Capsules, FAQ, Style, Style Favorites, Style Try Ons, Wardrobe Capsules

Cotton Stem Capsule Wardrobe FAQ’s – Part Two

Hey my buddies!  Let’s keep up the convo about capsule wardrobes! πŸ™ŒπŸ»
(If you have no idea what a capsule wardrobe is or how the heckfire to begin one,
click [HERE] for the Cotton Stem Capsule Series…so easy and fun!!  And [HERE} are the first set of Capsule FAQ’s!)

Below are the answers to your capsule questions based on my personal experience of capsuling for four or five years now, and if you have any more questions, leave them below in the comments section!

1.  How do I do a capsule wardrobe if I need two separate types of outfits, for example I work in an office during the day and come home to kids at night and weekends?

Totally feel ya on this.  My best advice is to do two types of capsules: one for work and one for home.  I work from home and still have two separate capsules.  For mommin’ and just being comfy, I have my Momiform Capsule (more on that soon….eeeekk!!), and then I have an “I want to look put together and like a real human lady today” capsule with cute outfits, polished looks, etc.  Both fit different parts of my lifestyle, and it was just way too hard to try and cram all lifestyles into one capsule.  Some might be able to do so, but I wasn’t.  Don’t feel like you’re “cheating” if you create a second capsule–it’s not about rules!  It’s about a lifestyle change for the better.  πŸ™ŒπŸ» 

2.  Are you allowed to shop AT ALL during the capsule?!?!  What if something gets stained or ruined?  What if you just wanna??  

This question right here is what kept me from trying capsules when I first became interested.  How in the world was I supposed to go months and months without ever shopping???  I love shopping!  πŸ˜‚  But listen: something had to give.  Standing in a stuffed-to-the-brim closet each day, totally overwhelmed and STILL unable to get ready even with a closet full of clothes was the low point.  I’d legit stand in my closet CRAM PACKED with trendy, do-I-even-like-this? pieces and whine and complain to myself that I “had nothing to wear.”  πŸ˜³πŸ˜¬  In the words of the great philosopher Jimmy Fallon, ew.  Big ew.  But what was it going to take to make a change that would stick?

I’ll tell you what…it’s the shopping.  The online shopping during kiddo nap time, the new shirt that just happened to jump into my cart each and every time I went to Target for groceries, the suck-you-in “sales” that tricked me into thinking I was doing a GOOD thing by buying more than I need….but ON SALE, so it was okay.  πŸ™„  I know y’all feel me.  And I don’t think being on a capsule wardrobe plan means NEVER bending the rules a little bit, either.  If you’re on vacation and want to grab a shirt to commemorate, or maybe you have an item that totally busted/ripped/got stained during the capsule and needs to be replaced, or, you know what….one cheat day.  GASP!!!!  I know, guys.  I’ve cheated before.  Still do.  Probably always will.  But…

It’s so so so much more about a total lifestyle change than it is a rigid boot camp with hard and fast guidelines.  I tried it the later way at first, and I burned out fast.  For me, a capsule wardrobe lifestyle means a greater awareness of my shopping and spending habits, a commitment to simplify in real and tangible ways, and it’s about finding joy and happiness in what I already own, instead of looking for more and more and more.  Not gonna lie…I’ve cheated a few times here and there, but I don’t think that’s the point.  Overall, my lifestyle regarding spending, shopping and possessions in general has altered SO MUCH over the last 4-5 years of capsuling, and I think THAT is what matters.  Don’t get so hung up on the rules that you lose the joy of the whole thing, the fun, the challenge.  Just my opinion.  πŸ˜‰

3.  What about trendy items that I love and want to include in my capsule this season…but then they might be way out of style by the time this season cycles back around?  Include or skip?  What about including an event-specific item that you’ll only wear once or twice, like a NYE dress?

Okay, just bear in mind that you are talking to a pretty basic dresser here, guys.  πŸ˜‚  “Basic” meaning I’m not really into too many trends just for trend’s sake.  If I love something based on how it fits me and my lifestyle and my look AND it happens to be trendy, then boom.  But…I get what you’re saying.  Here’s what I try and do: keep a capsule base of pretty basic, goes-with-anything items, and then spice things up each capsule shop time with a couple of on-trend pieces to keep things interesting.  Got a bunch of basic jeans and tanks?  Spice it up in the fall with a couple new sweaters that are trendy and your style!  That way, you’ll still be excited to get dressed with your updated capsule, but really…you will have only invested money into one or two new “trendy” pieces.  Therefore, if by the next capsule season you can’t stand those two trendy pieces, meh.  It was only one or two, not an investment into a WHOLE new wardrobe of super duper trendy pieces, you know?  Just an idea to keep things interesting and trendy without going overboard and regretting it next season.  

