The Pros & Cons of a Capsule Wardrobe for Women over 50

 

There are many posts out there on the Pros & Cons of a Capsule Wardrobe for Women over 50; however, I do not believe the topic to be a one post event.  Unless you are male….

Mr. B is a pretty typical male.  He has a very small wardrobe with a few core pieces that are all top quality.  He has no problem with wearing what fits and looks good over and over again.  His new work-at-home life has him more into what I call trendy athletic wear.  He is a huge fan of Lululemon….along with my children!  But, for the most part, his clothing mantra is simple, quality pieces that he knows fit well and look good. And many of them are tailored to fit.

 

TOP ADVANTAGES OF CAPSULE WARDROBES

The majority of proponents for a capsule wardrobe all say the same things:

 

  1. The less is more philosophy of a capsule is less stressful. In fact, many say it is peaceful and liberating.
  2. Money is saved with less shopping.
  3. Personal Style is easier to develop when you are willing to wear often the pieces you know speak your style adjectives and tell the world this is you over and over again.
  4. You will always be wearing what fits best since that is all you find in your capsule.
  5. Despite the smaller wardrobe, others believe you are always well dressed….even on casual days at home.  (Why everyone is encouraged to have several good aprons! Which is our first slideshow!)   

As I reported, Jennifer L Scott has written and spoken often about these advantages and more with her 10 Core Pieces wardrobe that she learned in France.  She also adds special pieces to the core and switches out pieces for different seasons.  She writes, “These are the foundation pieces that you wear every day, that you build your looks from.”

Ines de la Fressange writes in Parisian Chic that brilliant basics are the key to great style.  She has a magnificent seven that she believes every wardrobe must include: a menswear-style blazer, a trench coat, a navy sweater, a tank top, a little black dress,  jeans and a leather jacket.  She has many cautions for women of a certain age…I will share more of those later.  I learned much from her in my early 50s, but only a few of her magnificent seven work for me.

 

CHALLENGES OF THE CAPSULE WARDROBE

Please allow me to repeat how important changing my style was to my reinvention seventeen years ago.  Clothes became transformative for me and they became the outward expression of new maturity, growth and joy that I was experiencing on the inside. For me fashion has always been fun and about art.  This is why I love a well curated fashion show.  It is more like a museum experience for me than something I look for to own in my closet.  However, I love to go out looking my best, no matter where I am headed.  I feel engaged with life, more confident, more joyful when I do.  This look is perhaps my favorite of all time!  I love leggings styled this way. 

 

However, this is a new phase of life. I believe I am done with professional/office wear.  I am still working…(where I am the boss)…and mostly from home.   As I wrote last Friday, my busy lifestyle has resulted in a mess of a closet.

The challenges of the capsule for me are:

  1. It seems too constricting.  Since one of my adjectives remains “creative,” I want options.
  2. It doesn’t seem to be as much fun as it has been before.
  3. Ten pieces? I cannot ever see me working with only ten pieces.
  4. It doesn’t seem to allow space for thrift shopping or fashion experimentation.
  5. Where do I find the balance between my “mostly-work-from-home-life” and the need for a few professional/stylish pieces in a capsule?

Now, this doesn’t mean that I am negating the powerful advantages of a capsule wardrobe…I am pausing and pondering them.  So, I officially dove into the closet in a big way on Saturday.  That story and what I learned from it will be on Thursday! For now, what do you think about capsule wardrobes.  Do any of you practice it and can you share what you like and don’t like about it? 

ADVANTAGES OF APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

I was asked yesterday about what I believe GOLI Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies have done for Mr. B and I since we began to take them four months ago.  What I have noticed the most, is the bloating I was experiencing went away almost immediately and my digestion became much, much better…he agrees with that statement.  It has been easier to say no to sweets since I began to take it and I believe it supplements nicely other things that I do that give me increased energy.  Since we started to take it, I have not experience constipation at all. He likes the fact that it is a gummy that tastes good and he looks forward to taking it. The link is below for more information…I hope that helps, Ginger. 

