‘Capsule Wardrobe’ is Smart for Your Simple, Sustainable Life

By Jan 13, 2017 No Comments

What the Heck is an
‘Capsule Wardrobe’?

My journey to a simpler life started 12 years ago when we moved to Stoney Creek Farm and I was working in the corporate world often traveling 3 days a week in a car over a multiple state sales territory.  Traveling such a wide territory allowed me to pare down my work wardrobe because it was rare that I would visit the same customers in a two week timeframe.
I immediately saw the benefits:

Fewer Choices – which meant more closet space
Less Stress – which meant happier me
Less Money – which meant extra money for paying off debt (no more $800 Chico bills)
More Time – which meant I could relax and do things with family instead of making all those choices

Walk_In_Closet_-_Expandable_Closet_Rod_and_Shelfsee the Benefits…(above)
versus too much wardrobe/too many choices (below)


So then I began looking at my personal wardrobe and figuring out how I could make that simpler and more efficient too.  This journey has had it’s ups and downs, just like a roller coaster…especially with the ‘after Christmas’ sales every year, but I feel like I am finally getting a handle on it…after 12 years!  It’s certainly not perfect, but I have to admit my wardrobe is a lot simpler and I try to follow this important rule of thumb:

“If something NEW comes in the closet,

something OLD comes out of the closet!”

According to Wikipedia, “the term [capsule wardrobe] is widely used in the British and American fashion media… The term has come to refer to a collection of clothing that is composed of interchangeable items only, to maximize the number of outfits that can be created. The aim is to have an outfit suitable for any occasion without owning excessive items of clothing. This is usually achieved by buying what are considered to be “key” or “staple” items in coordinating colors.”

My definition of an ‘capsule wardrobe’ is a small compact wardrobe that you can mix and match easily and will transition styles for almost any occasion.  There are numerous schools of thoughts on this type of wardrobe, and not all of them may fit your particular style, so I suggest paring down a little at a time…to see what works for you.

Although I still have some (still in-style) clothing from my sales career days, my goal is to eventually have a completely capsule wardrobe.  So now I work toward having 10-12 pieces of key clothing that I can mix and match with accessories to highlight the outfits.  Here is a list of my key clothing pieces for casual/business/church:
khaki pants, jeans, black pants, pencil black skirt, structured jean jacket, fitted short black/grey jacket, 3 short or sleeveless shells (complimentary colors), 2 long sleeve or 3/4 length sleeve shells (complimentary colors), and light pancho/sweater wrap.

unfancy pic

It’s very difficult for some people to visualize what their capsule wardrobe should look like or how to go about paring down their wardrobe…so below is a very helpful site called  Caroline explains the process and even has a wardrobe planner that you can download for free to help you put together your own capsule wardrobe.  The picture above is from her site.  Be aware that she considers the capsule wardrobe to have 37 key pieces, which may help you pare down your wardrobe initially, but it may still have too many choices…you decide.

Below is an example of a long weekend travel capsule (not for my 57 year old body, but very cute!).  How wonderful to travel with a small carry on bag rather than checking in and having your luggage mysteriously turn up in another state…yes, most of us have had that happen!  The capsule wardrobe can help you with keeping it simple.

travel capsule

On the other hand, my farming life requires dedicated “get dirty” clothes, so those are not included in this list, but I pared down this list of clothes too!  I didn’t need 50 T-shirts!  But they do wear out faster, so I generally have more farm clothes than casual/business/church clothes.

Another great website I follow is  Joshua Becker’s ‘Becoming Minimalist’  Joshua has a lot of guest posts about simple living and paring down wardrobes and material stuff.  It keeps me focused on the “simple” part of simple and sustainable living.

I look forward to more weekly posts this year sharing our sustainable, simple life here on the farm.  We would love to hear any tips and ideas you have and/or suggestions of topics you would like to hear more about…just send us a note at