Stay at Home Mom Capsule Wardrobe

The following is a guest post from Heather Rodrigues of Image and Money Matters. Heather is currently a stay at home mom to her three-year-old. She loves to write, sing and play guitar. Prior to blogging and stay at home mom life, Heather worked in nursing homes, managing the activity department which she found to be a very rewarding job! She also had a side hustle as an interior decorator in addition to studying Image Consulting which she hopes to do more of in the future!

The Capsule Wardrobe: a great way to minimize and get rid of the fluff in your closet!  The “capsule wardrobe” is a term coined by Susie Faux, a boutique owner, in the 1970s. A wardrobe capsule consists of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, in colors that will go with a wide variety of other pieces so that you can maximize the number of outfits that can be created without having an excessive amount of clothing.  Some put a number on how many items you should own but I think it should be a personal decision.

The first step is to go through each item in your closet and drawers.  Get the clothes out on your bed, perhaps one pile at a time (trying them on helps too).  From there, make piles of:

1) Clothes you love and wear regularly

2) Clothes you haven’t worn in a while but might wear again

3) Clothes you haven’t worn and probably won’t wear again 

Put pile #3 into bags for donating or consignment.  Are you comfortable with keeping the rest?  If not, go through pile #2 again and try to pare it down.  The clothes that are left in pile #2 (items you might wear and just can’t part with) can be placed into totes. If you don’t wear anything from the tote after a year or so, then you might be more comfortable donating or consigning these items.

Now go through your remaining clothes and place them back in your closet.  Put all of the pants together, dresses, shirts, etc. and then put together some outfits.  Do you see any gaps, anything you might need to make some outfits?

But wait– it’s not time to go shopping just yet!  Carry on with the clothing you have.  It has been suggested to wait 3 months, or even longer, wearing what you have.  This way, when you do go shopping, you’ll truly know what you need.  Part of the beauty of the capsule wardrobe is that there is no random or impulse shopping.  From now on when you shop, you’ll do it with a specific item in mind.

Okay, so you`re finally out shopping for your capsule wardrobe pieces!!  Try to purchase quality items that will last; it will save you money in the long run! Depending on your budget, you needn’t purchase everything at once.  Take your time and save up for the items you really want.  Make sure the cut is right for you too. It should complement you and make you feel good while you’re wearing it.  Look for timeless pieces since it will give your wardrobe longevity!  If you want to save some money, purchase a good skirt and jacket and spend less on some trendy blouses to wear with them.  The blouses will be easier to replace and new ones will spice up your wardrobe next season!

Once you’ve got your capsule wardrobe complete, you should always have something to wear. Again, it’s nice to add seasonal pieces, but you will find you’re shopping for specific items and not because you have “nothing to wear”!

There are lots of templates out there to help you. I really like this one by Caroline of the Unfancy blog. At this point in my life, I’m not wearing dress clothes much at all, so I decided to come up with a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM) Capsule Wardrobe.  If you are in the same boat (or about to be!) my capsule might help you as well!

If your days consist of getting your little one(s) dressed, fed, play time inside/out, playgroups, diaper changes, supper prep, with “occasional” outings to a restaurant, shopping mall or to friends, then this wardrobe might be right for you!

If you’re new to motherhood, you may only need to get more of the comfy, practical stuff!

Yoga PantsThe #1 necessity! You’ll need about 4 pairs (basic colors to go with everything). I also have a couple of the capri version for summer too.
Coordinating Tops the same # as pants in your favorite colors. Lycra tops are comfortable and zippers are nice for breastfeeding moms.
Tank Tops4-6 is good (mine are grey and black to match my pants). These are nice to wear under a zippered top!
Jeans2 pairs-- one skinny and one straight or boot cut.
Dress Pants1 in a basic color that will go with everything else.
Going Out Tops3-4 would do nicely and at least one should be dressy.
Dress or SkirtOptional - if it’s something you like or need (a sundress in the summer is always nice!)
Cardigan Sweater1-2, again in colors to match your pants and other items.
Casual Coats1 for colder temps and 1 for warmer weather; something that looks good with your yoga pants at the playground! Again, I recommend basic colors that will go with your wardrobe.
Dressier Coats1 for colder temps and 1 for warmer weather
Shorts and T-Shirts3 of each. If your house/apartment is air conditioned, you might still wear pants and/or long sleeves indoors.
Don’t forget a bathing suit and cover-up for summer trips to the pool, beach or splash pad.
ShoesI pair of running shoes or comfortable walking shoes and 1 dressier pair (basic colors).
Remember that no matter what function you’re going to; if you’re taking the little ones with you, you’ll need to be able to move quickly!
Sandals1 pair of comfortable walking sandals and 1 dressier pair (optional)
Boots1 comfortable pair and 1 dressier pair (again optional)
Hand Bags1-2 in colors that match your wardrobe. I have a regular sized purse but I also have a smaller cross body one (that fits a sippy cup!) for most outings. At the playground I leave the purse and just use pockets for Kleenex, keys and phone. I take the diaper bag everywhere, even if it just stays in the car!

I’ve been slowly purging my closet of the dressy work clothes.  Some of it simply doesn’t fit anymore anyway and since I’m not using it, I only need to keep a few of my favorite pieces.

The numbers I use may not be right for you, so feel free to adjust for yourself. I added pieces slowly (more affordable) and it does make a difference how often you do laundry. I don’t know about you, but I do a lot more of it these days! 🙂

Once you have your staple pieces, you can add new pieces occasionally when you need a change or things look worn.  Remember to take your time in getting clothes that compliment and make you feel good. Just because you are home more doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel good about your appearance!  Happy shopping!

Stay at Home Mom Capsule Wardrobe

Jessica Morrison

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