6 Reasons A Capsule Wardrobe Might NOT Work for You

posted by Andrea | 06/13/2019

capsule wardrobe

If you’ve spent any amount of time reading “Home” blogs or browsing Pinterest , you’ve probably heard a lot about “Capsule Wardrobes”.

As many of you know, a capsule wardrobe is one where you have a very limited number of clothing — usually around 40 pieces total (including shoes, but not including undergarments, pj’s, etc.).

The idea is that all the tops and bottoms coordinate with each other so you can make many different outfits and achieve numerous different looks with only a few items taking up space in your closet.

I’ll be honest, the idea is absolutely THRILLING for me!

I love reading about other people’s journey to a super minimalist wardrobe.

I enjoy flipping through before and after pictures of their closets.

I’m inspired when I see how many different outfits they can put together with so few pieces of clothing.

I’ve even shared a few posts about capsule wardrobes on my Facebook and Pinterest pages.

HOWEVER… I do not, in any way, intend to create a true capsule wardrobe for myself. Not because it’s a bad idea, but simply because I don’t feel it’s very practical for me at this point in my life.

If I had to guess, I’d say that for the majority of people, a capsule wardrobe isn’t easily do-able due to a variety of reasons. Yes, every one of us COULD get by with only 40 articles of clothing if our lives depended on it. Our ancestors did it for hundreds of years, and I know I could easily purge the majority of my closet if I absolutely had to… but I don’t HAVE to… nor do I WANT to! 🙂

If you share my interest in capsule wardrobes… but at the same time, are frustrated with your own bulging closet, I hope today’s post will be encouraging for you!

REASON #1. You live in a region with varying climates.

Many of you know I live in Michigan — a.k.a. “the land of unpredictable and crazy weather”.  We often experience at least 3 “seasons” of weather every single week — this time of year, it’s not unusual for us to wear pants and a light jacket in the morning, but be in tank tops and shorts by the afternoon. And then there are the random blizzards in late April and the 70º days in early February (seriously, I’m not making this stuff up).

We have no plans of moving out of West Michigan any time in the foreseeable future, so a minimalist wardrobe really isn’t practical for us. We need clothing that works for sub-zero winter temps, cold rainy Springs, hot and humid summers, and hot OR cold falls.

We keep ALL seasons of clothing in our closets at ALL times because we never know when we’ll need a different type of clothing due to weather changes. 

For those of you who can relate to these climate changes, you know that just 10 tops is NOT going to cut it. 

REASON #2.Your weight is fluctuating.

Over the last 8 years, my weight has fluctuated HUGLY due to being pregnant 4 different times, and eventually losing the last of my baby weight this past fall

I was fortunate to borrow many of my maternity clothing, but since all my babies were spread out throughout the calendar year, I needed different types of maternity clothing for each child — and many of you can relate to the fact that pre-baby clothing doesn’t necessarily fit or flatter the same way after you have the baby! 

While I personally try to purge anything that is more than 2 sizes “off” for me, I do keep at least a couple items in various sizes in case my weight fluctuates a bit over the year. 

If you are pregnant, just had a baby, or are in the middle of losing or gaining weight for any number of reasons, a super minimalist capsule wardrobe probably isn’t ideal for you. 

REASON #3. You have a more difficult body shape to work around.

I didn’t know quite how to word this one — so I hope it doesn’t come across as offensive 🙂

Basically, what I’m trying to get at is that almost every single person I’ve seen blog about their capsule wardrobe has been very “average size”. And even for myself, when I shared my mix-and-match wardrobe years ago, I think one of the main reasons I was able to make that work is because I am somewhat “average” in my height, weight, build, body structure, etc.

My one “difficulty” is that I have an extremely LOOOOOONG torso, which often makes finding shirts and sweaters more difficult for me. I have to try every shirt on — and even with the longer “tunic” styles, they often hit me at an odd spot, which makes them much less flattering.

One of my sisters is very tall and has a difficult time finding pants that are long enough, and I have a couple of friends who are very pear shaped and also have issues with pants, shorts, and even skirts.