4.  How to deal with capsuling a changing body after pregnancy or while losing weight?

Oooohhh man, I feel you here.  Four pregnancies in five years had me ALL THE SIZES, and it was pretty frustrating at times to say the least.  The best advice I’d give you is sort of similar to question #1: create a separate “in-between” capsule to get you through the transition.  What I did in those squishy, shapeless months after pregnancies was sort of piece together an in-between-sizes capsule using pieces I already owned (like cardigans I could wear open and flowy, outerwear, shoes, some stretchy pants, and loose fitting tops), and then I’d add in a couple of transition pieces to get through that season of weight loss (things like maybe one or two pairs of inexpensive jeans in an in-between size).  After you make your goal weight/body type, donate the few extras you had to buy and then get started on formulating your new capsule in your new size! 

5.  So when CAN the shopping commence?  When should I begin shopping for the next season’s capsule?

How to prep and then begin moving towards your next season’s capsule and shopping list are covered in step four [HERE] and step five [HERE]–super duper easy and fun!!

Soooooo what do you guys think?  I predict a couple of the above answers won’t be popular with the strict rule-followers, but that’s okay with me.  πŸ˜‰  But do you agree?  What other questions popped into your mind?  I’ll be on here a bit to answer some Q’s in the comments if you can catch this post, and, if not, I’ll be back soon with Part 3 of the Cotton Stem Capsule Series FAQ’s!  In the meantime, come get some more capsule inspo on my Instagram [HERE] and Pinterest [HERE]!


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  1. MacKenzie Winne says:

    I’m thinking of trying a capsule wardrobe, just need to commit already! Great post!! πŸ€—πŸ€—

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      That first step is the scariest–deciding to go for it! Been there, man. I bet you’d love it once you take the leap!

  2. Nancy says:

    Loving this series! I am going to make this a summer focus for a fall/winter capsule. I have to purge so much first…and it scares me.

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      That’s a really great and realistic game plan, Nancy! Gives you time to get a plan. And I know, the first purge is so hard to start…but I bet it will feel SO GOOD afterwards!!

  3. Jenn says:

    How many pieces do you keep and reuse in the next capsule? Are there pieces that make it into each season or do you try to create all new items?

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Do you mean how many pieces do I keep and reuse in the next same-season capsule, like summer 2017 and then summer 2018? Or do you mean like summer into fall, fall into winter, etc?

      • Jenn says:

        Well…I originally meant summer into fall…but now maybe I mean both! 😜 I’m just interested in how many pieces (in general terms) you get new for each capsule.

        • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

          Ha! Well, for summer into fall into winter, etc., I usually carry over a couple pairs of my skinny jeans, my denim jacket, a light canvas jacket, and a handful of basic tees. Most of my sweaters make it into both fall and winter and even a few into spring. I like to keep options simply because Oklahoma weather is so dang unpredictable!! And then from year to year, it kind of depends. I don’t buy super expensive clothes, so they might not last as long as other versions in a higher price range….but I just can’t bring myself to spend $100 on a white tee. 😳 My Old Navy skinnies that I’ve had for the last five years are just now getting to the point of needing replaced, and I think I’ve had many of my sweaters for three or four years!

          • Jenn says:

            Thanks Erin! I’m in Edmond…so I feel ya about the weather. Thanks for sharing all the tips!

  4. Katherine says:

    This has been a life changer for me! Plus, I’ve applied it to almost every area of my life. I have a bit of a bigger capsule so that I have work clothes and comfy clothes but it has been so refreshing. I’m a shopper down to the core, but have not bought a single piece of clothing in over 2 months. To be honest, it’s cleared my mind. Just to add to how much I love this…my husband and I are going on a trip this week and I was able to pack in under 20 minutes! Erin, I can’t thank you enough for sharing!

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Oh man, that makes me so happy to read!! Isn’t it weird that something so seemingly small as altering the way we shop/spend/fill our closets can start to trickle down into other areas of our lives? It feels good to declutter, both the closet and the brain. ❀️

  5. Sarah says:

    I love love love the idea of this and your blog posts! But I can’t figure out how to do it when you don’t have just one style! Lol! Some days I’m dressed a little preppy, some days my inner hippie comes out in my clothes, some days I’m in yoga clothes, etc! I mean his do you narrow that down?! Getting dressed for me depends on my mood a lot of the time! I mean realistically I really like jammies, but on the days I get dressed in real clothes I’m very eclectic in my taste I’m thinking! πŸ˜¬πŸ˜³πŸ˜¬πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    • Sarah says:

      *how do you narrow that down

      Darn spellcheck!

