Creating a capsule wardrobe

14 October 2015

Creating a capsule wardrobe

For the last eight years I’ve been fortunate enough to be friends with Geralin Thomas, a professional organizer and wardrobe consultant who has patiently been trying to educate me on what to wear and how to wear it. (I like looking nice, but I lack confidence in knowing what looks great on me and how to put together outfits.)

Geralin was visiting me recently and, like she did last year, went through my closet with me so that we could retire those garments that were either unworn or too worn. She took a look at what was left and created a mental shopping list to fill things out.

And then we had some very successful (and, I must say, enjoyable) shopping excursions. The icing on the cake was the time we spent yesterday putting together top-to-bottom outfits, so I can dress with confidence.

My goal is to have as few clothes as possible and still feel well-dressed. I’m easily overwhelmed by choices, so when choices are limited I am happier.

Geralin taught me that what we did was create capsule wardrobes for me. On page 85 of her new book, Decluttering Your Home: Tips, Techniques and Trade Secrets Geralin describes a capsule wardrobe as one in which “individual pieces are combined into outfits that offer maximum use…it’s simply a collection of pieces that work together.” In my case, I now have a nice, simple color-coordinated collection. Everything goes together so I can’t really mess it up. (But to keep from messing up, I photographed the outfits that Geralin put together for me—including accessories.) This allows me to dress with confidence and it makes dressing so much easier.

Here’s a photo of happy me with part of our score from the designer section of the fabulous Scholarshop, a charity resale shop in St. Louis.

Creating capsule wardrobes

A year ago, we purchased clothes in three neutral colors: black, charcoal and camel. Most of those clothes are still in my closet, and this year we added some color. Primarily, we focused on peacock, teal, green, rust and plum.

My pants wardrobe has been pared down to three pairs of dress pants (black, charcoal, camel—they go with all my tops), along with some black leggings, some ponte knit fitted pants and some jeans. (I have some attractive work-out clothes that I wear when I’m leading organizing teams.) I don’t need any more options than that. And It feels so good.

We took photographs of the outfits, including accessories, and my next step will be to use Geralin’s Wardrobe Planner Worksheet (which you can download free from her website) to write down the individual components of the outfits. I did this last year and it was very helpful.

Geralin is so patient with me and slowly, ever so slowly, I’m learning. Thanks to the great choices we made, I don’t think I’ll have to do any shopping for quite some time, but if I do venture out without Geralin, I think I’ve learned enough that I can make some successful choices!

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Thanks for recommending Geralin’s Wardrobe Planner Worksheets. I’ve been using them for a while, and I love them! I keep six of them: different sets for the seasons fall/winter and spring/summer, one each for dress, work, and casual outfits. My favorite use: when I travel, I just print out the relevant list (fall/winter work outfits, for example) and check off which outfits I’m taking. When I use the worksheets, I never forget accessories or what I have to wear.

Margaret Lukens 10/18/2015 11:55 AM

Margaret, I love the idea of using Geralin’s Wardrobe Planner Worksheets as a checklist while traveling! And I love that you use them both seasonally and functionally. Thank you for commenting!

Janine Adams 10/19/2015 09:44 AM

Janine, I am right there with you, less is more. 23+ years ago when my wardrobe was pared down to a few maternity outfits, I was amazed at how much easier morning decisions were due to less options. 2015 found me weeding out my wardrobe as a result of losing weight. I’m about halfway through my weight loss journey, and this blog comes at the perfect time! I’ll be printing out the wardrobe planner so I can put it into action. Maybe my husband can consider this now that he has more clothes than his wife!

Suzan 11/13/2015 12:54 PM

Congrats on your weight loss, Suzan! I’m glad you found this post useful. I hope you enjoy the paring of your wardrobe!

Janine Adams 11/14/2015 09:55 PM

I need someone like Geralin! I’ve pared down my wardrobe but it’s hard for me to get excited about any of it.

Janet Barclay 03/01/2016 10:43 AM

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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