Decluttering my closet each season while slowly building a winter capsule wardrobe hasn’t been easy. I’ve struggled to let go of some of my favorite staples, in addition to those items from five seasons ago with tags still attached.
Speaking of attachments, I never thought purging my old wardrobe would be such a challenge. Sundresses and maxis I haven’t worn in years are tucked away in the back of my closet, along with tie-dye leggings from over a decade ago I wouldn’t dare step outside my front door in.
Although winter can be long and dreary for many depending on where you live, you can still look fashionable.
Yes, even with all the layering.
Winters in the Midwest can be pretty unforgiving, so I need a lot of preparation. I collect my winter capsule wardrobe pieces throughout the year for this very reason.
The great thing about living in a colder climate is that all the cute winter accessories and outerwear can remain. I have winter boots, hats, scarves, and gloves already out of the way.
Fewer options to choose from when picking an #OOTD leaves more time in our hectic schedule to make more important decisions.
What’s worse than waking up at the crack of dawn, opening your closet door, and asking yourself that dreadful question we all hate every Monday morning. “What should I wear to work today?”
Avoid this! Plan your outfits like you plan your weekly meals. Sunday evenings work best for me.
I’m being very selective about my winter capsule wardrobe pieces as I continue decluttering my closet. The majority of the cold weather essentials in my capsule wardrobe clothing are from ethical and sustainable brands, some of them aren’t. This time around, I’m prioritizing quality and timeless pieces over quantity.
A capsule wardrobe is perfect for all the frugal fashionistas out there who are in search of cozy chic outfits that won’t break the bank but can last for years to come.
What does capsule wardrobe mean?
Well, I’m glad you asked! A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of essential clothing items; timeless in fashion and interchangeable with every season to fit your current lifestyle and body type.
A benefit of shopping minimally and creating a sustainable wardrobe is saving more money due to shopping less, and getting the most use out of your clothes.
Neutral colors, mix-and-matching seasonal pieces, layering and buying quality clothes that last are all a part of the process.
What should be in a capsule wardrobe?
A nice balance of tops, bottoms, outerwear and accessories to layer, and a few pairs of shoes is what you are likely to find inside a closet with a capsule wardrobe.
Earth tones and neutral color palettes are common, because they pair well and can be worn year-round.
Contrary to belief, not everyone’s capsule wardrobe will look the same. You can still incorporate your personal style! Dressing up as a minimalist or frugal fashionista doesn’t have to be boring.
Here are a few strategies you can use to make your winter capsule wardrobe your own.
Some of my must-haves for the crisp weather change are long cardigans, chunky knit sweaters, vests, leggings, basic tees and shirts, and my absolute favorite – sweater dresses!
On the weekend you may find me in loose fitting boyfriend jeans, an oversized sweater, and a pair of classic short UGGs to run around in throughout the day.
By nighttime, depending on the occasion, my winter staple is J.Crew skinnies or thick leggings paired with a knitted cocoon sweater and over-the-knee boots to make the outfit pop.
You can also layer a look like this with a long, wool belted trench coat or down jacket depending on how cool the temps are. Or dress it down a bit, with a cute pair of high-waisted, straight leg jeans, sneakers or Doc Marten boots, and a baggy hoodie of your choice.
Practice layering by starting with the basics. Select a pair of black jeans and long-sleeve scoop neck tee as your blank canvas. Put on a long cardigan or vest to spice it up a bit.
If you prefer to keep things simple, ditch the cardigan, and throw on a casual riding boot or cute bootie with a chunky heel.
We all know shoes can make or break an outfit. Keep accessories to a minimum when layering during the cold weather months.
Bold, heavy jewelry, hats, and large handbags can clash with outerwear and sweaters. Blazers, jackets, and coats are all optional layers you can use to complete your ensemble.
Everyone loves to make a statement when they step out in style. What you are least likely to see in a capsule wardrobe are neon colors, bold prints, and patterns.
A few items with fun stripes, abstract patterns, and florals are fine. Some clothes just aren’t that easy to transition from season to season.
Stick to neutral colors and warmer hues when you’re shopping for basics in the winter. Keep the ability to remix bottoms and tops (and shoes!) in mind when color comes into play.
Fashion Neutrals, Tints, And Shades:
- Olive Green (Accent Color)
- Maroon (Accent Color)
- Rose Pink (Accent Color)
Capsule wardrobe accessories are a must-have in minimalist fashion. Every outfit needs a pop of color to stand out. Colors that pair and blend well together are important. But choosing the right pair of earrings, necklaces, scarves, handbags, or shoes takes styling up a notch.
