Hey there, you’re listening to Naptime Theology and today we are discussing the very practical topic of wardrobes and clothing. And, more specifically how us Christian moms can prioritize building a capsule wardrobe that will save time, look cute, and help us better steward our time and resources.
Mundane and Majestic
Well, today is going to be a very practical episode. And before I begin, I just want to say that sometimes I’ve struggled with the practical side of being a wife and mother. I think I’ve always found more value in studying the Bible and knowing more about God. And, therefore, finding those things more important to post about or write about for my blog. And, of course, those things are valuable. But in my head I sometimes separate the mundane things, like organizing a closet, as something that doesn’t bring as much glory to God. I haven’t been seeing all of my work as a wife and mom as a way to give glory to God.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that we are to do all things to the glory of God. That means even our mundane tasks at home are to be done for His glory. We also read of the Proverbs 31 woman in the Bible. She had many, many mundane and normal mom-duties that she did each and every day. Her example shows us that those things are important things to do well for your family and that they are done for God’s glory.
I personally love bonding with other women about practical things in our lives and our homes. But I think I don’t always make the connection to having those things glorify God each day. Maybe it’s the stark juxtaposition between scrubbing muck off the floor and reading a 16th century commentary on the book of the Bible. The mundane to the majestic. That is sometimes a big jump to make. But I’m really trying to focus on God’s glory in every moment of my life, even the mundane ones. Because the reality is that He deserves the glory for each moment, whether it’s mundane or majestic. So for this episode today, I pray that you can see how a mundane, practical thing like organizing your closet brings glory to God because it helps you to be a better steward of your time. And that also frees up more time to serve others during your day. That’s what I hope to encourage in you today, friend.
The small things in our lives are not things we have to do before we can bring glory to God. If they’re in service of others and in service of your home, then they themselves bring glory to God. And that makes them important.
Building a Capsule Wardrobe
So, let’s get to how to build a capsule wardrobe. I know you’ve been there: looking in your closet, not sure what to wear. You try on an outfit that just doesn’t feel right and then try on another. But nothing is working and all you can think is, “I have nothing to wear.”
I have definitely felt this way and when I knew I was going to move here to Oxford, England I finally decided to do something about it. I decided to create a capsule wardrobe for myself. And, spoiler alert, I think it works really well and I’ll probably never not have one.
What is a Capsule Wardrobe?
A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothes and accessories that includes only items considered essential. These wardrobes first appeared in America in the 1940s as a way to purchase your entire wardrobe at once. They were advertised then as a small collection of garments designed to be worn together which harmonized in color and line. I saw an advertisement that noted the whole wardrobe could fit into one suitcase! Most capsule wardrobes are only meant to last for one season or around 3 months. Then you will need to shift items depending on the weather where you live.
I’ve personally seen capsule wardrobes become more popular in the last couple of years as the minimalist movement has also gained popularity. Some capsule wardrobes have as few as 30 items total and some grow to 60 or 100. It really depends on the creator of the wardrobe.
Why a Capsule Wardrobe?
Now you may be wondering why I chose to do a capsule wardrobe. For me personally, the biggest reason I made a capsule wardrobe was because I knew that I would be moving to a country and I needed to downsize all of our belongings, including my clothing.
But in general, creating a capsule wardrobe for yourself will really save you a lot of time. As busy moms, we don’t have a lot of time to ourselves as it is and simplifying your wardrobe can provide a few extra minutes in the day.
A third reason to create a capsule wardrobe is to keep your items to a minimum. Now, I’m not saying I fully subscribe to total minimalism, I think you can take it too far. But, in this category of clothing, it is way too easy to have so many clothes that you don’t know what to do with. As Christians we are to be good stewards of all things that we have, even our clothing. And I think that creating a minimal closet is one way to steward my clothing well. In the long run, I will end up being more intentional about each item of clothing I purchase and wear.
Speaking of purchasing, another reason to create a capsule wardrobe is so that you can save money. You may find that investing in some solid, everyday wear pieces costs money up front, but you’ll be wearing them a lot in a capsule wardrobe so it makes sense in the long run. I would say that you should be careful with what you purchase and make sure it is quality. And if you are able to shop around at thrift stores, or charity shops as they’re called here in England, you can save even more money on your minimal closet.
