How I Built My First Capsule Wardrobe

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For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in clothing. Fashion, not so much, but clothing in general, and style. After giving birth to my daughter, it took time before my body was somewhat back to the size I was pre-pregnancy and, by that time, I had already started to feel like I had lost my style. I also didn’t have as much money to spend on my clothes when my priority was to keep my daughter clothed.

Over the past few years I had narrowed down my color choices for clothes to red, black, gray, and white.

Over the past few years I had narrowed down my color choices for clothes to red, black, gray, and white.

As an attempt to rebuild my style and my wardrobe, I created 6 sustainable steps to determine what I actually needed in my wardrobe, and in my case, I wanted to buy less and make most of my clothes myself. If you want to download those steps, click the button below to type in your infomation, and you will be sent an email including a link for the download!

Looking back, the steps have similarities in the ways you are supposed to build your capsule wardrobe, but at the time of coming up with the 6 steps, I wasn’t particularly knowledgeable about what capsule wardrobes were. I had encountered the concept, sure, but I hadn’t really delved any deeper.

For a long time, I think I was under the impression that there was a connection with capsule wardrobes and guidelines on what every woman must have in their wardrobe. You know, the guidelines that tell you that every woman needs to have a little black dress, a white shirt with a collar etc. That’s one myth that was busted when I took the Caps Look online course by Iina Lappalainen in fall 2018. Iina had the same idea behind her capsule wardrobe method that I had discovered when coming up with the 6 steps – that each individual knows best what items their wardrobe should include because they know what their lifestyle is like and they have at least some idea of the types of garments they like to wear, in other words, have some understanding of their style.

So, I found Iina and Caps Look around August or September in 2018 when scrolling through posts inside a Facebook group. The timing was perfect. I wanted to see if there was something more I could learn from her about building a wardrobe and if there was some more help I could use to redefine my style. I first attended Iina’s free workshop and became especially interested in clever ways to keep one’s clothes neatly organized. I consider myself a neat person, but the way I had most of my clothes folded on shelves meant that it didn’t take long before there was a slight chaos inside my closet after I had had a clean-up.

This is what my closet often looked like before taking the course.

This is what my closet often looked like before taking the course.

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After the free workshop, I attended the Caps Look course. As I expected, the third week was the most eye opening because that’s when we focused on organizing and storage. I reorganized my closet by moving my main capsule on a rail inside my closet and buying a storage system with wire baskets underneath the rail to store my other capsules. And while I was at it, I did the same for my partner’s and our daughter’s closet over the next few days. This new way of storing our clothes has made the biggest impact on, not only keeping our closets neat and organized, but also how easy it is to get dressed when you can easily see all the clothes that go well together at one glance. Below you can see what my closet looks like now.

Everything in regular use, excluding shoes and outerwear, fits in the closet quite comfortably. I keep a few dresses in reserve inside the clothes covers on the right.

Everything in regular use, excluding shoes and outerwear, fits in the closet quite comfortably. I keep a few dresses in reserve inside the clothes covers on the right.

If you are wondering why I came up with several capsules, the answer is quite simple. The main capsule is the one I use everyday when I step outside the apartment. In addition, Iina has you create separate capsules for example, for working out and lounging at home, depending on your lifestyle. And, of course, it’s okay if your capsules overlap. Some garments can fit multiple purposes.

Thanks to Iina’s course I was able to build my very first main capsule. It turned out that I had had a pretty good intuition guiding me whenever I had bought or made clothes for myself, but Iina was able to verbalize everything. This verbalization will help me a lot when I update my capsules in the future for each new season.

Here’s what my main fall capsule included after taking the course:

- a pair of blue jeans

- a pair of black jeans

- a pair of black stretch cotton pants

- a pair of black pin dot stretch cotton pants

-  a white sleeveless top

- a black sleeveless tops

- a long gray sweatshirt (memade, pattern by Saara & Laura Huhta in a Finnish sewing magazine)

- a long black sweatshirt (memade, pattern by Saara & Laura Huhta in a Finnish sewing magazine)

- a red and black houndstooth shirt (memade, Coco pattern by Tilly and the Buttons)

- a black and white stripey shirt (memade, Coco pattern by Tilly and the Buttons)

- a black and gray stripey shirt (memade, Molly pattern by Sew Over It)

- a red cropped, long-sleeved cotton cardigan

My first ever capsule wardrobe.

My first ever capsule wardrobe.

Since creating the capsule, the black pair of jeans got torn so badly that I couldn’t wear them anymore. I did struggle to manage with only three pairs of pants, but that’s what I had to do due to my budget. I later added a black jersey tunic and a black sleeveless top to the capsule, and I decided to add a very small capsule of neater clothes on the rail as well.

I had held on to a lot of clothes that didn’t either fit me or my lifestyle anymore, so I got rid of them. That, of course, freed up space from my closet to better fit everything worth keeping.

Attending the course gave me a lot of clarity on how I should build my capsule for every season. It also made me realize that on top of my main capsule, which is my casual everyday capsule, I can have a few other capsules for different purposes, and that I definitely need to build a neater capsule in a different kind of colorway as my secondary capsule. (I want to move away from the hard contrasts of my red, black, gray and white look.) That’s something that I started building quite soon after the end of the course by knitting and sewing. I will show you the progress I make with this project in later blog posts. Before that, you can see snippets of some of those makes on my Instagram account.

 

If you have a capsule wardrobe, what made you want to build one for yourself? What type of garments or accessories do you prefer to make yourself to include in your capsule?  If you don’t have a capsule wardrobe, have you thought about building one? How do you decide on what to buy, knit or sew into your wardrobe? I’d love to hear from you and have a chat!

- Johanna