Finishing Up Your Happy Closet by Balancing Your Bases, One Curated Piece at a Time! Part 5 in How to Have A Minimal Capsule Wardrobe the Easy Simple Way!

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Update August 2016 -- I have HUGE news for a fashion-savvy, Capsule Wardrobe lovin' girl like you!  My shiny, awesome new book Secrets of the Capsule Wardrobe:  How to Find Your Personal Style & Create a Happy, Confident Closet! is now available!!  Feel free to continue to read this post if you like, but just be aware you're basically reading an incomplete rough draft... my book is the Perfected Guide to finding your personal style and building a effortless, confidence-inspiring, non-boring capsule wardrobe, step-by-step! It also contains never-before-published information on how to avoid the three most common mistakes that will SABOTAGE your Capsule Wardrobe, how to continue to curate your collection of clothing by purposeful shopping in the future, a whole chapter on the role of accessories in your minimalist closet, and more.  Go check it out right now... a happy closet awaits you! 

Super girly post alert!  Writing today about fa-SHUN... ready to be glamorous and sophisticated with me??  Fifth in a weekly series of six.  Missed the first four installments?  Click below to catch up:

Minimalist Style for the Rest of Us -- 
aka, How to Transition to a Capsule Wardrobe Without Losing Your Mind 

Part 1: Finding Your Style!
Part 2: The Winnowing Phase
Part 3: The Drastic Importance of Color Choice in a Capsule Wardrobe
Part 4: Be Adventurous!  Mix-and-Match Fashion Show + Look Book

Part 5, Balancing Our Base Items, aka, The Capsule Wardrobe Secret No One Is Telling You!

Want to know how a Capsule Wardrobe can work for you, and never get boring? Check out this step-by-step guide -- Top Secret-- balance your bases!  What is balancing bases? Find your personal style and the fashion advice you need for a confident, minimalist, curated closet here! via Devastate Boredom

Wow, what a journey we've had so far!  Over the past few weeks together you've determined your personal style, kicked out of your closet all of those freeloading clothing items that (for whatever reason) weren't getting worn, segmented out the ones that you need to keep but don't use on a regular basis, decided which colors to build your wardrobe around, and even experimented with being adventurous in your outfit pairings.  Way to go you!

Now we're going to look at how to flesh out this "capsule minimalist wardrobe" thing, in order to give yourself the most mix-and-match options with the least amount of actual items of clothing.  We're not looking for volume here!  A crowded closet is NOT our aim.  

Our goal is to fill in the gaps in your closet strategically, so you can maximize all the other gorgeous things you already own.

There are two questions that will aid us in this quest...

1.  Where is my wardrobe the "lightest"?  I mostly mean for you to consider bases here (dresses that can be layered, skirts, pants, shorts, etc), but if your bases are already balanced you can always do this exercise with tops instead...  Do you have six pairs of jeans but no pants in neutral colors?  Are all your base pieces the same color?  Do you not have any layering dresses at all?  Our goal is to balance out our bases to provide you with a more flexible collection of "looks."  Ideally, you should have a roughly equivalent numbers of dresses, skirts, pants, etc, with different silhouettes or colors within each type.

If you're with me so far, skip to the graph below.  If you're having trouble getting your mind around this, you're probably going to need to do some more counting.  ;P  I know, I know, I'm sorry!  But this will help if you're stuck, I promise.  Stand in your closet and jot down a list of your layer-friendly dresses, short skirts, long skirts, shorts, capris, jeans and pants, noting how many you have of each, cut, color etc.

After taking a minute to appreciate how lucky we are with all these clothes and style options, think about what these numbers tell you.  Do you have wayyyy too many skirts/jeans/whatever?  Could you double your outfit options by adding in a couple of pairs of different-colored dresses/capris/pants/whatever?  

Let me share a highly scientific graph with you to illustrate this point.  Nobody laugh!  I'm quite aware I'm not an artist, thank you very much, it is the SCIENCE that is important here.  ;)  Nobody question why that shirt appears to be shingled like a rooftop, either!!  Think lace, or... something.

