Worth repeating: Creating a capsule wardrobe
I wrote this blog post in 2015, after a delightful visit from my friend Geralin Thomas. I’ve updated it a little, including adding that Geralin is now selling an inexpensive Wardrobe Wisdom Workbook. Geralin is my secret weapon when it comes to looking good. I’m so lucky (and grateful!)
For the last eight years I’ve been fortunate enough to be friends with Geralin Thomas, a professional organizer and wardrobe consultant who has patiently been trying to educate me on what to wear and how to wear it. (I like looking nice, but I lack confidence in knowing what looks great on me and how to put together outfits.)
Geralin was visiting me recently and, like she did last year, went through my closet with me so that we could retire those garments that were either unworn or too worn. She took a look at what was left and created a mental shopping list to fill things out.
And then we had some very successful (and, I must say, enjoyable) shopping excursions. The icing on the cake was the time we spent yesterday putting together top-to-bottom outfits, so I can dress with confidence.
My goal is to have as few clothes as possible and still feel well-dressed. I’m easily overwhelmed by choices, so when choices are limited I am happier.
Geralin taught me that what we did was create capsule wardrobes for me. On page 85 of her book, Decluttering Your Home: Tips, Techniques and Trade Secrets Geralin describes a capsule wardrobe as one in which “individual pieces are combined into outfits that offer maximum use…it’s simply a collection of pieces that work together.” In my case, I now have a nice, simple color-coordinated collection. Everything goes together so I can’t really mess it up. (But to keep from messing up, I photographed the outfits that Geralin put together for me—including accessories.) This allows me to dress with confidence and it makes dressing so much easier.
Here’s a photo of happy me with part of our score from the designer section of the late great Scholarshop, a charity resale shop in St. Louis that closed in 2017. (My new go-to resale shop is the wonderful NCJW Resale Shop.)
A year ago, we purchased clothes in three neutral colors: black, charcoal and camel. Most of those clothes are still in my closet, and this year we added some color. Primarily, we focused on peacock, teal, green, rust and plum.
My pants wardrobe has been pared down to three pairs of dress pants (black, charcoal, camel—they go with all my tops), along with some black leggings, some ponte knit fitted pants and some jeans. (I have some attractive work-out clothes that I wear when I’m leading organizing teams.) I don’t need any more options than that. And It feels so good.
We took photographs of the outfits, including accessories, and my next step will be to use Geralin’s Wardrobe Planner Worksheet (which you can download free from her website) to write down the individual components of the outfits. I did this last year and it was very helpful.
I have great news: If you’d like to tap into Geralin’s wardrobe wisdom, she’s now selling a workbook! The downloadable Wardrobe Wisdom Workbook is only $9.99.
Geralin is so patient with me and slowly, ever so slowly, I’m learning. Thanks to the great choices we made, I don’t think I’ll have to do any shopping for quite some time, but if I do venture out without Geralin, I think I’ve learned enough that I can make some successful choices!