How to Build a Spring Capsule Wardrobe!
As I write this, I am feeling optimistic. The birds are chirping and the snow is starting to melt (possibly wishful thinking but I KNOW it will happen soon!) and I am starting to feel like spring is arriving! I await so anxiously for this season every single year as it is one of my favourites. The promise of warmer weather, lazy summer afternoons, warm days to stroll with my family, and this year the promise of a ridiculously laid back staycation! All of these things make me anticipate spring every single year.
Last week on the blog, I wrote about making a spring and summer wardrobe for your children - you can read that blog post here! Today we dive into the nitty gritty and talk about making YOUR wardrobe for spring! This is my favourite thing!! Let's dive in.
I have always loved fashion. Not high fashion per se, but definitely the idea of looking put together and feeling confident in all situations. I went through a lot of years where I did not feel confident with my clothing choices or my wardrobe. I was always on the hunt for good sales and therefore did not buy quality items. If I did find something I absolutely loved, generally I did not think about what else was needed to make it into an outfit and could never wear it.
This was not working for me!
Everyday my wardrobe felt like it needed replacing and sprucing up, even if I had just gone shopping. I would need an outfit and walk into my wardrobe full of items I had grabbed because they were on sale, or a "basic" that I thought I needed, or a gift purchased by a friend or family member, with a few favourites sprinkled through that matched nothing. And I would pick the same 2 outfits every single time.
So frustrating! Every day was a challenge and we all know starting your day off like that is NOT ideal. I suffered through this until one day I stumbled across capsule wardrobes and I can honestly say I never looked back.
I started reading every single article I could find about capsule wardrobes: what they are, how to build one, finding your colours, everything. I was obsessed.
I learned that with a capsule wardrobe, you only shop 4 times a year. PERFECT! I could budget for this!
I learned that with a capsule wardrobe, every item matches every other item. PERFECT! Everything works together!
I learned that with a capsule wardrobe, I could identify my style and search for those items. PERFECT! I would know exactly how to shop!
This was the idea I had been searching for!
It was straightforward and easy to do. I could build it with all of my favourite items. I would have a cute outfit I loved every single day!
You guys, I built my first one and have never looked back. Today I share with you how I plan and create my wardrobe every year.
Also, grab your very own worksheet here and you can work through your own wardrobe right along with me. Let's go!
To start off and cover the basics, I want to let you know that the capsule wardrobe I build is for items that I will be wearing daily, during the day, for the entire day. This means I keep the following items separate from my capsule:
work clothes (ie. for painting, or carpentry, etc.)
I live in Canada, and here outerwear could be it's own capsule. And lounge wear should be cute, yes, but also comfy. And yes, sometimes this girl needs some painting clothes.
That being said, I do find that these items for sure still fall within my favourite style and colours from my capsule wardrobe, but I just don't include them when I am going through and designing my wardrobe. I consider them my base wardrobe, and try to have only as many items as I need for each of these item categories.
Alright! Now that we've identified those pieces, let's get to the fun part!
Step 1: Find your style.
If you ask me, this is the most fun step of all!
Okay here's how we do this. I want you to grab your favourite beverage, take an afternoon on the couch with your phone and browse Pinterest. Search "Spring Outfits" and save every single outfit you see that piques your interest. Don't overthink this! If you like something about it and you don't know why, save it. If you stumble across a dress or a shirt you just love, save it. Spend a bit of time doing this. Again, do not think about it, just get trigger happy and save!
I am a self pronounced Pinterest junkie and do this throughout the year for all seasons. I constantly have a "Spring Wardrobe" board, as well as a Fall, Winter and Summer board. I add to them whenever I see an outfit come up on my Pinterest wall that I love. You can do this with any other method as well, such as taking a picture of an outfit you love in a magazine or in person in a store, cutting them out if you still like doing that, or even taking a screen shot of an outfit when you stumble across something you like online shopping.
Once you've saved quite a few outfits, grab a pencil and a piece of paper and assess what you have saved! Take note of:
Repeating patterns (Maybe you love stripes? Polka dots? Florals?)
Colours you notice are reappearing (Do you love red? Bright colours? Denim?)
Items you see repeating (For instance I love a wedge shoe and they are all over my Pinterest boards)
Base neutrals you are drawn to (Do you lean towards more black or navy? White or cream? Grey or brown?)
Styles you have saved (Do you see lots of laid back looks? Fancy looks? Dresses or jeans? Rompers?)
Statement items (Have you saved large, chunky jewelry or small dainty layered pieces?)
Take note of anything you notice and then read what you have written down.
You will be shocked to find out you have just nailed your style!
Again, this is my FAVOURITE part. It can be so eye opening to know that hey, maybe you've always been told you need a black base in a wardrobe but you LOVE navy! Or maybe you always wear jeans but you've saved tons of flirty dresses and wish you could dress like that. Your style is screaming at you from that page! Take note!
Now that you have determined your style ...
Step 2: Determine your wardrobe colours.
Okay I am realizing that I am going to say each step is my favourite step. Have I mentioned I am an excitable person? I AM.
Now you get to determine what colours you will use to build your wardrobe. This is how I recommend going about this.
Choose 2: Black, Navy, Brown, Grey, White, Cream
You need a base that can inform your wardrobe choices. For instance, my mom is a total navy person. Put a navy and white striped top in front of her (nautical look anyone??) and she immediately grabs for it. So when she is searching for a cardigan, it only makes sense that she would pick a navy one.
