How to Find Your Style! Building a Minimalist Capsule Wardrobe One Step at a Time! Fashion Advice for the Rest of Us...

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Update August 2016 -- I have HUGE news for a fashion-savvy, Capsule Wardrobe lovin' girl like you!  My shiny, awesome new book Secrets of the Capsule Wardrobe:  How to Find Your Personal Style & Create a Happy, Confident Closet! is now available!!  Feel free to continue to read this post if you like, but just be aware you're basically reading an incomplete rough draft... my book is the Perfected Guide to finding your personal style and building a effortless, confidence-inspiring, non-boring capsule wardrobe, step-by-step! It also contains never-before-published information on how to avoid the three most common mistakes that will SABOTAGE your Capsule Wardrobe, how to continue to curate your collection of clothing by purposeful shopping in the future, a whole chapter on the role of accessories in your minimalist closet, and more.  Go check it out right now... a happy closet awaits you! 


Super girly post alert!  Writing today about fa-SHUN... ready to be glamorous and sophisticated with me??  First in a weekly series of six.  Already read this one?  Skip ahead to catch up on the rest!


Done with Konmari? You're ready for this! The ultimate step-by-step guide to finding your personal style and having a capsule wardrobe! Wondering how to make a capsule wardrobe -- how to figure out your style? I've got fashion advice for a curated closet that will never be boring! via Devastate Boredom

For a while now I've been fascinated by the idea of having a smaller, minimalist wardrobe, one that would be easy to mix -and-match and that would eliminate the "I have nothing to wear!" morning paralysis. I was inspired especially by the idea of a "happy closet" - one that I would feel comfortable and confident in because it was entirely made up of clothes I loved.  Isn't it sad that that wouldn't be a given? That so much of our closet space is often taken up by clothes we don't even like?

I've done a ton of reading and pinterest-browsing in the search for what constitutes a "happy closet," and I thought I would pass along the steps I've identified in how to make that transition without losing your mind...  Going from our fast-fashion, cluttered-closet, shopping-as-a-hobby** culture to a curated collection of favorites is a pretty seismic shift, but it IS possible to cut down on waste and clutter, and achieve a capsule wardrobe* that you love, without being overwhelmed.  I promise!

* Capsule wardrobe, dahhhling, is just fa-SHUN speak for "mix-and-matchable."


**  Please note, I love shopping!  But now I shop in the spirit of looking-for-new favorites, which as you will discover below, are far more elusive creatures than you might previously have imagined.

Note:  This series is for non-models and other "normal" females, who like to look good without spending ridiculous amounts of time and money on it.  Hence the "rest of us" in the title.  If you are a model or otherwise making your career out of fa-SHUN, just go ahead and stop reading now... you can always guest post instead!  ;)

Ready?  Here we go!
 
Step 1:  Recognize that you want your own wardrobe, not somebody else's.  A friend of mine told me how she found a pair of shoes she really liked, at a price she liked even better, but that she didn't get them because she knew someone else who already owned them... deep down, the call to be unique is strong in each of us!  This is part of why I can't stand the "15 pieces you MUST own" type of lists... the things I "need" to own are going to be different than the things you "need" to own, because we each have different occupations and environments, different ideas of comfort, and, oh yeah, what I wear to feel confident and at ease is very likely different from what you do.  So, the first thing to do is to determine what you like to wear (actually LIKE to wear) and go from there.  Pinterest can be a fun tool for this, but it can also suck you into a confusing abyss of "oh that's so pretty... and this is so cute too... and oh my gosh, that's the best yet..." so this is also the time to realize that just because something looks good doesn't mean you want to own it. 

Shift your perspective to realize that you can admire something, and find it visually satisfying, without wanting to claim it as part of your identity by putting it on your body.  Being more deliberate in curating your clothing collection can be a game-changer in terms of attitude, enjoyment, and confidence!
 
An example -- I love the artsy, dreamy, "boho" look, but what that look communicates isn't what I'm most interested in saying about myself.  I actually feel like a flowery, filmy imposter when I wear it, so it certainly doesn't add to my confidence!  But I can love it on other people, in the same way that I can admire art at a gallery without necessarily wanting to buy each piece.

Your assignment:  Tonight, or this weekend if you're going to need more time to deal with it (set an alert on your phone so you don't forget!), count how many items are hanging in your closet.  This is just a starting place, so make a note of the number and move on.  Then, go through each item, and pull out your favorite pieces.  How many things can you definitively identify as favorites?  Is there a theme?  Color, style, brand, comfort factor, or otherwise?  Right now, you are trying to determine your personal preferences, under all those layers of "but it was on sale," and "but my mother always told me I shouldn't wear such-and-such" and "but everyone in the office wears this kind of thing"...  What do you enjoy wearing?

When I did this experiment myself, I realized I like simple, minimalist combinations of color and style.  I like long silhouettes, clothes with unexpected details, and solid colors.  Oh, and stripes.  I really like stripes.  I love neutrals (white, grey, black, not big on khaki), and gravitate towards red, turquoise, and blue.  


Need a visual?  Here's a fifteen-piece collection in my creative-indie style that can be mixed and matched into FORTY-FIVE different outfits! (keep scrolling for shop-able links...)

Done with Konmari? You're ready for this! The ultimate step-by-step guide to finding your personal style and having a capsule wardrobe! Wondering how to make a capsule wardrobe -- how to figure out your style? I've got fashion advice for a curated closet that will never be boring! via Devastate Boredom



Similar Wardrobe with Shop-able Links!