Want to know how a Capsule Wardrobe can work for you, and never get boring? Check out this step-by-step guide -- Top Secret-- balance your bases!  What is balancing bases? Find your personal style and the fashion advice you need for a confident, minimalist, curated closet here! via Devastate Boredom

Here's the point of the graph:

If you have 4 pairs of jeans and 2 pairs of shorts with similar cut/color, they all still only count as one base item because the "look" is the same.  Trust me, nobody is looking to see if the pair of jeans you have on today is the same brand as the ones you wore yesterday, or taking note that yesterday's had six pockets and this pair only has four.  Clearly, this doesn't count if it is skinny jeans in dark wash versus bootcut in light... however, if they are all a similar style than it doesn't matter how many different pairs you have, it's still all the same "look."  Stop buying jeans, sistah!  It's time to branch out.  Think about what pieces you could add that would provide a whole new look for your existing tops.  A pair of bright-colored capris?  A long flowy skirt, if you usually live in shorts?  A pair of corduroys in your choice of neutral?  A fabulously comfy UPF/SPF maxi perhaps?  ;)

Want to know how a Capsule Wardrobe can work for you, and never get boring? Check out this step-by-step guide -- Top Secret-- balance your bases!  What is balancing bases? Find your personal style and the fashion advice you need for a confident, minimalist, curated closet here! via Devastate Boredom
Referring back to the graph, you can potentially DOUBLE your outfit options by simply adding two new base pieces.  Before reading this post, you owned the items in purple.  11 pieces of clothing, with a total of 10 outfits.  After reading this post and purchasing two new base pieces (and presumably ditching the redundant purples), you would have 9 pieces of clothing and 20 outfits. I'll give you a moment to ponder that.  Compelling, right?  

Balancing your bases is KEY to the effective capsule wardrobe.

Here's some food for thought as you're processing all that!

Bases to Ponder: Jeans / Pants / Leggings

Bases to Ponder: Skirts / Shorts

Bases to Ponder: Dresses / Jumpsuits

Now that you've determined the main gaps in your wardrobe, you can go on to question #2...

2.  "What items of clothing am I most frustrated to discover in the hamper on a regular basis?"

I was able to pinpoint several categories of clothing to expand in my closet based on my answer to this question.  I was regularly dismayed to find my grey tank top and black maxi dress buried at the bottom of the hamper.  Given what I know about myself and my laundry habits, as well as the value of these items in my wardrobe, it was well-worth purchasing a second tank and another neutral maxi.  Similarly, my red tops seem to never be clean when I want them, so it is a color choice I should expand further in future purchases.  Since I clearly gravitate towards it and they obviously mesh well with my existing base items, it is a solid choice for future purchases.

To clarify, I am NOT saying buy more of certain items of clothing so you can do less laundry!  ;P  I'm just saying, the clothing that is most frequently in the hamper is clearly the items you like the best, and if you purchase a few more in a similar style/cut/color they probably would find an equally frequent rotation in your minimal wardrobe.  If you already have multiples of that thing, than sorry, you might just actually need to do your washing a little more frequently.  I say this out of love, I promise!  ;)

As always when you're are reading this, keep in mind -- you know yourself!  There are no absolutes when it comes to personal style.  However, if your comfort zone is "jeans-only" or "no-skirts-whatsoever," you will probably find that you will have more fun in the future if you allow yourself more options.  By no means am I suggesting you buy three dresses if you aren't a fan of the whole skirt thing!  But you might find yourself bored by your personal style (and thus constantly hankering to go shopping to find something new) if all the looks in your minimalist closet are too similar.  Changing things up with a different silhouette or two can keep you from getting bored, while increasing your outfit options exponentially.  

Presumably you have a shopping list now, right?  Don't go too nuts here... I wouldn't purchase more than five items, and it is highly likely they should mostly be base pieces.  If you plan on shopping second hand (an awesome, earth-friendly choice I applaud!) than stay posted for a post in the near future about tips and minimalist pitfalls to avoid there.  See below for some fun options to aid in your brainstorming as well.  :)

Up next week, the question we've been avoiding until now...  How many items of clothing belong in a minimalist closet / capsule wardrobe??  