My Personal Experience
I first created a winter capsule wardrobe when I moved to Oxford a year and half ago. I didn’t really sit down and make a summer capsule wardrobe because I think I was still adjusting to life here and, to be honest, I felt quite cold for most of last summer and still wore a lot of my winter items during June, July, and August. But, now that I’m more acclimatized, I have definitely benefited from having a summer capsule wardrobe. I don’t think I will ever go without having a capsule wardrobe put together ever again.
Using a capsule wardrobe means that all of your clothing pieces will match and be in the same color palette. That makes it very simple to get dressed every day and simple to get dressed to go out. It also takes out the guessing of getting dressed because I’ve already taken the time to make sure the pieces go together and match ahead of time.
On a more personal note, I also think that having a capsule wardrobe has made me a better steward of my clothing. Now instead of having clothing in my closet that I don’t use because it doesn’t match or I don’t have the right thing to wear with it, I wear all of my clothing items. And, now that I have clothes I like to wear, I find myself taking better care of them so that they will last longer. I’m also not constantly looking for items to wear so I don’t spend a lot of money on clothing all the time. We can honor the Lord with how we steward our clothes!
And more so, when we are stewarding our clothing well, it will take us less time in the morning. So not only does it help us steward our clothing, but also steward our time.
Utilizing a capsule wardrobe has really helped me and totally taken away the anxiety that can sometimes surround getting dressed in the mornings. And I think it can do the same for you! If you’re feeling like you have too many clothes and you want to downsize, or maybe you know you spend too much on clothing and you want to stop, or if you want to be a better steward of your clothing and your time, a capsule wardrobe may be your answer.
And you may think that I am recommending getting rid of all the clothes you own and buying new ones. Definitely not! I am a big fan of used clothes and keeping the clothes that you already own. You may have to whittle down your closet in this process, yes (especially if you only want to have 30 pieces). But I think there’s a good way to keep the clothes you love and work them into your capsule wardrobe.
How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe
So, how do you create a capsule wardrobe? I’ll walk you through the steps that I took and share what I’ve learned. I got a lot of information from my mom who has done capsule wardrobes for a while. And my mom got inspiration and information and a few specifics from Janice’s website called The Vivienne Files. That website has SO many options for capsule wardrobes and even more detailed instructions than what I’ll share today if you want to check it out. I will link it in the blog post for this episode. Just a word of warning though, there are a TON of sample capsule wardrobes to look at on her site. It’s really helpful, but I found that when I was preparing my capsule wardrobe I just had to stop looking at some point and decide on my colors and pieces of clothing. So, don’t get stopped in your progress by endlessly looking at the beautiful wardrobes Janice has created.
Choosing Your Color Palette
The first step in creating a capsule wardrobe is choosing your color palette. When I made mine, this was an overwhelming task for me! How will I know what colors I want to wear for the next three months?
There are lots of ways to choose a color palette for your wardrobe. You’ll need a few neutrals and few accent colors. I’ve seen whole capsule wardrobes based on a colorful scarf or inspired by a wallpaper print.
But, the easiest (and most economic) way I found to find your color palette is to use your own clothes. You already have a color palette of sorts in your closet, you just have to find it.
So, pull out all your clothes and sort them by color. Then look at the colors you have the most items in and that could possibly be your color palette that you already own. It’s likely that you own a lot of similar colors, those are the colors you are naturally drawn too. And, those are the colors you will most likely want to have in your color palette. Your color palette should not be the rainbow, pick out at least two neutral colors and two accent colors.
This was the method I used to find my own color palette. I pulled out all of my clothes and sorted them by color. I had a lot of colors in my closet, but there were 5 that had the most pieces overall: navy blue, cream, gray, blush pink, and turquoise.
See how easy that was? These are the colors I’m naturally drawn to and ones that I already own in my closet. This is a win-win situation because not only did I know which colors I liked for my palette, but I also didn’t have to purchase as many clothes cause I already owned these!
