Simplify | 5 tips for a capsule wardrobe that works

When I was in college I bought Casual Corner's 2 + 2 + 5 = 30 wardrobe.  It was my first introduction to the concept of a capsule wardrobe.  I always had something to wear and everything matched everything else.

Last year, I began participating in Project 333 and while I love how much easier dressing is with fewer choices, until now I didn't have a wardrobe where every single piece worked with every other--something truly interoperable.

The interoperability piece came from Dressing Your Truth.  DYT teaches you how to build a wardrobe based around your energy type and informs about design line, texture, fabrication, color and pattern.  And once those things align....everything in your wardrobe from shoes to accessories to actual pieces of clothing works with everything else.  It has given me added flexibility. (There is also DYT for Men.)

While I highly recommend taking the Dressing Your Truth course and spending time on the Project333 website for their wisdom, this is what I've learned in the process about building a capsule wardrobe.

1. Choose 2 neutrals that work together.  Neutrals are colors like white, black, brown, tan, and navy.  Once you've selected two, it's a good idea to keep/get a pair of shoes and a pair of pants in each of those colors. (And maybe a jacket.) Believe it or not, limiting yourself to two helps expand your options when you start building outfits because while some neutrals work together beautifully (navy/white), others don't work as well (navy/black). It allows you to have base pieces that will not only work with each other but everything else.

2. Choose your color palette.  Until discovering Dressing Your Truth, I never applied color theory to dressing. On the color wheel, there are 12 colors and each of those colors has a version that is the pure hue or a tint, tone or shade. (Read more.)  Having your colors aligned based on type means that everything works with everything. It also allows you to wear all the colors: red, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple in the version that works best for you.

3. Build your wardrobe around the 90% usage.  If you work in an office, are a stay-at-home-mom, are a fitness instructor or a college student, then you know what your activities are.  It helps if at least 90% of your capsule wardrobe fits that need. If you have a few specialty items like cowboy boots or a fancy dress that you don't want to donate, locate them somewhere else (under-the-bed box?) to be pulled out for that rare usage. Having your clothes aligned to the major use also helps with interchangeability.

4. Get all your clothing in one place.  Before Project 333 I had a dresser in my bedroom, outerwear in a hall closet and accessories all over the place.  If you can find a way to organize your closet where you can have it all right there (even adding a few drawers for socks and undergarments), putting together outfits in a hurry is that much easier.

5. Evaluate your capsule wardrobe every 3 months.  One of the things I LOVE about Project 333 is the idea that it is 33 items* for 3 months. (You can do anything for 3 months.)  There is a risk in a capsule wardrobe of getting bored with your look, but if you evaluate seasonally it changes that. For me, I've discovered the joy of thrift store shopping.  I replace what I'm tired of by sending it back to the thrift store for rotation!

*Note that my wardrobe is 50 items rather than 33.  The number isn't nearly as important as actually wearing everything you own and getting rid of what you don't wear. And here is the unexpected part, when you begin to create space in your closets, you start becoming conscious of other parts of your life that could use some space and create it there too! 
© Random Cathy
Maira Gall