Creating My First Fall Capsule Wardrobe

I’m new to this.  I want to state that upfront.  In my quest to downsize and spend less on things that don’t make me feel any happier, I have decided to take up the challenge of creating a minimalist fall wardrobe of what I deem my classics and must-haves.  This is harder than I thought it would be. I never get rid of clothes, so I have clothes from 10 years ago still lingering around. I decided that this was both unnecessary clutter, and a little bit selfish. I have perfectly good clothes that I don’t or can’t wear anymore that could easily be passed on to someone that needs them.  I’ve spent a good chunk of my life always being scared of not having enough, so I hoarded. This month, with Autumn on the horizon, I decided it was time to change. It’s hard.

How did I begin?

I read a lot of articles on simple living, minimalism lifestyle blogs.  I am nothing if not a researcher. The one post that really pushed me the most was by Courtney Carver of Be More With Less.  I found that this blog post gave me the guidelines I needed to sort things out in my mind before I sorted clothes out in person.  As a total downsizing newbie, I loved it. However, as a total downsizing newbie, I had a hard time with only 33 items including accessories.  Typing that makes me feel like I am being silly, but seriously try it. The earrings and necklaces add up when you are throwing in 7 pairs of pants, 7 shirts, and blazers and jackets and shoes.  I started wondering to myself “do I really need two pairs of boots for autumn?” Your answer may vary. I also made a separate category that I didn’t count of undershirts for layering. Those are absolute, no question staples in my wardrobe, and I figured if I needed to splurge that was the item to do it on.

What Stayed

This was a very interesting process for me.  I had all of my clothes on the two beds in the bedroom, and I was feeling like Marie Kondo.  I was ready to choose things that sparked joy and thank the things I wanted to donate or get rid of at a yard sale.  Turns out, that’s really time-consuming. Sorry I didn’t have the patience to thank you random sweater I have never worn.  This process, even after cutting out the thank yous and joy sparks, took a couple of hours.  This means I actually split it up into a couple of days because I got overwhelmed.  

I got the basics of my wardrobe done the first night.  By basics I mean 5 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, a necklace, a blazer, a faux leather moto jacket, and every undershirt I could find.  I kept two pairs of black skinny jeans, a pair of work pants, a pair of going out pants, and a pair of casual meet up pants. On day two, I added another pair of black skinny jeans and a regular pair of jeans.   That brings my total of pants up to seven. For shirts on day one, I kept a flannel button-down that my wife loves on me, a blue and white striped shirt, and a white t-shirt. On day two I added a blue v-neck, a pink sweater, and a second button down.  This is when I realized that I was not leaving any leisurewear for me to wear around the house. My job requires that I leave the house twice-per-week. For those other workdays, I typically don’t need to dress up in a button-down and skinny jeans. This is when I allowed myself to choose home only clothes.  In this category, I added two pairs of yoga pants and three t-shirts. Doing the math, I’m already at 20 items if I include the leisurewear, blazer, and necklace. It all adds up! I did shoes on night one. This one was the trickiest part for me. I kept the following: 2 pairs of tennis shoes and 2 pairs of boots (ankle and knee-high).  Now I have 24 items in my capsule not including all of the undershirts I had insisted I needed because I basically consider them part of my underwear at this point. Ready for the final number totals?  

Let’s Crunch Numbers 

Pants (Nice) (7)

  • Work Pants (1)
  • Skinny Jeans (3)
  • Blue Jeans (1)
  • Weekend Jeans (2)

Pants (at-home-only) (2)

  • Yoga pants (2)

Shirts (nice) (5)

  • Pink Sweater (1)
  • Button Down (2)
  • White t-shirt (1)
  • Blue V-Neck (1)

Shirts (at-home-only) (3)

  • Band Tee (3)

Shoes (4)

  • Boots (2)
  • Tennis Shoes (2)

I am a huge fan of layering.  For me, this means I needed to make a category for it.  I almost never leave the house without a topper – blazer or otherwise.  I also needed my accessories.

Toppers (3)

  • Blazer (1)
  • Moto Jacket (1)
  • Other (1)

Accessories  (7)

  • Necklace (2)
  • Rings (2)
  • Earrings (1)
  • Bracelet (2)

Total:  31 items – I did it!  I got 33 or less.  A feat that seemed impossible is totally doable if you constantly ask yourself “do I need this?”  I now have a bag of clothes to donate and another to trash, and I am getting rid of some things that have stayed long past their welcome.  I also have a nice summer wardrobe in the closet as a side effect or bonus of sorting all my stuff out. Let’s see how it works out!

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