It has been an amazing couple of weeks as the energy in and around me starts to get oriented to the new season. Whether you are moving into summer or winter, that shift can be such a good time to choose new projects, refocus your energy and/or make a fresh start.
If you’ve been watching Behind the Scenes, you’ll know that one of the ways I’m stepping into the new season is by designing a summer capsule wardrobe for myself. Jolie Guillebeau mentioned it in her newsletter recently and it sent me down a wonderful rabbit hole of exploration!
What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a compact collection of clothing designed to be complete for a season, comprising (ideally) of 28-37 items, which doesn’t include sleepwear or workout wear but does include shoes and accessories. (Truthfully, I laughed out loud when I saw it included accessories. My rings alone would knock me out of that ballpark!)
But there was something about this idea that grabbed me, something not only about the ease and simplification it offers but also about the capsule wardrobe as a creative act. As I imagined creating the Jamie Ridler Summer Collection 2015, I found myself getting more and more excited about the possibilities. Before I knew it, I was diving in!
Quick Tips & What Worked for Me In Creating a Capsule Wardrobe
Find Your Why. First decide why you’d like to embark on this process. If you connect to a reason near and dear to your heart you’ll make much better progress than if you simply say, “Oh, I should declutter my wardrobe. Maybe this will work.” For me, it was the magical nexus of creating ease and simplicity while expressing my personal style!
Treat Your Capsule as a Creative Project. Think of designing your season’s wardrobe as a creative project. What is your inspiration? What’s your colour story? What lifestyle are you designing for? What do you want to express? How are you reflected in the clothes you’re choosing? This seasonal approach gives us a great chance to experiment. Maybe you’ve been playing with the idea of creating a more artsy look or a glamorous one. Maybe your lifestyle has changed and you’re discovering who you are as a mother or an entrepreneur or a student. Let this capsule be an exploration of the part of you that is coming to life in the world!
Determine Your Needs. Every creative project comes with a set of needs, including your wardrobe. What’s the weather likely to be like? Do you have any special events coming up? What activities do you partake in? With art-making and gardening in the mix, I knew I needed some, well, shall we say “durable” gear. Another nice thing about the capsule approach is that you don’t have to figure out everything you’re ever going to need, EVER. You only have to think three months ahead. Much easier!
Start with What You Have. With your why, your needs and your vision in hand, start with what you have. (That’s the Studio Way: “Start where you are with what you have.”) You don’t have to tackle it all at once. First I looked at my outerwear. On another day I looked at what was in my closet. On a third day I worked through my drawers.
Remove What You Don’t Want to Include. I like to start with the easy stuff so first I removed anything that was not seasonally appropriate. Winter and fall stuff, outta here! Many people use this as an opportunity for assessment and clearing but I found that a bit too much, especially because I’m new to the capsule wardrobe concept. My priority this round was to get down to a solid wardrobe I felt great about this season. If it was an easy and obvious decision to let something go, I put it in a bag for donation. If not, I stored it.
Group Like Items. Next, group like items together: tank tops, pants, long-sleeved shirts, dresses. This allows you to see what you have and what you might need, making it easy to create a focused clothes shopping list. I had to laugh at myself as I did this. One by one I saw my collection of sleeveless black shirts grow and grow (and grow). Clearly, I didn’t need any more of those!
Gold Stars & Great Outfits. Now it’s time to start making choices. This is always a part of the creative process! What will you say yes to and what will you say no to? (Again, I found this easier because it’s only a for this season!) Remember you are assembling the entire cast for this season’s show so consider which items will play well with others. I found this to be a powerful part of the process. If I was going to have 33 pieces of clothing, 13 of those couldn’t be black sleeveless shirts! (Okay, I’m exaggerating) (a little). And if only three of them were going to be chosen, they would be the three I liked best! Suddenly instead of my favourite shirts being saved for special occasions, they were my go-tos! In that moment, I knew this capsule thing might just work! I felt good knowing that my favourite things wouldn’t languish in the closet. As a part of a much smaller wardrobe, they’d be worn and enjoyed. The summer of 2015 would be their year!
Admittedly, I’ve only been able to get down to 50 pieces and that doesn’t include shoes, jewellery or jackets, but I still feel the peace of having white space in my wardrobe. There is actually breathing room in my closet and an empty drawer in my dresser and that feels awesome! I’m finding outfits easier to choose and I’m enjoying my selections. I’ve learned a lot not only about my style but also about my lifestyle and my priorities. So far, the capsule wardrobe is turning out to be a rewarding creative project!