Thursday, June 18, 2015

how I simplified my wardrobe and saved my sanity in the process.

I could have been sipping hot coffee, playing trucks with Si, or enjoying breakfast with Chris, but instead, I was spending way too much time standing in front of my IKEA wardrobe, trying to piece together an outfit that felt comfortable, looked great and was nursing friendly. I liked something about every piece in my closet, but most items either didn't fit right, weren't the right color, or didn't go with anything else. It was a brightly colored, crazily patterned, time-consuming mess and it was driving me crazy. This spring, I finally had enough of the battle with my closet, and decided to simplify.

If you've been anywhere around style blogs in the past few years, you'll know that capsule wardrobes have been all the rage. Apparently, the idea has been around since the 70's, but recently the trend has caught on most recently as women have been craving more simplicity in their wardrobes and ease of getting dressed. 

I would consider Caroline of Un-Fancy to be the main blogging authority on capsule wardrobes. Her 37 piece wardrobes consist of a pretty specific number of tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes, etc. You've probably also read Kendi Everyday and her 30 for 30 posts she used to write. 

My main goal was to build a wardrobe that reflected my personality, but also was comfortable, easy to mix-and-match and fit my lifestyle as a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to significantly decrease the time I spent getting ready, and make it easy for me to grab almost anything in my closet to put together a great outfit. I wasn't going for a certain number of anything, just going with what felt right and worked for me.

{find a cohesive palette and style} 

The big obstacle that had previously kept me from trying a capsule wardrobe was that all I had ever seen of them was neutrals, neutrals, neutrals. And while I appreciate a good chambray button-down and white tee, I wanted more out of my wardrobe than just a closet full of basics. The colorful capsules I had seen were varying shades of all one color-- purple, green, red. Not my cup of tea either.

I looked through my closet, and pulled out the pieces I liked best. The ones that not only brought me joy to see hanging on the hanger, but also fit me well and made me feel good. I started to see a consistent color scheme, mostly sticking to various shades of coral red, olive green and cobalt and navy blue. Throw in some neutrals as the foundation (chambray, dark wash denim, black, white, and olive khaki), and my wardrobe pretty much built itself.

Style wise, I've found that I'm drawn to tops that are a bit flowy, but not baggy, and almost everything has little details to add interest-- intricate lace, tiny buttons, unique ribbing, or an interesting back design.  Most of my wardrobe comes from Anthropologie, Madewell, or American Eagle, so that creates a wardrobe that's mostly classic casual, with a tiny touch of boho. I like balancing the flowy tops with a little bit of structure-- a jean jacket or vest, or cargo skinnies.

{time to purge}

First, I got rid of everything that didn't fit me. After two babies, I had tons of clothes that were hanging around my closet waiting to be worn-- some leftover maternity (because it's sooo comfy!), some itty-bitty pre-baby things, and some in-between things that just didn't work for my body anymore. Several things that I truly love and cherish (like the dress I got engaged in) got put away in storage, some things went back into the maternity bin, and others got tossed out completely. Getting rid of the pieces that didn't fit was a huge, crucial part of simplifying. It helped me to realize that it's not my body that's the problem, it's the clothes. It felt like a breath of fresh air when my wardrobe was filled with stuff I could actually wear with confidence.

 I also purged clothes that were in colors I didn't wear, or were styles that I thought I'd wear when I bought them, but never did. It was hard to let go of pieces that I loved individually, but they were sitting in my closet collecting dust and causing me a headache, so off they went. I sent several garbage bags of unwanted clothes to Goodwill, and sold a bunch of nice but unworn items on Instagram.

{fill in the holes}

Unlike most capsule wardrobes, I'm not discontinuing my shopping for the season. Because, well, I like shopping. And here's the thing-- I discovered that once I got the majority of my wardrobe nailed down, I don't feel the need to shop much anymore. I'm much more content now, and don't need to try every trendy piece that my favorite style bloggers tout. I wouldn't mind snagging a pair of printed palazzo pants if I come across the perfect pair, but that's about the extent of my wardrobe "wishlist" for now.

After my Instagram closet sale, I bought a few pieces to round out my wardrobe. I bought a chambray button-down, a few neutral tanks, a denim jacket, and some shorts that actually fit me.

{things i've learned}

I can love every color on the rack, but it doesn't mean I need it in my wardrobe. I can adore an outfit on a blogger, but it doesn't mean I need to wear it myself.

The less I have, the less I want.

A simplified wardrobe means less clothing scattered on the floor, which means (generally) a cleaner bedroom and less laundry.

Loving everything in my wardrobe (and how it fits me!) means I'm a happier mommy, I'm a more sane wife, I'm on time more often and I'm done with the body-shaming.

Below you can see the contents of my current wardrobe. I didn't include lounge clothes/PJs, or workout gear (ha.. not that I have much of that). You'll notice I don't have shoes on there either. I'm not a huge shoe girl, so I didn't include them in my simplified wardrobe plan. I mostly stick to Saltwater Sandals in the summer, and I also have about two pairs of tennis shoes that I rotate.


tops and outerwear: top row: white tee // madewell swing tank // forever21 chambray button down // anthropologie ribbed tee (similar) //madewell crop tank // second row:  evy's tree ashley hoodie // walk in love graphic tee (similar) // madewell flared tank // american eagle embroidered tank (similar) // madewell anthem scoop tee // third row:: anthropologie navy striped ballet tee (similar) // francesca's teal blouse (similar) // francesca's sage tank (similar) // anthropologie swing tank (similar) //anthropologie ballet tee (similar) // fourth row:: forever21 tank // forever 21 neon striped tank (similar)// anthropologie lace tee (similar) // madewell anthem scoop tee // anthropologie swiss dot blouse (similar) // gap denim vest (similar) // american eagle denim jacket

bottoms and dresses:: top row: american eagle mid rise distressed denim // anthropologie pilcro dark wash denim (similar) // zara olive cargo skinnies (similar) // american eagle olive green joggers (similar) // floral shorts (similar and here too) // american eagle midi shorts, olive and dark denim // francesca's chambray skirt (similar) // sheinside pleated maxi (similar) // forever21 lace skirt (similar) // target skater dress (similar)// american eagle swing dress // target lace maxi (similar)// francesca's petal dress


  1. I've been all about the basics lately. I used to be really into dressing up but now that I have two kids I feel I'm more pulled towards simplicity. With our move coming up I really need to purge!

  2. Love the colors you went with!

  3. Love the colors you went with!

  4. Loved this post. I needed the reminder that it's not my body it's the clothes.

  5. Will you change with the seasons, like the capsule wardrobes seem to do? I like to wear mostly the same clothes all year long... just switch to longer sleeves or cardigans in the colder months, and pants of course, and then stick to shorts and tanks/t-shirts in the summer. I'm wanting to do this once I'm out of maternity clothes!

  6. Lindsay, this is so inspiring. And I love the items you chose for yourself: they really do look comfy and beautiful. Now to do this myself! :)

  7. Bravo, to you!! I totally understand the idea of simplifying to core basics that can be mixed & matched, but I don't know that I have the guts to throw out 2/3 of my wardrobe...! Looking forward to seeing how you mix these pieces up in outfit posts.

  8. I love this post! I need to do this in my closet as well! I like how you explained it, makes more sense and will is tailored to the person. One day, I will do this!! My closet gets very overwhelming every morning.


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