10 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Capsule Wardrobe

December 12, 2016

10 mistakes you're making with your capsule wardrobe and how to overcome themI’m now well over a year into my capsule wardrobe experiment. In that time I’ve made a lot of mistakes just like everyone else does with their capsule wardrobe. These capsule wardrobe mistakes have all been part of the journey with each mistakes being a learning opportunity. They have enabled me to develop my first rule focused capsule to my current flexible minimal wardrobe. However just because I made these mistakes doesn’t mean you have too. I’ve pulled together 10 of the most common capsule wardrobe mistakes to help make your transition a little easier.

Mistake 1: Too Much Focus on Numbers

You’ve decided to try out a capsule wardrobe, so the first thing you do is google how many items to include. Sound familiar? I think everyone with a capsule wardrobe has done this. However, the thing to remember is a capsule wardrobe isn’t amount having a set number of clothes. It’s more about creating a minimal wardrobe which works for you. Some people have only 33 pieces whereas others have closer to 60 pieces it doesn’t matter. Having a set number it mind helps when creating your capsule wardrobe, but don’t worry if you go over or have less as long as it works for you. My first capsule wardrobe was a strict 37 pieces and was definitely missing a few things. I remember wearing the same jumper over and over in December because I only included one because any more would take me over my set number. Now I have over 50 pieces which help me dress for a range of weather conditions.

Mistake 2: Copying Someone Else’s Capsule

As with searching for the perfect number of pieces, we’ve all search for what to include in a capsule wardrobe. This search will bring up lots of helpful lists of what you should have in your capsule wardrobe. You may also spend time looking at pictures of perfectly laid out capsule wardrobes on Pinterest. It can be very tempting to copy these lists for your own capsule wardrobe. But it’s important to remember these wardrobes are what works for someone else. A list may suggest 9 bottoms and 12 tops and 2 dresses, however, if you enjoy wearing dresses most days then your wardrobe should have more dresses. It’s about finding what works for you and not copying those perfect looking wardrobes on Pinterest. Use these what to include lists as a guideline to help you build your capsule wardrobe but don’t copy them exactly.

Mistake 3: Not Planning for Your Lifestyle

Similar to mistake 2 so many of us are guilty of creating a wardrobe for a fantasy lifestyle rather than our real lifestyle. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’ll be going to lots of glamorous events and parties when the reality is you spend most evenings at home. If you work from home and only go out to work the day you probably don’t need to include many business suits. The same as if you work in an office 9-5 you will need plenty of business wear and less casual wear. Think about your lifestyle and how you spend your time before planning your capsule wardrobe. This way your wardrobe will work for you.

Mistake 4: Being Too Rigid

You’ve read all the rules of capsule wardrobes and are following them all to the letter. Having a few rules is useful as it helps focus the challenge. However if having lots of rules is making it difficult for you then you’re being too rigid. This is your wardrobe at the end of the day and it shouldn’t be surrounded by rules. We all need a little flexibility. If you want to wear that dress you stored away for summer go ahead and wear it. If you have to replace something in your capsule wardrobe then break the no shopping rule. You’re not going to get into trouble if you break the rules.

Mistake 5: Not Understanding Your Personal Style

While a capsule wardrobe can be a useful tool in developing your personal style you do need a little understanding before you start. It’s important to focus on what your personal style is and what you want it to become. Think about what you choose to wear on a daily basis. What is it about these outfits you love? How do these outfits fit into your personal style? Have a look at your favourite bloggers or Pinterest for outfits you like. Spend some time thinking about your personal style before creating a capsule wardrobe. This way you will resist the temptation to copy someone else’s wardrobe and will create a wardrobe which works for you.

Mistake 6: You Play It Too Safe

You created a wardrobe full of basics in black, white and grey and now you’re bored. Wearing all black can get a little dull after a while. We all need lots of basics in our wardrobes but if you have no standout statement pieces it gets boring fast. Make sure you include a few fun pieces to keep things interesting. Try adding some bright accessories to your wardrobe or incorporating a little colour here and there. Keep things interesting so you don’t get bored with your capsule wardrobe.

