Capsule Wardrobe Challenge: where are your holes?

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Just joining the Capsule Wardrobe Challenge?  Check out Week 1 then swing back here to get up to date.

To recap: From January until April I'm going to be wearing only 37 items -- my Capsule Wardrobe.  

Oh, and I really want you to join me.

I ended sticking with 37 garments.  I like the number and the fact that it feels challenging but still leaves me with hundreds of potential outfit combinations.  

About 31 of these items are much loved pieces from my current closet.  Those items in my current closet that didn't make the cut for this Winter wardrobe were divided into 2 camps:

  1. Donation.  This option was for any item which, when faced with the possibility of having to wear it bi-weekly for a few months, left me cringing or at least feeling uninspired.  Since this is my first Capsule Wardrobe, I applied this philosophy to whether that garment is in season or not.
  2. Storage.  This category I used for out of season items that I love (jean shorts, bikinis and a few summer dresses) AND for a few very special winter items that I adore but don't fit into this finely tuned capsule (about 5 items).  All in, everything I'm storing fit into a bin about the size of 3 shoeboxes.

I also decided to take Lisa Gordon's tip and not include scarves in this final number (check out her amazing advice in the comments).  There is a chance that all my accessories will fit in the original group of 37, but this challenge is meant to be joyful, so I'm not going to force it.

This Week's Focus: Find the holes in your capsule and set a budget for acquiring them. 

If we're being totally honest, knowing that I get to purchase 6 new items is both super exciting and slightly daunting business.  

After spending so much time paring down and getting rid of things that don't spark joy, I'm thrilled to add some new pieces to my wardrobe.  But I also want to be sure I'm super thoughtful about getting the right things -- which is why this week prepare for intentional wardrobe additions (aka: shopping!).

1. What's missing?   

I used to shop by walking into a store and letting inspiration hit me.  If a certain color I loved was in style, I might walk out with a sweater, scarf and shirt all in that same shade of green.  Or if a salesperson told me those uncomfortable shoes were just meant for me -- well I'd purchase a pair or two  (likely to be donated many years later without a single wear).

Working within a Capsule Wardrobe necessitates viewing all your garments as a part of a greater eco-system.  You'll need to account for a range of temperatures, levels of formality and moods, but with only 37 items, you'll also want each garment to work with most of the others in terms of style, fit, and function.  

When I look at my wardrobe, I realize what I am missing most are items that can be worn alone or layered to achieve varied degrees of warmth.   Being cozy, loving and patient are some of my core desired feelings for this winter -- and I know I feel none of those ways when I'm dealing with tight shoulders or numb fingers.   

As I prepare to fill out my 37 item Capsule Wardrobe, I’m going to be focusing all of my extra items and creating a solid layering system and acquiring a few really warm pieces.   

2. Create a budget. 

For my winter Capsule Wardrobe Challenge, I’ve set my budget at $300.  Now of course you can set any budget you'd like, but keep in mind the intentions behind this are both minimalist and for this to be a challenge, so set accordingly.

I've ear-marked $300 on my Mint budget pages, so I will know exactly when I've spent that cash.  However, as I've shared before, I’m all for creating extra money through non traditional routes.  So, if I end up selling old clothing or finding a gift card, I am not counting that against my $300. 

I do this not to bend the rules but to encourage the resourcefulness and play that I’ve developed with my things.  I view 90% of my items as temporary and as such I'm always willing to sell, alter or trade them when it seems right.  The excitement of bringing in new things is made that much more intense when I know that I’ve cleared room for them.

Please share your budget and any tips you use for shopping below!


Next Week:  Fill out your wardrobe

Week 4: Finalize and document your wardrobe.