The Quickest Way To A Capsule Wardrobe (No Pinterest Required)


Is your closet packed to the brim? Were you hoping the new year would bring new motivation to clean out your closet and refocus your style? Perhaps in the spirit of minimalism, you want to try out a capsule wardrobe. If so, I’m here to share the foolproof method for paring down your clothes, in five simple words.

Have a baby. Maybe two.

In no time at all (okay, in 40 weeks) you’ll go from an embarrassment of options to hardly anything at all. And you’ll have a snuggly baby, too! Here’s how a baby creates an instant capsule wardrobe:

The Shape-Shifting Capsule (a.k.a. Maternity)

The history of the capsule wardrobe goes back to a boutique owner in 1970s London. It came stateside when Donna Karan created her “Seven Easy Pieces” collection, which included that back-again looks-good-on-everyone staple of the bodysuit. These capsule precursors were all about the ease of mixing and matching, and your new maternity wardrobe has a similar focus: ease. Otherwise known as comfort over style. 

One of the key principles in building a capsule wardrobe is ridding yourself of anything ill-fitting. You can forget this step, as everything fits poorly now. Or it will for a week or two, until your bump changes shape, and suddenly things are almost cute again. Which brings us to the second shape-shifting season…

The No-Leaks Capsule (a.k.a. Postpartum)

The guiding principle for building this capsule is also ease. Ease in nursing. Ease in hiding the mesh panties and gigantic pads. And ease in slipping into bed whenever you can because you can and should.

Focus on dark colors (but not too dark, because spit-up happens) and save matching for another day. Some of your maternity pieces will carry over, but you won’t want to wear them anymore anyway. Most capsule wardrobes focus on a three-month rotation, which also suits this new postpartum rhythm.

On to the next capsule!

The Wilderness Capsule (a.k.a. So Close and Yet So Far)

Perhaps nursing has been kind, or the weather has been warm and you have been pushing babe all over town. You feel good. The numbers on the scale look familiar, too, so you gamely pull out the giant bin of pre-pregnancy clothes, eager to find your old jeans and favorite tops.

The cruelty of this capsule should not be underestimated.

You might be close to your target weight, but your body was completely rearranged and may not settle back into the same shape. It’s time to get real: low-rise jeans don’t look good on anyone, especially if you’re bending over tending to a baby. Send those itty-bitty rises to the 19 year olds and move on.

From here, you may expect the next capsules to diverge if you’re returning to work or staying home. But ease is still the primary motivation in most mama capsules. From ease in cleaning (you’ll have enough laundry… and then baby starts solid foods) or ease in chasing a newly mobile babe, don’t make this harder than it needs to be.

The Time Capsule (a.k.a The Dream)

With two babies under my literal belt, I had to make peace with the woman I was and the closet I had before my boys took over my world.

Instead of bringing me joy (thanks, KonMari) my lovely wool blazers hung like giant questions marks over my future. Getting them cleaned and packing my favorites away gave my washable sweaters and jackets room to breathe. I almost look forward to opening this work-friendly capsule and revisiting these well-loved pieces once my time at home is over. (And once the nursing boobs settle down. Let’s be honest—wool is not their friend.)

If you made it this far and were hoping for some serious tips, read how local mom Brie got started or consider these posts from our sister sites in Dallas (complete with inspiring pictures), Denver (a how-to guide), or New Orleans (for the reasons why).

Have you used a capsule wardrobe? How has having kids changed the way you approached your closet? Share with us below!

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Kate is a Hoosier by birth but knew in her mid-teens that she’d live near the mountains. In college she spent a glorious summer in Colorado Springs volunteering at Glen Eyrie and vowed she’d come back somehow. She's now lived at the foot of Pikes Peak for more than a decade. She and her husband and two boys live downtown in a home almost as old as the city itself. Kate attempts to garden in her free time, making a commitment to grow something strange and new each year. So far luffa sponges, quinoa, and various pumpkins have fed nothing but the squirrels. Prior to staying home with her boys, Kate wrote and edited for a nonprofit that transformed the lives of children all over the world. She is passionate and nerdy and is continually surprised at the joy she has found in this season of motherhood.


  1. “Instead of bringing me joy (thanks, KonMari) my lovely wool blazers hung like giant questions marks over my future.” … BAHAHAHAH! Great post, Kate! <3

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