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      I totally feel ya. I end up mixing things up a bit in mine, too…mostly so I don’t get bored. Meaning I be sure to include a couple of zingers or mix-it-up type pieces so I don’t get bored. Or maybe try two capsules–one for chilled out hippy days, one for preppy classic days? πŸ˜‰

  6. Heidi says:

    So I don’t know if its just me but I find myself readjusting my capsule. So I change out an outfit I thought I’d wear a lot but don’t, thick sweater for thin sweater, etc. I’m guessing it’s really a work in progress finding the capsule that works for me. Plus we had snow two weeks ago… yeah North Dakota ! It’s delightful !

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      100% did the same throughout my first year. This is just you figuring it all out! My first go around, I included about 10 button downs for fall…and zero tees. I was so uncomfortable and "buttoned up" all fall season just longing for a tee! πŸ˜‰ Totally normal, and…you’re getting the SPIRIT of the capsule, which is more important than the rules or having it down pat the first time. Go you. πŸ™ŒπŸ»

      • Heidi says:

        Sweet !! I’ll keep going !! I love the fact that it is a 100 % faster to get dressed. I love the simplicity ! Thank you for all the great information and for being so inspiring !! Yay for you and for being out here sharing with us all !!

  7. Amanda says:

    1.If we do add a piece and go shopping, do we get rid of something we don’t wear much?
    2. I assume you do the same capsule arrangement with shoes?
    3. I have many t-shirts that I keep but probably don’t wear half of them. I can’t seem to get rid of them!! Eeek!
    4. One more… what if you go through your wardrobe to weed it out to design your capsule, and you realize your taste has totally changed or you are sick of most of your own clothing or it’s just that old?!! HA! πŸ˜‰
    πŸ’ŸAmanda from Iowa

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:
      1. That’s a great way to keep the closet from bursting–I like that!
      2. I include shoes in each season’s capsule. So like, if my capsule number was 30, shoes are included in that number.
      3. Same! I do hold on to some sentimental things, bc….I mean, life.
      4. I mean, I get ya there. But to me, it’s better to dress the body I have now in the style I feel beautiful in now…and then worry about what-ifs later! I FOR SURE hold on to some pieces that were pricey that I am kiiiiiinda on the fence about, because we are certainly not made of money and can’t be buying all new clothes every year. Ha!!
  8. Jenifer says:

    Hey Erin,

    What are the ‘softies’ you always refer to?

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      Just like leggings or sweats…comfy at-home clothes that aren’t necessarily pajamas. πŸ˜‰

  9. Jessica says:

    I have been pairing down my closet for over a year, just getting rid of things that don’t fit well, are stained, things I don’t wear, etc. and am now finally putting together a capsule. One thing I’m doing in this process is putting out of season clothing items into totes. I’m also making a tote for clothes that are "in season" but not making this first major capsule cut….just in case I still want to add it. I think in a year (once that season comes back around) the things I didn’t use/wear will get donated. So far I am loving the capsule way of life and seeing "white space" in my closet….sure helps calm the mind and keeps anxiety away πŸ™‚

  10. Amberly Tomme says:

    I really need to do this. It gives me anxiety to even start. It’s like decluttering a house before it’s listed. It makes me anxious but it’s always refreshing after I eat that frog. I’m that girl that never has anything to wear but I’m hanging hangers on hangers because all the rods are full. My biggest fear is narrowing down and realizing I have nothing left.

  11. Amy says:

    What are your thoughts on a capsule wardrobe in a South Florida/hot or at least shorts weather year round sort of capsule? Should I have 2 capsules per year with basically the same weather appropriate choices? I can’t imagine wearing the same 30-40 pieces all year long so would I break it up into 2 different summer capsules with a few “warmer” options
    for those measly few days a year when I’m not sweating if I wear jeans?

  12. Kelly says:

    I’m really interested in jumping on the bandwagon with this capsule wardrobe. I seem to have the opposite problem. I hardly ever buy myself new clothes. I’m a SAHM stuck in the rut of “why bother dressing up to scrub toilets” mindset. I have an opportunity to go to work after my kiddos are back to school this fall and I’ll be starting from scratch in the
    wardrobe department! I need all the help I can get! πŸ˜‚

    • Erin | Cotton Stem says:

      I totally get it! I’m creating a “softies” capsule right now actually for things like leggings, mom wear, cute sweats, etc. Hopefully that will be helpful to you as well!

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