Capsule Wardrobes Made Easy

Gorgeous cashmere dress + boots from fall capsule wardrobe

Capsule Wardrobes. You’ve tried one but you just couldn’t get it to work. It was supposed to make getting dressed easier in the mornings but it didn’t. Your clothes didn’t really suit your lifestyle and they didn’t work all that great together. Plus, you got bored. Where was all the fun in your capsule? 

We at The Capsule Project are tired of capsule wardrobes with the exact same pieces in them all over Pinterest. We admit, we’ve done it, too! While there are fantastic classic pieces that do add a lot to many a wardrobe, each of us is different. Our bodies, our coloring, our lifestyles, our budgets, our work...all different. Why should we all have the same wardrobe? 

We also realize that not following a pre-set capsule wardrobe creates issues. You wonder, if I don’t have the exact same pieces as that capsule wardrobe on Pinterest, how will mine work? What will I choose? 

Panic sets it. This is supposed to make life easier, not be a dreadful and confusing chore. In fact, creating a capsule wardrobe should be FUN. It should be EXPRESSIVE. It should say, "Hey world, this is my style and I love it!
 

 

 

 

How you want to look and feel will guide your choices.

Despite all of the resources about capsule wardrobes on the internet these days, we receive multiple emails each week from readers struggling to put together a cohesive wardrobe. They can’t figure out a color palette. They’re not sure how to dress for work or for play. They don’t know their “personal style”. They have no idea how to choose which pieces to include in their capsule. 

Honestly, it doesn’t have to be so difficult! 


Trust yourself. 


The only way to learn to love your wardrobe year after year is to listen to yourself and to trust what you’re hearing. 

You don’t have to know what your style type is, you just need to know what you like and how you want to feel. How it’s labelled doesn’t matter. 

You don’t have to have a set color palette. Yup, we said it. You do, however, need to know what colors you love and which colors are radiant on you. (We are going to delve into colors so much more over the next year. For now, we are including a few color tips to get you started.)

So, if you don’t truly need to figure out all of these things, how in the world do you put together a capsule wardrobe? Don’t fret.

This capsule wardrobe framework offers a solution.

 

Capsule Wardrobe Guiding Questions

exercise time! 

1. Head to Pinterest and select three looks you love for each of the following categories:
    Work
    Weekends - Day
    Nights Out (Non-formal)

2. Choose three words to describe each of these looks.  

3. Figure out the overlapping words. 

4. Determine the words that don’t overlap between the different types of outfit. 

5. Use three words to describe how you want to feel every time you get dressed.

6. Make note of words that are different between work v. play.


A Super-Simple & Successful Capsule Wardrobe Template

OK, now it’s time for the fun stuff! You know your overarching goals for the look and feel capsule, but how do you select all of your pieces? 

It’s likely most people select their capsule wardrobe items by type of clothing: shirts, bottoms, dresses, etc.

This is a mistake! 

Choosing your capsule pieces based on item type causes you to think about them in a vacuum at first and makes it more difficult to create a cohesive wardrobe. So, we are going to take a completely different approach. Read on below the example image for how to approach each capsule wardrobe.
 

Capsule Wardrobe Template for All Ages & Styles - The Capsule Project

Statement Makers

statement maker key qualities:

  1. luxurious fabrics

  2. rich colors

  3. fun prints

  4. unique details

  5. impeccable fit


You know the ones. The shirt with styling that makes people say, “WOW!” Or the pants in that amazing color blue. These are not wardrobe “basics” but they are the pieces that capture the essence of your style. 

Each capsule wardrobe should have five statement pieces: 1 dress, 2 tops, and 2 bottoms. (If you don’t wear dresses then swap in another item of your choosing.) Ideally, all of these pieces play extremely well together but each should also each have a special quality, color, or design that makes them stand out. On most days you will wear them with other pieces in your capsule. 

Five Favorites

sample pieces for five favorites:

  1. top in your eye color

  2. top in your eye color complement

  3. basic dark neutral dress

  4. your favorite jeans

  5. a skirt you feel great in

Choose five items that you simply can’t live without: 1 dress, 2 tops, and 2 bottoms (again). These pieces should work together and with your Statement Makers. These are go-to pieces that each have a bit of character or a standout role in your wardrobe but are a bit set apart by color or style from your Foundational Pieces (below). 

