The Case for a Capsule Wardrobe

As a busy entrepreneuress, my mind is constantly in creation mode. I am always thinking about what I’m currently working on, what I want to work on next, and how I can improve my business on all levels.

I am also the face of my brand, so my appearance is very important to me. It’s almost a full-time job to look and feel fantastic, so that I can continue to produce stellar work. The two are so heavily intertwined and if you don’t believe me, spend a week working from your laptop in sweatpants. The work you produce when you don’t feel amazing about yourself isn’t, well, amazing. So things like self-care and personal style take a front seat in my world. As I always preach, #WomanFirstBossSecond.

The battle between styling my mind and styling myself is ever-present. Sometimes there’s just twenty minutes in the morning to finish a blog post, suck down a coffee, and choose an outfit for the day. I found myself getting frustrated with the whole outfit-selection process recently, especially since I’m not in a normal 9-5 setting anymore. I have freedom to wear whatever I want, there are no dress codes in my world, other than the ones I set for myself. Freedom is wonderful, but it also means more decisions – and for a creative-brained person, too many of those can be deadly.

To help streamline my life in a whole new way, I decided to revamp my closet to help ultimately revamp my look. The goal was to create a sleek, polished wardrobe that made me feel fabulous. So on a rainy, Saturday morning fueled by many, many coffees (have I mentioned how in love I am with my Nespresso machine?) I decided to rip the doors off my closets and reorganize everything.

It’s no secret that I love to shop. I regularly accumulate an abundance of clothing, shoes, and accessories. So every couple of months, I tear apart my closet, take whatever hasn’t been worn in the past six months, and either give it away to lucky cousins or friends, or donate it. It’s actually become a “thing” now – when Cara’s cleaning out her closets, look out and line up.

But this past re-org sesh was a bit different. I decided that I was not only accumulating way too much shit, but this time, my style felt a little out of balance. I love wearing all black, but I had some random items creeping into my closet space that didn’t feel like they fit the look I have in my head (you know we all have that look we’re constantly striving for – mine is impossibly chic, classic, and a little bit scary like, “don’t mess with this one”).

As I sorted through my belongings I noticed I was paring things down much more than usual. When I was finally finished, I had an excess of about twenty empty black velvet hangers. By the way, if you don’t use these, then you must. They are a game changer.

I kept only the best pieces in my closet this time around – my black and creme Zara boyfriend blazers, a white button-down shirt, a few of the exact same Madewell black t-shirts, my moto jacket, black leggings (shiny, knit, and faux leather), and a few other items. I realized I had created a capsule wardrobe without even trying.

Initially invented by Caroline Rector of Unfancy, this movement is all about minimizing your wardrobe. Rector advocates trimming your closet down to 37 pieces, only keeping those you love to wear. Your capsule should include items you already own and love, and a few new high-quality pieces each season to keep things fresh. The idea is to save time, money, and energy for the things in life that really matter. She also feels it helps you define your personal style.

Check out my refresh below. Can you guess my favorite color?

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When all was said and done with my project, I felt more confident. Every single thing in my closet now looks and feels amazing. It helps me stay committed to my uniform (I actually have a few uniforms), but I basically know exactly what I’m wearing every day.  It truly does free up my time to be creative and focus on more important things, like creating inspiring and empowering content for you ladies.

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Here’s an example of an outfit that I recently pulled within less than a minute from my new closet. I was invited to a brunch with a fellow entprereneuress, and I was able to instantly grab something that fit well, and made me feel fierce. Had I not created my capsule closet, I can guarantee you I would have spent at least an hour trying on 1749 outfits, only to be reduced to a pile of stress-induced tears, wondering if 10:30 am was too early for a glass of Pinot Noir.

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Here are my top 5 benefits of creating your own capsule wardrobe:

  1. Less energy focused on choosing outfits, more energy focused on being a fabulous woman who is making a serious impact in this world (and who looks great doing it).
  2. Boosted confidence. You know every single item in your closet makes you look and feel like a million bucks.
  3. You will save money. Once you know what you own, you’ll want to invest in a few additional quality pieces, but you won’t mindlessly shop because you’ll realize you don’t need that much more.
  4. Your style will be instantly elevated. Women who stick to a signature style always look put together and expensive. With less options, you will look sleek, chic, and professional.
  5. You will feel clear. Organization is my drug of choice. When things are in order, I have a sense of control and calm that allows everything else in my life to flow better. Get rid of the dead weight and watch yourself soar!

