The first thing I've learned about myself from this capsule exercise is that forty is a difficult number for me to land on. I could do twenty really easily, I could probably even do ten! Otherwise . . .  I need fifty. There doesn't seem to be an easy in-between. Which makes no sense because I really only ever wear the same three things over and over and over: Skinny jeans, boots, and a gray sweatshirt. Done. Three, twenty, fifty, ten . . . these numbers aren't adding up. My problem isn't in simplifying a look, it's in simplifying my options. I like this red plaid shirt, but I also like this red plaid shirt! And which one will I want to wear the most? And what would that preference that even say about a person? And then I get into all these existential thoughts about things, and suddenly fifteen minutes have passed and I still haven't picked a plaid shirt, but have maybe realized I might need an extra plaid shirt all together, of a different color. Don't even get me started on the boots. I love these black boots, but I also love these black boots, and I don't need both but they're just sooo different though! This is the exact opposite of the point of this exercise, I am aware.

I'm also noticing how I approach getting dressed and I'm fascinated by it. Navel gazing at its finest! (I am my most fascinating subject, like always. ;) I tend to think of my wardrobe like a meal, and each piece is an ingredient. My ideal fall wardrobe recipe goes something like this:

Gray sweatshirt
Skinny jeans
Slouchy light wash jeans
Olive parka 
Red flannel
Stripes, stripes, stripes
White + gray tees as the structural basis
A fancy top
A baseball tee
A dress
Something with a heel
Something with a Peter Pan collar
Enormous oversized sweater
Black midi skirt

Twenty! Done!

Except I definitely need two striped shirts, and if I have space for more than one gray shirt, I need at least three gray shirts . . . plus there's the boot situation, because . . . and make that three striped shirts . . . and I might want more than one skinny jean, obviously, so . . . Fifty! See? No sweat. ;)

Here's my dirty secret. I've been fussing with my capsule, still, a few weeks after I should have had it locked down. I think I've been using it as a crutch when things get stressful. I can't change this certain situation in my life? Well. Lucky for me I can control the number of striped tops in my capsule, so here, let's take something out and swap it for something else so that I can feel like I have some control around here. (I'm a fairly predictable Natalie, so far as Natalies go.) But I'm ripping off the bandaid here! We're sticking with what's up there, right this minute! Minus what is in the laundry of course, this is real life here people, and it does come to forty! Right on the nose! Whew.

Here it is!
1. White linen baseball tee
2. Blush linen long sleeved tee
3. Gray linen long sleeved tee
4. Silk shirt (old)
5. Olive shirt
6. Linen striped tee
7. St. James striped tee
8. Boxy striped tee
9. Chambray (old)
10. Cherry red flannel (old)
11. Muted red flannel

12. Short sleeved sweatshirt
13. Gray sweatshirt
14. Red sweatshirt
15. Gray Peter Pan collar (old)
16. Black Peter Pan collar (old)
17. Black Everlane sweater (old)
18. Accompany alpaca wool sweater
19. Ganni oversized sweater
20. Cardigan NY white sweatshirt (old)

21. Dark wash skinnies (old)
22. Medium wash distressed skinnies (old)
23. Light wash distressed skinnies (old)
24. Light wash relaxed jeans (old)
25. Black distressed skinnies 
26. Black coated leggings
27. Black midi skirt
28. Dress (old)

39. Black booties w/heel (old)
30. Tan booties w/heel (old)
31. Clogs (old)
32. Chucks (old)
33. Birks (old)
34. Oxfords (old)
35. Loafers (old)
36. Moto boots (old)
37. Peep toe booties
38. Clog boots (old)
39. Flat ankle booties (old)
40. Saddle shoes


  1. Yes - I'm always drawn to shoes first! I've been thinking about this capsule wardrobe thing, as it relates to me, since your initial post about it. My difficulty seems to be in putting together "outfits"; I see certain items I like, those shoes, that shirt, etc., but then they do not seem to all fit together seamlessly. Anyway...I always like your writing. Can't wait to hear more about this book :)

  2. I'm super interested in all this capsuleness that's been happening on the blogs lately. Not sure if it was a thing before and I just didn't know? I've thought about doing it, but to be honest I don't have that much in my closet as it is and I knew all the researching would lead me to want to purchase more things, so I'm observing with my probably-more-than-forty-but-still-small wardrobe.

    Reading all about it has made me feel okay (and even proud!) to wear the same outfit three times in a week, so there's that.