Broad shoulders is another biggie for women as it makes buying shirts more tricky… and I’ve heard that the cute shoe selection for anyone bigger than a size 10 is basically non-existent. 🙂

If you have any specific body features that makes it more challenging for you to find clothing, a capsule wardrobe will most likely be more difficult for you to put into place.

REASON #4. You don’t know what styles flatter you.

This is usually the biggest problem for most women — or maybe I’m the only one. We see all the new fashion trends in magazines, online, and everywhere else around us, and we want to wear them. Even if we don’t have the right body type (see #3 above) we try to squeeze ourselves into these clothes that are supposed to be fashionable… but end up looking awful on us.

Personally, I had NO idea if specific styles or colors looked better or worse on me… until I worked with a stylist several years ago. She really opened my eyes to what styles and colors looked good on me (I’ve been wearing skinny jeans and bright pink ever since!) and helped me realize why I liked certain articles of clothing and why I didn’t like others.

Now I know to stay away from certain fabrics, certain types of clothing, and certain “cuts” of clothing that just don’t do anything for me, and shopping online is SO much easier since I know exactly what items to search for.

While I don’t have a “minimalist” capsule wardrobe, I HAVE gotten to the point where most of my clothing is within the same color palate (black, grey, white, and pink) so most of my clothing mixes and matches fairly easily.

That said, if you do NOT know what styles or colors flatter you, it would be more difficult to create a capsule wardrobe with pieces of clothing you’ll enjoy wearing over and over again.

REASON #5. You’re on a tight budget.

Obviously, creating a brand new wardrobe from scratch is going to cost money — possibly a lot of money. I realize there are potentially a few items in your current closet that would work for a capsule wardrobe, but often times, the concept of a capsule wardrobe requires a “fresh start”.

I’m not saying it’s not worth spending the money — but it IS something that prohibits many people from creating that ultra minimalistic capsule wardrobe.

Unless you have unlimited funds to spend on clothing, it just doesn’t make sense to spend a large sum on new clothing UNLESS you have a very steady weight, you know exactly what styles and colors flatter you, you don’t mind wearing the same things over and over again, and you know how to work around any body “obstacles” to find the pieces that are the perfect fit for you.

REASON #6. You’re a fashionista.

If you’re someone who really enjoys staying current with the latest fashion trends, a capsule wardrobe would be torture for you!

Striving for a capsule wardrobe would most likely rob you of the joy and fun you get from wearing new outfits and trying new trends — which totally isn’t worth it in my opinion!

Although I most likely won’t ever have a true capsule wardrobe, I will continue to strongly advocate for a neat, well-organized closet with clothing that makes you feel great.

I know from lots of personal experience (and working with hundreds of organizing clients over the years) that having a neat, organized closet filled with clothing that fits and flatters you is MUCH more doable for the average person than having only the minimum necessities a capsule wardrobe allows.

That said, if you have a capsule wardrobe, WAY TO GO! That’s awesome — don’t change a thing if it works for you!

I will continue reading about capsule wardrobes and drooling over the wonderfully minimalistic closets — but I will NOT let myself feel bad for having more than the bare essentials in my own closet!

What are your thoughts on super minimalist capsule wardrobes? 

Filed under: OrganizingHomeClothes

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  1. Aoife


    I can officially stop stressing about a capsule wardrobe now.. I live in Ireland, ultimate 4 season in one day country… and we don’t heat or air-condition our houses in the same way as other countries…. so I often have to wear 3 layers indoors for half the year. But our seasons are different enough to warrant seasonal wardrobes…. not really. Except for those who really insist ‘because it’s summer’ we rarely get more than a week in the year where true summer clothing is essential.

    And then there’s weight….


    Andrea Reply:

    yay — stop stressing about it for sure! too many other more important things in life 🙂


  2. Dee


    Thank you so much for your Blog. I am a Certified Professional Hypnotist and recently have lost 38 pounds. Yes I have some over run closets with my clothes and my hubby’s. You would think according to the family it is only mine but not true.

