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Capsule Wardrobe: What it is and Why You Need One

This is by no means a new idea, yet I discovered it only recently.

Now that we’ve started up school again, however, I’m discovering the brilliance of the capsule wardrobe for homeschool moms!

Why homeschool moms NEED a capsule wardrobe

Ugh, sometimes getting dressed in the morning is like the worst thing! Do you ever have mornings like that?

I have to admit, I’m not a dress up kinda gal. And being home all day with the kids doesn’t exactly help that proclivity… (See? Even my vocabulary is even more dressed up than I am most days…)

And even though, as is typical for many homeschoolers, we’re often out and about, I still have a reeeeaaallly hard time getting dressed up – just ask the ladies at the bank, post office, and grocery store…

But I do know that jeans, yoga pants, and t-shirts get old. Studies show that we even feel better about ourselves when we dress up a bit. And productivity? Yup, being better-dressed also helps us get more accomplished, which is why Fly-lady encourages us to “dress to our shoes” each morning!

To be fair, it’s not really that I don’t have any nice clothes, it’s that I don’t have any comfortable nice clothes. I have a closet semi-full of dresses that look great on the hanger, pants that are so comfortable but need to be hemmed, or at least worn with heels (which I so-very-rarely wear anymore), and blouses that are just a tad too fancy for me these days.

So I end up wearing the same pair of jeans, day after day, and rotate through my blah t-shirts, and pretty much do this year-round. It’s easy to do since  it’s pretty much the same weather 3/4ths of the year in our part of the country. The capsule wardrobe concept caught my eye because:

  1. It’s simple. The mix-and-match concept makes it easy to put together a nice outfit every day.
  2. It’s relatively inexpensive. I’m not a clothes horse by any means, but going out and buying a few items that I feel good in is something I can feel good about.
  3. It’s good for me. Note to self: you’re not in college anymore. It’s time to stop dressing like you did “back in the day”! Time to grow up, girl.

So what IS a capsule wardrobe, you ask?

A capsule wardrobe is a way of limiting your wardrobe to a particular number of shirts, pants, dresses, and accessories that all mix and match. While whittling down the amount of items you may have in your closet and in your drawers (which is really a good thing, people!), it also enables you to have a higher quality of pieces, and even allows you to spend a bit more on some of them, because you don’t have so many!

So on that semi-annual shopping trip, when you fall in love with a soft, coral-colored cardigan sweater, say, or a comfy pair of gray wool pants, you can go for it – if they fit into your plan. Guilt-free 🙂

How to set up your very own capsule wardrobe


Perhaps the best way to do that is to give you an idea of my own, currently in process. As I was putting up my summer clothes for the winter, and pulling out my cooler weather items, I enlisted the help of my daughter. This step is important, especially if you have an honest young lady who is brave enough to give it to ya’ straight. “Get rid of that one, mom”, “You’re not really gonna keep that, right?”, “Sorry, mom, but it’s time to let that one go” were just some of the comments I heard. Brutal, but necessary!

My goal is 39 items. (This was a totally random number. Actually, I think I found it in one of the articles I read, and just adopted it!) So far, this is what I’m down to:

  • 1 pair of gray dress pants
  • 1 pair of black dress pants
  • 1 pair of khakis
  • 2 pair of jeans
  • 1 black and white cardigan sweater
  • 1 royal blue casual jacket
  • 1 black jacket
  • 1 purple jacket
  • black flats
  • short, black boots
  • sneakers
  • 2 dresses – one black, one multi-colored

I’m in the process of working down to 14 shirts (not t-shirts) that will mix and match, color-wise, with the pants/jackets that I have. And then that leaves me with 13 items left for accessories, such as scarves, bags, etc. I gave away a huge bag of clothing last weekend: perfectly good items, mind you, but pieces I hadn’t worn in at least two winters…that I can remember, anyway…

Rather than feeling like yet another chore to accomplish, this project is feeling really good!

Think of a capsule wardrobe as a gift to yourself: no more frumpy morning dressing, and being… Click To Tweet

And why do homeschool moms need this?

You’re busy. You have a ton of responsibilities on your plate. If you have little ones around, you have to work on getting them dressed each morning. And I seriously mean that: it IS work! Jeans and a t-shirt each day is oh-so-easy, right? I mean who has time to shop?

But mommas, there’s a bigger picture here. While I’m not advocating that anyone become a clothes horse or impulse shopper, I am, as always, encouraging you to take care of yourself. And in this case, less is more. Less frumpy stuff, and more comfy but carefully chosen pieces will reap sweet rewards.

Easier mornings getting you dressed. Feeling better about yourself when you look into the mirror. Having less stuff in your closet and dresser drawers, but a few things that you love to wear.

Then you can focus on what matters…. Like today’s science experiment, what’s for supper tonight, and tomorrow’s field trip!

Think you’ll be trying a capsule wardrobe anytime soon? In between seasons, while you’re switching out warm weather clothes for cooler weather items, is a great time to give it a shot. Let us know how it goes in the comments!

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Pat is a Yankee city-girl who has been adopted by the sleepy, sunny south. Married for 30 years and the mother of 5, she woke up one day recently to discover she reached the stage of life where she is the “older woman” described in Titus 2:3-5. A coffee lover, the purchase of a coffee shop a few years ago was her personal foray into the small, family-owned business arena.Today, PatAndCandy.com is her outlet for packaging up and sharing the nuggets of wisdom God and life experiences have taught her.
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