Is a Capsule Wardrobe the right choice for you?
I took that question and applied it to myself. Is a capsule wardrobe the right choice for me as a woman over 50 (over 60 if you want to get specific)? This is how I went about responding to the question. See how my journey may apply to your answer to that question as I research the best capsule wardrobe formula to fit my lifestyle.
If your question is regarding how to organize your wardrobe, or how many items should be in a capsule wardrobe, these principles might be very helpful for you, too!
I’m not into paying bunches of money for clothes and accessories, but I do want to look cool and stylish even in my ripe old age. And, I’ve been drawn to the concept of a capsule wardrobe for awhile now. I created a Pinterest board with ideas, and find myself wanting to add inspiration to it fairly regularly, with capsule wardrobe examples.
So I decided to learn more about what a capsule wardrobe is, how to create one using the clothes I already own as a starting point, and what I would need to do in order to shout to the world, “Guess what, world? I have a capsule wardrobe!”
BEFORE GOING ANY FURTHER: As women over 50 and beyond, we’ve experienced some definite changes in our body shape, and that can be frustrating when it comes to the wardrobe and our personal style.
It doesn’t matter what philosophy you follow, a capsule wardrobe formula or anything else, if you’re not sure how to select the clothes that make you look and feel great, you won’t be happy.
But no worries, girlfriend. I created a simple email series course just for you! It will help you redefine and rediscover your personal, authentic style, and feel on the outside like the beautiful soul you are on the inside.
Definition of Capsule Wardrobe
Let’s start with what a capsule wardrobe means…what is the definition?
Capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe” in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.
Okay…that is how the concept began about 40 years ago. I can buy into the philosophy of using a few pieces of clothing and building a simple, classic style from there.
My style of dress has never been one that included a myriad of styles, countless pairs of shoes and a collection of purses. Nope, I’ve always been fairly simple in my choice of clothes and looks.
I did some research to see what has been written and suggested in the last few years with the concept of a Capsule Wardrobe, and it was pretty interesting.
Capsule Wardrobe Formulas and Examples
Capsule Wardrobe Approach #1:
Set aside a certain number of clothes and wear them for 3 months, then switch them out for a different, seasonally selected, set and wear that capsule wardrobe for 3 months. When a piece of clothing is worn or outdated, replace it.
My thoughts: This would work well for someone who lives in a climate that has distinct seasons. It also would give some variety and anticipation for a new look periodically.
Have 10 to 14 outfits that you love, feel good in and are appropriate for your lifestyle. Wear those outfits.
My thoughts: It’s a capsule wardrobe formula that allows for quite a bit of flexibility. If I were to choose this particular example, I would probably mix and match a little bit.
Or, stay true to each outfit and keep things very simple!
Capsule Wardrobe Approach #3:
Approach #3: Categorize your wardrobe into 3 parts – wardrobe staples, investment pieces, and fashion items…have a selection of each.
My thoughts: If your wardrobe has (or you’d like it to have) investment pieces and you want to stay up with fashion trends, this could be a good choice for you.
A curated selection of quality clothing and accessories that reflect your personal style and can be worn interchangeably to create a range of outfits, minimizing wardrobe clutter.
My thoughts: For the woman whose budget is up to it, a selection of carefully chosen quality pieces, perhaps with some professional assistance, could be the perfect capsule wardrobe formula for a beautiful, classic collection.
There are quite a variety of concepts and interpretations, but in my opinion, all comes down to the same essential conclusion and goal:
Wear the best quality pieces you can afford, maximizing the versatility of each, to create a variety of outfits and looks that can take you from day to night and fit your lifestyle. Use those pieces as your wardrobe. You will spend less money on clothes, find it easier to get dressed because the choices are fewer, and ultimately it will simplify your life.
Is a Capsule Wardrobe the Right Choice for Me?
I decided to go through my closet and take the approach of selecting the pieces I like the best and wear most often. I used these criteria:
- didn’t worry about how many pieces I was selecting, but chose what I like and wear most often
- did not include my work shirts (I wear custom tanks and T-shirts on the job), PJ’s or lounging/workout clothes
- chose a selection of jeans/slacks, tops, sweaters, jackets, shorts, and shoes
This is What Comprises My Capsule Wardrobe
It’s pretty simple, but when I pulled out the pieces I wear most often and enjoy, and fit with my very casual lifestyle (and sporadic social life), this is the result:
- 4 pair jeans/capris
- 1 pair skinny pants
- 2 pair shorts
- 11 tops…a mix of sleeveless, short sleeve and 3/4 sleeve, to cover the seasons in SW Florida
- 3 sweaters
- 1 casual jacket
- 1 sweater coat
- 1 swing coat
- 1 sweater/shawl
- 1 black dress
- 1 black jumpsuit
I selected a total of 27 pieces of clothing and 5 pair shoes/sandals, for a total of 32 items. And, a purse. Just one. I love unique purses, but the reality of my life is that one works just fine. I own a couple of clutches for those rare, special events when I don the little black dress and head out on the town, but that would be about the only time the purse would change.
So, I ask myself the question again. Is a capsule wardrobe the right choice for me? What do you think of my capsule wardrobe examples? What do you think yours would look like?
I’m not sure, but I’m going to give it a go and work with the 32 pieces that I selected today. They will remain as a group in my closet for the next few months, and will be the items that I choose from every day.
The rest of my clothes are still in the closet, but they’re set aside so I won’t get them mixed up. We’ll see what happens…I’ll report back and let you know 🙂
The Long-Term Results of My Capsule Wardrobe Experiment
It’s been about 18 months since I wrote this post and created my own capsule wardrobe formula, so I thought it would be a good time to revisit the philosophy.
Did I continue with the capsulized wardrobe philosophy? Yes, for about six months. And I didn’t really have issues with the mini-closet idea, that wasn’t a problem.
Actually I rather enjoyed having a more limited selection when choosing my outfits. Quick. Easy-Peasy. No Fuss.
But then I decided to move 1,100 miles north into a 4-season climate, so that life disruption, as well as the drastic change in climate, slid the capsule wardrobe to the back-seat in terms of priorities.
Would I do it again? Yes, I think I would create a capsule wardrobe again at some point.
It works great for these reasons as well as style personalities:
- it forces you to de-clutter the wardrobe periodically
- getting dressed is simple with more limited choices
- by utilizing the clothes you really love, you’re happier with your overall look and style
- someone who enjoys the simplicity of a ready-made wardrobe will enjoy this
- someone who thrives on shopping (the thrill of the hunt) and acquiring new pieces may not fare as well with a capsule wardrobe
- this philosophy could be a wonderful way to ‘start over’ with the wardrobe and make classic, timeless suggestions with quality pieces (fewer, but higher quality)
NEW! See how a Summer Capsule Wardrobe can provide style and flexibility for the warmer months or year-round season. It was great fun selecting the pieces for this fantasy collection that is affordable and flattering for women over 50.
How about you? Is a capsule wardrobe the right choice for you? Perhaps you’ll go through the same exercise I did, using your existing pieces and selecting the ones you enjoy wearing the most.
Use the capsule wardrobe examples as inspiration. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below!
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