    Anyway I am enjoying my new size and I am buying some things from the thrift shop because I am not finished releasing weight and I LOVE having so many choices. If I didn’t have the space that would be different but for now I do. I have felt a bit guilty about two closets full of clothes but they are not as big as some. I do have a challenge with space for linens. This house must have been designed by a man. I must admit I am paring down everywhere else in my life but my wardrobe is growing right now. I believe once I see what I am wearing most of the time I can let some things go. A lot has left already. It was out of date. But for the time being I am holding steady. I have another small home with a bigger closet than I have in my regular house the I have taken out sooooo many things because guess where the things went that came out of the coset here? I decided it was time to release it just as I have the weight. Thanks again for helping not feel sooo bad. I just visualize someone else loving it and wearing it. Plus I had a”capsule wardrobe” as a kid and not by choice. I will address it one day.


  3. Kathy


    #3 is my category! Being very tall with long legs & arms makes it extremely hard to find clothe that fit well so I don’t get rid of many items. Also having such a small number of choices means laundering items constantly..I would think that probably wears clothes out more quickly.


    TRUDY Reply:

    Yes #3 same. So I gave up and bought longer and a size big cotton camis to wear under my shirts since about all of them r A bit short no matter where I go. Ugh.


  4. Resources on How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe | Recovering Shopaholic


    […] “6 Reasons a Capsule Wardrobe Might NOT Work for You” – Lifestyle blogger Andrea Dekker is intrigued by the capsule wardrobe concept but has decided it’s not the right approach for her at this point in her life. She offers up some compelling reasons why capsule wardrobes might not work for you, either. […]

  5. Daniela


    Thank you so much for this post! I guess my reasons are somewhere between all the lines =).

    I live in Portugal, where the weather is really beautiful and sunny for almost 6-8 months. However, during the spring and fall you get some days of crazy pouring rain that just doe snot stop. And in winter couple weeks you hit the freezing temperatures.

    Being 175cm tall with long legs and long torso is making shopping very difficult, especially for working professional wardrobe and with varying weather and amount of exercise I vary between 36 / 38 size, in US would not be a big deal, in Europe each cm matter I mean everywhere gosh.

    So yes, and then there are the types of sweaters that can be layered with uniquely one type of undershirt etc. So yes this is my journey to non-capsule wardrobe as well! =)


  6. Sandy


    It wasn’t until the last ten years or so that I realized I’ve lived with a “capsule wardrobe” all my 60 years. When I was a child I doubt I ever had more than 12 items in my “wardrobe”, and two of them were school shoes and Peds. The rest of the time was spent barefoot, running around my rural Florida playgrounds. Laundry was done on Mondays, hung out to dry early, and ironing was done on Tuesday. I don’t remember much housework because there was no clutter. I can’t imagine having to deal with too many clothes.

    Fortunately, I discovered my style early and never was swayed by the trends of any time period. Slim, dark deniims, pants, or shorts, bold tee’s occasionally layered with a long-sleeve tee, graphic printed tops and tee’s, and fitted jackets or tight cardigans. Always with a simple heeled boot or pump as the occasion required. I have one black pencil skirt, just-in-case. With the other items I have, I can turn it into a cocktail outfit or something more formal. Heck, I took my entire wardrobe on a month long trip that included an Alaska cruise and two formal nights. My “formal” item was a see-through green and turquoise floaty tunic worn over a black tank top and black ponte pants, plus ankle boots. It was trendy and perfect for a cruise, weighed less than 2 ounces, and scrunched up without wrinking in my suitcase. I prefer to have extra accessories like statement jewelry, scarves, and belts to extend a minimalist capsule wardrobe–even while pregnant and lactating for seven years.


  7. Sandy


    Andrea, THANK YOU for #6! I have been hoping to find someone who would put into words exactly why the cspsule wardrobe idea has not worked for me. While not talented enough with color and design to consider myself a true fashionista, the fact of the matter is I love variety. I love trying different styles and color combinations (and I also live in Michigan.) Yes, I spice up my wardrobe with scarfs, but I can’t wear a scarf every day of the year, especially on those 90 degree days. I had a coworker once who had a capsule wardrobe of high quality clothes, and after seeing her in the same two pink flowered skirts for six months I wanted to rip them off her and burn them. Ugh!! I decided I have to embrace my love of variety and color rather than feel guilt over it. That being set I am not a hoarder. I follow the rule of one in, one out and force myself to stick to it. I buy alot of used clothing because I can indulge a whim without breaking the budget, and of course I have heavy duty higher quality basics (black pants, blazer, etc.) that I spend more on. I love my wardrobe! It is a rainbow of color and different styles – bohemian, chic, fun, flirty, casual – a true minimalists nightmare!


