Monday, March 28, 2016

How To Do This - Capsule Wardrobe with Coordinated Colors! Part 1

As many of you may already know - I have 6 drawers of clothes. That's it. No closet, no clothing storage, no boxes of different stuff - 6 drawers. I used to have a closet, and hangers, and a full dresser, and boxes of clothes for every season... but now I have 6 drawers. Odd thing is, I always have something to wear which wasn't always true before when I had full closets!

When we first decided to move into the tiny house and I knew I'd have to pare down I was really nervous. Running through my head were thoughts like:
  • I already can't find clothes to wear!
  • There is not enough storage for anything!
  • I'm going to have to give up my favorite X!
  • What about my fancy / expensive thing that I only wear once a year?
  • Nothing I have matches!
  • But I'll be able to fit into these jeans in 6 months so why get rid of them?
I approached purging with dread. Going through my dresses, jeans, and tops - I kept thinking I was losing something. It was slow, torturously slow, but by the time we moved in I had donated several boxes and bags of clothing. I had less, but I still had way more than 6 drawers worth of clothes.

I think I was searching online for storage methods when I came across "capsule wardrobe." A capsule wardrobe is a curated collection of essentials - core garments - that can be augmented with seasonal pieces.

Sounds good - but how do you go about making one?

Step one - Be Inspired!

I spent some time online looking at images that made me happy. Whenever I found something I liked I opened a paint doc and dropped a copy of it there. This isn't the original image-board I went to step 2 with - that board was much larger and full of lots more images, but this is a quick sample for you folks to get the general idea.

Make your own board with things that you really like - but the key here is visual things. Quotes or ideas don't work on this. Look for things that both mean something to you and have an image with colors you enjoy looking at.

Step two - Find Your Colors!

I talking Paint here because that was the easiest and more accessible for me. You could totally do this same project on Photoshop or any number of digital art programs.

Open your picture board in one tab. Open a blank paint window in another. Make it big. Make a black rectangle. Copy/paste until you have a large grid of black rectangles. Make as many as you want!

Now go to you picture board tab and, using the eyedropper tool, select colors that stand out to you and drop them into your blank rectangles. When you pull a color ask yourself: do I like this color? Is this the best color from this image?
My original color chart
Step three - Narrow it down!

Before moving on to the next step, ask yourself - how many clothes do you want to have? How much laundry do you want to be responsible for? How many colors might you really need in your wardrobe?

Some people may need to have 4 full seasonal wardrobe changes. Some might want 3, or 2, or maybe they just want one signature style. I chose 2 clothing switches - a fall/winter and spring/summer. That means I made one color palette for fall/winter and another for spring/summer.

I made a palette grid with 2 basics, three main colors, and 4 accent colors. I pulled the colors from the large grid of colors. It took a while of playing around with different options - I mean, how many shades of pink are there in my grid? How many shades of pink do I want to wear?

Take some time finding the right color combinations - you have your large palette which has already narrowed it down, you have a good start! Now, are there any colors that particularly stand out for you? Copy/paste them to the side of the grid and arrange until you are satisfied.
Step four - Build Your Wardrobe!

Shop your closet for things you already have. Keep in mind your two basics - work pants, work skirts. and other hard-use items often fall in those two workhorse colors. Everything should go with them.

Your three mains are colors that you wear often. Monday-Friday you can be found in combos of your main colors and your basics. They are comfortable colors that are probably already your favorites.

Your four accent colors (while still matching and coordinating well with everything else) are your chance to liven things up! These are items that really make you smile. You might not wear them every day, but you feel like a million dollars when you do.

Shop your existing closet to find the items that fall into your palettes. If you feel nervous about nixing the rest, toss them into a box and see if you need any of it for a month or two before checking if you can let it go yet.

Once you have a wardrobe where everything coordinates you'll spend less time building outfits, less time hunting for "that special shirt," and your confidence that no matter what is in your closet at the end of the week. you'll still look fabulous.

Another important benefit to note is that you will save money by not buying clothes that you don't have any matches for. Print out your color pallets (on the clearest printer you can find!) and stash a copy in your wallet. Before you part with your cold hard cash, take a look at your fabric. Does it match one of the colors in your pallet? If not, put it back on the hanger. Keep your money for something that will match more items in your closet.


Hopefully this has helped you to whittle down your closet into a organized system that works for you instead of you working for it. I ended up getting down to 6 drawers, but it took a few weeks to really get comfortable with the new system.

What has worked for you? Would you give a system like this a shot?

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