 

 

Levelled-Up Layers

Layer suggestions:

  1. 2 blazers

  2. 2 pullover sweater

  3. 2 cardigans

  4. 2 jackets

  5. 2 coats

Don’t overlook the impact layers have on your outfits! Blazers, sweaters jackets, coats, etc. are the pieces that can turn a combination of clothing into a perfectly styled outfit. You should have at least 5 layers, with 10 giving the most versatility.
 

 

 

Foundational Pieces

Recommended foundation pieces:

  1. 2 tank tops

  2. 2 t-shirts

  3. 3 blouses/tops

  4. leggings, jeans, pants

These pieces are the supportive spine of your capsule wardrobe. Mostly neutral colors, they ground your Statement Makers and Five Favorites and look great mixed with each other. Your top ten foundational pieces should still be items you love and that fit great, but they may not have the “wow” factor of some of your other pieces. These are essential to a workable wardrobe. 

 

Additive Accessories

Don’t weigh yourself down with humdrum shoes, bags, or belts. These are the pieces that can bring an outfit to life. Let them add to your put-together capsule wardrobe, not subtract or detract. Even a simple black pump can have a special flourish that shows your personality. Shine on with 10 pieces that make your outfits the life of the party.

About that exercise your did earlier...

As you work on putting together your capsule wardrobe, keep in mind your responses to the exercise. While you don't need to create the same outfits you selected, you do want to make sure that the pieces you select support your desired outcomes. 

Your overlapping words should apply to each item you chose, as well as all of the outfits you can create. Whether you wrote "confident" or "comfortable" you need to feel this way in every single item. 

Make sure you have a few pieces that fit the words you wrote that only apply to certain wardrobe functions like work or weekend. For example, if you wrote "powerful" for work, you should choose a couple items in each category that you can wear to work and that make you feel powerful. The trousers that make you feel like a boss when you wear them are perfect for work with a blouse yet they can still give you that same feeling dressed down with a t-shirt. 

If you want to look "flirty" for a night out on the town, you can still wear that lower cut top with a tank underneath and a blazer or cardigan for work. 

You've got this!


The fun kind of homework!

Instead of jumping right in to your own personal capsule, why not head to Polyvore and create one with the capsule wardrobe you'd like to achieve. This is a lot of fun! You can use this template and pop in the pieces you love in a new set.  

be inspired.

give it a try.

A New Minimalism

Approach Minimalism from a place of abundance, not scarcity.

Lack. Boring. Empty. Insufficient.

There's something wrong with how many of us think about "minimalism". We believe that having less means being less or not being true to ourselves. It scares us. So, we dismiss it. 

It doesn't have to be that way.

Leading a life of minimalism can mean something different for each of us. One person's perfect might be too much for another. Just enough for you might be way too little for your best friend. 

There is no one right way to be a Minimalist.

We are all familiar with the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. What’s right for Papa Bear is way too much for the baby bear and Goldilocks. We are all different people, so why should we be expected to all use the same approach? 

We shouldn’t.

Minimalism doesn’t have to come from a place of scarcity; rather, it should come from a place of abundance. 

We call it

Vibrant Minimalism

I know what you’re thinking: HUH?! Those two words don’t belong together. Well, let’s take a look at their definitions.


min·i·mal·ism /ˈminəməˌlizəm/ noun: “a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity”

vi·brant /ˈvībrənt/ adjective: “full of energy and enthusiasm; quivering; pulsating; (of color) bright and striking”


A minimalist has applied the design aesthetic to his or her lifestyle by freeing up space in a home or a life. She has gotten rid of clutter and unwanted items or experiences. As a result, her home is cleaner, perhaps a bit sparse, and she spends her time doing what she needs and wants to do. 

What is she really doing? Is it really all about reduction and removal? 

She is making a choice. Then another. And another.

She is choosing what she loves enough to keep in her life. She can then let go of all the rest.

