{Is a Capsule Wardrobe for You?}

DTKAustin shows you how to achieve a capsule wardrobe with basics.

When I first heard about capsule wardrobes a few years ago I thought it was such an inventive idea for people who wanted to declutter their lives. So what exactly is a capsule wardrobe? It would be described as a compact wardrobe made up of specific staple pieces in neutral or similar color tones. A capsule wardrobe is normally comprised of 30 items or fewer which includes everything from clothing, shoes, bags, and accessories. It is essentially a fool proof way to get dressed on a daily basis.

Before you decide on a capsule wardrobe, ask yourself, is this really something I could achieve?? Initially, most people have a minor panic attack at the thought of only having 30-40 pieces TOTAL in their wardrobe. But the thing is, most of us have already compiled our very own capsule wardrobe by wearing the same types of clothing over and over again. So toss those old stragglers… There’s no need to hang on to something you haven’t worn in a year or more, unless it’s seasonal.

For me, getting rid of 75% of my clothes almost gave me a heart attack… What am I going to wear?? I literally have NO clothes now!! Sound a little over dramatic?? Think about it… If you’re like me, you gravitate towards the same garments on a daily basis and some of my clothes wouldn’t even get touched for months or years!! Why even hang on to something you know you won’t wear?? I know I don’t want to look at it everyday in my closet knowing that it doesn’t really go with anything. TOSS IT!! You can always restock items later because by the time you would actually wear it, it’s probably old and not in style anymore.

How do you know if a capsule wardrobe is for you? Let’s do a little test…

Are you shopping for clothing, shoes, bags, etc. more than once a week?

Do you just shop to shop??

If you had a bad day or just frustrated in general, are you shopping?

Do you have too many clothes and don’t know how to put outfits together?

Do you find yourself constantly browsing online just to buy something?

Does this sound like you?? This used to be me when I started my wardrobe styling company years ago. I had accumulated so many clothes that I hadn’t worn in years but I hated to just let them go. So dumb because who wants clutter?? I needed to stop making emotional purchases and really focus on things that I would actually wear and get my money’s worth from. I wanted to stop filling my closet with cheap, crappy clothes, costume jewelry, shoes, etc and I wanted to stop believing more nice, designer or even crappy stuff would bring me happiness. Because it doesn’t. It was a bad habit! In the end, no one cares about that stuff!

I understand a capsule wardrobe isn’t for everyone; some people need a larger work wardrobe, etc. So focus on an extended capsule wardrobe with maybe double the amount of pieces so you don’t feel like you’re doing to be walking around naked everyday with nothing to wear!

Personally, I knew I needed to make a change and declutter my entire life, starting with my cluttered wardrobe. No one should be overwhelmed when they walk into their own closet trying to find something to wear. The entire process should take a matter of five minutes tops. With a capsule collection, you can easily see everything you have and know that every single piece will easily match with one another. Who’s ready to make some changes?! 

Let’s start off easy… 

Find your style. Yes, that’s easier said than done. It took me years to get to a point that I realized I just don’t like color… Get a pen and notepad and start taking notes on what styles you love, what styles look best on you and a color palette you want to stick with. Most people aim towards neutrals – blacks, greys, ivory, white, camel, denim, etc. All of these neutral tones work extremely well together.

Time to sort. While this is fresh on your mind, get in that closet and start making piles; love, maybe, negatory and seasonal. Go through EVERYTHING. Try things on. Make sure things still work for your body type. Then organize colors and styles of your favorite pieces. Start looking for trends in what you wear on the regular. Don’t be shocked if you are left with only a select amount of pieces. That means it’s working!

Make a list of items that you need to complete your wardrobe. If you need more basic tops, a leather jacket, etc. I recently did a post on how to get organized and what to keep when cleaning out your closet.

Plan out specific pieces you absolutely need to achieve your new wardrobe, do a little research on who actually has these pieces and either order online or shop in-store. Planning this step out will help you avoid any unnecessary shopping, because how many times are we in stores and see something that we just have to have right then and there!

Now, time to implement this new style into your life.

If you’re willing to splurge, the list below is for you!

If you’re more on the budget friendly side, check out these MUST haves!

Once I made this change my stress level went way down. I no longer had to stand in my closet aimlessly browsing the racks trying to find something to wear. The one thing that takes pressure off of me is knowing that everything I have in this capsule wardrobe actually fits and will go with anything I pair it with. And for me, that’s a win!

If you’re going to take on the capsule wardrobe challenge go through the steps above and try and focus on that specific wardrobe for at least 2 months. That means absolutely NO shopping for 2 months… Why would you need to if you already have everything you need?? After a couple of months, start adding in supplemental pieces that you know will work. We don’t want you to get back into unnecessary shopping so make sure you plan out what you actually need.

As the seasons change, start planning again for things you’ll need when the warmer weather starts rolling out and then again when summer hits.

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    Mary Powers
    January 5, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Ok, this would be amazing!!! I answered yes to every question lol. Shopping is such a habit for me, a terrible addiction, really. Having a fashion blog does NOT HELP. How do you manage that part of it, while doing a capsule wardrobe? I would be so into doing this, but maybe with the 60 pieces to start out with.