Accessories allow minimalists to stay on trend by adding vibrant colors through headbands, hair wraps, hats, shoes, and jewelry.
Accessories will bring your capsule wardrobe to life!
Three benefits of capsule wardrobe accessories:
- Provides multiple ways of styling a collection of casual basics
- Rewear your favorite pieces by switching accessories (take one outfit from day to night!)
- Frees up space and keeps your closet clutter-free
Hermes Birkin Bags, anyone?
As a minimalist, I have to admit designer handbags aren’t my thing. I like to keep my outfits as simple as possible. One. Two. Three. Maybe four bags tops is what you’ll find in my closet.
My handbag collection comprises a durable backpack, a tote or shoulder bag, a leather wallet, and an oversized clutch for special events.
However, handbags are statement pieces that many fashionistas refuse to leave on the shelf. Designer handbags are now viewed as investments1, similar to art.
They are usually on the pricier side, but worth every penny. Givenchy, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton are among a handful of designer handbag brands that increase in value overtime.
As long as the handbags and backpacks are durable, ethical, and can last for decades to come, why not splurge?
A capsule wardrobe needs clothing and accessories high in value and of excellent quality, paying a few extra coins could be well worth it.
How many clothes should be in a capsule wardrobe?
Who’s keeping up with how many items you own? From a budget standpoint, I get it, but decluttering your closet requires you to get rid of items you no longer wear or have much use for.
The overall premise of a capsule wardrobe is for your clothing to work harder for you, so you can shop less and be more intentional when you do.
Some simple living gurus suggest a capsule wardrobe with no more than 25 to 50 items. Then there’s Courtney Carver’s Project 333 challenge detailed in her book, Be More With Less, which would later develop into the 333 rule.
“Wear just 33 items for 3 months and get back all the JOY you were missing while you worrying about what to wear.” – Courtney Carver
What is the 333 rule?
Project 333 is Carver’s initial approach to living simply – start with your closet and condense your wardrobe to only thirty-three items for three months.
Minimalists across the globe have taken the challenge and stuck with it long term.
The minimalist fashion challenge may be worth a try, even if only for fun. Start somewhere, but don’t limit your wardrobe to a magic number or overthink the decluttering process. It can be restricting and contradicts what capsule wardrobes truly are for.
Do what works best for you at the moment. Aim for timeless classics and pieces with versatility. Avoid trendy clothes that lack longevity and can’t easily pair with what’s already in your wardrobe.
Where can I buy a capsule wardrobe?
Basics. Basics. Basics! Chant it with me.
Some of the best stores that offer high quality, ethical, and sustainable brands for casual basics are below.
- Nordstrom Rack
- Alternative Apparel
Winter Capsule Wardrobe 2020
Cape Scarf in Windowpane – Madewell
Slim Perfect Long Sleeve T-shirt – J.Crew
The ’90s Cheeky Straight Jean – Everlane
Vegan 1460 Lace-Up Boots – Doc Martens
Standard Rudsack Backpack – Mifland
Knit Cardigan – H&M
Long Knit Coat – Zara
The Lightweight French Terry Jogger – Everlane
The Duvet Puffer Coat – Aritzia
Wool Jersey Leggings – Icebreaker
The CozyChic Cocoon Cardi – Barefoot Dreams
Comfort Layer Long Sleeve T-Shirt – Nordstrom
Kennedy Cargo Pants – Anine Bing
Frye Melissa Button 2 Knee High Boot – Frye
High-rise Stretchy Toothpick Jeans – J.Crew
Batwing Slouchy Cardigan – Amazon
Mockneck Column Dress – Gap
Crewneck Cable Stitch Pullover Sweater – Target
Cocktail Mini Sweater Dress – Amazon
Adirondack Boot III – Ugg
Clearwater Over the Knee Boots – Seychelles
The ReNew Transit Backpack – Everlane
Canada Goose Elmwood Parka – Canada Goose
Cascade Pants – Aritzia
Chambray Shirt – J.Crew Factory
Baylee Coat – Club Monaco
The Rosie Ankle Boot – Madewell
Chunky Ribbed Sweater – Banana Republic
Desiree Cashblend Sweater – Splendid
1996 Retro Vest – The North Face
Sherpa Mittens – Ugg
Malika Wool Blend Coat – Net-A-Porter
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I teach entrepreneurs how to simplify their life and business with less + own their time and maximize productivity towards their personal and monetary goals.