Capsule Wardrobe Basics

The idea of a capsule wardrobe intrigued me for a long time before I started my own loose version. There were several popular bloggers that had various versions of capsule wardrobes. In more recent years, Erin of Cotton Stem, has created beautiful curated versions of seasonal capsule wardrobes. I love the idea of opening my closet doors and knowing that everything fits me well and that I feel confident when I leave the house.

The other key for my capsule wardrobe working for me is replacing items that look worn or stained at the end of a season. I am all for the $5 t-shirt from Target but I find that after a season of wear the neckline is stretched out and just looks worn (and not in a great way). I try to invest a little bit more in clothing that I know I can wear through multiple seasons and that are classic. On the flip side, if there is a more trendy item or any piece of clothing in white (between the kids and myself it is a guarantee that I will spill) I will look for these at a more affordable price point because I know they will need to be replaced or will go out of style more often.

When I was in college, I feel like I was the ultimate one-year shoe girl. I would buy a pair of shoes in September that I would wear all winter long with socks. Then, when warmer weather hit, I’d wear them barefoot. By the time September hit again, the smelled terribly- like no good wash would help them- so I’d trash them and restart the cycle. Of note, I worked in a laboratory where closed-toe shoes were a part of the gig. I’m no longer quite on that cycle but the terrible-smelling-shoes-after-awhile is still part of the bargain. I buy a pair that are really comfortable but no more than $40-50 dollars so once the washing machine no longer cures the scent problem I can toss them. Same with work-out tops and sports bras. As a ‘curvier on bottom’ girl, I don’t need an amazing sports bra for support. Old Navy has amazing sales, their clothes are cute, and their sizing is all-inclusive. Finally the white t-shirt. I love them. They are part of every capsule but kids + sweat + I’m a messy person (?) means I’m rotating these out too regularly to invest in a higher priced shirt.

I will very rarely buy an item not on sale including any in these categories but I’m willing and budget to spend a little bit more money on the above items. As a tall woman, it’s harder for me to buy any old pair of pants. If I find a great pair of jeans I’ll cap my limit a little higher and know that I’ll be wearing them for years to come.

I feel like you either love or hate Birkenstocks. After resisting the trend, my sister-in-law convinced me they were worth the money. My first pair- I wore the soles off the bottom and only threw them away after my husband got frustrated by the cork pieces laying around in the entry way. Ha! I love them! I wear them almost year-round in South Carolina so for me, worth it.

Swimsuits. Not my favorite place to spend money. However, after a couple of near misses of unintentional skinny dipping I started investing in some higher priced swimwear from activewear brands. My swimsuits from Athleta and Title Nine have each lasted multiple years and are worn on a daily basis in South Carolina. They are easy to swim laps in and play with my kids in without much shifting or flashing unassuming neighbors (nightmare!).

I’ve sung the praises of Athleta bottoms already. I’m sure I would probably love Lululemon but at that price, I’ll stick to a brand I know and love. They are long enough for my legs, wash and wear well, and transition beautifully between pajamas, errand running wear, and the gym. Easily my most worn clothing items. Paired with my Birkenstocks and I’m good to go!

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