When you approach minimalism with this attitude, you are choosing how you want to live. Instead of picking only what you want to delete from your life, you are selecting what you want to have in it. The reality is, if you are reading this blog, you likely have enough, probably more than you need. 

I know you may not feel like it. There never seems to be enough money, enough time, enough energy for most of us. If you are working two jobs, raising children alone, and struggling to makes ends meet without other support, holding what you love and cherish even closer may prove quite powerful. 

Say goodbye to the busy-ness of today and hello to vibrant minimalism. 
 

The 5 Rules of Vibrant Minimalism

The 5 Rules of Vibrant Minimalism

We usually don't believe in hard and fast rules here at The Capsule Project. In this instance, however, we think these rules should not be broken. 

  1. Cultivate an abundance mindset.
  2. Figure out what you love, what you desire.
  3. Prioritize your needs.
  4. Focus on what lights up your soul.
  5. Determine what just-right minimalism means to you. 

I'd be lying if I said that following the rules will be easy. Well, at least not at first. We have become habituated to believing that the grass is always greener, that if we just had that next big thing our lives would be better. Cultivating the mindset that we have all (or almost all) we need and that we are capable and worthy of receiving what we don’t have but truly need is a very difficult task, but it is incredibly important.

An abundance mindset rests at the core of every happy minimalist. 

Over the next several months we will explore: 

  • What each rule means in the abstract
  • What each rule means to you
  • How each rule plays out in various aspects of your life
  • Actions you can take to incorporate these rules into your life
  • How your actions move you towards Vibrant Minimalism
     
    Be fearless. Live vibrantly, you Minimalist.
    Think Fast: which two colors make you feel the most alive?

    Think Fast:

    Which two colors make you feel the most alive? 

    Are you using these colors in your life? In your home, in your wardrobe? Is it a color you eat? Come up with 3 new ways to add these colors into your daily life.

    Some Homework

    Examine your feelings about minimalism. What are your preconceptions? Use this worksheet to write them down then flip the story. It will take five minutes, tops. All you have to do for now is sit with what you’ve written, nothing more

    Be vibrant.be inspired. take action.

     

    Your 2016 Style Year in Review

    Your 2016 Style - FREE Workbook
     

    I'm going to keep this post short because it's more about you taking action than reading lots of my words. 

    2017 is right around the corner, so there's no better time than now to review your 2016 style! What did you love? What did you hate?

    I've created a workbook that includes space to write down:

    • your favorite pieces and outfits using those pieces

    • the pieces that made you feel great when you wore them
    • the pieces that you didn't feel amazing wearing 
    • your favorite colors to wear in 2016
    • any noticeable holes in your wardrobe 

    Take some time to fill out this workbook - it's the first step to figuring out your plan for 2017. I'll be sharing a 2017 planning workbook soon that delves into how to use this information for your most stylish year yet! 

    How to Dress Better with the Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge


    Note: this post was written in anticipation of our very first Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge in Fall 2016. Although the live challenge is now over you can now purchase the Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge at a reduced price of $17 (down from $49)! If you're not ready to commit to made-for-you outfits, download the free, detailed checklist and guide linked below.


    I'm very excited to announce the launch of the first Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge. This wardrobe challenge is centered around classic pieces you'll wear year after year to build a versatile wardrobe with plenty of mix and match outfit options. If you have wanted to try the "minimalist" look, this challenge is for you. If you love color but want to incorporate more neutrals, this challenge can also help you.

    5 outfits you can make from the challenge pieces. Join the challenge to get 21 more outfits based on the Five Piece French Wardrobe.

    5 outfits you can make from the challenge pieces. Join the challenge to get 21 more outfits based on the Five Piece French Wardrobe.

    Wondering why you should take the challenge? 