    -Mary
    http://www.MissMaryPowers.com

    • Reply
      Ashley Hargrove
      January 5, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      It IS amazing!! It was hard at first but honestly, as a wardrobe stylist, I accumulate a TON of crap over the past 10 years so I would focus on selling or donating as much as I could so it wasn’t even in my house. Same with blogging; at first, anything I would get to shoot that I wouldn’t normally wear I gift to a friend or another blogger. NOW, I try and really focus on pieces that I would actually wear. I do love to hang out to classic shoes and bags but the amount of clothing I own is extremely minimal. I clean out my closet every 2 weeks! If there is something I am iffy about, I will put it in my styling closet to use on set instead. Much less stressful to deal with a smaller amount of clothing!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Ruthie
    January 5, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    OK so this sounds like something I would need to do! I would need quite a few pieces but because I like to shop so much and I need clothes for work a capsule wardrobe would be most practical! I enjoyed this post! Something I’m gonna look into further

  • Reply
    lexi
    January 5, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Love this idea! And if a capsule wardrobe involves the outfit you’re wearing, count me in! 😉

  • Reply
    Cambria Bridget
    January 5, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Love it! Especially creating new ones for different seasons!!

  • Reply
    Kayleigh
    January 5, 2017 at 10:49 pm

    I have been having such a major itch to purge but i’m just thinking about all the money i spent on it wah! But you’re so right, if you don’t wear it you don’t need it and can replenish! I love this!
    http://www.kayleighskloset.com

    • Reply
      Ashley Hargrove
      January 5, 2017 at 11:34 pm

      I felt the same way! I’m like, crap, all of this money down the drain, BUT I never wore it!! So it almost helps you see how much money you waste and then you start making smarter purchases! haha

  • Reply
    jenna
    January 6, 2017 at 2:37 am

    You’re perfect for a capsule wardrobe!!! All the black and grey haha!!

    Jenna from http://www.visionsofvogue.com

  • Reply
    Kasey
    January 6, 2017 at 2:54 am

    This would be so perfect! I wear the same 10 pieces anyways I should get rid of the rest!

  • Reply
    Marina
    January 6, 2017 at 3:53 am

    You described my shopping habits to a T, haha! I’ve always though about declutteribg and starting a capsule wardrobe. But getting rid of all my clothes just seems to terrifying! Even though I wear the same pieces in the same colors ALL the time… I think transitioning to a capsule wardrobe will be one of my new goals! 🙂

    • Reply
      Ashley Hargrove
      January 6, 2017 at 7:57 pm

      You should!! We don’t need all of this STUFF, because it is just stuff. It just causes more stress too!! Don’t worry about the money that was spent on it because you technically lost that $$ from never wearing the item. Focus your spending on items you will actually wear! Makes life 100% less stressful!

  • Reply
    Greta
    January 6, 2017 at 4:55 am

    YES! I worked with a company last year on this and got rid of a lot of my trendier pieces that I bought just to buy. A capsule is so great!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

  • Reply
    Dani
    January 6, 2017 at 5:31 am

    These are such AWESOME tips! I just cleaned out my closet & made sure to keep basics that I will wear again & ditched the trendier pieces that I’m just not comfortable in and collect dust in my closet! Fresh start for 2017! xo
    Dani // http://www.daniellealexandra.com

  • Reply
    Lauren Morgan
    January 6, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    I’ve been so curious about capsule wardrobes! I LOVE cleaning out my closet and parting with things. Shopping is definitely a habit thought– blogging doesn’t help that at all either.

    Xo, Lauren
    http://www.aloprofile.com/

  • Reply
    Lauren
    January 6, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I don’t think that I really want to create a capsule wardrobe, but I definitely need to do a major purge. I do wear the same things over and over!

    By Lauren M

  • Reply
    Maggie
    January 6, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    That coat is amazing and I love that you pair it with the knee high boots!

  • Reply
    Emily @ Style Me Tactical
    January 6, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    I’m pretty cutthroat when it comes to my closet. If I haven’t worn it in a year it’s gone. Ever since I started listening to the The Minimalists podcast two years ago I’ve been getting rid of so much stuff. I find now that I only buy clothing items that I truly love. It’s helped my shoe habit immensely as I no longer just buy shoes because they are cute. I go for quality pairs that I know I love and will wear more than once. I can only imagine the amount of clothes you’ve accumulated as a stylist.

  • Reply
    Jessica
    January 7, 2017 at 10:04 am

    That’s such a nice project! I don’t usually spend to much on shopping but I might still give this capsule wardrobe a try x

    Jessica — NinetyCo 

  • Reply
    Nstaly
    January 9, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    This sounds like something I need to do! I spend way too much on clothes! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Lauryn Hock
    January 9, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    I have often thought about this, but don’t think I could pull it off!!!
    xo,
    Lauryn
    http://www.lauryncakes.com

  • Reply
    Cece Lam
    January 12, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Yeah I totally agree with you! Letting go of sentiment items is definitely hard but a must-do! Good to start fresh every new year!

  • Reply
    Annabel Eguagie
    January 23, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    I really appreciate the fact that you made this post. I really need the capsule wardrobe in my life. For some reason i have wayyyy too many fall clothing, because of my obsession for fall fashion lol. This makes me suffer during the summer time of the year. Thank you so much for this post. xoxo

  • Reply
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