Simplifying:Winter Capsule Wardrobe

My experiment with a capsule wardrobe has now come full circle. I made my first capsule last winter (2016) using only the items I already owned. The experiment was a success, and I eagerly threw myself into creating a new capsule for each season last year. Before I made my capsule for this winter though, I read a blog post that made me interested in Project 333. The basic premise is you choose thirty-three pieces to wear for three months. The kicker is this number includes clothes, shoes, outerwear, and accessories/jewelry. Although this seemed terribly restrictive to me, I’m not one to back down from a simplifying challenge, so I decided to give it a whirl. It took me a long time to narrow down my pieces, and in the end I wasn’t able to include my accessories in that number, but I did manage to pare down everything else to only thirty-three items. I’ve been sticking to this capsule for almost a month now, and I can honestly say I love it. There are even a few pieces that I realize now I didn’t need to include because I haven’t gotten much wear out of them. You’ll see that I stuck to mostly neutrals this time around, which I think works well for winter but I will definitely want to add more color for spring and summer. Here’s what I went with:

Tops (9)

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I chose white, cream, and gray as my neutral colors, with a couple of burgundy and navy shirts for variety. I’m pretty sure I could have cut a couple of these and been fine.

Sweaters/completer pieces (5)

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I use these as layering pieces and to expand the number of outfit combinations I can make. I probably could do without the cream sweater, just because it’s usually too cold to wear it alone and awkward to layer a jacket on top of it.

Pants (3)

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Turns out three pairs of jeans is the perfect number. Dark skinny jeans are always a staple, and I kept my lighter wash straight leg jeans and a pair of boot cut ones too. I was worried I needed more, but nope, especially since I included so many pieces in the next category:

Tunics/dresses (6)

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I was sorely tempted to make my capsule into a “uniform” this season, with leggings and a tunic being my go-to outfit. I think I could have definitely gotten away with few tops/jeans and relied mostly on this combo, which looks more pulled together and is as comfy as wearing pajamas. I bought three of these dresses on a mini shopping-spree on my birthday at the beginning of December (gotta love those pre-Christmas sales!) but otherwise almost all of the rest of this capsule I just carried over from fall wardrobe. I’m not planning on buying any more clothes until March, when I will start to build my spring capsule (fingers crossed it will start to warm up by then).

Shoes (5)

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High and low boots, two pairs of tennis shoes, and my gold toms. I also included a pair of metallic flats, but I haven’t worn them even once so that was an unnecessary addition.

Outerwear (4)

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My favorite impulse purchase, this faux-leather motorcycle jacket, is still going strong. I love my cozy plum-colored down coat I got at Eddie Baur several years ago, and this longer trench is perfect for dressier occasions. I also included a fuzzy magenta fleece (not pictured) to thrown on over my workout gear.

And that’s it. Pretty crazy, but I haven’t felt constricted at all by the small number of pieces, and in fact getting dressed is easier than ever. You’ll notice I didn’t include my “foundation pieces” in these 33 pieces (underwear, camisoles, leggings, etc.) and exercise/lounge wear/pajamas don’t count either. So that gives me some wiggle room. I decided to try the “hanger trick” too to see if I was wearing everything in my capsule. You know, where you turn all your hangers around backwards and then as you wear an item turn its hanger the right way. Sure enough, after three weeks there were still three hangers turned backwards. Next time I will know to either not include those pieces, or to be more intentional about making outfits that include them.

I’ve really enjoyed this process of being more intentional with my clothing choices, and it has definitely made a difference in my spending habits too. Bonus, my closet feels huge! Have you thought about paring down your wardrobe to the minimum essentials? Have you ever tried the backward hanger trick? Let me know your thoughts!


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