Mistake 7: You Have Poor Quality Pieces

You didn’t focus on quality when creating your capsule wardrobe and now everything looks worn or is falling apart. Quality is so important when you have a capsule wardrobe. Because you have less you wear things more often and they need to stand up to that. No one wants to wear clothes which look worn or are falling part. Choose high-quality pieces for your capsule wardrobe which will last throughout the season (and the next). Remember a capsule wardrobe is about quality over quantity.

Mistake 8: Your Wardrobe Is A Mess

It doesn’t matter if you have 30 pieces or 200 if your wardrobe is a mess you’ll struggle to pick out an outfit. You could have the best capsule wardrobe but if it’s in a pile on the floor you’ll still think you have nothing to wear. The advantage of having a capsule wardrobe is it’s easier to keep your closet organised. Take the time to organise your closet before you start your capsule wardrobe and make an effort to put things away probably after you use them.

Mistake 9: You Have too Many Trend Led Pieces

You’ve hit the shops before creating a capsule wardrobe and come back with fringing, embellishment and whatever else is on trend. You’ll soon find yourself staring at a sea of fabulous pieces and no idea how to create a wearable outfit with them. Trends are designed to come and go so you’ll find yourself with pieces which look out of date pretty soon. Instead of trends focus on adding timeless classic pieces to your wardrobe. You can still enjoy trends but only add one or two pieces rather than build a wardrobe around them.

Mistake 10: Trying To Make It Perfect

You need to accept that no matter how hard we try none of us will ever have a perfect capsule wardrobe. It just doesn’t exist!

10 mistakes you are making with your capsule wardrobe
10 mistakes you are making with your capsule wardrobe

19 responses to “10 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Capsule Wardrobe”

  1. Nital says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post about capsule wardrobes. I have read that there are certain pieces you all need in one however if those don’t suit you then there’s no point. There are some greats point here to consider and it has to be personal to all. No one size fits all.

  2. Jen says:

    Yes there isn’t many bloggers out there who show real life outfits. I have a very casual lifestyle so my wardrobe is geared towards that, not fancy events and office wear. Glad you found the advice useful

    • Lea Colvill says:

      I have beeen wearing a capsule wardrobe for about 15 years. My body is probably like yours. I like the “Starting from scratch” list in from The Vivienne Files.

  3. Whitney says:

    I’m so glad I came across your blog! Since I have started to remove a lot of unnecessary things from my life I have found myself scouring Pinterest on the best ways to do this. I mostly wanted to make sure I wasn’t forgetting some important thing that I should do to make my life just a bit easier. I was shocked at all the information and challenges and rules! Certainly didn’t alleviate any stress lol. The wardrobe was the biggest fear I’ve had so far, so it was nice to get some advice that wasn’t so rigid! Thanks for the great advice:)

    • Jen says:

      I agree too many rules can make a capsule wardrobe a stressful experience when the whole idea is to reduce stress and simplify your life. You have to do what works for you x

  4. Eve says:

    Knowing what clothes you like to wear is so important. I ended up getting rid of new pieces I bought because I realized I don’t like T shirts or any long sleeve knit garments. I like woven things. I love jeans but with tunics for around the house. I like shirt jackets over feminine sleeveless tops instead of hoodies over T shirts. I never wear skirts or dresses or heels. I’m a country girl. I love boots though. I prefer bomber or windbreakers to Blazers. Once I figured that out, I now have a wardrobe that works in my small coastal town. I have a lot less clothes in more neutral colors but pop them with accessories. Grey outfit with red crossover bag and red sandals or blue and white outfit with blue sunglasses, blue & white scarf for example. Hope this helps someone. I’m 74 btw

    • Mary Frith says:

      Love your comments, especially interested because we share the same decade. I wear mostly black with only silver jewelry. Am a minimalist . I wear a lot of j. Jill wear ever pieces, pants and tops. I consider my style classic. Am 5 ft,
      163 lbs which I carry nicely and am aiming for 155 for health reasons. I too do not wear skirts, dresses or heels. I am still in the working world of law, securities and insurance but do not wear suits. I too like shirt jacks to wear over sleeveless tops.

