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After I became a mom of several kids, I found myself wanting to dress cute but at the same time I was spending most of my time at home. The playground didn’t require stilettos either. Truth be told, my weight was fluctuating and I didn’t know how to even get started.
I didn’t want to spend a ton of money and I needed pieces I could mix and match. I don’t mind wearing the same pieces often, as long as I love them.
In my search for a solution, I have heard about the concept of a capsule wardrobe. Since it fits right in with minimalism, I was intrigued.
What Is A Capsule Wardrobe
Different people have different definitions of a capsule wardrobe, but the original idea came from Caroline who blogs at UnFancy.com.
She describes a capsule wardrobe as 37 pieces of clothing for a season (3months period) that you can mix and match. It includes your pants, skirts, dresses, shirts, outerwear, and shoes.
It does not include accessories, pajamas, bathing suit, etc.
Since this is a mom blog, I am primarily focusing on stay-at-home or work-at-home moms when I talk about capsule wardrobe, therefore the capsule wardrobe does not include workwear either.
Why Is A Capsule Wardrobe Great
You own less
I am a minimalist wanna-be. I probably will never live in a tiny house or own only 3 things and walk everywhere, but I do strive for buying less, decluttering regularly and only keeping items that spark joy.
Naturally, a minimalist capsule wardrobe fits right into my busy life as a mom and my desire to own less. It provides me with classic staples that never go out of style.
You wear what you do own
Since I spend the majority of my days at home, I needed functional but cute outfits that get me out of the legging and baggy shirt frump. I wanted to feel comfy but at the same time look put together.
I personally feel a whole lot better with a little makeup on and in an outfit that wasn’t pulled back out of the dirty clothes basket.
With a capsule wardrobe, you wear everything that’s in your closet, because it is designed with only a few select pieces. You can completely tailor your outfits to your needs so it fits a busy mom’s life perfectly.
You don’t have to think
Another reason why a capsule wardrobe is so great is that it takes the guess-work out of getting dressed.
Ever felt like you have a closet full of stuff but have nothing to wear?
Or how about buying a beautiful shirt that you absolutely adore, only to find out that nothing you own goes with it?
Me too. I grew tired of it.
I wanted to stay on trend, have a super easy time choosing the outfit for the day and owning just enough items to keep things interesting.
There’s room for new trends and personality
Just because it is a capsule wardrobe with a minimal amount of pieces does not mean it is a boring uniform type of closet. Accessories are a perfect way to bring interest to a simple outfit.
You can also buy a couple of really trendy pieces every new season to keep things fresh.
You save money
Because a capsule wardrobe makes use of basic closet staples, you don’t have to be afraid of investing in a nice pair of classic jeans or boots, because you will use them over and over again.
They will not get lost on the bottom of your clothes pile only for you to buy another one, realizing you didn’t need it.
What a waste of money.
However, if you know what you own, and wear everything you own, you can boldly invest in quality pieces because you will get years of use out of them.
Not having to buy new items every single season will save you a ton of money.
Do You Have To Follow All The Rules?
Of course not! You’re a grown up! You do whatever you want.
In all seriousness, the purpose of a capsule wardrobe is to make your life easier, not to complicate it.
If you get too bogged down on following the rules about how many pieces and what colors, you will give up and never make the transition into a useful capsule wardrobe.
That would be a pity because you would miss out on the freedom a capsule wardrobe brings.
Another reason why following your personal style and making your own decisions about the wardrobe pieces are essential is that some colors may not look good on you that others define as “staples”.
If you think horizontal stripes make you look wider, or you despise leopard, you will hate wearing them, no matter how big of a staple they claim to be.
Why You May Be Afraid To Try A Capsule Wardrobe
I have given you a million reasons already to try it, but you still may have your doubts:
“I want to lose weight first, then buy new clothes”
“I will never find things that fit me” or
“I don’t even know my style” or
“I don’t like spending money on myself”
All of these are very real and valid reasons to feel like a capsule wardrobe isn’t for you.
At some point, I have felt all of these too, and on some days I still have to give myself a pep-talk to shut up these doubts.
Because all of these are doubts keeping you from trying something new that may just change your life.
Let me let you in on a little secret.
I started building my seasonal capsule wardrobes after my third baby, and I was nowhere near the weight I wanted.
Realizing that owning stylish clothes will help me feel pretty while losing weight was a big mindset change. I didn’t need to build my capsule wardrobe for eternity, just for now.
Which is why I opted for classics and only had a few outfits. Moms do laundry every day anyways, amIright?.
I also have a polyester allergy. Have you EVER tried buying anything without that material in it? Try searching for 5 minutes and you will take a Tylenol (or two) for a headache.
I literally have to go through every.single.item and check individually what material it is made out of. It doesn’t matter if I love it, has a great price tag and fits, if it has polyester, I can’t wear it.
If I did end up finding the right material, most of those are very thin, so I always have to think about layering.
Because of my shape, I only wear certain cuts of shirts and some items are totally out of the question. (turtlenecks and crewnecks anyone?)
Trust me, I have my fair share of problems finding clothes.
I hate shopping.
But you know what? I perfected my style through some trial and error. I now have a much better understanding of what fits me, what stores carry styles I like, so I end up finding enough items for an easy capsule wardrobe.
As far as spending money on myself, that used to be a biggie. I had to realize that I matter too. I would buy anything (almost) without a second thought if it’s for my kids, but I put myself on the bottom of the list.
The big picture all started to make sense when I figured out the one weird thing that makes me a better mom.
