The Capsule Wardrobe | An Introduction

I was first introduced to the concept of a capsule wardrobe (or 10-item wardrobe) by Jennifer Scott’s book Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Lessons I Learned While Living in Paris. Forever a francophone, I picked up a copy of her first book and read through it quickly, eating up every observation about her time as a study abroad student in France. One of the key concepts she presents in her books is the 10 Item Wardrobe; the countercultural idea of dressing thoughtfully with fewer items. With my growing awareness of Marie Kondo, other capsule wardrobe concepts, and the minimalist ideal, a 10 item wardrobe (and it’s ties to French culture) immediately intrigued me.

The women in my family each have their own, distinct, fun styles and I have observed since childhood how each of them expressed themselves through their clothing. My great-grandmother, “Poofie”, wore a uniform of black cigarette pants and a blue, pink or purple printed button up. As I grow into my style, I love to look back at pictures of how she dressed when she was my age. Forever chic, she wore classic shapes that complimented her figure and coloring, and she wasn’t afraid to have an entire wardrobe full of blue and pink clothes (something I seem to have adopted). My grandmother has a fun, international style full of color and prints. We share an affinity for prints (she and my grandfather took me to Liberty London when I was ten and the rest is history), and quirky jewelry. And my mother, you guys, I don’t understand it… she’s so cool. My mom has a 70s flower child style, very boho, but laid back. She’s always on-trend and has an affinity for print mixing—thanks for all the style advice, Momma!

All that to stay, I think style is just so fun.

After finishing Mrs. Scott’s first book, I launched into a full-on closet purge. I followed her steps, and cleared my closet of everything I didn’t wear, didn’t love and things that didn’t fit. With the exception of a few items I couldn’t bring myself to let go of (more on that in a later post), I sent piles of unworn clothing to donation, the loving arms of a trendy little sister, and other friends. It was a fascinating process (lots of self discovery, let me tell you) and I loved it.

For the past 3 years, I’ve been, in my own way, following the 10 Item Wardrobe method. I am becoming more conscious of the things I purchase (learning how to say no!). I am discovering and developing my style, feeling more free to wear the things I love without concern of what others might say. The process is teaching me that more is not necessarily better, and there can be beauty in simplicity.

My motivation to begin, and to maintain, a capsule wardrobe was to grow more secure in my style, break myself of an “I must have it all” mindset and save more time in getting dressed everyday. I really love the process and would love to share it with you, showing the steps of developing my Spring & Summer 2017 wardrobe. Consider this post an introduction to a series on developing conscious style as a young woman in a transitional life phase. As the past few years (and the next few) have been full of change, developing a capsule wardrobe has looked a little different than that of a grown businesswoman or entrepreneurial mother. I wanted to share my experiences and process with the 10 Item Wardrobe as a busy, fairly crazy college student to show the value of a minimal wardrobe during a transitional time of life. I also hope to share many of the life lessons I’m learning from the process—dealing with identity and insecurity, and a few stories of minor meltdowns beneath piles of clothing. 

That said, I’ll be sharing the process of transitioning from my Fall/Winter wardrobe to my Spring/Summer wardrobe over the next few months. I hope you’ll follow along!

See you soon for the next installment of the series where I’ll talk about committing to the process, clearing the clutter in your wardrobe, and the tulle skirt that caused a minor breakdown (okay, it might’ve been the 19 year old hormones too, who knows). 

All the best, 

Mary Grace