A Winter Capsule Wardrobe

Last summer I did my first capsule wardrobe project in preparation for our apartment move. I figured the new year and a refreshed emphasis on intentions and frugality was as good a time as any to do its cold weather equivalent.

I’m already two weeks in (admittedly lounging about for the Christmas holidays made this a fairly easy project to start) and already finding similar benefits as to last time. Having done several wardrobe culls this past year, I feel that my closet is more sharply edited than it was prior to our move and most of what I own is a much better reflection of what I like and actually wear.

I pulled 16 items from my closet (leaving four “wildcard” slots that I can fill in later if I find an unfilled need) and am seeing if I can make two months worth of outfits using just them and accessories. Without really intending it, I noticed when typing this up that many of these items are considered “basics” in and of themselves–lots of neutrals, simple silhouettes, and a couple of prints just to shake things up.


Chunky black and camel sweater (& Other Stories)

Black turtleneck (J. Crew)

Gray turtleneck sweater (Uniqlo)

Camel crew sweater (Uniqlo)

Striped pullover top (Everlane)

Printed silk shirt (Joy)

White shirt (Everlane)



Blue jeans (Everlane)

Black jeans (J. Crew)

Leather trousers (vintage/thrifted)

Leather skirt (?)

Black trousers (Gap)



Cashmere knit dress, navy (The White Company, thrifted)

Striped knit dress (J. Crew)

Leopard print dress (& Other Stories)

Black dress (M.M. LaFleur)


Emotional spending has long been my bug bear (I’ve already had to sit on my hands a few times in the last few months to avoid temptation) but short self challenges like capsule wardrobes or spending challenges that you track can be great ways to help check impulses. My very old-school approach to tracking progress is to literally tick off a day in a notebook–a dinky but useful way to view my project history in a single place.

And do you know what, it helps! While tempted, I’ve not given in to a single post-Christmas sale and the only money we’ve moved is to pay down another chunk of credit card. By the time this project is done, we should be able to pay off another credit card (our third) in full and then turning our attention to our final, largest card. As I’ve written, that’s one of my big money goals for this year. For the moment, that’s what my closet represents and no temptation is stronger than that.

Have you ever done a capsule wardrobe project, or something similar? What was your motivation? Did it change your behaviors or habits in any way?

2 thoughts on “A Winter Capsule Wardrobe”

  1. As you know, I buy very little…BUT I also work at home so when I do need to look great, I can wear the same 4 or 5 things and no one notices because they don’t see me every day or even every week or month.

    My basic wardrobe (forever trying to lose weight makes buying new anything a highly UNmotivational nightmare) includes 3 black dresses, long sleeve, knee-length: cotton (H and M); slinky Spandex (but not weirdly so) by Kamali and cashmere (splurge at Saks Off-Fifth, $175)…and then add fun stockings or shoes like my sequin-topped black oxfords or pinstripe Wolford tights.

    My winter go-tos are two FAB, slinky, comfortable, flattering midi-length knit dresses from Aritzia, one black and one mustard; I can layer sweaters over them or not…bought them in Montreal in fall 2017.

    I wear the J Crew and Madewell tissue turtlenecks (light but comfortable for layering.)

    I blow $$$$$ on shoes and handbags, sometimes full price, sometimes on sale. I am considering spending $415 per pair (yes) at a new shoe store I’ve been admiring on Insta and is here in NYC, Carmina, They are classic, made in Spain and the best quality shoe I’ve seen in a long long time. I would wear them for a decade, and a lot.

    I am doing more public speaking lately and need to look great and be comfortable.

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