Now, if this method of using your own clothes doesn’t work for you, maybe you’ve pulled out all of your clothes and nothing really comes to the top for a color palette, then I suggest you take a look at the website I talked about above for inspiration.
You might also have just one or two pieces that you really love; those could be your inspiration for your entire capsule wardrobe palette. You could also look at the tones of your complexion and hair to help you pick your color palette. There’s a lot of flexibility in choosing your palette.
Keep in mind that your capsule wardrobe is not going to be what you wear forever. Depending on where you live, your capsule wardrobe will most likely change with the seasons, which is just three months. So, if you pick a palette and then realize you don’t like it as much as you thought, you can change it after a couple months when you prepare for the next season.
So, while there is a lot of flexibility in how you choose your palette and which colors you choose, there should not be flexibility in this next step.
Empty Your Closet
Now, this may be the hardest part of creating a capsule wardrobe. But it’s also really important to make your capsule wardrobe work!
Get rid of the clothes that are not in your color palette.
Yikes! That may sound like a lot of clothes and a lot of waste. But if you used the method I did, where your own clothes created the palette, you shouldn’t be getting rid of too many clothes.
When I made my capsule wardrobe, this rule made purging my closet very easy. I was no longer making decisions about how much I liked certain items, nor did I have to think about the last time I wore something. I simply just had to see if it was in my color palette. Then, when it wasn’t I could put it in the donate pile. And when it was, I could keep it in my wardrobe.
And, by the way, I do suggest you donate your clothing. Or, even better, if you’ve got the time, sign up for Poshmark, take pictures, and sell your clothing online. You could even use what you make from your old clothes to purchase new items for your capsule wardrobe.
I will say, it was a little bit difficult to get rid of everything that was not in my palette. I had this one black dress that I really liked, but navy blue is my neutral color, so it had to go. But now that I’ve used my capsule wardrobe for a while, I can tell you that this step is definitely worth it!
You don’t want to keep that one-off item because you most likely won’t wear it. The whole point of a capsule wardrobe is that all the clothes match together and it’s very easy to get dressed every day. So get rid of whatever garments do not match your chosen color palette.
If you did not find that many clothes in your closet to make up your palette, then maybe hold on to a few clothes that are not in your palette and get rid of them once you have filled in some of the gaps in your capsule wardrobe.
Fill Your Closet With Your Capsule Wardrobe!
Now that you’ve purged your closet and removed those items that do not fit into your capsule wardrobe palette, it’s time to fill in any gaps that are left.
This is another step that provides you with flexibility. Would you like to only have a certain number of clothes? Maybe 30 garments? Maybe you’d rather have more clothing and more options but all in the same palette?
Whatever you choose to do, do it and stick to it.
Maybe you already have three pairs of jeans that you love, don’t buy more. Focus on tops that will fit with your palette and expand that way. If you have plenty of tops, look for neutral trousers to go with. If your closet is full of dresses in your palette, find a sweater that can go over the top. Maybe you just need one or two more tops to complete your capsule wardrobe, that’s an easy fix.
I feel like I can’t give too many instructions on how to exactly build your wardrobe piece by piece because it will be different for everyone. This is where I would say that website or Pinterest comes in handy. Use it for inspiration regarding how many pieces to have in your wardrobe and what your capsule wardrobe should be made up of.
Be sure to keep in mind what activities you do on a regular basis when filling your wardrobe. If you are at home all day with kids, go casual. If you work at an office, dress it up. You get the idea.
I have both my winter capsule wardrobe from last year and my summer capsule wardrobe I’m wearing right now detailed on my blog. You can take a look for inspiration at naptimetheologian.com.
And, just as a side note, if you do decide on a number like 30, you do not have to count your workout clothes or undergarments in that number. Just the outer clothes and shoes that you own.