  3. I'm enjoying it bc it makes getting dressed so much quicker! Plus it makes me realize how many items in my closet I cycle through bc I feel like I should be mixing it up. If I love a shirt so much who says it can't be only one of fifteen that I wear for a few months?

  4. I tried to do out all my fall from storage and added a few new things. Great! but I have 200 items and I did not count shoes. Oops. Guess I am not very good at this. I have decided to start with the don't get anything new until the winter. It is my capsule so I am going with it. I just am not in a place I can get rid of more. One reason it is so large is I do have two capsules, work and home. I also really like dresses so I have many. Not much mix and match but I use most days. Ok, I ma bad at this. Love your look.

  5. Shoes are always an after thought which is usually so annoying because il take forever trying to find a shoe that suits. I'm really looking forward to your capsule round ups!!!!xxxxxxx

  6. Ps: I think you should 'photograph' them photograph them xxxx

  7. I'm having a hard time with my capsule wardrobe too! I keep buying new things!!! It's pretty bad.. It's like ooooh a striped shirt with wider stripes "I neeeeeed it!" Even though I have several that are very similar. I'm not sure if the capsule wardrobe is for me. I'm too indecisive and I want to be able to wear anything in my closet, even though, like you, I wear the same things over and over! Oh well I will keep trying!

  8. But how could you ever have just ONE striped tee?? Seriously though, I have a million. I might think about doing this someday maybe, but the weather in Melbourne is way too unpredictable right now.

  9. Hi! I love those Madewell linen tees. I've been it a pain that they are "hand wash only"? Do you really hand wash them? Or have they survived the washing machine? I'd like to know before I purchase =) Ain't nobody got time for that!

    1. DON'T put them in the washing machine and really don't put them in the drier. I did not believe them and that was a HUGE mistake. They really mean it. The same with J Crew. It was a bad washing day. But I do love them. I got a new one and hand wash.

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    3. hi lizzie! i haven't had a problem with them and they've survived many washes! i do wash them on the delicate cycle though, and lay flat to dry. i don't put any of my clothes through the dryer! because i am anal retentive that way. :)

    4. I wash my madewell linen tees on cold and lay flat to dry; they just get better and softer.

  10. What is this for? What about clothes for working out, pajamas and special occasions? How does that fit in?

    1. Did you read the whole post? She covered that in the exclusions part.

  11. I have been trying to do this too for so long and I have the exact same problem! I have these black leggings, but I also have my lame black leggings which are slightly different but also completely different. Clothes are hard!!!

  12. I absolutely love this. I feel like I do it every month when I do my travel light sets: and I should apply it more to real life too. I just came across a good flow/infographic for cleaning out a closet that I plan to use.

    jessica /

  13. I'm doing a similar experiment, and even though it has a whiff of desperation about it, I've written on my mirror, "you have everything you need." And I do :)

  14. I can't live without backups. I tend to love something to death, so I have to have a backup!

  15. you crack me up! I seriously love the items you've picked for your capsule. I'm definitely going to have to follow suit when all of those clothes get pulled out of storage when we leave the caribbean behind. thanks for sharing!

    love, arielle
    a simple elegance

  16. I have really been enjoying the exercise of doing a capsule. For me its about being more intentional about what I wear. One interesting thing I've done is take a picture in the office bathroom mirror every day so I can see what the outfits look like on. And it actually has been really interesting. I find myself gravitating towards pieces that I might not have liked before, like a light chambray shirt, which I honestly never understood why those were popular before. (All part of trying to understand this new postpartum body I think.) Also I have found that I gravitate towards weird, quirky clothing, bc I see an item at a thrift store or on sale and think, this has POTENTIAL. But what I really need are good quality but expensive basics like a really good pair of leather short boots that will last longer than one winter or a really nice black blazer... Interesting stuff.

  17. I love the capsule idea and have taken it a little further in my own using: I've skimmed down everything I own to about 50 pieces. Not only does it make me feel lighter and make getting dressed easier, it also bolsters my sense of self, and makes me feel connected more to the world at large (most of which makes due with far fewer items) and less connected to the world of rampant consumerism and marketing. I feel much less marketed-to when I know there is no choice for buying more auxiliary items for my already-set wardrobe. It makes me feel smarter and just... better! Of course, weather is a factor I don't need to worry about as much, living in Florida, where it is mostly warm.

  18. i think my brain works the same way. i am right now debating between 2 chambray shirts, one SLIGHTLY darker than the other. you would think i was choosing which wire to cut on a bomb! but your capsule looks fantastic - good inspiration for me

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  20. thank you for reminding me how awesome you are. something about you I just love. And I hear you on the backups of favourite things


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