An intentional collection of coordinating clothing, a winter capsule wardrobe will simplify your mornings, free up your closet space and give you a boost of confidence. Plus, it will keep you warm and cozy! Follow my tips below to get started.
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I put a lot of thought into my clothing as a teen and young adult. Then I got married and worked full-time as a dental assistant. I wore scrubs at work, then would come home and change into "comfy clothes", aka sweatpants or yoga pants and a hoodie.
Once we had our daughter, I was home full-time. Hurray! This is what I've always dreamed of and I'm absolutely loving it. But I realized after a while that I didn't really like the clothes I had. Almost all of them had something I didn't like about them- the fit, the fabric, the maintenance, etc. And basically everything was 5+ years old.
So last year, I just did what everyone else was doing and bought a few pairs of leggings and some fitted t-shirts and wore these as my everyday clothes.
I realized after a while that I felt so casual and I wanted to dress a little more refined.
For my Christmas present, I told my husband I wanted money to go shopping to create a capsule wardrobe for the cold weather season. I followed the process outlined below to plan before doing this so I would be extremely intentional with my purchases.
I'm absolutely loving this minimalist capsule wardrobe thing! I've got a little money left over that I'll either use to buy a few items for my summer capsule wardrobe or some accessories (earrings are my favorite) to add a little something extra to my current outfits.
Please give this a try! It will seriously simplify your life and make you feel like a million bucks. If you're on a tight budget, second hand stores are a good place to find higher quality items at a great price.
Check out my summer capsule wardrobe post for warmer weather dressing ideas!
What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a limited collection of intentionally chosen clothing items that all work together to create many different looks.
Often capsule wardrobes consist of neutral colors and tones. However, you can absolutely incorporate bright colors and patterns if you wish!
What is a 10 Item Capsule Wardrobe?
I first heard of this concept from Jennifer L. Scott of The Daily Connoisseur YouTube channel and blog. The idea is to collect 10 "core" pieces of clothing that will be the staples of your outfits for the season. Core pieces could be things like pants, dresses, skirts, blouses and sweaters. On top of the core items, you can have extra items to round out each outfit, like cardigans, jackets, shoes, scarves and other accessories.
Every season, you switch it up (especially if you live in Canada where the seasons are drastically different!) and hopefully, since you require less clothing, you can acquire higher quality, timeless pieces that can be used year after year!
The idea isn't to be strict about having a certain number of items, it's just to be very intentional with everything in your wardrobe, and actually use all of it! You can have however many items you want.
Why Have a Capsule Wardrobe?
There are many benefits to curating and utilizing a capsule wardrobe:
- Save space - A capsule wardrobe contains many less items of clothing than an Americanized wardrobe that is constantly added to and rarely fully used. Using a smaller amount of items will allow for more space in your closet. It might seem quite empty, but you'll find the spacious feel quite refreshing!
- Save money - Because you won't be buying clothes all the time, you'll save on cash. And because you're buying less, you can afford higher quality items that can last for years, saving even more money in the long run. Since you'll have a plan for your items, you'll also avoid purchasing things you don't love or that don't fit with everything else in your closet.
- Save time - Having a smaller selection of clothes actually makes it much easier to get dressed in the morning. The more options you have, the harder it is to choose. So having a limited collection of clothes that you love, fit you well and are comfortable makes creating an outfit very easy and fast!
- Reduces stress - A lot of us have stress around our clothing, whether that's how we look, how we feel, or the growing mountain of laundry! Having fewer clothes, and better clothes, is a great way to take much of that stress away, allowing you to look and feel good and be able to confidently keep on top of the laundry.
- Reduces guilt - Have you ever gone into your closet and as you look through the clothes, you feel horrible about all the money you've spent on clothes you never wear, or about clothes that used to fit you and that you wish still did? Getting rid of these items is so freeing! They are not benefiting you by collecting dust in your closet, so donate them and create a wardrobe that doesn't bring you down when you look in it.
How to Create a Winter CApsule Wardrobe
Planning your capsule wardrobe is an essential step. The whole point is to put thought into your clothing.
Consider Where You Live
Your climate will be a major factor in planning what kind of clothes you'll want to wear in the winter. Being in Canada, I planned for my winter outfits to include lots of layers- leggings, sweaters, cardigans, etc.
COnsider your Personal style
Are you going for a casual, laid back look or a more chic, elegant style? If you're not sure what you like, it's a good idea to look through Google or Pinterest for some inspiration, or even go shopping and try on some different styles. Chances are, you'll already have some idea of what you like.