Read more about capsule wardrobes on Caroline’s blog, Unfancy.

My personal picks for must-have capsule pieces:

Black leggings

White button down top

Black boyfriend blazer

Basic black tee

Black vintage Chanel tote

 

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Showing 15 comments
  • GRIT & GLAMOUR
    Reply

    Cara, love this post! You’re inspiring me to really pare down my closet. I used to be really vigilant with my editing, but I’ve been noticing that there’s a LOT in my closet I don’t wear now, especially since I started working from home. I think when the seasons change and I do my usual seasonal swap, I’m going to take out a LOT more than I usually do, and say goodbye to most of it.

    Also, please add sharing icons/functionality to your blog so we can easily share your pearls of wisdom in the usual social spaces!

    xo
    V

    • caraalwill
      Reply

      Thanks V! And I will get on that! xoxo

  • Sara Palacios
    Reply

    This is an incredible idea. I’ve been thinking about doing a capsule wardrobe for a while now but haven’t taken the plunge. I’ve got so many articles of clothing that need to be donated or given away. It’s a task I’ve been dreading for a while now but after reading this and your success story, I’m feeling more inspired. Thanks, Cara!

    • caraalwill
      Reply

      Awesome!! So happy it inspired you!

    • caraalwill
      Reply

      So happy this inspired you! xoxox

  • Birgit Putteman
    Reply

    I know what I’m doing this weekend! My closet is filled with zillion things I don’t wear. Only taking space from the gorgeous things I do have, but forgotten under the pile of junk ( not proud).
    6/ clothes will stay in better shape without the wrinkles from overfilled wardrobes

    The only thing I’m still struggling with…I’m a libra and I can’t chose between different signature styles 🙆🏻. So need to get my inner Carrie Brdshaw under control 😉

    Xoxo,
    B

    • caraalwill
      Reply

      YES! You can also create 2 capsules – one for your inner Carrie and one for your inner Charlotte! xoxo

  • Suni
    Reply

    I’ve been wanting to do this so badly, but I’m worried that I’ll continue to talk myself out of actually getting rid of things that I don’t need/wear, which I constantly do! I really hate the struggle every morning of not wanting to wear anything in my closet, and I know that if I minimize things it will get a whole lot better, I just need to discipline myself and actually do it!

    • caraalwill
      Reply

      I feel you! It helps if you know you are donating or giving away the clothes that you aren’t keeping. Sewing the good karma seeds! (fashion pun totally intended!) xo

  • Brianna
    Reply

    Love this! While I don’t think I’ll be able to shrink things down to a full capsule wardrobe, I do go through my closet and drawers every few months and get rid of things that are feeling a bit to “young” for me now or not fitting the ultimate style I wish to achieve, and it’s so refreshing once it’s done and there’s just less in the closet. Donating feels good and having less feels good. Win win.

    http://www.divaandthedivine.com

    • caraalwill
      Reply

      Totally! Have fun with it! xoxo

  • Ashley
    Reply

    I had to come back to this post because it inspired for Fall! I normally do not wear a ton of black and white. Yet, for Fall I plan to try it a bit more at least for an entire week! Thanks again for the inspiration!

  • Natasha Nyeke
    Reply

    Absolutely love this post all I want is to be chic and organised and I just wrote my own blog about how distracted I get by frivolous and buy so much I never wear again.

  • Kimberly
    Reply

    Amazing. The perfect closet & style. Dropping off 2 bags to donate today, but after seeing this post, it may be time to scale down a bit more…

pingbacks / trackbacks
  • […] Closet clean up. This one goes without saying. I organize my closet every season, but fall is my favorite time for fashion so this month is especially exciting for me. It’s time to put away the sun dresses and tanks and break out the blazers, luxe layers, and sophisticated fabrics. Consider a capsule wardrobe if you’re looking to feel super organized and chic this season. I did a post about how I created mine a few weeks ago, check it out here. […]

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