Reduce your wardrobe without sacrificing your style.
By Janette Janero
I have always known my wardrobe was in the way of my productivity. We all know figuring out what to wear takes up time; this is why Steve Jobs famously only wore his black turtleneck and jeans ensemble. Limit choices, waste less time. Aside from taking up time in front of the closet, my clothes would also waste my time by becoming a large pile of dirty laundry that would take forever to sort, wash, fold, iron, and hang.
I was overwhelmed with how much time, space, and effort my clothes took up. However, I was attached to them too!
My breaking point came after I brought home my baby. My son was born two weeks early so I didn’t feel “ready” for him once I brought him home. (Disclaimer: you are never ready for what you experience after bringing home your first baby.) I felt behind on everything for the first four months of his life. Something had to give and I knew where I had to start.
I was determined to drastically reduce my wardrobe. Before beginning the purge, I researched which items are essential to building a minimal wardrobe. The term “capsule wardrobe” kept coming up. This strict 30-40 piece wardrobe (including shoes) sounded just like what I needed. I visualized myself in simple and sleek outfits very similar to one another varying only in color. I was very optimistic – until I opened my closet. There they were.
I took one look at all 10 of my banded-waist short full-skirts (as shown in photo) that I had worked so hard to hunt down and realized that I could NOT condense my closet to 30-40 items (including shoes). The thick waist band elongates my short torso. The full short skirt offsets my skinny long legs too. This feminine silhouette fits my figure and personality perfectly. I tried on many of these skirts but these 10 were the perfect ones that made the cut. I could not just discard them now because I got some bright idea to reduce my closets to just 30-40 items…including shoes!
Rather than give up on the concept to build a capsule wardrobe, I took the Naked Formula route and looked for ways to strip this concept to fit my lifestyle.
I started with my beloved skirts and laid them out across my bed. Once I saw their colors and fabric textures, I realized I could group them based on which of the four seasons I would wear them.
That is when it hit me. I can create a capsule wardrobe for each season! You can find a ton of articles telling you this is the wrong way to create a capsule wardrobe. However, this method allows for more variety and still gives me the benefits that come with dressing off a true capsule wardrobe.
- Reduces the amount of clothes in your closet
- Reduces the amount you spend on clothes
- Makes you focus on finding your style and not following trends.
So, although not conventional, here are Naked Formula’s 10 steps to stripping your wardrobe to create a seasonal capsule wardrobe
Step 1 Determine Your Favorite Piece of Clothing to Wear
This is what you build most of your outfits around. It should be what flatters your body type most. We will call these your anchor pieces. As you have already read, my anchor pieces are skirts. For other women it may be flowy blouses or wide-leg dress pants. For some men it could be button down dress shirts in printed fabric or graphic tees.
Step 2 Remove all Your Anchor Pieces from Your Closet
Place them somewhere where you can easily see all of them at once. A rolling clothes rack would be perfect, but laying them across you bed would work just as well.
Step 3 Separate Each Anchor Piece According to the Time of Year you would wear it.
You can divide the clothing into fall/winter and spring/summer sections or you can create a section for each season. Consider the weight and color of the fabric when deciding where each item belongs. Generally dark colors work well for winter wardrobes and light colors are considered best for summer attire.
Step 4 Remove the Items from Your Closet that You Could Use to Build an Outfit with Your Anchor Pieces.
Place any tops, bottoms, outerwear, and accessories like scarf’s and belts together with a coordinating or complimenting anchor pieces to create outfits.
Step 5 Establish a Color Pallet for Each Seasonal Section
You will find that a color scheme will start to emerge for each section once you put together an outfit for each anchor piece. You have already created a capsule for each seasonal section. Sticking with the same color theme for each seasonal capsule will make mixing and matching pieces within a section easier. Less effort will go into putting together an outfit because you will have fewer clothes to choose from and everything will easily coordinate with each other. Here are the color and patterns I have for each of my seasonal capsules.
- Flower Patterns
- Navy Blue
Step 6 Remove All the Clothes Remaining in Your Closet that Coordinate With Your Outfits.
Only remove those items that can be used to mix and match with your current outfits. They must be in good condition
Step 7 Remove Stand-alone Items like Dresses and Suites
These items should be added according to the season it is usually worn. Only add them to a capsule if they both work with the color pallet and season.
Step 8 Say Goodbye
By now what is left in your closet is either worn out or cannot be paired with any outfit in your seasonal capsule. It should not be as hard to say goodbye now since you already saved your favorite pieces and the items that go well with them. Donate all the remaining items. Items that are not in good condition can be cut and reused as wash rags depending on the fabric.
Step 9 Return the Current Season’s Capsule to your closet.
You can either pack the clothes in your other seasonal capsules or hang them back in your closet in garment bags. Now you have much less clothes to choose from making it simple to choose an outfit and easier to maintain your laundry.
Step 10 Be Strict With what You Bring Into Your Closet.
Only purchase a new piece of clothing that catches your eye if it:
- will replace an item that has become worn out
- can be used to build an outfit with a piece in your current season’s capsule.
- is not trendy
- is good quality. High end consignment shops are a good place to look for replacement pieces for your seasonal capsule as they are very high quality and more affordable than purchasing directly from designer stores.
- You want to strive to bring in only high quality items into your wardrobe so each article of clothing will last long and help you look sharp. Spending more on a few items is better than spending less on a ton of low quality items that will only end up polluting your lifestyle and making you less productive
- Stay away from stores like H&H and Forever 21. Clothes from flash fashion stores like these will not last because they are too trendy or poorly made.