      • Shirley says:

        I am 76 and live in a country setting. Do not work outside the home any longer, so just need a plan for simple at home wear with a few items for when I go grocery shopping, etc.

  5. Edna says:

    Once I started with this idea my mistake was purchasing to much clothes. On the other hand I realized that grey & beige are predominant in my choices. So I learned that and I have a few black leggings and blue & black jeans. I was just surprised that I picked those two colors.

  6. Heather Poots says:

    This all really makes sense!! I really want to do a capsule wardrobe. But cant really get my head around the basics that every wardrobe should have. Supposedly these items will go with every item in your wardrobe! Please what are they!! I to dont wear skirts dresses or heels. Live in a hot climate year round. Advise please!!

    • SGV says:

      I live in South Florida. I have a minimalist wardrobe more than a capsule wardrobe since we pretty much have summer year round mixed with a few cooler days. I work from home and am a jeans or shorts and tank or t-shirt girl. I like to add ankle boots and a blazer or cardi when I go to dinner if we dine indors because it can be chilly. Also, cute flip flops or sandals cannot be oversold in my book. Just make sure your pigs are painted. 💅

  7. Cristina says:

    Thank you!! The numbers kept me from having a capsule wardrobe. I also never found one that fit ME!! Best advice I have read on the subject. I use Stylebook app. I still need to go through some things but it had really helped me with my wardrobe which really is a capsule since I do a lot of mixing and matching. (A skill my mother taught me) Once again, great article ❤️

    • Jen says:

      Ignore the numbers and do what works for you – take your time to create a wardrobe which suits your style and your lifestyle. So happy you found the post helpful. x

  8. Teleri says:

    I feel exactly the same about capsule wardrobes as I do about minimalists – great if you like that kind of thing. REALLY boring for me.
    I do go thru my clothes all the time – give them to GoodWill, repurpose them (I’m a seamstress), give them away, send costumes to local community theatres. Oh, yeah, I’m a costumer as well…and a beledi dancer.
    I’ve got fabulous pieces I only wear once every couple years. WHY would I get rid of them? I’m not living in a tiny house. I DO know exactly how to put together an outfit, and I do not like wearing anything remotely the same within the same MONTH. So for me, capsule wardrobes = what to put in my suitcase for that week-long trip LOL
    I’m retired Navy so I’ve got great packing skills as well 😀

  9. Martha says:

    Im looking for help Im Plus size size 24 working in a government office .

  10. Susan Jackson says:

    My wardrobe capsule centers around colors…….
    black white, grey for tops and bottoms……lots of texture……lots of turquoise and silver jewelry…..
    Workout capsule in same color palate. Pick up jewel tones in scarves, running shoes, and outerwear with great basic black classic long winter coat…. vests are useful and textural…. jeweled flats in black, black boots in every style some suede some leather and some mixed media…… my age is 70 and love having my own style and my favorite pieces but find my grey funky hair style to be the very best item in my capsule👌🏼

  11. Barbara Gilman says:

    I notice that almost all of Pinterest options are of solid colors. Navy pant, sweater. Camel pant sweater, coat.
    I see no personality in the clothing choices; I do not choose to dress all in one color then have to add scarves and jewelry in order to project a personality. Mix it up–patterns and make dressing uncomplicated

  12. Kristan says:

    I really enjoyed this post because as so
    One looking to minimize and maximize at the Same time, it can be difficult to get an idea or gameplan together. You raised many points that folks can forget about in the process. I would be remiss if I didn’t print out that in the first section there are a few grammatical errors that can distract from your purpose. As a writer, I thought you would want to know and take a moment to update. I don’t mean this as a judgment, but as an opportunity to knock down any other barriers from your message.

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