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You know those posts you see about building a capsule wardrobe? And do you ever notice how those people seem to have their lives together in the most chill and free-flowing way? Yup, same. Small problem, though. I am neither chill or free-flowy. I am not a person with a perfectly thought out collection of clothing that I can seamlessly swap out seasonally. My closet is a mish-mash of stuff that maybe goes together on a good day and way too many things I never have the desire to wear.

Do you know what I’ve realized, though? If I take a hard look at the outfits I gravitate towards and the items in my closet that have signs of wear, I have a capsule wardrobe. It’s just hiding amongst a bunch of things that don’t belong.

Evaluating My Wardrobe

In theory, creating a capsule wardrobe sounds fantastic. Choosing outfits becomes so much easier, and you only have to wear clothes you genuinely love. That’s not enough for me. I like clothes. I like shopping for clothes, I like putting together outfits (but not at 7 am when I’m already late), and I like having new things.

If I’m honest with myself, I know I wouldn’t be happy with a wardrobe that only consists of ten or twenty pieces. But I also crave simplicity. I want to have my cake and eat it too.

I have a plan. I’m splitting my wardrobe into two distinct categories. The capsule wardrobe side that has the basics I wear over and over, and the anti-capsule side for when I want to play. Depending on the day (and my mood) I can keep things simple, or I can have a bit more fun with it.

Building the Basic Capsule Wardrobe

When I look at the items I own that I wear the most, there are a few standouts. I know this because they are often threadbare or I own multiples. I’m going to share a few of my most loved items that are acting as the base for my wardrobe makeover.

Denim

I pretty much live in denim, so jeans are a significant part of my wardrobe, but there are two pairs that I wear almost exclusively (unless I’m in the middle of laundry.)

High Waisted Black Jeggings – I wear these to work, to dinner, to walk the dog, and pretty much everywhere in between. They’re really comfy, real black (not faded), and not super thin and flimsy like other jeggings. Wait for a sale and buy two.

Distressed Jeans – I like ripped jeans, and I cannot lie. These are pretty much the opposite of the black jeans, but they are my absolute favourite pair of casual jeans. They’re not super stretchy, but the denim is super soft and keeps everything nice and tucked in. And they don’t lose their shape so you can go a long time between washes.

Basic Tees

When I’m not at work I wear T-shirts a lot, and when it comes to a basic tee these two are the best I’ve come across.

Lululemon Love Tee – I know these aren’t cheap, but I promise you will get your money’s worth. I have four of these shirts in different colors, and the oldest one is over fives years old and still holding up. They’ve gone through a few different versions, and my all-time favourite isn’t available right now (v-neck with the straight hem) but Lulu often changes it up. Keep your eye on the ‘We Made Too Much’ section as older colours often go on sale.

Jackson Rowe Classic Crew – I bought two of these tees last year when they popped up in Instagram advertising a 50% off sale. Hey, insta ads aren’t always terrible. I’d heard of the brand before so I thought I’d give them a shot. I love them! They’re really soft, wash well, and can be styled a few different ways. They’re long enough to wear with leggings, or you can knot the bottom, tuck into a skirt, etc.

Classic Blouse

When it comes to shirts for work, I like to keep things simple and cheap. I sit at a desk most of the day, so don’t need something super functional; it just needs to look presentable and not need to be dry cleaned. I know polyester kind of sucks, but I do not have the patience for silk.

Long-Sleeved Blouse – Twenty bucks (regular price), flattering fit, cute pleating on the shoulders and back and lots of great neutral colours. I’ll take one of each, please.

Cardigan

I work in an office so the temperature can be unpredictable, and I also live in Alberta where the weather can also be…unpredictable, so cardigans are a staple. I’m not a fan of those short, tight, twin-set looking cardigans. I want mine to be long and cozy. And have buttons. Open cardigans always drape so nice in pictures, but I have never found one that lives up to that in real life.

Grandpa Cardigan – Unlike those drapey versions, this one actually looks terrible in the online pictures, but in real life, it is a masterpiece. Seriously, it checks all my boxes, and I was beyond happy when I found it.

Jumpsuit

Hear me out on this one as I know jumpsuits are not for everyone. The whole getting pretty much naked to pee is not the best. It sucks; especially in a porta-potty. But, they are also awesome and comfortable, and you can do all the things you do in pants and a shirt but only have to choose one piece of clothing. The good outweighs the bathroom challenge.

