capsule wardrobe challenge

Challenges really seem to put a smile on my face and I’m excited to try something new, taking a 3 month capsule wardrobe challenge but blending multiple ideas and inspirations. In case you don’t know a capsule wardrobe is a limited number of items that you mix and match to make multiple outfits.

How to Start the Process for a Capsule Wardrobe

So clearly we are going to need to pick our items, but it isn’t as simple as picking some items out of our closets. Most of us have items in multiple places and maybe even in storage(bins). Well at least I did. So I used some of my knowledge of 5S principles to get me started.

The first step is…

Take all the clothes out of everywhere you store it. That means empty out your closet and any bins with stored items. This is a lot of work, but it is one of those moments where front loading the work will save you a lot of hassle later.

Take inventory. This is a great chance to really figure out how many of each item we own? Then ask  ourselves, How many do we really need? It gives us a chance to eliminate any unnecessary multiples by seeing them side by side. I’m a bit meticulous in that I want to know what I have in each color. In my case that means figuring out how many green skirts, blue, or pink shirts. You get the idea.

 Eliminate the Uglies. While you inventory you are going to touch each article of clothing you own. Take this time to start making the get rid of pile, with the never wear and doesn’t fit items. This won’t be hard if you are truly open an honest with yourself about which clothes you haven’t worn in over six month or more. I like hard numbers, so I counted how many items ended up in that box. I removed 24 right off the bat.

My piles of color coded clothing. :-)
My piles of color coded clothing. 🙂

I wasn’t super lean in my process because I ended up separating my clothes in different ways several times. First I separated clothes by color. I wrote down numbers as I transitioned those color piles into stacks of particular items, for example, pants, t-shirts, and blouses. But you don’t need to spend time on this.

Before you make your capsule you need to decided if you can swing having your capsule wardrobe cover your work and play. For me this just didn’t suit, so I also created a work uniform and removed all my other work clothes. Essentially creating a mini work capsule wardrobe.

So now that you know what you’re capsule is covering you can just follow the guidelines set by The project 333 site. Which is picking out all your “I love” items. For me that seemed difficult so I used this other go by, pictured below. Which is just 3 of every item.

Capsule wardrobe suggestions

After you pick your items put everything else away. Not back in the closet but away away.. I used bins. This is a great way to ensure you follow through. If you simply place stuff back into the closet( even if its the far side) then it will be easier for you to grab other items and slowly but surely increase your capsule until your closet is full again. Take a page from my 5S guide and increase your chances of success by making it sustainable. Put the no items for this round in boxes or bins. Then tape them closed. The extra effort will keep you focused on what you have available to wear.

This whole process took me 2 days. I didn’t take any short cuts and I wanted to make sure I addressed every item. Realize though that the more stuff you have the longer it can take to go through this process. Also don’t waste time thinking you need a helpful printable as you can see I just used pen and paper for this process.

What prompted me?

I first became aware that I didn’t need much clothing during a long trip to visit family. After Minnie Roamer’s birth I planned my FMLA/PFL so that we could take a long 3 week vacation in MI during Christmas . We needed to keep suitcases to a minimum since we already needed to be able to maneuver around the airport with 2 kids, 2 car seats, a stroller, diaper bag and of course the suitcases. Everything also need to be able to fit into our ride once we arrived. So packing 4 peoples clothes in one suitcase and 2 back packs that needed to include big winter coats meant few but versatile clothing options for everyone.

Capsule Wardrobe, My first encounter, and inspiration.
Capsule Wardrobe, My first encounter, and inspiration.

That lead me to do some research and I came across this picture. It blew my mind and since then 2 years ago its been kicking around in my head. However, in June coming off another minimalist challenge I decided to do more research and try it full force.

My Capsule Wardrobe

After taking the steps above I ended up with this as my capsule wardrobe.

For my summer Capsule wardrobe I chose white and green and then added other colors as I saw fit.
For my summer Capsule wardrobe I chose white and green and then added other colors as I saw fit.

