InCloset Organization

Is the Capsule Wardrobe Right for You?

The beginning of a New Year is the perfect time talk about organization– particularly closet goals. In recent years, much has been written EVERYWHERE about the Capsule Wardrobe. The concept–in the purest of forms– actually goes back a few decades.

Capsule wardrobe is a term coined by Susie Faux, the owner of a London boutique in the 1970s. According to Faux, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of style and can be mixed and matched. These pieces would be enhanced with seasonal pieces.  This idea was taken a step further by American designer Donna Karan, who, in 1985, released an influential capsule collection of seven interchangeable work-wear pieces.

For example:  2 bottoms, 3 tops, and 2 jackets would create 15+ outfits etc.

Enter Project 333 and we have a whole new “take” on the Capsule Wardrobe. This variation on the capsule wardrobe emphasizes simplicity. For THREE months you would choose 33 wardrobe pieces (including shoes and accessories) for your capsule to mix and match and create dozens of outfits.

–The premise behind this variation is to help you be less overwhelmed when choosing an outfit each day because you are “forced” to choose from those pieces versus an entire closet.

–It teaches you that you CAN get by with less and helps you evaluate your shopping habits or lack thereof!

–You learn to mix/match or change an outfit with an accessory

There are now hundreds of articles written about this concept and everyone has their own variation and advice. My goal in this post is not to tell you HOW to do it, but to help you determine if the capsule wardrobe is right for you. I ask a lot of questions when I sit down in the consultation. This helps me determine if you are a good candidate for the Capsule Wardrobe. I thought it would make the most sense if I described two completely different clients.

A Tale of Two Clients:

Client A:

-Thirty-something mom with 3 kids aged 3-9. Works 2-3 days a week with a flexible dress code.

-Doesn’t have time to shop

-Prefers solids or a touch of small prints

–Prefers neutral over color for the most part

–Small closet space

–Would like to have fewer things to choose from when dressing. It’s easier to wear repeat outfits, mix and match differently or add a piece of jewelry.

Client B:

–Age 52 and works full time with a “no- denim” dress code, but does have Casual Friday

–Loves fashion, shopping,  enjoys dressing up and has a large closet full of clothes

–Likes color, bold patterns and variety, tires easily of her clothes.

–Is indecisive overall

–Doesn’t do really well with mixing/matching and is “outfit driven”. This means she buys an outfit and likes to wear it the same way each time. Creating new combinations doesn’t come easily. She doesn’t take time to think about it and would rather buy more.

Is a Capsule Better for Client A or B?

Both clients could do smaller capsule. It will be more difficult for client B because she tires easily of her clothes, likes variety and admittedly mixing and matching doesn’t come easily. And that’s OK! Bold statement here: The capsule wardrobe is NOT for everyone.  Client B could have a terrible time deciding on the right 33 pieces to choose for the 3 months. That it itself would cause stress, take too much time and could defeat the purpose.

As you can see, there are many ways to look at it–such an individual decision.

When in doubt, just give it a try and see what happens and what you can learn from the process. Section off an area in your closet or find a rolling rack. Start choosing your pieces for the three months. Remember –you’re not getting rid of the rest of your clothes–save those for another capsule. DO NOT get caught up in reading all the articles on the pieces everyone MUST HAVE.


That is very individual and will depend on many factors. Later this week I’ll share my video on the process.

Who is up for the Challenge?

I’m looking for someone who is willing to try 33-40 pieces for 3 months and report back to me to be featured in a post. I’ll guide you through the prep which is minimal. Ideally I’d like someone who works full -time to really put the variety piece to the test but that characteristic is negotiable.

If you’ve tried the minimalist approach, please comment below weighing in on your thoughts! We’d love to hear.




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    I am just now hearing about the 33 piece challenge and want to give it a try. I am finally getting a dedicated quilting room and will be able to take all the fabric and supplies out of my closet. Once that is done, I’ll be able to start going through my clothes.
    I work 32 hours a week in a semi-professional atmosphere. We can wear jeans on Friday, but other than that, dress code is business casual.
    I am up for the challenge!

    January 15, 2019 at 3:25 pm Reply
    • Karen

      Thanks for writing Heide! I will writing another post later this week with some more specifics. I will communicate more after that. Thanks for accepting the challenge!

      January 15, 2019 at 9:44 pm Reply

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