If you’re not sure where to purchase clothing for your wardrobe, I would suggest getting it all second-hand! I love the thrill of finding the exact thing you’re looking for at the thrift store. When I was building my first capsule wardrobe, I made a detailed list of everything I needed on my phone. Then whenever I went to the thrift store, I would read through the list before browsing so I could look for exactly what I needed. Many times, I found exactly what I was looking for! And if I didn’t I used the Poshmark app to find some specific things. It’s a clothing resale app where people list their clothing and you buy it through the app. They have a similar app here in England called Vinted (that’s V-I-N-T-E-D). They are both good apps and it’s super easy to search for a specific item of clothing on them. I found it useful to be more specific when I was at the end of creating my capsule wardrobe.
Using as many of your own clothes as possible and shopping second-hand in this way will really make building a capsule wardrobe affordable for you.
So, once you’ve chosen your color palette and decided how many items you want, fill in the gaps by making a list of what you need and finding it to purchase.
Try It Out | Wear Your Capsule Wardrobe
Then, when you’ve gotten all your clothing, it’s time to try out your capsule wardrobe.
Go for a couple weeks without buying any clothing. Only wear your capsule wardrobe.
Not only will this give you a chance to see your hard work in action, but it will also solidify your wardrobe as you go. You’ll find out exactly what you are missing and want to add to further complete your wardrobe. And, maybe you won’t miss anything, then you did a good job planning it out! This also gives you a chance to change your mind if you decide there’s something that’s not good. I’ve found that fine tuning your wardrobe is really worth it. Take the time to look for quality pieces that you like and will enjoy wearing often. And then keep those items, getting rid of others.
My Current Capsule Wardrobe
Having a capsule wardrobe has really made my life as a busy mom MUCH easier and I want the same for you, friend. So I hope you give it a try. I’ll just end by describing my current capsule wardrobe.
I have kept pretty much the same color palette I chose when I moved here except that I’ve changed the cream color to pure white. I was finding the cream color to wash out my face and it is not often paired with navy blue in patterns while white is often paired with navy blue, so I’ve found clothes much more easily with white as a neutral instead of cream. So my current palette is: navy blue and white as the neutrals. Then turquoise and blush pink as the accents. I’ve found that I really like navy blue and white, so that’s mostly what I own. There are just a few pieces that are the accent colors.
There are pictures of my whole capsule wardrobe on my blog at naptimetheologian.com so you can go and see the individual items that I own. My current capsule wardrobe consists of 9 tops (one of those is a long-sleeved one), 4 outerwear pieces (a cardigan, a jean jacket, a pullover sweatshirt, and a rain jacket which is essential in England!), 2 pairs of jeans (a light wash color and a dark wash color), 1 pair of dress pants or trousers, 2 skirts, 6 dresses, 1 jumpsuit, 1 pair of tennis shoes, 1 pair of ankle boots, 1 pair of brown flats, 1 pair of wellies (or rain boots). That brings us to a grand total of 29 items! My goal is to keep my capsule wardrobe to 30 pieces, so I’ve done it currently! And I did find almost all of my pieces for my wardrobe at thrift stores here in Oxford. I only bought two of the tops brand-new and they are t-shirt type tops so they are not as expensive anyway. Everything else was either found at a thrift store or was still in my wardrobe from the winter time. The weather here is not all that warm to me, so I do still wear a few things that I also wore in the winter time (some dresses are especially easy to warm up in the winter with a pair of leggings underneath). And I wear my navy blue cardigan with almost everything.
This time around when I made my capsule wardrobe, I was definitely more confident about having patterns in it which you can see from the photos. The first time I did my winter wardrobe, the pieces were all pretty much solid colors with a few stripes. So, I think that confidence comes with time. If you’re not feeling very confident in what to put in your capsule wardrobe, maybe try starting out with solid colors that match and building from there.
Well, I think that about finishes this episode. Talking through something like capsule wardrobes can only go so far in a podcast. So, head over to my blog at naptimetheologian.com to see the pictures of my current capsule wardrobe and my winter one too if you’re interested. You can also leave me a comment or ask a question there, I’m happy to help you in your capsule wardrobe endeavors!
I love the camaraderie and fellowship that we women can have over practical things like building a wardrobe. It’s lots of fun to share fashion tips and inspiration together. I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my experience and the tool that works for me today. Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you. Thanks for listening to Naptime Theology today.