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How To Curate A Capsule Wardrobe – #5: Pull It Together, Girl!

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This is it, buddies!  The last step to officially starting your own capsule wardrobe!  I’m so excited to hear from you all and see how this experience went for you.  I’ll tell you, the first time around was way harder and lots more work than any of the other times I’ve pulled together a capsule.  Just think, you’ll never have to do a purge that large or a fashion show that long ever again!  You’ve begun, my friend.  It’s a whole new world now!

(If you’re just tuning in, there’s no rush to get going-this is all at your own speed!  If you’d like to catch up, here are steps [ONE], [TWO], [THREE] and [FOUR] in the Cotton Stem Capsule series.)

For this fifth and final step, it’s time to pull it together, girl!  Your capsule wardrobe, that is!  πŸ˜‰  Using the notes from your Capsule Planner, your curated Pinterest boards and the knowledge you gained regarding the contents of your closet during the fashion show, it’s time to make final decisions about what goes into your capsule for this current season.  Most of the work is done: now it’s just time to pull it all together!

If you are still missing a few items needed to round out your capsule, now is the time get buying!  You’ve had a minute to research product and read reviews, so be wise with your choices now so that your new item will hopefully last through many capsules to come.  Because you already know which items you need, you won’t be temped to impulse shop and blow the budget–be mindful and stay focused, and your wallet shall thank thee.  πŸ˜‰

Oh and…the most frequently asked question:
“HOW MANY ITEMS SHOULD BE INCLUDED?”
That, my friend, is entirely up to you!  As an example, my single season capsules usually include about 35 items give or take, including shoes and outerwear.  Right now, I’m combining spring and summer into one capsule, so I’ve included 50ish items in order to cover both seasons.  This is where you need to try not to get bogged down in strict rules like I did when I first started.  Your number will change as you move through your capsule lifestyle, and it might even change DURING this first capsule if you forgot to add something necessary or you realized you included TOO many things.   IT’S UP TO YOU!  Just give yourself grace for the journey.

So, here are some final tips and ideas as we finish up our capsule experience:

–I like to clear out a section of my closet that is strictly reserved for capsule items.  We all have different closet situations, so for some, storing off-season clothes will need to happen under the bed in boxes or maybe in another part of your closet, but no matter what, keeping things as uncluttered and streamlined as possible will help keep us on track as we go through life capsuling!

–This might be kinda nerdy, but I really like my capsule items to have matching hangers.  πŸ€“  It keeps things organized and cohesive!  I use wooden hangers and velvet hangers which I’ll link below!

–In my closet, I group items by type and then by color gradient (lightest to darkest within that clothing type–see example below).  NERD. πŸ€“ I know, you guys. πŸ˜©πŸ˜‚  BUT!  It makes things so easy!  Right now, my capsule goes from left to right: tanks, tees, long sleeves, button downs, sweaters/cardigans.  Then I have shorts, jeans/pants, dresses, jackets.  Each section is then broken down lightest to darkest moving left to right.  I’m telling you, a streamlined looking closet does WONDERS for the psyche and cut down on getting ready time, too!  You certainly don’t have to be as nerdy as me and my closet…but if you wanna, that’s cool (…*cough* NERDY…), too.  πŸ˜‰

A note about your next capsule:

As you move through this season, start turning your attention to the approaching season’s capsule.  Start early with your Pinterest boards, paying attention to what draws your eye for next season, thinking ahead of what you already have that you could make work.  I like to start about a month ahead of the season/capsule shift making plans and pre-shopping.  Because you’ve already done the hard part of actually STARTING the capsule lifestyle, all future season/capsule shifts will be so much easier and require much less effort…you’re already doing it!  Now you’ll have the time and flexibility to prepare early for the next capsule.  Boom.

Well friends, you did it!  You are well on your way to living a simpler, more mindful lifestyle when it comes to shopping, getting dressed and organizing your closet! πŸ™ŒπŸ» And honestly…this taught me so much about myself: my spending habits, how I view my body, why I buy what I buy…so many lessons through something so seemingly unimportant as a closet full of clothes!  I sure hope you are inspired to give capsuling a try!  Be sure to say hello on Instagram and Pinterest, too!

STEP 1 – Purge + Pile
STEP 2 – Nerd Alert List Time
STEP 3 – Fashion Show
STEP 4 – How Pinteresting
STEP 5 – Pull It Together, Girl!

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  1. Cory says:

    This just seems so overwhelming!!! At this point I hate everything in my closet. I have already got rid of so much but still feel like I have to much. I mean I have 6 mint colored tops!! Who needs that many??? Help????

    • Erin Kern says:

      Oh no! It certainly can feel a bit overwhelming to make any kind of lifestyle change, this one included. Believe me…I was right where you are! If you can push through this first attempt at capsuling, you’ll find that it gets easier and easier. And I was like you–I did the first purge, but I STILL felt like there were too many items left. So that first go around, I just chose my VERY VERY favorites, put them into a capsule and just started. I didn’t toss the "maybe" items; I just stored them to see if I would miss them. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. πŸ˜‰ Don’t be too hard on yourself as you get started–leave the "rules" loose and see where it takes you this first time! You’ll come out on the other side more confident in the capsule process, promise! πŸ‘πŸ»

  2. Laura says:

    Can we please see your capsule clothes! At least your like top 10 favs?? Need ideas πŸ™‚ Love your style!