After that, I knew that my clothes matter too. I am not saying go overboard and spend your mortgage money on designer clothes. But don’t be afraid of setting aside a budget for you to buy clothes with.
It may fluctuate from month to month and you may only be able to buy one thing here and there, but set aside a certain amount of money to spend on yourself.
While working towards building a wardrobe you love, you may also find that you already own a bunch of cool staples, you just didn’t know how to wear them.
There are also tons of ways to save on clothing, just to mention a few: buying second hand or on clearance or in more affordable places like Old Navy, Target and Amazon.
Are you ready to put your doubts and fears aside and give this capsule wardrobe thing a shot?
How To Build A Mom Capsule Wardrobe To Keep You Looking Fab
So let’s say you love everything about the capsule wardrobe idea, but how should you even get started building one?
There are a few things you can do to build the perfect mom capsule wardrobe that will keep you feeling like a million bucks.
You don’t have to do a major overhaul and throw away everything you own and buy up the nearest mall all in one afternoon. (unless that’s how you roll)
You can take inventory and figure out what is it that you already own and love and what needs to go.
Without familiarizing yourself with the bottom of your closet, you will not be able to minimalize and build your capsule wardrobe efficiently.
Which brings me to my next point.
Don’t be afraid to part with items you haven’t been able to wear for whatever reason it is. If I don’t love it and haven’t worn it in a year, I toss it.
You could look at this as wasteful, but then let me ask you this? Wasn’t it wasteful to buy it without planning the first time around, only to be sitting in your closet and never see the light of day?
Give it a chance at a thrift store or donate to a women’s shelter. I am not saying you have to trash it.
As I am learning to make better choices with my wardrobe, eventually, the next time I toss things is when I wore something so much it’s embarrassing to wear any more or when I lose all the weight I want to get rid of and I will literally need completely new clothes.
This is an important step if you want to stay on top of what you own. You can separate your clothes by color or type, that’s up to you.
What I do strongly recommend is that you separate clothes by seasons and only keep out what you’re currently using.
This step will help you easily look through the contents of your closet and instantly see what’s necessary to buy.
Not to mention, how much easier it is not to have to dig through winter clothes in the middle of summer to get to your sleeveless dresses.
Here are a few organizational items I love (click on the picture to buy):
I waited too long to buy these amazing hangers, due to the fact that I didn’t believe they would make a difference, but when I finally did, I never wanted to use other hangers.
One of these flower shaped scarf organizers also hangs in my closet to keep..you guessed it, scarves organized. Just glancing at it I know exactly what I have to choose from.
I even hang my favorite belt on it that I use every day.
You can use baskets to store belts or scarves that you don’t use often enough but also don’t want to store them with out-of-season clothes.
Underwear, workout clothes, socks and pajamas are best in drawers, so they are not taking space up in the closet. If you are looking to keep those smaller items organized, try these organizers.
For jewelry, I have a small jewelry box on my bathroom counter. I almost always wear earrings, so I store a few current favorite there.
For my necklaces and other less frequently used earrings, I made a DIY jewelry board years ago, but it functions similar to the above-pictured jewelry board.
And finally, my favorite part of this entire post! You have prepped yourself and the closet, it is time to purchase what you will be wearing.
I have tried Pinterest, Stitch Fix and going on major clothes hunts in popular retail stores but none of them worked as well as a capsule wardrobe building program I found out about a few years ago.
Alison at Get Your Pretty On is an amazing blogger and stylist, who is known for her seasonal capsule wardrobe challenges.
Her approach has been a game-changer for me and finally took the “how” out of building a capsule wardrobe.
Each season, she sends out a shopping list of items and ideas on where to buy the items. She then emails outfits for 21 days that she personally put together based on the shopping list.
She revolutionalized my shopping because now I go with a plan and I don’t EVER have the problem of not knowing what to wear or how to pair items together.
I first started with the SAHM Basics Capsule Wardrobe Builder and then tried a few challenges. There was a small learning curve, but it was well worth it.
The more I participate in challenges and read her blog, the more I am able to figure out my style, my favorite stores and develop the ability to know what will or won’t work for me and adjust accordingly.
So it is absolutely up to you whether you follow her challenges to the T, or make your own adjustments.
She also runs a private Facebook group for each of the challenges where you can get access not only to her but to hundreds of fellow “pretties”, who offer support and their opinion.
I truly, honestly cannot say enough good things about Alison and what she does. She solved my dilemma.
You can learn more about the style challenges here.
If you want to have casual staples in your wardrobe that will never go out of style, check out the Casual Capsule Wardrobe Builder.
In this book, Alison compiled over 300 outfits for year-around style, giving you lists to all the pieces that you need to wear them. Check out the Big Book of Outfit Formulas here.
The links provided are affiliate links and there is one reason why I am a faithful reader, customer and an affiliate with Alison: She is making dressing stylish and on-trend realistic and doable.
Currently, I am participating in the Summer Style Challenge and I am loving it! Join me here: Summer Style Challenge.
If you are looking to build a capsule wardrobe or just simply looking for ideas on how to turn your clothes into a real-life mom wardrobe, this post has plenty of info to get you there.
If you think this post is awesome, share it with your friends. They will love updating their closet!
Thank you for putting this together so clearly! I have been dying for a good guide to clearing my closet of clothes I only wear because they are still hanging up haha! So actionable. I can’t wait to refer my readers to ya!
I am so excited you stopped by and thank you for your kind words! Yes, a capsule wardrobe is a game changer! Let me know how your cleaning process goes! Good luck!