    Andrea Reply:

    haha — well I’m certainly NOT a fashionista as I enjoy wearing the same old “boring” things all the time… but I have many friends who just love variety. Even if they know they will probably only wear something 1 or 2 times a year, it’s still worth it for them to keep it.


    Trina Reply:

    Sandy – I can relate. I want a capsule wardrobe, but I also like variety and color and get bored easily. I have tried to stick to a somewhat limited color pallet and accessorize with scarves and jewelry; largely successful, but I still feel too blah sometimes. I’ve tried to expand my base colors to mostly neutrals and use accessories or tops or shoes for color pop. Working, but I definitely laughed about your comment on coworker in floral skirts!


    Andrea Reply:

    I think you’re definitely on the right track using accessories for your colors — that’s often what I do too. That said, I also don’t think a capsule wardrobe is a necessity for a simplified life. As long as you have space for your clothes and as long as you actually wear what you own, I think you’re doing just fine!


  8. Liz


    I was actually shocked that you did NOT have a capsule wardrobe! You are so organized that I was sure this was a thing for you. Actually, looking at the picture you included with this post, you are well on your way to a capsule wardrobe – I see how you have used the same clothing item more than once to achieve a different look! I have to agree with so many of the points that Megan posted above – you don’t have to have 1 capsule wardrobe for the entire year. You bring pieces in and out as the season changes and your sizes change, too. I have embraced this concept and as another comment was made, I suffer from much lest decision fatigue. I also live in a four season climate, and I start each season by placing all my hanging clothes on the hanger, and hanging the hangar backwards. After a month I take a look at all the backwards hangars and determine if any more clothing can go. By the end of the season I have a really honest conversation with myself as to what is still hanging backwards and why I haven’t worn it. If there is a good reason, I keep it or out it goes. As the seasons change and we hit “shoulder” season here (spring/fall) when the weather can vary greatly, I gradually put away one season and bring out another. I don’t limit myself to a specific number, but I have a goal in mind. Having a capsule wardrobe doesn’t mean you have to replace everything in your closet; this year I invested in new, quality made dresses. Next year, I probably won’t have to do that as I invested in quality and items that flatter my figure that should last me a few years. (I’m past the pregnant/newborn/nursing baby stag but I remember what that was like so I did have a bit “extra” in my closet during those years). I also maintain two capsule wardrobes – one for my job (work outside the home in a business casual environment) and one for my evenings/weekends. I have opted to not include swimsuits, coats, undergarments, jewelry, cocktail/evening wear, or pajamas in my capsule wardrobe. Believe it or not, even eliminating those categories, you can pare down substantially !


  9. Megan


    I love that the heart of this post is to free people up from any pressure to follow the trend of capsule wardrobes, but I think the capsule wardrobe concept has been a little misunderstood by many here! I recommend checking out http://www.un-fancy.com for what a capsule wardrobe is, how to start building one, and why you would even do it. She really emphasizes that capsule wardrobes should be very flexible and should serve you and your stage of life (not that you should serve the “Great Capsule Wardrobe”). I highly recommend her wardrobe planner especially!

    I live in Michigan (a region with varying climates), my weight has been fluctuating a lot recently (I have two boys, ages 3 and 1, with another baby due in September!), I didn’t know necessarily what styles flatter me (before trying to do some capsule wardrobes), and I am on a tight budget. I just want to add another opinion that says that these six reasons are not necessarily reasons to forgo the CONCEPT (at least) of a capsule wardrobe! “Un-fancy” (a capsule wardrobe blog, http://www.un-fancy.com) defines a capsule wardrobe as ” a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear.” That is do-able for all six scenarios listed on your blog! (It just might take a little longer for them to execute it well).

