Curse Adam and Eve if you want to but clothes are here to stay. Even the most extreme minimalist has at least SOME clothes. There are people who own under 100 items TOTAL in their life and a bunch of those are CLOTHES.
So how many clothes do you really need? How many do you want to own? It seems everyone has an opinion on this. There are people who say you only need to own 9 or 10 items. There are others who say 33 is the “magic” number. Some people say 100 items of clothing is “necessary”. I don’t think any of these numbers are REAL numbers. (With the possible exception of the people who own under 100 items, the 100 item people usually prove it with pictures.) All of these people have their own rules for what they count or don’t count (undies? shoes? socks? purses? belts? scarves? gym clothes? swim wear? jewelry? coats? gloves? hats?) What if you have to wear a uniform for work? How often do you do your laundry? What is the weather where you live? How often do you travel? How much time do you spend with little people? How much time do you spend out doors? Do you participate in a specific hobby that requires special clothing? The list could go on and on.
As much as I LOVE numbers (especially even ones – but that’s for another day…) I don’t think this is a number type of assignment. What I am going to do is give you guidelines and ideas to pare down your wardrobe. I know how creating a capsule wardrobe has made my life easier and I want to share that with you. I am also going to share EVERY item of clothing that I own. I think it is time to be real.
The first thing to think about in a capsule wardrobe is actually color. I know, probably not what you might have expected – especially from me. Depending on your style and skin tone and well, preference, you will need to choose a color scheme that works for you. I have chosen black(my favorite for soooo many reasons), grey, white, and pink. All of my clothes (with the exception of some undergarments (I love my Underoos) a snow suit (A Carhart I can’t part with or replace at this time even though they do come in black) and my lifeguarding gear (people expect red)) are in this color family. You can choose any color family that works for you, but one of the most important things is that every item you own will match every other item you own. Neutral colors are best at this and are most often recommended. I started with all neutrals (black, grey and white) and soon decided (after a few friends said that I was looking like a nun) that I needed a little color (and I like pink – I only have one girl and she doesn’t like pink – so I added it to MY wardrobe). I agree that neutrals are best for the bulk of your items, but adding one or two accent colors also works well.
You probably have already done your undie drawer. Here’s what I have in mine – sorry no pics of this one:)
1 silk slip
1 corset (superhero for making me sit up straight while gaming – you know you are a nerd when…)
3 bras (2 good, 1 crummy nursing bra)
3 tank tops in assorted colors (Okay black, grey, and pink)
8 pairs of assorted panties
1 silk scarf (multicolor with lots of pink – my daughter made it for me – it’s gorgeous – and I love it – I use it for hair a hair decoration, as a necklace, as a bow, etc.)
6 pairs of socks (all white – I plan on getting different ones when these wear out)
1 pair of leggings (black – these are not pants, I don’t care what society says)
1 pair of tights (black)
I usually have some silk stockings too, but mine bit the dust. (I am allergic to nylon and the silk ones are sooo expensive I am trying to get away without them.)
UNDIE DRAWER TOTAL – 25 items
Shoes – You should have done these already too!
1 pair of red Crocs
1 pair of black Doc Martens
1 pair of Bogs boots
1 pair of black Crocs flats
1 pair of grey sneakers
1 pair of the most amazing slippers ever
SHOE TOTAL – 6 items
Outer Wear – I hate coats and only wear them when necessary – which I have to admit is a LOT in Ohio!
1 pink (sorry pic color is weird) Columbia everyday coat
1 tan Carhart full snowsuit (This is so old it has my maiden name in it)
1 ugly green Kevlar (This is older than me – Thanks Dad! – Still the best winter hat EVER)
1 multicolored Carhart striped hat
1 white pretty earband (Thanks Aunt Robin!)
1 black pair of Land’s End gloves
OUTERWEAR TOTAL – 6 items
1 LG red hoodie
1 LG red insulated jacket
1 grey O’Neil short sleeve rashguard
1 red long-sleeve rashguard
1 black Columbia quick-dry skirt
2 bathing suits (one red LG and one pink and black)
SWIMWEAR TOTAL – 7 items
Hats – I was a little shocked at how many hats I have!
1 black cowboy hat
1 straw LG sunhat
1 Adidas white visor (okay looking a little dingy – I have lifeguarded at a lake for the last 14 years)
1 redish RedWings hat – I swim in this hat so it isn’t exactly red anymore
1 white floating LG hat
1 pink Yankees hat
1 black Deadpool hat
HATS TOTAL – 7 items
Dresses and skirts
1 grey sweater dress
1 teal/ black cocktail dress – I have had this since my daughter made her first communion and I love it, so it stays even though it doesn’t fit my color scheme, but it isn’t exactly a mix and match type of piece any way 🙂
2 black skirts (one jersey cotton – my comfy skirt, one structured cotton – my dressy skirt)
DRESSES/ SKIRTS TOTAL – 4 items
2 black long sleeve shirts – (one of these is going because it is too short, but I have to try them on – so here they both are)
1 long grey hooded sweater
1 black bolero sweater
1 black short sleeve tunic
1 black 3/4 sleeve tunic (not pictured cause I’m wearing it)
1 black short sleeve t-shirt
2 blouses (one pink, one black and white chevron)
TOPS TOTAL – 9
1 pair of grey jeans (sorry the color is weird on my phone)
1 pair of denim capris (I want to get rid of these because they are so ugly, but I wear them all the time for painting and gardening and whatnot.)
1 pair of black gym shorts
1 pair of black capris
BOTTOMS TOTAL – 4 items
4 gowns (two pink and two black in various lengths and sleeves
SLEEPWEAR TOTAL – 4 items
2 purses (one giant red bag and one small beaded purse)
2 necklaces (one gold with crucifix and one gemstone style)
2 pink (one harp and one calla lilly)
1 pair of black short opera gloves
ACCESSORIES TOTAL – 7 items
Here are my totals – drumroll please…
Undies – 25
Shoes – 6
Outerwear – 6
Swim/work wear – 7
Hats – 7
Skirts/ dresses – 4
Tops – 8 (I got rid of the short one)
Bottoms – 4
Sleep – 4
Accessories – 7
TOTAL CLOTHING AND ACCESSORY ITEMS – 78 ITEMS!
That sounds like a lot to me. It is definitely more than I thought I would own. I actually feel like I need a few things (I would like another pair of pants, a summer dress (my old summer dress is a nightgown now because it got too thin), and a t-shirt for starters.)
Other items, I feel like I can probably let go of without missing. (I don’t think I really need four nightgowns and some of my hats are looking a little shady – pun was a happy accident)
I used to shop and try to buy an outfit, now I shop for one piece at a time and look for quality that will last, so I don’t have to shop again any time soon!
Now, if you made it this far, go get ALL of your clothes and heap them on your bed. Look at each type of clothing one at a time.
If you have never worn it
If you haven’t worn it recently
If it doesn’t fit
If it doesn’t look good on you
If it doesn’t feel nice
If it you don’t like it
If it is dated
If it isn’t quality
If it is needs to be mended
If you have more that you need
DONATE these items, forgive yourself, and move on.
If you feel like you need something, make a list and be careful and intentional about what you buy. Try to live without something to see if you really need it or not.
Let me know how it goes!
The AMAZINGLY SIMPLE way to make yourself a capsule wardrobe.