Fall 2016 Capsule Wardrobe – Prep

I’ve decided to start wearing my Fall 2016 Capsule Wardrobe on the first day of Autumn – September 21st. This means this week is about the preparation. I’ve usually followed the Ten Item Wardrobe from Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris, but this season I’ve decided to combine it with Courtney Carver’s Project 333 so I can have ten main items (which I have really enjoyed these past two years) and set a limit for my extras (footwear, outerwear, t-shirts and accessories).

My Process

First step is to make an inventory, refine and purge.

I’ve done a few major declutters of my wardrobe since 2010 so I don’t have much to do as the seasons change. I know what I have. Instead of a lay it all on the bed and go through things one by one what I do is more of assessment of a few items. I take an inventory of my 20 or so items of clothing to see what still fits and what doesn’t. I examine each item to see if it’s still in good condition, needs repair or if it is too damaged to be repaired.

Here is what I’m donating this season.


  1. High heels that have seen better days. All 4 pairs have scuffed toes. The two middle pairs I’ve had for 12 years or so. They’ve earned their keep. The blue pair on the left were for a burlesque costume for an act I no longer do. The black pair on the right I’m so sad to see go. They are from a vegan retailer I quite like – Novoca – and were such smart looking shoes for when I had professional meetings and the like. But I’ve had them for over ten years and the scuffs are just so obvious now. I think I walk in a funny way that causes toe scuffing. :(
  2. A lilac cashmere wool sweater from when I stopped being vegan a few years back. It has some stains. I’m actually going to keep it for at home wear in the winter. Electricity is very expensive in Ontario and I’ll need to watch the thermostat.
  3. My very tiny jersey from my 21k run in the early 2000s. It really doesn’t fit and I don’t need the t-shirt to remember I ran the race. Not a fall item, but after this summer I knew it was time for it to go.
  4. A bathrobe that I never ever use. It was a gift from my mother so I kept thinking I’d wear, but I’m not a robe person. Keeping things just in case typically means that the items just use up space and are never needed. I follow The Minimalists’ 20 20 Rule on this one. Also not a seasonal item, but since my move I haven’t worn it once so I know it needs to go.
  5. A lovely top from Jacob that is long in the front and short in the back. I called it my fancy black top. I’d put it on and immediately take it off because it didn’t feel right. I probably wore it all of 3 times. This is a summer item that I wore only once. Hopefully, someone else will enjoy it.
  6. A black nylon security vest to store personal items. I’m more concerned for fire and floods so I store things like my passport and birth certificate in a fireproof, waterproof safe. Not a seasonal item, but you get the drill.
  7. Another cashmere sweater from my non-vegan stint. This is a dark blue turtleneck. I feel itchy around the neck and claustrophobic when I wear it. It’s in excellent condition so I’m hoping to sell it at a consignment shop.

Second step is to select which items will be in your capsule wardrobe. I need to try on the different options together to see which work best. I don’t want to deal with something taking up space that I never wear because it doesn’t feel right (see item 5 above).

For sure the core ten items will include: 1) short sleeve white shirt, 2) black blouse with white polka dots, 3) wine coloured 3/4 sleeved blouse, 4) blue blazer, 5) black jeans, 6) blue jeans, 7) long black jersey dress.

I will also likely include another dress and one or two skirts. I need to try them on with the blouses to see what works. These decisions will depend on my shoes. I have some new boots and I need to see what they work with besides jeans. Mainly though because I do a lot of walking and I’m on my feet all day at work I need to choose my shoes wisely. I’m aiming for three pairs flats, heels and boots.

Next up will be the extras such as base layer t-shirts which I already have – one white and one black. I wore them this summer and they are in great condition (thank you line drying). I will also need top layers for colder days and nights. I have 4 nice sweaters to choose from. I will see which work well with my core items and how far along I am in hitting 33 items.

Then is outerwear. I have mid-thigh nylon coat, jean jacket and fancy satin trench. I’ve had these for 15, 12 and 8 years respectively and they are still in great condition. The nylon coat has had its buttons replaced, but they haven’t needed any mending besides that.

Finally there are my accessories. I wear my FitBit most everyday, all day so I won’t be counting that as part of 33. Same thing with my earrings. I have had an irritation so I’m wearing studs for the next 6 weeks as it heals. What I’m left with are scarves, necklaces and bracelets. I have a very small collection so it should be easy to choose.

Putting It All Together

I’ve downloaded the Stylebook Closet App and I’ll spend the next few days adding my items to it and let you know next week my final decisions.

Overwhelmed But Want a Simple Wardrobe?

I hope by sharing my process you have a gained some ideas about how you can go about creating your own capsule wardrobe.  Still unsure – don’t stress – Courtney shares great suggestions in her post Ten Tiny Tips to Take Towards Your Tiny Wardrobe as well as many other posts on her website. She even created a fantastic micro-course all about how to do it. Highly recommended!!

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