    A capsule wardrobe usually just refers to having a smaller number of items in your CLOSET at a time, but there may be many more items that are in out-of-season/out-of-size STORAGE under your bed or in your basement! Also, many people do not include more formal wear (for wedding, funeral, etc.) in their capsule wardrobe “count”. For some people, it might be helpful to think of having a couple capsules (one work and one casual for instance) but needing two sets of types of clothing isn’t necessarily a reason to forgo the capsule wardrobe concept!

    For me this has meant that when I am pregnant I only keep my maternity clothes hanging in my closet and I try to keep the number to a minimum. I am not particularly strict about a set number, but a capsule wardrobe (to me) means that I only buy/keep the best of the best and that more clothing doesn’t necessarily mean more or better options. When I am nursing, I only have my nursing-friendly clothes out. In the summer, all my sweaters are stored away, and in the winter, I only have my warmest stuff out. In the transitional seasons, I slowly switch over my wardrobe, putting away my sweaters as the weather warms up and pulling them out again when it begins to cool down.

    Also, I would actually argue that capsule wardrobes are the BEST option for when your weight is fluctuating because as your sizes change, then you can switch out your one minimalist wardrobe for another… If I had a traditional sized closet for each season (pregnant, nursing, post-pregnant, winter, spring, summer, fall) – then I would need an ENORMOUS amount of clothes. Part of what set me on a journey to implement some of the concepts of capsule wardrobes was all the weight fluctuation!

    Andrea, I think by nature of your personality (how you love to keep things simple and purge often and not hold onto things you no longer want, use, need, or love), you actually already tend toward the principles of a capsule wardrobe! I think your post is great for freeing people from achieving some perfect “ideal” capsule wardrobe that won’t work for their lives. For someone like me, who does not naturally let go of things easily or naturally know what flatters me all the time, a capsule wardrobe has been such a freeing concept because it helps me think of my wardrobe as primarily a smaller closet with only things that I love and would wear every day (if given the chance) in any particular season. Then I am not as tempted to get bogged down with sub-par clothing choices or to feel like I “need” a certain style because it’s cute on someone else (even though it isn’t cute on me or doesn’t work for my stage of life). Having a “capsule wardrobe” (again I am not strict so I refer to my wardrobe as a “capsule” somewhat loosely) has actually helped me find what styles are flattering for me.

    Similarly, if you have a more difficult body to work around, then why not have a smaller closet with only things that flatter your body, rather than a larger closet with a bunch of “meh” options that don’t quite fit.

    Having fewer options in my closet at a time has been so freeing for me that I don’t want people to give up the concept of capsulizing their wardrobe just because one of these six reasons apply to them. Hopefully everyone can see that capsule wardrobes can actually be very flexible and even helpful for many of these scenarios.

    P.S. Andrea, thanks for writing your blog! I have read every entry for the past couple years and have learned so much. I’m just offering another perspective on capsule wardrobes for those maybe interested in learning more about them. 🙂


  10. Patty


    Thank you for this!! Living in Minnesota makes having a capsule wardrobe pretty difficult. I tried last year and what ended up happening was just me clearing out my closet of old clothes. I wear basic tees with jeans or shorts, athletic skirts/shorts, etc… As a stay-at-home mom I find it tough to buy a dry clean only item that will only be worn for one season or another clothing item that will only be worn one season.

    I do like fashion, I do like to look put together but with our weather, capsule wardrobes just don’t work well for me.

    Again, thanks for this!


  11. Jen


    Thanks so much for this post! I am absolutely fascinated with the capsule wardrobe idea no matter the number of items. However, I am really struggling to do it myself. Yeah, I probably only wear about 30 items in rotation at any one time (I work from home which really helps). I do like to change up what I wear when I do have to get dressed for a business trip or nicer event out. I keep my clothes for absolutely forever so if it fits and still has play with my style, I keep it and it gets brought out every so often. This is one way I keep my costs down is to buy stuff I’ll wear but keep it in good condition for regular rotation.

    I do need to go through and get rid of things that really don’t fit (pants are a real struggle for me). And get rid of things I really dont’ like. I am thinking if I do that, I’ll have a “capsule” that I love no matter how many items that is.


    Andrea Reply:

    I feel the exact same way you do… I probably COULD get by with just 30 items, but there are occasions when I like to wear something different and I dont’ want to totally limit myself ALL the time.

