Jun 17, 2016 · 5 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

For a while, I resisted doing a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is a small wardrobe, pared down only to pieces you wear and love. The idea behind it is that having a small wardrobe cuts down on the time you need to spend making decisions about what to wear, saving your decision-making energy for things that really matter, but still leaves you feeling great in what you’re wearing.

I thought a capsule wardrobe wouldn’t work for me, and I’ve encountered a lot of people who say the same. What I learned in my recent experiment is that I was right. Or, more accurately, the way I went about my capsule wardrobe didn’t work for me. Despite having fewer clothes, it still took a long time to get dressed in the morning, and by the time I did, I still didn’t feel very good in what I was wearing.

But I didn’t do anything about it. Instead, I just lived with it, and it took buying an entirely new maternity wardrobe to learn why it really is important to love your clothes.

Don’t do what I did. Learn from my mistakes, and you can have a capsule wardrobe (maternity or otherwise) that fulfills its promise of cutting down on decision-making, leaving you looking and feeling good, and giving you more time and brain energy to do the things you love to do. Here are a few problems I ran into with my previous capsule and how you can avoid them with yours.


Nothing matches. When I started my capsule, I didn’t buy new clothes because I hate shopping. While I had fewer clothes altogether, my closet was still full of one-offs that didn’t all work well with most of my other clothes, and I kept things I didn’t love just because they were in good repair and they fit me. How could I justify getting rid of perfectly good things?


The answer to this one starts at the store. Before buying something just because it fits, figure out what items in your closet it will work with. Even if you love a piece, if it doesn’t go with anything else, you won’t wear it. We’ve all had items in our closet that just sit there because we need one or more other items to go with them to make them usable. Having a little trouble figuring out what works together? Go through all your clothes and try them on together. What might look good when laid out on your bed won’t always work when it’s on your body. You’ll also identify gaps that you need to fill. It’s better to go shopping with a list of specifics than it is to choose items aimlessly that won’t necessarily work with what you have at home.

All my maternity clothes match, so I can pull anything out of my closet without looking, and have a wardrobe that works. I don’t have to decide, and it saves brain space for the important decisions, like what I’ll write about next.


I don’t like my clothes.

Yeah, that sucks. I didn’t like my work clothes either — they were super-boring government clothes. They fit my body but not my style, but I had spent good money on them, and I didn’t want to spend more money to replace them.


You know how good you feel in the clothes you do love? What if you could get that feeling with every item in your closet? That would be pretty awesome, wouldn’t it? This is where it’s important to let go. Even if something fits and is good repair, if you don’t wear it or don’t love it, don’t keep it. Send it off to a new life in someone else’s closet and focus your efforts on what you do love and wear. It’s important to like your clothes because you’re a creative person - aesthetics matter.


I don’t have money to buy an entirely new wardrobe.


Don’t. You should keep what you truly love, but if you don’t truly love anything you own, you’ll have to keep some of it anyway, if for a short time, just so you’re not walking around naked.

But make a plan to replace the uninspiring articles with ones you love. Set a budget and stick to it, buying what you can afford now and replacing your unloved items gradually. Make sure to avoid bringing in more unloved items by thinking about what your favorite pieces are and why. What do you wear all the time? What about that shirt or those pants puts them at the top of your list?

When buying my maternity clothes, I was honest with myself about what I would wear and with what. There were some cute items I had to say “no” to because I knew when I got them home, I wouldn’t enjoy them as much. It’s better to be ruthless at the store than regretful at home, and the result was I love all my clothes and am happy to wear them. Before, I’d pull stuff out of my closet and cast it aside because I didn’t feel good in the clothes and didn’t feel like they made a good statement about who I am. Now I feel like they reflect my style and sensibilities.

Finally, a capsule wardrobe is a good way to free up time and energy that you can use to focus on what you love to do. As a creative, you add beauty to the world – extend that to your wardrobe. Your clothes are a reflection of your style, so keep or buy clothes that you think are attractive and look nice on you and fit your lifestyle.

Don’t worry about spending a lot of money. Pick a few pieces that you love, that make you feel good and that look good, and your brain will thank you.


Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.