Minimalist Living: Creating a Capsule Wardrobe

The other day, I was notified that I was accepted into a study abroad program in Northern Ireland. At first, I was ecstatic! Me? In another country? Living it up as a Southern girl in Europe? But then I got to thinking. How was I going to fit my entire life into one suitcase? You see, I have a problem. I love clothes, and it is VERY hard for me to get rid of said clothes. I knew that if I was going to be successful in my study abroad packing, I would have to consolidate a lot of my clothing items. For inspiration and support, I went where any twenty-something would go, Pinterest.

One of the first things I found was a new trend called the capsule wardrobe. From a series of Youtube videos I watched, I began to understand this trend as a minimalist effort to style wardrobes into smaller modules consisting of only a handful of items. Many of these capsule wardrobes were close to my style, so I decided to embark on a fashion journey and simplify my wardrobe.

The first thing I did to create my capsule wardrobe was to figure out what I had in my entire collection. Unfortunately, this meant tackling the mountain of clothes that had steadily built in my closet. After about an hour of sorting, this is what I found. In total, I had 35 tops, over 40 t-shirts, 19 dresses, and 36 pairs of pants and leggings. In short, I had too many damn clothes.

For my capsule wardrobe experiment, I separated my wardrobe into 3 categories: Work, Casual, and Fitness. I decided to limit myself to four pairs of pants/skirts, and four shirts for my first group of outfits, and one dress, two pairs of pants, and one dress shirt for my second group of outfits. I need three groups of outfits because I go to school for part of the week, while the rest of the week I work at an internship with a business casual environment. I choose not to limit my accessories or shoe selection to allow for greater flexibility in my day-to-day. 

Business Capsule

Casual Capsule - Pants

Casual Capsule: Tops

Workout Capsule

After compiling my three outfit groups, I felt like I had a great start to my new wardrobe. I packed away everything that was not included in the three categories in three giant trash bags and  I immediately noticed a difference. Without being overwhelmed by outfit choices, I had the freedom to spend more of my day focused on other tasks. The way I limited my wardrobe also forced me to stay away from constantly wearing yoga pants to school. Looking forward to my trip to Northern Ireland, I know that condensing my life into one suitcase will be a challenge. However, with a capsule wardrobe, and a bit of creativity, I think I will be able to pull off a fashionable, yet minimalist lifestyle during my adventures abroad.