    • It's an affordable way to have a personal stylist. 30 pre-styled outfits. Enough said. 
    • This challenge will help you save time and money by knowing exactly what to buy. Everything in the challenge goes with other pieces and can be paired up multiple ways. Shop mindfully and with a purpose. No more "orphans" in your closet!
    • It's an easy way to learn how to "upgrade your look". Many of you have written that you'd like to upgrade your look. Even adding one or two of the right pieces can instantly update your style.
    • You'll learn how to create simple yet put-together outfits. It's so easy to get into a styling rut, always wearing the same pieces together without considering new combinations. The outfits in the challenge are essentially templates you can recreate with other items of clothing.
    • Wardrobes based on neutrals don't have to be boring. Simple styling suggestions encourage you to use the pieces in ways you might not have considered. Accessories are a great way to introduce your personality, as are your favorite pieces. You can even inject your own style into the challenge pieces.

    Click the image below for your FREE guide!


    + Will I have to spend a lot of money on new pieces?

    Nope! You'll find that you already have a lot of pieces that will work in your closet. It's up to you how much you spend on new items. I strongly advocate shopping your closet first! If you have a similar item in your wardrobe or a question about whether you can substitute a fitted cardigan for a blazer, the answer is yes. Make this challenge work for you!

    + I'm plus sized. Will this work for me?

    Capsule wardrobes work whether you're a size 2 ... or a size 22. Many consultants working with capsule wardrobes don't focus much on plus sized capsules. I just want you to know if you are plus-sized, this challenge will work for you, too.

    + I'm trying to move away from buying fast fashion. Are there options for me?

    If you want to move towards a more sustainable wardrobe, this challenge is for you! SO many of these pieces are available from ethical brands.

    + I live in the Southern Hemisphere or a hot location. Will I be able to participate?

    You are more than welcome to participate! For those who do experience cooler weather, you'll have lifetime access to the challenge so you'll be prepared when Fall rolls around. Although the outfits in this challenge will not be customized, think about warmer weather alternatives you can swap in. For example, a lightweight cotton cardigan instead of a cozy long cardigan, sandals for knee-high boots.

    Once you have those pieces in place, you can try a different outfit combo every day for 21-30 days created from pieces on your list. No more decision fatigue

    Have more time for yourself and feel your best by joining the challenge! If you feel stuck in a rut, don't know how to combine outfits, or want to upgrade your outfits, this challenge is for you. 

    At $17, this challenge will save you time and money because you'll know exactly what to get and how to style your outfits. For the cost of a handful of lattes, what have you got to lose?

    OK, don't put it off: join the Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge! It's almost Fall 2017, so get prepping. 

    9 pieces x 9 outfits. Just a sampling of the hundreds of outfits you can make from the Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge capsule wardrobe!

    9 pieces x 9 outfits. Just a sampling of the hundreds of outfits you can make from the Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge capsule wardrobe!

    More Sample Outfits

    Sneak Peek of Additional Outfits you can Create from the Challenge Pieces

    Get the challenge now!

    5 Ways to Build a Conscious Closet

    I'm so thankful for my wonderful and talented new friends from Factory45. In this world of fast fashion, many of us are wondering how we can make more ethical choices for our wardrobe. I'm so incredibly pleased to have Morgan of Two Fold Clothing educate all of us about five steps we can take to build a closet that holds true to our values. 

    Want to shop more ethically? The 5 tips will help you build a more conscious closet.

    One of today’s more popular topics is the fashion industry and the problems within it – including poor working conditions overseas, toxic chemicals and dyes used to grow and maintain fabrics, and the overwhelming waste issue. Consumers are becoming aware of these issues and are looking for alternatives. Consumers, millennials especially, are pushing back and demanding transparency from the brands they buy from.

    New (and old) clothing brands are learning how to keep their businesses fair, sustainable and transparent as possible and it is easier than ever to cultivate a sustainable and conscious closet. Here are a few tips for those looking to make a change for the better and curate a better closet.

    1. Value and take good care of the clothes you already own

    Taking care of the clothes you own is the best and most basic thing you can do to build a more ethical and conscious closet. Repair what's broken, handwash what needs to be handwashed, fold heavy sweaters instead of hanging them, and so on. Remember the dry cleaners? Yeah, take those beautiful silks to the dry cleaners to keep them smooth and luxurious. Clothes that are well-taken care of last much longer than those that aren’t cared for properly. This helps with the life of the garment which means buying less, thereby reducing waste.

