. No longer the case!

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Before I sign off, I want to make it clear that my capsule wardrobe still presents problems for me. I’m terrible at spring/summer capsules. Simply because I have never known how to dress well for heat. Because of this, my capsule was extremely small and towards the end of the season I was dying from boredom. I hope to have learned a lot from this past season and I’m excited for next year when I can take what I’ve learned and implement it into a capsule that better suits my needs. Even if you’re happy with your capsule at the beginning of the season, you definitely can feel stale and worn out by the end of it.
Another challenge is simply the urge to shop. Before I started this journey, I would buy a new top probably twice a month at the least. It’s really hard to stop looking at online stores when your email is bombarded daily with sales. It was so hard to not click and browse and be pulling out my debit card before I knew what was happening. And physically going into stores was hard. When you don’t see new things, it’s easier to be content with what you have. I had to stop going into clothing stores as often, and now I really don’t even like to shop in physical stores. I promise, it get’s easier.
The last challenge is distancing yourself from rules of the capsule world. So many blogs and youtubers try to keep their wardrobes at a specific number. (33, 35, 40, etc.) but everyone’s lives need a different wardrobe catered for them. I work in a casual office, so I don’t need a lot of business attire. But I also hike, mountain bike, and rock climb year round. My work and casual wardrobe are one in the same, but my active wear I simply decide not to count! Make it your own. It’s your clothing, your rules. That’s half the fun!
Capsule wardrobes are NOT for everyone. But I like to think that even if you don’t want a “capsule” wardrobe. These tips help anyone to pare down their belongings and get rid of excess clutter in their closet. The more you do it, the more fun it is to get rid of the excess.
I hope this has been informative and interesting to you all! I definitely enjoyed writing it. You can find more of me over on Instagram @mariaminimizes. Feel free to send me any and all the questions you have. I love to chat about my minimalism journey, bullet journals, and capsule wardrobe over there!
And of course a HUGE shutout to my dear friend Abbie for letting me soapbox on her beautiful blog. Thanks, girl!
– Maria

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