Consider Your LIfestyle
I used to love wearing pencil skirts and heels. I used to wear clothes that looked great but were uncomfortable because I cared more about my appearance than my comfort.
Now that I'm a stay-at-home mom, I still value a put together appearance, but I have to be able to move and be very comfortable in what I'm wearing. I had to consider this when deciding what kinds of clothes would practically work for me.
I found it useful to come up with a few of my favorite outfit "formulas". For me, this was a pair of pants or jeans with a blouse or sweater, a dress with leggings and a mini skirt with leggings and a blouse or sweater. I chose these because I wanted comfortable clothing, since I'm a stay-at-home mom, but clothing that was more refined than yoga pants and a T-shirt (nothing wrong with that kind of casual outfit, I've just decided it's not the look I want to go for!). These also work well for layering, which was my goal for these colder months.
Write Down Items
Write your whole capsule wardrobe plan down. This way you can shop much more intentionally. My plan was 2 pairs of pants, 1 skirt, 1 dress, 3 blouses and 4 sweaters. My extras are leggings, cardigans, and accessories. I'd also be happy to find a nice wool blazer for layering, but I haven't come across one yet!
Choose a Color Palette
You want to decide on some sort of color palette, to make sure all of your items will work together. Write down your color plan next to your item plan so you know exactly what you are looking for when you shop.
To make things simple I chose colors for my lower half that would go with literally any color or pattern I wanted to wear on top. Blue jeans (a true wardrobe staple!), black jeans and a black mini skirt with black leggings. This way I could get any top that I loved and it would match with all my bottoms.
Next, I decided to get black cardigans as extras for warmth to go over all of my blouses. This also ensured they would match with all tops and bottoms.
Look at What YOu Already Have
Now that you have a plan, it's important to go through your entire closet and find the clothes that you already have that would fit into your capsule. Perhaps you already have a good pair of jeans that you love and wear all the time or a blouse that flatters you and is very comfortable. Think of it as a head start!
Make a list before your shop
This is a total game-changer! After you go through and find what items you already have, you have a ready made shopping list- you just need to fill in the gaps in your wardrobe. It's so much easier to shop when you've decided beforehand what you are looking for! You can move quickly through more stores because you can see almost immediately if they have what you're looking for or not, especially when you've decided to look for certain colors.
How Many Items SHould Be In a Capsule Wardrobe?
This is really up to you. I have enjoyed using only 11 key pieces this winter season, so I'd highly encourage you to try it. But again, don't feel tied to any number. Your closet is yours, so you know what you want and what'll work best for you!
WInter Capsule Wardrobe for Stay at Home Mom
For all of you stay-at-home moms out there in cold climates, I recommend getting a few pairs of quality pants/jeans and a thick skirt with leggings and some long-sleeved blouses and sweaters. You can layer with a cozy cardigan, warm socks and scarves. These are comfortable, practical items that will keep you warm in the winter months and also make you feel put together!
Winter Capsule Wardrobe Outfits
These are just a few examples of ways I put together my items. You can easily see that all of my tops pair effortlessly with all of my bottoms.
All I use in the winter is a good quality winter coat that's not the fanciest, but it's somewhat fitted (not like a puffer coat) and keeps me warm and toasty. The one I have is similar to this.
Of course, if you like to dress up more, a camel coat, long wool coat or faux fur coat may be a worthwhile investment for your winter wardrobe.
Here in Canada in the winter, boots are a winter essential. You need a boot that will keep your feet warm and dry, but also fit with your look! So I've been looking for something like this to purchase, although I'm still using the winter boots I've had for the last few years. Can't buy everything at once!
I've also been told that high quality chelsea boots are a great option. They are waterproof ankle boots that slip on. They look nice, but I'm just not sure if they'd be high enough or warm enough in the winter (we get a lot of snow!). A good option for fall and spring, though!
It's also nice to have a pair of fancier knee-high boots or ankle boots for special occasions, but it's not really necessary if you invest in a nice looking boot for everyday use.
Not Ready to Commit?
You can try out a capsule wardrobe without getting rid of all of your clothes. Simply choose items from your closet that you love and that go together, keep them in your closet, then put the rest of the clothing in boxes or bags out of sight. This way you can test out using a capsule wardrobe without fully committing and getting rid of the rest of your clothes.
Put a timeline on this and if you enjoy the freedom that comes from using a capsule, commit to donating those bags that you haven't used!
Do you use a capsule wardrobe? What are your tips for curating one? Let me know in the comments below!