Here are some of the places you might see this post partying! 

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  1. I love clothes that can be paired with other things. It makes one outfit into many. That really is essential in our busy lives.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  2. Sarah Eliza, I totally enjoyed your scientific chart. ;)
    I only owned 1 skirt, a maxi! But I had to donate it, to my daughter, when I lost 50 lbs.
    Don't plan to replace it for at least another 50 lbs!

  3. Love this! And you're not a bad artist, either!

  4. Ok, this is always where I get stuck back into old buying habits!! Love your illustration, it just might make this concept stick better when I'm tempted to buy more jeans (or black & gray skirts, my personal addiction)!!!

    1. Yes, must avoid buying more of what we've already got!! And I do love black and gray skirts myself too... ;P

  5. Your diagram is just fab !
    Everything makes sense, I'm looking forward to putting this all into practice and enjoying all that space in my wardrobe instead of it bulging and me having nothing to wear!

    1. Hehehe thanks Julia! You're the nicest.

      Take before and after pictures!! It makes the improvement so rewarding and concrete. ;)

  6. I love your graphic. It looks exactly like the one I would have drawn if you had asked me. :-) Shingles and all. My daughter needs this series. She's only 12 but is quite the fashionista despite my utter lack in the fashion department. Stopping by from Throw Back Thursday. Thank you for commenting on my blog, too. Following on Google and Pinterest.

    1. I mean, we all wear clothes with shingles on them, right? ;P

      Your daughter sounds like a cutie! I wish I had been style-savvy at twelve!

      Thanks for following me, I'll be sure to follow back!

  7. Great article! I'm seriously going to have to reevaluate my wardrobe now. I have way to many pieces and I don't wear half of what I have. I find myself wearing the same things over and over but being mad because the things I love to wear are dirty and I don't have duplicates! I need to branch out and find more base pieces because I mainly have jeans with multiple tops. Gonna keep this pinned so I can resort back to this! Thanks for sharing with us at #ThrowbackThursday hope to see you this week!

    1. So glad you thought it was helpful!! :D I had all those same issues with mine, and being in a place where I have it ALMOST all figured out is such a relief. ;P

      Headed over to Throwback Thursday now!!

  8. I love the graph! I've been considering a capsule wardrobe for a while now, and this is the best description I've seen so far. Great post!

  9. Oh, I'm so glad you linked to this post in your newest one, because I was able to find my way over here and now will spend the rest of the night reading through the other 5 posts and subsequently spend my day tomorrow obsessing over all of your great insights by once again taking everything out of my closet in an attempt to weed it out some more! :) That may sound like I'm complaining, but since I know you know how much I love doing organizing and weeding out, I know you understand how giddy I am right now!

  10. I am sure this is a great post, but I couldn't get through it. Appsumo social sharing is blocking the first three letters of every line. It may not do that for everyone but just a heads up :)

    1. Ahh how frustrating! Thank you for letting me know... can you tell me, were you using a mobile device or a computer to view the post? I can force the sumo bar to block some of the text the way you describe if my computer browser isn't full-window... I wonder if that is what was going on for you? I'll definitely check it on my phone though, in case the error is mobile-based. I appreciate the heads up, and I'm sorry you weren't able to finish the post!

  11. Ohhhhhhhhh my goshhhhhh, I’ve been TRYING (unsuccessfully) to make my wardrobe smaller and more concise so have been consuming capsule wardrobe videos like there’s no tomorrow, BUT, this is the first article (had to read the article coz the picture was great but my brain didn’t get it until I read the article).... now I realise why I’m so BORED with the outfits I’ve got it’s because I have 3pairs of blue denim and two pairs of black jeans (of different texture one is velvet) it’s now crystal clear what my problem is , thank you sooooo much for stating the bleeding obvious because now I finally UNDERSTAND. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏


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