But what about you?  Do you like patterns?  Florals?  Lace?  Collars?  Sweetheart necklines?  All of this is data you're collecting on yourself.  

(Pssssst!  Check out this post... if you tell me your style and color preferences, I'll help you brainstorm a capsule wardrobe to fit your own needs!)

When you have finished, leave your favorite clothes clustered together in one section of your closet, for ease of access going forward.

Done with that?  Assuming that you are now tired and/or have other things to do than play with your clothes all day, you can wait until tomorrow to... do the exact same thing with your folded clothes.  ;)  Then check and see - do the "favorites" from your dresser fall in line with your closet favorites?  The end result should be at least a drawer and a section of your closet full of "favorite" items... plan to wear favorites every day for a week.  Try to notice if it changes your mood and attitude to be wearing things you enjoy.  Does it speed up the morning selection time?  Do you identify anything new about what makes those items your favorites?

Confident, unique style is in reach for each of us!  I'm so excited about taking this fa-SHUN journey together.  Together we can curate and organize that closet into a thing of beauty... just like you!  



Done with Konmari? You're ready for this! The ultimate step-by-step guide to finding your personal style and having a capsule wardrobe! Wondering how to make a capsule wardrobe -- how to figure out your style? I've got fashion advice for a curated closet that will never be boring! via Devastate Boredom



Here are some of the places you might see this post partying! 



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26 comments

  1. Hello- loved your post and look forward to more. I like the idea of a minimalist mix and match closet. I left my career a year ago, and I realized that my entire wardrobe is now wrong for my current life. I am slowly adding new things, but afraid to get rid of the professional clothes which I spend years building! I have WAY too many clothes in my overstuffed walk in closet. i am working on courage to do a massive clean out.

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  2. Awesome! I completely understand what you're feeling... next week's post is about tackling the closet clean-out! See you then! :D

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  3. Excellent advice! Thanks for lining at #OMHGWW this week. Co-host, Shandra

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    1. Thanks! :) It's really empowering to get "control" of what you wear and how you present yourself!

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    2. THaNkS for making this process REaL!!! and fUn:)

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  4. Great advice, Sarah, because we are each individuals. And some of the core pieces that are suggested just don't fit my individual style. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

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    1. Me tooooo!! Thanks for the party, I love your blog. :)

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  5. I adore that you didn't just show a picture, but explained how to build a capsule wardrobe!

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    1. Awww, I adore YOU! ;P That is such nice feedback. I hope you stick around for the rest of the series! See you again soon hopefully!

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  6. I have always heard great things about a mix and match wardrobe but never been able to accomplish that on my own! Thanks for sharing with us at Merry Monday!

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    1. It IS possible! And it is amazing! Come back weekly and I'll do my best to help you get there. :D

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  7. "Shift your perspective to realize that you can admire something, and find it visually satisfying, without wanting to claim it as part of your identity by putting it on your body."
    THAT!! And for non-models, and normal people- my hand;s raised!
    Here from Totally Terrific Tuesday.

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    1. Thank you for sharing what you liked about this post!! You're so fantastic! Come hang out with me ALL THE TIME! ;)

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  8. We really downsized when we moved, but I "forgot" to downsize my closet. That mess is coming up real soon so I can have the extra space. Thanks for sharing your post at the #AnythingGoes Link Party.

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    1. Ooooh take before and after photos! Those are the best -- so rewarding to see the difference. :D

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  9. Great advice. Nice to have you co-hosting at ##OMHGWW

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  10. Loved this post Sarah. First time visitor, but it won't be my last. Pinned this great post. If you get a chance, please check out my post at the HHGN Patry Hop, Value Your Work, Value Yourself.
    Nancy A @ obloggernewbie.blogspot.com

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    1. Yay! :D Thank you, so glad to have you. I will definitely check out your post!

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  11. Such a great post Sarah. I'm just about to pack my winter wardrobe away and start on a Spring one. I'd love to get it all worked out. Thanks so much for this post. Great timing. And thanks so much for linking up to Thriving on Thursdays. I'm featuring this one at tomorrow's party. Hope to see you again.

    Anne @ Domesblissity

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    1. Yay, I'm so glad you found it helpful! :D And thank you so much for the feature!!

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  12. I LOVE this! It is well written and doable! I will be going through my closet this weekend, as I was contemplating this very issue and didn't know where to start. THanks for sharing over at Country Fair Blog Party, I am featuring you as one of my very favorites for our October Link up! Thanks again! Jan @ Tip garden

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    1. Oh I'm so excited! Thanks so much! :D

      Good luck tackling your closet! And take before-and-after photos! So rewarding for showing your progress. :)

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  13. Love it! I've been struggling so much with my wardrobe!

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  14. I know you and I had a conversation earlier this year about how much we cut our wardrobe down to...and I know I said I still had a ton of clothes, but I'd gotten rid of so much...I had never counted things before and was shocked at how many things I still have - and I know I got rid of at least half to 2/3rds of what I had before, so I'm even more shocked at how much I had before! (and I'm not even into clothes or shopping, but since I can still wear things from high school, I've obviously built up quite a collection over the years - because, let's face it, high school was a looooooong time ago, for me!)

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  15. I like your writing style very much. Thank you for doing such a good job. It was a pleasure for me to visit your site blog and to read all this information. Thank you for your time that you have spent writing this article.

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