    A great way to make the most of what you currently have in your closet is to organize and care for your keeper items. Purging is the first step in caring for the wardrobe you already have. Clearing the clutter helps to visually see what you love wearing and in turn, gives your closet a fresh feel. Creating a closet that flows and feels inspiring helps as you are getting dressed in the morning and can change your mindset from feeling like you have nothing to wear to one of excitement to get to wear your favorite sweater.

    2. Buy vintage when possible

    Another great, budget-friendly alternative to buying ethical brands is to repurpose pre-worn clothes, and save them from becoming just another thing in a landfill.

    Giving goods a second life cuts into the supply chain by reusing an item that would have otherwise been sent to a landfill, and by reducing the energy needed to produce it. You're also not contributing to the cycle of mass production.

    There are also many companies utilizing vintage fabrics, both by revamping used clothing and sourcing deadstock materials. Re/done has had tremendous success by modernizing vintage denim. Buying vintage almost ensures a unique wardrobe and you definitely won’t be matching your bestie. You can find some really incredible and insanely affordable treasures rummaging through your local thrift and vintage stores. And finally, it gives the clothes a new life and reduces the net waste of our industry!

    3. Go for clothes that are high quality

    No matter the brand, buying clothes that are well-made and consist of high-quality materials is more eco-friendly than buying lower-quality pieces, because they'll last longer and need to be replaced less often. And less closet turnover means what? Exactly, less shopping overall!

    Cotton and leather industries are particularly problematic, due to the toxic chemicals used to spray crops or treat materials. The good news is, there are organic mills here in the U.S. that operate with sustainable practices. Organic certification of, say, cotton includes important labor protections along with strict guidelines for growing and processing the cotton.

    Besides looking for organic cottons, customers can keep their eyes out for clothing composed of more sustainable materials. Make sure to read labels and stick to materials such as tencel, linen, alpaca wool, silk and recycled fibers when shopping for new clothes.

    4. Shop less, choose better: only buy pieces you love 100%

    The fast fashion industry may have gotten its name from the quick rate at which catwalk designs are delivered to the masses, but it just as accurately describes the quality of those pieces. When something is created/designed and manufactured in 3 weeks (the typical turn around for fast fashion brands), the attention to detail is slim to none and quality control is nearly impossible.

    Because the fashion industry is turning around new looks in such short time frames, we, in turn, are shopping more frequently than ever. We pick up new pieces here and there, because it's all so cheap and won't break the bank. The result: A closet full of so-so stuff that we are not too crazy about. And so we keep on shopping to fill that void, to replace imperfect pieces with better alternatives and to finally feel like we have enough to wear... it's a never-ending cycle. [Note from Rosie: if you haven't read Into Mind, you must.]

    So how can you break that cycle? Start choosing better and thinking slow. Slow fashion is a movement gaining momentum in response to fast fashion’s cheap, disposable clothes that come at the very high cost of the rampant human rights abuses and environmental degradation. It connects with other slow living movements that ask us to slow down and live mindfully.

    5. Support ethical brands

    A huge way to minimize a business's carbon footprint is to keep production local. Less travel means less fuel, and therefore less carbon dioxide emission. Many local manufacturers have much lower production minimums than factories overseas, which means less material will be wasted.  

    Keeping manufacturing close (and domestic in general) also ensures ethical treatment of employees and fair working conditions, since — unlike many other countries where garments are produced — U.S. law demands it. While buying from brands that manufacture overseas can often be cheaper, it may come at the cost of utilizing child labor, or deadly factory fires due to unsafe conditions.

    There are some amazing brands out there that are taking a stance against the demands of the fast fashion industry and thinking differently about our clothes. I am starting a brand, Two Fold, to do just that. If you are interested in in building a more ethical and conscious closet, take a moment to check out my new collection at www.twofoldclothing.com.

     

     

     

     

    Morgan is an apparel designer with a love for great conversation, living intentionally, and inspiring design. Along with starting her own business, Two Fold Clothing, Morgan enjoys spending time outdoors, drinking pumpkin tea and playing with her sweet pup, Sadie. She lives in Charlotte, NC with 2 roommates and loves this simple, yet wild life she’s been given.