    However, you better believe that after I (hopefully) drop this baby weight, I’ll be doing a big purge of anything and everything that no longer fits or that doesn’t flatter me!


  12. Jessica K.


    I like the idea of the capsule wardrobe. As someone who works in a office, on the computer, working 8-5, I really do not need to “dress to impress.” Having a capsule wardrobe would definitely make getting ready in the morning. Currently, I’m 8 months pregnant, so it will something that I will have to start post pregnancy.

    What I do now though is that at the start of a season, I make it a point to wear/rotate through every piece of clothing that I have for the season to see if I still like it, or if it still fits. If I decide that it’s time to donate, I add it to the donate pile. At the end of the season, I donate all my clothes.


  13. JoDi


    I find capsule wardrobes interesting too. I have quite a few clothes, but I bet if I counted the ones I really wear all the time in one season, it probably wouldn’t exceed 40 items by much. And that’s even though I work full time outside the home in a “business casual” environment and am involved in volunteer and religious activities that require dressing up so my wardrobe has to be varied. I’ve never tried to pare things down to a specific number because my closet has plenty of room and is orderly, but I do like the idea of having a reason to get rid of the things I know I’m keeping because I “should” wear them but probably won’t for one reason or another! LOL


  14. Beth


    I too am FASCINATED with the idea of a capsule wardrobe. I like to think I’m working towards one not in the sense of a strict number of items but getting rid of items that don’t belong. Things that don’t fit really well (I’m petite and used to make do with things that weren’t petite – no more!), things I don’t love and therefore don’t really wear. It is a long term goal though because of fluctuating shape/size with pregnancies and breastfeeding and because of budget. I’m not a fashionista so the idea that everything in my closet would coordinate with other pieces and that there’d be fewer decisions (fewer pieces) is exciting!!


  15. Cathy


    I’ve noticed a lot of capsule wardrobe posts online lately too. I think it works better for people who are really into clothes. I admire how creative people get but its not for me. I’m more like Steve Jobs. He apparently wore the same outfit everyday and owned several pairs of the same turtleneck and jeans. I’m happier wearing the same uniform every day and its one less thing to think about. There is a theory, called decision fatigue, that making too many decisions can make it harder to make any decisions, so removing decisions from your life can ease stress and help you focus on what’s really important.

    I hate dresses and skirts and most blouses. I really only like jeans/khakis/yoga pants and tee shirts and cardigan sweaters. I do have lighter and heavier ones for the extreme temps, but I can wear most of my clothes most of the year. I could easily get rid of some of but I also do a pretty good job of rotating through them.

    That said, if it works for people, great, good for them!


    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I definitely have a similar pattern of clothing I wear on a regular basis — it’s very similar to yours too. Jeans or yoga pants, tank tips with a cardigan over top 🙂


  16. Avia


    You shared my thoughts exactly. I too have been really intrigued with a capsule wardrobe but I also live in a 4 climate part of the country and have had two pregnancies etc. in the last 2 & 1/2 years. During my second pregnancy I wanted so badly to do a big purge but I held off since you really never do know what sizes you’re going to need after pregnancy and what is going to work for breast feeding. I’m really glad I didn’t. I really like what Jennifer had to say about capsule wardrobes and perfectionism. I hadn’t thought of that before but I think what she is saying may apply to me also. Good food for thought.


    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I liked what Jennifer said too — I can really see how something like creating a capsule wardrobe could bring out the negative side of perfectionistic tendencies.


  17. The Busy Brunette


    I love your topic today! I am definitely not a minimalist when it comes to my wardrobe, though I do try to be in all of the other areas of my life. I just can’t when it comes to clothes – I love shopping and fashion too much! Plus, my weight has definitely fluctuated since I had my son five years ago, both from pregnancy and just from getting older.
    I love your blog and am a faithful reader. Thanks for providing me with great daily reads! Have a great Tuesday!
    Oh, and I’d love to guest post on your site if you’d ever be interested. I could even do a topic like – “Why I Don’t Have a Capsule Wardrobe”! 🙂
    “The Busy Brunette”


  18. Jennifer


    I share your fascination with capsule wardrobes, and I think the idea can offer a lot of good tips for the average person (don’t keep things you don’t like, think strategically, prioritise fewer items of better quality over many of poor quality, etc.). However, I’ve come to the conclusion that for me right now a capsule wardrobe isn’t what I need or want.

