One of the things people always want to know more about is how exactly to change a wardrobe capsule from season to season. (If you’d like to know more about what a capsule is, let me know and I can do a post about it soon too!) In fact, a friend asked me a few questions about switching to a fall capsule just last week, so I thought it would be a good time to explain how I do it. It’s helpful to look at the next season change before it comes, so you can shop for specific needs before they arise and you feel desperate. I’ve found that for me at least, I’m able to make wiser decisions that way.
First off, this is what I’ve been wearing all summer. I don’t include swimsuits, gym clothes, pajamas, or the type of thing I never wear in public (like shorts, lounge pants) in my capsule, so those items aren’t here either. Including tops, bottoms, dresses, and shoes, I had 34 items.
It’s surprising how far 34 items will take you. I never got bored of the clothes I had. I will be honest and say that I did add a few things during the summer (I started with only 29 items!), and I eliminated as I went along as well. I don’t have much to donate since I’ve given things away already, but I certainly have some pieces that will feel out of season as soon as Labor Day passes. It won’t be really cold for a while here though, so many of my summer pieces will last until nearly Thanksgiving. Since the seasons change slowly, I’ll think about what I want to wear during September and October, then I’ll review again when the weather is colder still.
REVIEW YOUR CURRENT CLOTHES
The first step is to go through your closet and take out anything that meets the criteria for elimination. You can read a detailed explanation in this post, but in brief, you’re going to remove anything that is damaged, does not fit, you don’t need, you don’t love, is out of season, and does not match.
These are the items I decided to remove.
The floral top with the neck cutout was a new purchase this year, but it didn’t drape very well. I loved how it looked on a hanger, but on my body, it felt stiff and shapeless. It didn’t give me a feeling of confidence, so I’m not going to keep it. The olive dress is a favorite I’ve had for years, but unfortunately, it has acquired a grease stain at about the level of a toddler’s hand. I’ll try again to get it out, but for now, at least, it is unwearable. I am so heartbroken. I’m not sad at all though, about getting rid of both pairs of sandals. I never wore either pair this summer. The black pair of flip-flops that I wore instead, I had used only in the gym locker room until now. Somehow over the summer, they made their way into regular wear. I’ve never owned those spongy flip flops before and good gracious they are comfortable!
All the other items are pieces that I still love, but they don’t seem to be as seasonally appropriate as the weather changes. I feel like I didn’t get nearly enough opportunities to wear any of them, and I can’t wait to pull them out during the hot months next year!
All in all, I’m not taking much out yet. I wear the same bottoms all year round, so unless something shows significant wear, it never leaves the closet. I’m keeping most of my summer tops in a bit longer, but I’m sure to transition most of them out as the season progresses and swap out my sandals for low boots.
SHOP FROM YOUR STORED CLOTHES
Next, I’m going to go through my stored clothes. You should sort through your cooler weather clothes, and pull out anything you may want to wear now or wear soon. I always try on the things I haven’t worn in a while, to see if I still feel good in them. Sometimes a piece still fits, but the styling doesn’t seem quite right as fashions change, and I’m ready to let it go.
The plaid skirt on the left is something I made in my late teens. It’s been too big for me for several years, so I haven’t gotten much use out of it. I really like it though, so I think I’m going to give alterations a shot. I can’t hang it in my closet as is, but now that I’ve got it out, I can work on bringing the size down a bit. On the upper row, just to the right of the skirt is a simple navy cardigan, perfect for transitional seasons. Then a vest which I’ve loved forever, but I need a good shirt to wear under it. Next is a loose blue pullover, a vegan leather jacket, and a flowy floral midi dress. I bought it just after Levi was born last summer, and I had a very different, postpartum shape than I do now. I’m still on the fence about whether I like how the size fits now, but I really like the flowy fabric and cut. It is a perfect transition dress for warm California; it looks like fall but is still light and breezy. On the bottom row just below that dress is another I love, and can’t wait to wear this fall. Next is a dark olive jacket, and then a light olive (sage, maybe?) V-neck shirt. This is another piece I’m on the fence about. It is super comfortable on, but the color is pretty strange. It doesn’t work well with other colors, it looks totally mucky. I don’t know, I’m going to keep it for now, but it’s definitely on the list for replacement. The next vest is perfect for cool morning walks to the park, but again, I need a good long sleeved shirt to wear under it. Then the last image is a shirt I’ve had for a few years, and still, enjoy every year.
Sooo, out of those options, I’ll be able to add to my capsule the blue cardigan, blue pullover, the two jackets, two dresses, the green v-neck and the patterned top. The other three need either alterations or a good long sleeved shirt to wear underneath. There are a few others that I know are winners and therefore didn’t try on…
MAKE SURE EVERYTHING MATCHES
So, in case I’ve totally confused you with all these words and photos, this is what I’ve done so far. I’ve looked at my existing summer clothes and removed what I don’t think I’ll wear in the cooling down months of September and October. Then, I’ve searched through my “not-current” clothes, to see what I might want to add back to the mix. I tried on any questionable items, to be sure I still think they are winners. Now, I’m going to review everything I have remaining from summer and added in from fall, and check to make sure it all matches. You want to make sure you have complete outfits. If you have a cute shirt but it doesn’t match any pants or sweaters, you probably aren’t going to wear it this fall.
Anything that needs alterations is put in my “to-do” pile, not in my closet. Anything I plan to wear but don’t have matches for is put in a section of my closet just to the right of my capsule clothes, which is where I keep things that are sort of, waiting in the wings. That way those pieces within easy reach when I am able to wear them, but they don’t complicate the decision process when I’m pulling from my capsule in the morning. Does that make sense?
This is what my early Autumn capsule looks like:
I realized after creating this masterpiece, that I’m missing images of those two dresses I’m so excited about, as well as the two jackets. Including those, I have 37 items at the moment. I think that’s a great number, actually! It’s more than I had this summer, but still totally manageable! I shoot for about 32-40 items per season, so I’m right on target!
REVIEW AND CREATE A SHOPPING LIST
I can see from looking at this, that I have all the gray and black I could possibly need (leftover from when I was a hairdresser), and I’d really benefit from adding some color to the mix. I have some good tanks, short sleeved shirts, and sweaters to layer, but I don’t have any long sleeved basics. I’ll also need some better shoes pretty soon. The boots I’ve worn the last few years are pretty hammered, so I need to start looking for something to replace my clogs and sandals. To sum it up, after reviewing what I have, I can see that my shopping list right now includes: a white long sleeved shirt, one or two colored/patterned long sleeved shirts, brown casual boots, black boots or something to dress up or down. When I add those items, I’ll remove some more summery items, keeping my total below 40 items.
Does this process make any sense at all? Have I added more complication rather than clarity? Please ask me questions, I really want to make this as simple as possible for anyone interested. Good luck editing and compiling YOUR fall closet! I hope this information helps.