Creating a Winter Capsule Wardrobe
When it comes to creating a winter capsule wardrobe, there are a lot of “rules” out there. You’ll find no shortage of blog posts that tell you that you’ve got to have 37, 40, 20 or even just 10 items in your winter capsule. Rather than repeating the hard and fast rules you can find online, I thought I’d take a different approach with you.
Instead of taking the path more traveled, I'll be sharing my own personal strategy with you in hopes that it inspires you to create a capsule wardrobe that works for your lifestyle. I’ll be honest, this winter has been tricky for me. I’m still relatively new to the capsule wardrobe world and it’s a work in progress! There are still quite a few holes in my winter capsule (even though winter is almost over) that I need to fill but that’s OK.
If you’re landing on my blog for the first time and thinking, “Woah lady – what the heck is a capsule wardrobe”, don’t worry – I’ve got you! You can learn all about how to build your own capsule wardrobe here.
Before we get to my actual capsule wardrobe, I wanted to share a few tips with you to help you build a winter capsule wardrobe that’s “you”.
Tips for building a winter capsule wardrobe
Be Practical & Think Versatile
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in the past is opting for big, bulky, oversized sweaters. Sure, they’re cozy and yes, I love them, but they’re a one-trick pony. I have a few bulky sweaters but now my focus is on replacing most of them with thinner knits that I can layer.
Obviously it will also depend on your lifestyle as well. If you work from home your capsule wardrobe will look very different from someone who works in a corporate environment. When I’m adding a piece to my wardrobe, I ask myself these questions:
“How often will I be able to wear this?”
“How many different occasions can I make this work for?”
“Will this fabric hold up after many wears?”
Pick a Color Palette
If you’ve read my guide on how to build a capsule wardrobe, you know that I work in modules. A great way to add color and patterns to your wardrobe is to pick a seasonal or a modular color scheme. As a quick reminder, a module is a section of your capsule wardrobe that consists of:
- 3 Tops
- 2 Bottoms
- 1 Outer Layer
A single module, without accessories, creates 12 different outfit combinations! Seasonally, I’d recommend having somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-3 modules plus shoes, bags & accessories but it’s your capsule and it’s completely up to you!
I've heard so many people say that a capsule wardrobe is plain & boring! That idea is just out-dated and I love creating modules that are full of colors and patterns (mainly to prove them wrong). Here’s an example of what a beautifully colorful winter capsule wardrobe might look like.
- silk camisole x 1
- patterned blouse x 1
- thin sweater x 1
- pair of jeans x 1
- pair of dress pants x 1
- long cardigan x 1
I’m currently obsessed with a winter palette consisting of emerald green, camel and leopard print. Once you’ve got one module nailed down, you can double it or triple it. If you select colors from your new palette that work with that original winter capsule wardrobe you’ll have endless outfit possibilities.
Once you’ve got 2-3 modules created, add shoes and accessories. My recommendation for accessorizing a capsule wardrobe module is this:
- boots or booties x 1
- flats x 1
- deck shoes or casual sneakers x 1
Choose Light Layers
Further to tip number 1, choosing lighter knits that layer well is a great habit to get into. Aside from the arguments I’ve already made for layers, they also make for much easier packing. And I know, if you’ve landed on this bog, you’re likely a travel lover. Lighter knits also create more outfit options and add interest to your wardrobe.
Thin, knit and slightly slouchy sweaters can be worn alone with a great pair of jeans or tucked into a pencil skirt. They can be layered with a silk cami or tucked into dress pants and paired with a blazer. Thinner knits also give you seasonal flexibility. While a heavy knit sweater can really only be worn in winter, a light knit can take you through all four seasons with a little fancy footwork.
Create a Wardrobe Wishlist
We often buy clothing on a whim – meaning we’re buying things we don’t really need. Creating a wishlist is the single best thing I’ve done when it comes to sticking to my capsule wardrobe. Since most of us don’t have an unlimited budget, it makes the decision-making process so simple.
Once you have a capsule wardrobe blueprint, you’ll be able to easily identify any gaps or holes in that wardrobe. Then, if you have a wishlist of the things you don’t have yet, you can reference it when you shop to make sure you’re buying the things you really need (and ultimately want) to round out your winter capsule wardrobe.
I recommend prioritizing your wishlist using the following criteria:
- Does it fill a hole in your capsule wardrobe?
- How often will you wear it?
- How many outfits will it create in your existing capsule?
I also recommend keeping it with you (on your phone) so that when you find yourself in a position to buy, you can make sure you’re contributing to your capsule in the best way possible.
This part's easy (and fun). Even though I've been at this capsule wardrobe thing a while, I'm always shocked at how a scarf or great pair of boots can transform an outfit. Adding accessories is any capsule wardrobers (not a word, I know) secret weapon. There's nothing like a long necklace and fabulous scarf to take a casual look straight through to evening.
I use the same principals with my accessories that I use with my capsule wardrobe modules. I always ask myself how often I'll wear them, how versatile they are, and how much they'll add to my current wardrobe.
This scarf is actually straight from my own collection and I use it ALL the time…it adds a pop of color to any outfit and it's light enough that it takes me through multiple seasons. PRO TIP: I also take it with me when I travel and it doubles as a blanket on cold airplanes!
And that's a wrap, folks! We love winter…do you? There's something to be said for putting together a kick-ass winter wardrobe and making the most of the colder seasons. I hope you found this article helpful! We'd love to hear from you in the comments below. Have you discovered capsule wardrobes yet? Do you feel ready to create one? And, most importantly, how can we support you in that journey?
Let us know in the comments if you're implementing these strategies! We're also here to answer any questions you have!
*This blog post was sponsored by our friends at Take It Outside. We love this shop and we love sharing it with you. As always, all opinions are our own.