I on the other hand do not like navy at all. For years I purchased it because my mom used it as her base until I realized that I prefer black. Therefore I always start out my wardrobe with black.
I also know that I love white. A crisp white top, dress, coat or blazer have all graced my closet (and my Pinterest board) numerous times! Some people question how I do this with young children - I just do. This is how much I love white.
So my two wardrobe base colours are black and white.
I know that I won't be buying cream or navy or brown or grey but will go with black and white for a base.
Choose the 2 base colours from the list above that you have identified as your favourites from Step 1! Then move on to deciding on your accent colours.
Accent colours should be colours you love, colours you always reach for when out shopping, and colours you know look good on you. You should have noticed a bit of a trend with those colours when completing Step 1.
Personally, my accent colours are always the same every single season.
My accent colours are rosy pink, army green, denim, and oatmeal.
The other items I recommend choosing are:
I personally do gold for my basics, although I have been known to mix metals at times and like to throw in pops of silver.
This is referring to belts, purses and shoes. I recommend deciding on brown or black, or another colour if you desire. I use brown leather as my choice and make all of my purchases keeping this in mind.
Step 3: Identify your activities.
We all have different ideas of a night out. Some of us spend it at a Boston Pizza (anyone else?), and for others this might mean a $400 meal at a 5 star restaurant. You also might work at home, in an office, or maybe in scrubs requiring you to have no work wear!
The point is, we all require different wardrobe pieces to make our wardrobe work for us.
Here are the following 5 outfit categories to think about when creating your wardrobe:
Office Wear (meetings, on the job, etc.)
Active Wear (running errands, taking your kids to events, etc.)
Dress Wear (night out, formal events, etc.)
Fun Night Wear (date night, dinner with friends, etc.)
Home Wear (working from home, mom time, daily chores, etc.)
I want you to identify the top 3 that suit your lifestyle right now. For me at this time that would be Active Wear, Office Wear, Home Wear. Let's be honest, in my life right now, I am not having date night too often and when I do, I can totally use my office wear. (Actually, to be totally transparent, as I write this right now I am in entirely home wear as it is day 26 of our quarantine but LET'S STAY POSTIIVE AND OPTIMISTIC. This will change. Amen)
Pick your 3 outfit categories and identify what that means for your wardrobe choices. For me, active, office and home wear means I have a lot of jeans, cute running around outfits that are also comfy and tops and bottoms that can double for work.
Step 4: Reassess your current wardrobe.
Now that you know what styles and looks make you excited, what colours you love, and what activities you need to have clothing for, let's head to your closet!
This part is FUN. (Again, already said that. Moving on.)
I use a 3 part system when decluttering and today will help you to use it to clear out your closet to see what you have!
Take all of your clothes out of your closet and place them on your bed. All of them! Leave no man behind. Once you're done, might as well give your closet a wipe out as it is clear and empty and possibly in need of a deep clean (just me?) As discussed above, sort through your pajamas, workout clothing, outerwear and lounge wear first. Still ask if you love, need and wear each item, and then put them away and get started on the real meat of the wardrobe.
Pull each item of clothing out of the pile and ask yourself the following 4 questions:
1) Do you love it? Would you still buy it today?
2) Do you need it? How many do you have? Pick your favourite!
3) Do you wear it? If you have not worn it in the last season, time to donate!
4) Does it fit? Don't keep those items around that cause shame!
I can almost guarantee that your favourite items will be ones that already fit within your identified colours and style. It's very interesting that the items we really love usually work with our capsule!
Step 5: Plan your capsule.
Good news: You are done the prep! Now for the fun part!
First and foremost, this is important: there is no specific number of items that I can promise will work. What?? I thought she was going to tell me exactly what I need!
Here is why I will not do that. If I tell you that you need 10 tops, some of you are going to say it is too many and others will say it is too little. So this is what I'm going to say:
The number of items is entirely up to you!
What I will encourage you to do is think about what you might actually NEED. Then try it for a season and re-evaluate when you shop for summer!
That being said, I will share with you my list and feel free to use it to make your own or come up with your own numbers entirely! Here is the number of items I use to make up my wardrobe every single season:
10 Tops (this includes all types, season dependent whether it has more sweaters or more tank tops)
8 Bottoms (I used to do 5 but now work 2 days a week in an office setting and cannot wear shorts there so I adjusted to make it work with my different activities)
5 Dresses &/or Skirts (I wear dresses a lot in both the summer and winter. I also put rompers in this category)
The idea here is not amount. It is knowing that you love every single item and that it is good quality and that everything works together. This way you have many outfit options at your fingertips every time you go to get dressed.
That being said, this number of items works perfectly for me. I am able to keep my wardrobe stocked with items that are quality that I love and that go together.
I encourage you to write down your perfect number, try it for a season, and adjust as necessary!
And that is it!
I promise you if you give this a chance, it will change the way you look at your wardrobe. You will purchase items thoughtfully and only buy items you TRULY love. Your closet will be filled with items personally curated to your style, your favourite colours, who YOU are and it will finally feel like this wardrobe was made for you.
Because, it was!
Enjoy planning your spring wardrobe and I hope the snow melts soon for you also!