  3. Allison says:

    Your capsules don’t include lounge/home wear, correct? I feel like I need a separate capsule for sweats/Nike shorts/t-shirts, etc. 😊

    • Erin Kern says:

      You know, I’m seriously considering doing a Momiform/softies/sweats/lounge-wear capsule series…would this be of interest?! I don’t include these pieces in my capsules, bc they would totally consume them! πŸ˜‰ However, I think idea of two capsules is great!

  4. Lindie Ashby says:

    I too would love to see your capsule or at least your fav pieces. I’ve always been an impulse shopper, but as a mommy of two little ones, I need to simplify my wardrobe. Not to mention, find my style again!! I LOVE the style you rock and would love to know your favorite places to shop for long lasting, durable key pieces.

    • Erin Kern says:

      Awesome! Thank you! Lots of my favs are pictured on my IG account with sources if that helps! Or did you mean like the items laid out side by side with links?

  5. Jess says:

    Quick question…the source you added for the grey short sleeved maxi, is it legit? The prices seem too good to be true. I’ve been burned too many times with sites like this & cheap prices. Just wanted to be sure first because I am loving the way you have styled the maxi!

    • Erin Kern says:

      Well, my grey dress came from GroopDealz.com πŸ™ˆ, and while it is no longer sold there, I know it came from that Shein source. I’ve linked another option, too. I paid under $20 for mine!

  6. Hannah Hargis says:

    I’ve sorta always done a capsule like closet , because I’m very strict about not buying clothes in colors that don’t work for my yellow based olive skin tone and I have an hour glass body shape , keeps me away from lots of trendy stuff…..whether I like it or not πŸ˜„. My problem has certainly been the 5 pregnancies in 7 yrs….I have a capsule wardrobe in like 3 different dress sizes ! I did finally let go of all the maternity clothes….we think we’re done ….and if we have a surprise …well it’s just an excuse for a new maternity capsule right ?! πŸ˜„πŸ˜„ I’m trying to lose weight and settled in to a not pregnant/nursing size …then I suppose I will do more purging …
    I’m so glad someone else is type A about their closet too ! Ive organized my clothes from light to dark by type since I was a teenager….the hubs thought I was sooo weird πŸ˜€. I recently made the splurge for velvet hangers ….and oh my goodness I love them !
    I love your blog /IG , keep posting !!!

    -Hannah

    • Erin Kern says:

      Totally feel ya on having alllllllllll the sizes from allllllllllllll the pregnancies! πŸ˜‰ And yay for a fellow closet organizational nerd! πŸ™ŒπŸ»πŸ˜‚

  7. Emily Taylor says:

    Where did you find the wooden clothing rack? I’ve been perusing Homegoods, but no luck so far! Great series! This will help me streamline and simplify my wardrobe. Still stuck in baby/nursing land, but I need to whip that closet into shape πŸ™‚

  8. Emily Athman says:

    I am so glad I have found your blog! You are so cute, and so fun! I can tell you enjoy what you do πŸ™‚
    I am not new to "capsuling" but have struggled sticking to what I chose. Here are two areas I need some help:
    -storing clothes when not in season, or not in a capsule
    -using pinterest

    I literally signed up for Pinterest yesterday…I am about 5 years late and had to look up how to spell it!!!
    How do you search for clothes you own? I was searching but coming up with lots of new things that were certainly tempting to purchase.

    Help! & Happy Monday!

    • Erin Kern says:

      These are great questions!! I’ll add this to my FAQ list and address it on that upcoming blog post. Thank you very much for the kind words, Emily!

  9. Debi says:

    I’m a lil late in this topic, just discovered you tonite while watching the live video on IG. Quick question, as far as accessories (scarves, hats, jackets) are we to keep only the colors, patterns etc that go with stuff in the keep pile?
    I haven’t printed/filled out the planner I’m sure I will have more ?? Once I do. I needed this like you don’t even know.
    Thank you, Debi

  10. Robin Albanese says:

    Good evening Erin! Thank you for this series! I’m 64 this year (old enough to be your mom!) and a subscriber to Cottage Journal and just read the interview with you tonight on-line. One thing let to another and I ended up reading your delightful blog in which you mentioned “capsule wardrobes” and since I had no idea whatsoever what you were talking about I had to read (and print, I’m old-school) your 5 steps. It blew my mind. I’ve worked in clothing retail for years and just kept accumulating tons of clothes year after year! And now I’m suffocating in clothes that embarrassingly fill 3 closets! Enough! I can’t wait to get started purging this weekend! You are a sweet young woman with a ton to offer women of all ages… I’m a new fan and follower! Blessings to you!

  11. Michelle says:

    I love the wooden hangers!! Where did you order those from?

  12. Tara Hughey says:

    I am looking for a dress like the one you are wearing holding a jean jacket for my maternity photos. I was wondering where it is from!!

  13. Sherry palmer says:

    Erin
    Just found you in a BHG special mag this Spring and immediately started looking at your sites. I’m 67 but have similar tastes in home and style but really needed your capsule wardrobe help.
    Will enjoy seeing all your sites, so glad I found you!

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