Discovering Who We Are, Fabulous, Style

A Midlife Wardrobe that Makes You Feel Great

One of the great aspects of growing older is my intolerance for things I don’t like.  With the countdown clock ticking, I just don’t have the time waste on things I don’t like or are indifferent to.  My wardrobe has been the biggest recipient of this.  Simply put, I won’t wear anything I’m indifferent to and don’t own anything I don’t like.  My clothes and my closet actually make me happy for the first time since …ever.

It started a while ago on Pinterest when I kept seeing pins about minimalist or capsule wardrobes.  I was drawn to the idea.  After 60 years my large walk-in was bursting with clothes I rarely wore.  There were the big clothes, the  too


small clothes, the “what-was-I-thinking?” clothes, the “it-was-on-sale” clothes, the “looked great on friends group”, the  ” I liked it in a magazine” clothes,  the “its too worn to ever be seen again” group and the “I’m sure it will come back into style” group.  The smallest group were the clothes I actually wore.When my husband asked whether or not I needed more closet space, I wanted to say yes but I knew that the real answer was, “NO, I need fewer clothes”

So I began to research what a capsule wardrobe was. There are a lot of different definitions but simply but it’s a small  wardrobe that mixes and matches, all the clothes fit and you like everything (EVERYTHING) that you wear.

Bingo.  That’s what I wanted.

So,  I went through my closet and drawers and got rid of everything I didn’t like– everything.  I was ruthless. I made sure to touch everything.  If a piece of clothing didn’t make me smile it went in the donation pile.  That may seem ridiculous, but even tee shirts and comfy clothes fell easily.  During this process, I discovered that even the smallest items have a positive or negative effect on me.   Each time I touched a piece of clothing that may have been practical but that I didn’t really like or care about, I’d remind myself that life is now just too dang short to put on something that doesn’t make me feel good.

I gave away a lot of clothes.

What I was left with was a wardrobe that made me happy.  Imagine, opening each drawer and smiling.  Well, I can.

Then I made a list of what I had, what outfits could be created and what pieces I needed to fill in. I went to Pinterest and found lots of capsule wardrobe frames.  I found one I liked and fit my lifestyle.   I decided on a color palette that made me look fabulous (because I will no longer accept anything but fabulous) and that I enjoyed looking at, then I went shopping.  I did not go shopping for the fill in pieces from the give-away pile.   There were very few things I needed but I was going to make sure that the new pieces were things I really enjoyed putting on.  For example, I needed a black pair of jeans.  I was donating pairs that didn’t fit right, hung funny, well.. I just didn’t like them.  I went out and got one pair, just one that was everything I wanted in a pair of black jeans.  Just one.  The money I spent on that one pair was much less than all the other pairs I was donating.  It was good quality, would last AND I loved putting them on.
Using this process, I didn’t need to be aware of how many pieces I had in my closet because the number dwindled naturally.

Now after living with my capsule wardrobe for the last 6 months, I’ve discovered:

*I’m never tired of what’s in my closet because I like everything
*I like taking care of my clothes, not because there are so few, but because I appreciate each piece from my socks to my evening wear.
*I feel as though I have a larger wardrobe because everything mixes and matches.
*I was able to travel throughout Europe for three weeks, one medium sized suitcase, and never wore the same outfit twice.
*I don’t enjoy clothes shopping anymore because I’m not looking for clothes to fill in a whole in my fashion heart.

*It’s wonderful to know that at every moment of my day I’m going to put on something that fits and makes me smile, even my Saturday work-clothes are fun to put on.

Who would have thought that fewer clothes would equal more freedom and self-respect?  Well, everyone who has tried the capsule wardrobe.
As Always,
Beth

26 Comments

  1. I have done this regularly. It DOES feel good and it also feels good to give away things that will make other people happy

    1. There’s something wonderful about cleaning out and giving away. It makes me feel right in the world.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting.
      Beth

  2. I cleaned out my closet during my separation last year. Got rid of the baggy clothes and the clothes that make me look frumpy at 50. This is great advice! thanks for sharing

    1. When I get rid of something big, I usually need to clean my closet too.

  3. I love this. I’ve always thought about doing something similar, but my tastes get so fickle I just wasn’t sure. Maybe someday! But I definitely need to do a full on closet cleaning and donate a ton of stuff. Might be the inspiration I need. 🙂

  4. Loved your ‘smile’ criteria! I am getting closer and closer to the perfect capsule. Wish you had included a couple of photos!

    1. I use my ‘smile” criteria now for a lot of things. Life is just too dang short.
      Thank you for stopping by,
      Beth

  5. I need this. I know this. I’m somehow and for some reason resisting this. Come over? I might be able to do it with someone holding my hand 🙂

    1. Friends are great to have around. Especially those few good friends who are willing to tell you what not to wear.
      Beth

  6. I’ve gotten rid of a lot, but still have a way to go. I still have the “I might wear this one-day” pile to get rid of. It’s funny I had tons of clothes and always small closets. I got rid of the clothes and moved into a house with a huge walk in closet. Now, it’s more of a play room for the grandkids with a small amount of clothes!

    1. The “I might wear this one-day” pile was almost as tough as the “I’ll be that size again” pile.
      I did save some clothes for grandchild dress up though.
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Beth

  7. I love this and need to do it. I’ve read that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. Why not get rid of the rest, other than special occasion? You’ve inspired me!

    1. Woot! Woot! Have fun.
      Beth

  8. I need to research the capsule closet. I thought I’d gotten rid of most things that either didn’t fit or were outdated when we moved, but not enough. Thanks for the idea!
    b

    1. Its so much fun to cull and then have.
      Thanks so much for stopping by.
      Beth

  9. Sue

    Hi Beth it must be something to do with 60! I will be turning 60 in August and feel the same way about my wardrobe. I have been wanting to do exactly what you have done. At this stage I’ve gone through and removed all the clothes I don’t want or need. Now you have inspired me to look at some capsule wardrobe ideas from pinterest and go from there. Thanks! Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

  10. I gave this a good start the first week of the year. Getting dressed to go out to dinner the other night I realized I need to do more. Thanks for helping me keep that idea front and center. Also reminding me that I should love my socks too. I somehow skipped those!

    1. Why not the socks. It’s so nice to glance at my ankles and smile at even those.
      Thank you for stopping by,
      Beth

      1. The socks just hadn’t occurred to me, pure over sight

  11. Your post made me smile! I love the capsule wardrobe idea. I’ve been working on my closet for a year now, trying to to get it to the point where everything mixes and matches. It is amazing how many different outfits we can make this way!

    1. A year? Give yourself a day to be ruthless and see what happens.
      Beth

  12. Great post. I just did this a month ago. Took me four hours to clean out everything of mine and my husband’s and give lots away. When you have things that WORK, it’s a snap to put something together.

    1. Amazing isn’t it? After all the magazine/friend/Oprah suggestions, just to have a closet of clothes that work is a blessing.
      Thank you for commenting,
      Beth

  13. I think this is the best piece I’ve read about “curating” or creating a wardrobe. So smart that you did this. A few months ago I moved. I just thought I was cleaning out my closet, but there are sweaters in my drawer I’ll never wear. I’m doing it your way! Thank you! Brenda

    1. Don’t forget to be ruthless about the belly smile and the process is easy.
      Beth

  14. Liz

    Great advice. I “edit” all the time.

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