    One reason for me is that I think my motivation for doing it would be partly from perfectionism. Yes, there is something very satisfying about a perfect collection of equally loved clothes, which all work together for all occasions, about feeling awesome in your clothes every day. But I think that it’s unlikely that anyone can actually achieve this! And I don’t think even the best capsule wardrobe can provide that, because tastes change, things turn out to be imperfect, we get bored, etc. But I think the capsule wardrobe idea appeals to my OCD side because it promises that perfection. So I know that I wouldn’t be trying to have a capsule wardrobe for the right reasons necessarily, but because I was looking for a kind of obsessive perfection, and not finding it I know I would just feel constantly frustrated. Whereas my current wardrobe, while not perfect either, isn’t a search for perfection but for something that functions and gives pleasure at an acceptable level.

    And you’re right that a changing climate makes it much harder – partly just because in the winter it feels like you need more items of clothing because you are wearing so many at once! I lived in the UK for many years and we had four seasons quite similar to MI (I think), and very few of my clothes were wearable year round. Jeans became unbearable in the summer, and I had to distinguish between ‘warm’ versus ‘light’ sweaters and needed a whole season’s worth of each. Whereas for those in more moderate climates, some pieces genuinely can be worn year-round.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for your comments Jennifer — I love how you mentioned the perfectionism. I think you’re completely right about that!


  19. lydia @ frugaldebtfreelife


    I really enjoyed this post, Andrea. I don’t have that many clothes, but I also don’t have a capsule wardrobe. Honestly, the idea of wearing the same colors everyday just seems dull. Although I do see people pull it off and they look so put together.


  20. Gina, a book dragon


    Most of the wardrobe blog posts I’ve been reading have been part of Project 333. The number of item is smaller then your example but it is only for 3 months or the season, with the other stuff packed up or at least covered up and out of the way. I don’t believe I could get away with only 40 items in my closet but I’m thinking how it would be nice to have 40 things in my closet that I loved.

    I’ve got problems with 2, 3, 4 and a little of 5. I’m working on getting to a healthier weight so after that I’ll need new clothes anyways and 5 will go out the window 😉 Luckily, I don’t have to worry much about different seasons beyond summer and wet.


  21. Brooke


    Usually it’s a set number per season, so you can rotate as needed. Like you, my weight has been fluctuting. I do have a buiness travel capsule wardrobe that works great. It’s a subset of my regular closet that mixes and matches and can be mixed for presentations in the morning and drinks in the evening. People are always amazed at how little I pack.


    Andrea Reply:

    I love the idea of having a business travel capsule wardrobe — that’s genius and I bet it saves you so much time and energy when traveling!


    Jen Reply:

    I definitely have a capsule travel wardrobe! In winter it is mock turtlenecks and cashmere sweaters with blue or black gabardine pants. Summer it is a jewel neck tops with cardigans with the same pants. Can’t tell you how easy packing is and I also only pack in a carryon even for international trips.

    I would think that if I can do this for travel (I can got 10+ days easy peasy looking fresh every day with different scarves & necklaces and combos), why don’t I do that at home? 🙂


  22. anette


    I like the idea too. But with two small children I find it hard not to have only a small amount of clothing. I tend to get as quickly dirty as them with fruit sauce ect. I would like to add I don’t have a lot of clothes anyways 🙂


    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes, I hear you on that. I’ve often changed my clothing a couple times in one day due to kids spilling on me!


  23. Emily @ Morning Motivated Mom


    #2 is so true! There are so many stages of the woman’s body around the pregnancy/nursing years! It can make clothes difficult.

    I may do some version of this, but I will never strive to get down to 40 items! I think it would be wasteful and expensive, as I would just have to purchase more clothes in the future to replace what I tossed. Once I’m done having kiddos, maybe I will reconsider. As I am intrigued by the capsule wardrobe.

    I also live in the midwest…major season changes! Thanks for showing another side to the capsule wardrobe. Great points!