The Little Black Jumpsuit – This is a local company that has created a really great jumpsuit that will take you anywhere. It’s made of a jersey material, so it’s soft and stretchy. The owner of Guss Sloan is also a fantastic woman who is so worthy of your purchase.

Underwear

If your underthings suck, then it’s almost impossible to feel great about the rest of your outfit.

Wireless Bra – I’ve recently been on a mission to find an everyday bra that doesn’t make me hate everything. And this, my friends, is the one. Underwires are terrible, but it’s not often you can find a wireless bra that is supportive enough. This one works for me. It’s called a ‘push-up,’ but it’s not crazy. I find that the extra padding gives some lift and additional support.

Real Me Thong – It’s funny, I used to shop at American Eagle as a teenager, but as I got older, I always thought it was too young for me. In the last couple of years though I’ve gone back and now they’ve factored onto this list three times. Their jeans have always been good, but the newer Aerie underwear line is really a step above competitors in the same price range. I am not a fancy underwear person, so these no-frills thongs are perfect. The wide waistband doesn’t dig in, they cover enough but still eliminate panty lines, and I’ve never had an issue with bunching or twisting.

Ok, that’s it for the basics!

The Anti-Capsule Wardrobe

I’m not going to be sharing any links in this section because it’s really about building out your wardrobe with items that highlight your personality. And, many of the items I own in this section are thrifted so not exactly searchable online. If thrifting is something you’re interested in, then keep an eye out because I wrote a guest post on precisely that which will be coming out ASAP.

The good thing about thrifting the ‘personality’ part of your wardrobe is that it’s affordable and gives a second life to clothing. I don’t mind buying new if it’s an item I know will get a lot of wear. But if it’s something I might only wear a handful of times, then I feel way better about buying second-hand then buying new. Plus, your cost per wear will be way better. It’s a great way to participate in trends without having to commit fully. I’m looking at you crop tops that likely WON’T be in my wardrobe next summer.

I would love to hear how you make your wardrobe work and if you have jumped on board with the capsule wardrobe! Share your thoughts and your favourite piece of clothing in the comments.

How I'm creating a capsule wardrobe with a twist. It's all about building a good base and then adding in a personality section. #capsulewardrobe #fashion

This post was proofread by Grammarly

11 Comments

  1. I love how you broke your wardrobe down into sections! I’m also kind of the same way. I have a more natural capsule wardrobe in that I don’t have a lot of items. But, you can be damn sure that when I want to wear a bright red dress for no other reason that I like, I’m going to wear that dress, whether it’s ‘in my capsule’ or not.

    • Sarah Reply

      And this is why I especially love your brand of minimalism 😉

  2. Two things. 1) the sweater in the first picture gave me serious David from Schitt’s Creek vibes (a compliment, I promise!) and 2) I love everything in your capsule-ish wardrobe (and maybe have saved links to a few things to purchase myself eventually — yes, talking about that incredible jumpsuit!)

    I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe in theory but, like you, I can’t imagine only have like, 10 items of clothing or whatever. I’ve been doing something similar to what you outlined here (a collection of basics and some items for play) for years and it really has helped simplify things. My basics tend to be my office-type clothes and they mostly consist of…well, basics. Lots of neutral colours (which I love) and a focus on pieces that can be mixed and matched. It definitely makes getting ready for work a LOT easier.

    Also, those distressed jeans made me SO excited for our Old Navy to open! It’s coming later this month and I cannot wait.

    • Sarah Reply

      I absolutely love Schitt’s Creek so zero offence taken! I’m so happy you liked some of the basics I shared. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      PS. I love your blog name!

  3. Loved this post Sarah.

    So timely. I have been thinking about doing something similar to this with my wardrobe. My closet is full of clothes and half the time I still like I have nothing to wear. You have motivated me to add this capsule like wardrobe idea to my goals for the fall.

  4. I am ADDICTED to that show — it’s probably one of my favourites right now, honestly. We’re on season four and I cannot believe I waited this long to check it out!

    And haha, thanks! I was going for a mix of original but also sort of funny 🙂 Considering the reaction from most people, I think it worked out!

  5. …I also have no idea why these replies aren’t nesting under the original comment. Ugh.

  6. I thought I really wanted a capsule wardrobe when I started my clothing ban, and as much as I think I would like a much smaller amount of clothing, I’m finding that not needing to buy new things (and making do with “new” hand me downs) makes me very, very happy.

    • Sarah Reply

      I am always so impressed with you and your shopping ban!

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