My Journey to a “Simplified” Wardrobe

I think that the idea of simplifying your life is all the rage these days.  I love the concept and enjoy watching shows such as Tiny Nation, but with three kids and two cars and a house to fill, I've been struggling to see how that works for me.  Enter a blog, un-fancy.  Caroline introduced me to the concept of a capsule wardrobe.  Apparently the concept has been around for a long time but is making a resurgence.  The idea behind it is that you wear only what you love i.e.. select pieces that you mix and match and wear over and over again.

Here is the example of Caroline's:


Well… hello.  That might work for me.

As I'm transitioning out of my teaching career to the role of stay at home mom, I am finding that my closet is full of clothes I no longer wear or even want to wear.  This fall has really been a process of finding my place in this new role and how that plays out in my style is that I've become much more casual.  My days now consist of teaching Emma at home, running errands, making dinner and driving kids to practice. Throw in an occasional volunteer opportunity and a lunch date with a friend and you can see I no longer am needing to wear dress slacks and blazers.  Our church is even casual so I don't need to dress up on Sundays either.

After reading up on un-fancy and I mean I read every post she had, I decided that the way I could get in on the simplifying rage is to start with my wardrobe.  I found myself going to a closet full of clothes every day and not feeling like I had anything to wear.

I decided that the first step was to get rid of what I no longer wear or just didn't like.  Have you ever bought something and then got home and wore it a few times to find out that you didn't like the fit, it was itchy or you didn't really have anything that matched?  Well, that has happened to me more than I would care to say, but for some reason I was holding on to these items and filling my closet with just so items.

1. Go through closet

I did an entire purge of my closet.  Took everything out, tried things on and made piles.  I even dusted the shelves!  I made 3 piles.  Things I thought I might wear went in pile #1, pile #2 was things to get rid of but try to sell and pile #3 was given away.

I was lucky that at the time I was going through this process that I was invited to a clothing swap.  You can read more about that here.  This was a great way to get rid of items that were still in great shape.  I took a lot more to the swap then I went home with intentionally, knowing that everything left was going to a charity.

Wow, did this step alone make a huge difference.  I could actually see what was left and then I moved on to step 2.

2.  Step 2 in my process was evaluating what was left, doing my research on trends and thinking about what I wanted my style to be like.  I intentionally did not go out and buy new things right away.  After going to the swap and purging my closet, I decided to sit with what I had for a while before I made any decisions.

During this time, I looked at what other people said were the basic pieces needed for a solid wardrobe.  Here is my favorite example from Real Simple.

Wardrobe Basics Checklist

As with any checklist, there may be a few things that just don't fit in with your lifestyle, so just take them off.

Doing this process helped me realize what gaps I had.

Next in this step was looking at what other people were wearing and what the trends were for this fall/ winter.  I posted about 5 fall trends last week.  You can catch up with that post here.

3. Picking out a few new pieces to complete my wardrobe and to complement what I already have.

In this step, I was very thoughtful.  I did not buy a lot and I did not spend a lot of money.  For me, the idea of simplifying meant simplifying in my budget as well.  I love J.Crew and Madewell, but you won't see a lot of those in my closet right now.  I already had some great solid pieces, so I was looking for ways to add a few well made trendy pieces into my wardrobe without breaking the budget.  This time around, Old Navy and Gap seemed to have what I needed and I have always been happy with what I've purchased from them in the past.  I'm 5'11 so I ♥ that they make clothes for tall girls like me! They give great online discounts and I can get several items for the price of one at the other stores.  So, Old Navy and Gap were my go to stores this fall.

I am very pleased with how my simplified wardrobe turned out.  If you read up on Caroline's capsule wardrobe, you will find that she has 37 pieces that make up her wardrobe.  I have decided, for now, that I am ok with having more than 37 as long as I wear them.  That is still to be determined!  I have significantly less today than I did last year, but now I am happy with every single piece in my closet.  As with anything, this is a journey and a process.  In the end, it should be fun and improve your life.


Over the next week, I will show you some of the outfits I came up with to complete my “new simplified wardrobe.”

Have you ever thought about a capsule wardrobe?

To life feeling like home!


  1. […] Many of you have been here right from the start when I introduced you to the idea of a “Simplified Wardrobe.”   If you need a refresher as to why and how this began, you can check out this post. […]

  2. […] Today I am back to showing you some of my fall and winter wardrobe outfits.  It has been awhile, so thanks for hanging in there as I got sidetracked with the holiday goodies.  If you’ve totally forgotten what I’m doing here with the simplified wardrobe, you can find out more about that here. […]

  3. […] Thanks for joining me on this journey to a simplified wardrobe! You can catch up on that idea here. […]

  4. […] ← My Journey to a “Simplified” Wardrobe […]

  5. The Sartorial Coquette says:

    great post! i think it’s very rewarding (and most stylish) to keep things minimal – but not always <3

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