Around this time in late August is when I start planning ahead for the fall— looking at my calendar and writing in weekend trips such as country fairs and apple picking adventures, thinking about what I want to accomplish before the year ends, and planning out certain projects at work.
One of the fun parts of mapping out the months ahead is thinking about my closet and what I will need to add to get through the next few months. It just so happens that one of my favorite bloggers, Caroline from Unfancy, has a wardrobe planner on her website. She was basically the inventor of the oh-so-popular “capsule wardrobe” concept. If you haven’t heard of this before, you choose a number of clothing pieces and shoes (usually around 37, not including undies, pjs, workout gear, etc) and just wear those without shopping for anything else for a three month period. You are allowed to buy a few key pieces before the period begins to fill in the gaps. The idea is to cut down on spending and to love everything in your closet.
Caroline’s planning tool asks you to assess what you love that’s in your closet and why, what you don’t like, what vibe you’d like to convey, what kind of clothes are practical for your lifestyle, and finally, what pieces you want to add to carry you through the season ahead. After doing the exercise, learned that I like neutrals even more than I thought I did, that the most important factors to enjoying a piece of clothing are the fit and the quality of the fabric, and that my style has definitely evolved a bit over the past few years (there are a stack of things in my closet that I really do not enjoy wearing).
Despite all these small revelations, my take on the capsule idea, as well as the wardrobe assessment, is that I didn’t really need to do the exercise to know what I need, and I wouldn’t bother limiting myself to an arbitrary number like 37. For example, I knew already that I need 3-4 cozy sweaters, a few tops/blouses, a new pair of black jeans, cold-weather pajamas, and that I want a new medium-sized leather bag and a well-fitting fall jacket for everyday wear. Last year I didn’t buy any new clothes during the winter and just wore everything I already had until it was borderline dingy. So this year I may need to shell out a little extra for a wardrobe update.
I still recommend doing the capsule wardrobe if you have a few hours to kill and enjoy playing around with your style. It could be especially eye-opening if you have too many clothes in your closet but can never find anything you feel like wearing. Let me know if you’ve tried the capsule wardrobe idea or if you’ve done the Unfancy assessment and what you learned!