Capsule Wardrobe: Where do I start?

Capsule Wardrobe: Where do I start? by Melissa Arlena Photography

create a capsule wardrobe

So if you’ve been following me on Instagram you’ve seen a few posts I’ve made about how I went full on capsule wardrobe for spring and summer 2017 and it’s been fantastic! So let’s start out by defining what a capsule wardrobe is for those of my friends who have no idea what I’m talking about!

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

Capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique called “Wardrobe” in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.

It’s like Garanimals for adults! Basically it is minimizing your closet to a few pairs of pants/shorts/skirts, a few tops and a few sweaters/coats. When I say a few I don’t mean 2-3 but I also don’t mean 20-30. I have about 7 bottoms, 9 tops, 7 sweaters/jackets, 2 dresses and 4 pairs of shoes. We will talk more about this later and figuring out a good number for you. It’s different for everyone and I know some people who have two capsules, one for work and one for casual.

If you’ve ever looked at Pinterest for fashion inspiration you’ve probably seen this term on at least 1 or 2 pins. It’s one of those things that you read and either think wow that sounds amazing or you think there is no way I’d ever do that! Those always seem to be the reactions I hear. For those that think no way I totally get it, if you love your vast wardrobe and you come out of your closet everyday feeling fabulous then I applaud you because I didn’t always feel that way.

The Mom Uniform

In fact I found myself in a self induced mom uniform after having my boys of jeans, maternity tshirt (because um hello how comfy were they!!!!!), no makeup and air dried hair. I felt frumpy and I know I looked frumpy. I started off small trying to reclaim my fashion sense by searching Pinterest for cute outfit ideas and then shopping my closet to recreate those looks. It was fun and I had a few cute go to outfits but I still felt frumpy and didn’t like what I was wearing most days of the week.

Stop…. It’s Backwards Hanger Time

As I started losing weight last year I needed to rethink my clothes because they didn’t fit anymore which was awesome! I kept reading articles on capsule wardrobes and looking at my closet full of clothes I might someday wear. The idea of cutting closet down was overwhelming even though the idea of having a smaller wardrobe of items I loved sounded amazing! So I started off by simply turning my hangers backwards in my closet. Then when I wore something I turned it back around the right way. Over the last year that trick has helped me really see what I wear and what I don’t wear. Then I challenged myself to wear those items or say goodbye and I said goodbye to a lot of them!

So I thought it would be a good idea to break things down into smaller steps for those of you who are thinking about paring down your closets. Step one is to go into your closet and turn all the hangers backwards. All of them!!!! Like I said above when you wear something turn the hanger back around. It’s simple and easy to implement so go do it now ;).

  1. Turn all the hangers backwards in your closet. Bonus if you do the same to your coat closet!

Later I’ll talk about tackling that over flowing dresser and slowly purging. Don’t worry I’ll keep each task as small as I can so you don’t lose motivation! What’s the old saying, How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! I have no idea how that became a saying and now I might have to google it!

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    Miami newborn photographer

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    I'm Melissa! Luxury maternity and lifestyle newborn photographer in Charlottesville, sail boater, lover of Lilly Pulitzer, and obsessed with true crime and interior design. I'm so glad you found me!


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    Melissa Arlena is an award winning Richmond and Charlottesville photographer. She recently earned her Master Photographer Certification in the Maternity, Newborn & Family categories from the National Association of Professional Child Photographers. Melissa offers maternity, lifestyle newborn, and family photography in her relaxed, natural, and joyful style.


    Melissa serves Charlottesville, Richmond, Staunton, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro, Culpeper, Gordonsville and beyond.



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