If you read the 333 article you’ll notice I didn’t follow all the rules but I did start off by using their suggestions. In the end to me its more about reducing the amount of items in my closet to the point where I am forced/encouraged to use the items I really like. Instead of defaulting into just wearing the same stuff everyday. So it’s not really about a specific number but I do suggest you start there. Summer Capsule shoes

I did want to be as transparent as possible so I am showing you my lounge/ work out clothes too. Which is a big gray area in the rules. So now you know how much clothes I have period. Note: I am not divulging or counting intimate garments, socks, accessories: belts, necklaces, hats, scarves. So accessories will be my gray area. Though in my wrap up I will let you know if that became a big thing. Normally I don’t accessorizes.

Capsule wardrobe
My itemized list of clothing. I have 3 main groups in my capsule wardrobe experiment.

So now you know what I have, and I just want to explain a little bit about why. I’m not a runway model and this isn’t about fashion for me. Though I think I have my moments where I look like a million bucks for the most part I’m a Tomboy and I have the men’s pants and men’s shorts to prove it. ( why do I need to prove it?) My #1 is comfort and functionality. I need to be able to run after kids. I need free range of motion.  But I am pushing the limits to try and wear some of my nicer items.

Like I said earlier I don’t want to mix work with fun.( Because work is a dusty and dirty place). But my capsule still needs to allow me to ride a bike, hit the beach, attend a wedding and most importantly run after kids. (Did I already say that?) Full disclosure, my capsule would be 4 items lighter if I wasn’t attending a wedding this season.


Awareness. I discovered that I owned 269 articles of clothing. A lot of which I really don’t even wear anymore. This awareness is a benefit that right away helps you be intentional with your wardrobe It helped me eliminate those 24 pieces right away.

I think its crazy to think that I own so much clothes, but whats crazier is that it probably pales in comparison to the average woman.
I think its crazy that I own so much clothes, but what’s crazier is that it probably pales in comparison to the average woman.

Save in costs. Don’t fall pray to being average. The average family spends about $2,000 dollars a year on clothes. BE EXCEPTIONAL. Going through the cataloging of your clothing is a great way to know what you have. You’ll be wearing items you love and that should leave you with no desire to buy any clothes during the challenge. Even if you do feel the urge, make it a goal to resist for just 3 months.

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without

Personally for me its Good practice for a life of travel. Learn to live on less is the perfect challenge. Seriously this Traveling Wallet blog will one day be written from a different local every month for at least 1 year. The better I understand my style and can be creative with clothing the more I can parse down on the quantity. The more I practice, the better prepared I’ll be for living out of a suitcase. 🙂 And that is benefit enough for me.

Need some more inspiration ?

Check out these other post. How to create a capsule wardrobe

Unfancy Capsule wardrobe 101

A work uniform post

So there you have it. I hope you checked out those articles and are excited to start a capsule wardrobe. Don’t forget to click the notify me of new posts, so that you can read my review and wrap up in September. To Find out how I did and what I think I’m sure there are more benefits to be discovered through the challenge. Don’t miss out.

Will you join me in this simple and intentional living challenge? Have you ever done a capsule wardrobe?






6 thoughts on “capsule wardrobe challenge”

  1. I’ve been paring down my closet for simplicity. But I don’t work outside the home, so most of my wardrobe IS capsule. In that I have about 5 pairs of pants/jeans I wear. The tops match as is appropriate. There are no outfits where I only bought the pants (or shirt) specifically to match something else.

    I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have to dress to impress.

    1. 🙂 I try not to dress to impress either… I actually don’t wear suits at all they are just there as back up.

      But that’s great that you found your own reason to keep the quantity low. I think most people have the opposite thing happen where they end up with more clothing that they like because it doesn’t have to be work appropriate/ related

  2. When my husband and travelled to Asia a couple of years ago, we went for 3 weeks and decided we didn’t want to take big suitcases (we had trains booked and didn’t want to be lugging them all over). So, we just travelled with carry-on. I thought this would be a huge challenge but after putting some thought into it, it was actually quite easy. I love the idea of applying this to everyday life with a capsule wardrobe.

    1. That is also how I had my first experience. Traveling. Its amazing how traveling open up your eyes to how little you can do without. One of the reasons I really want to do more of it.

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