 

For those of us looking for some summer fun (amidst a brutal heat wave for those of us in Texas), here is a fun slideshow!  Remember, it is the last day for Chico’s 50% off sale on summer items.

KEEP SMILING!!

JUST A NOTE:

Pamela Lutrell for Goli GummiesThere are several ways that I generate income through this blog in order to cover business expenses and give myself much needed income.  Purchases through the slideshow links is one way, ads on the page is one way and a new way is through ordering or re-ordering the GOLI Apple Cider Vinegar gummies through me with my GOLI LINK HERE.  Again, if you are not familiar with the benefits of apple cider vinegar, you should speak with your personal physician.  My husband and I are sold on the benefits and I am proud to represent this product.  I am going to leave this at the bottom of my posts so that when you, friends or family would like to order you can use my link.  Thanks for the support.  This is a great product; as well as, the ones below!

 

Mr. B and I love our meals from Sun Basket!

Sun Basket on Over 50 Feeling 40

 

Sun Basket is a delicious, easy, fun home delivery meal plan

 

My Complexion Loves Chamonix…My esthetician says my complexion is super tight!

Chamonix on Over 50 Feeling 40

 

All natural, plant-cell technology skincare

 

By Pamela Lutrell

42 Comments

  1. I have a capsule of basics that I can pack for traveling; those pieces are what I wear with other third pieces: jackets, cardigans, blouses. I struggle with summer; it’s just so hot. I gravitate to linen and cotton tops; my favorites are from Chicos, Talbots, and Ralph Lauren. I dress them up with jewelry or scarves when it isn’t as hot. 100 degrees yesterday in Houston, Texas! However, I do need to shop my closet more!

    1. It was officially 107 in my backyard! I agree that summer is no fun when it comes to what we should wear. Stay cool today, Nyla.

  2. That outfit with the deep brown topper and black leggings really is beautiful! I can see why it’s your favorite. It’s such a satisfying thing when we hit on a look that’s really us and sends the message we desire. You certainly found it with this!

    I wanted so much to do the capsule wardrobe and thought retirement from the office would be the perfect time. But the more I thought about it, the more boring it seemed, and while I pared down significantly, I realized how much I like variety and couldn’t achieve that with a very limited number of pieces. I’d say I have seasonal capsules, and my spring/summer one just contains more pieces! I like the concept, but feel I’d quickly become bored and feel too restricted. I’m trying to find a balance. Don’t want too much, but crave more variety. I’m always interested to read how women are doing the capsule successfully, just not sure it’s for me. Having less, yes. This is going to be an interesting topic to follow along with!

  3. i follow a capsule wardrobe page on FB, but I dont really think its my thing for all the reasons you state, of course it works for travel packing. having retired in april from an office job, right now i go in my closet and just get a little sad, wondering if any of this stuff is ever going to see the light of day again. my shopping will change from here on out i know, but making the decisions inside that closet of what stays and what goes, its tough.
    so i guess my actual capsules would be…around the house, grocery store runs, and then in the future…trips, weddings, funerals, restuarants…

    1. I am not going to allow it to make me sad but to see new possibilities!! I will speak more to that on Thursday! Thanks Sheryl!

  4. I’m a total capsule gal. Since the pandemic hit I wear the same khaki shorts and black tank every day and slip on a skirt for work (I’m a realtor). Plus it’s beastly hot here in Tucson. I stick with jeans, ankle boots and black, black, black. Accessories are almost entirely fun dangling earrings. When I try to break out of it the clothes just sit there. I’m trying to be a bit more intentional about it all so I look more a more chic and less teenager. Speaking of chic that outfit is gorgeous!

  5. Love the simplicity of the black and brown. Pare your clothing down—less is more—but keep all of your jewelry. Let it do the talking!

  6. I cannot imagine me with a 10 piece wardrobe. I love colour and variety and with temperatures that range from very cold to sweltering it is just not for me. I have been more aware of what is relatable to my ‘feminine softer classic’ style, but a masculine blazer for one is not for me and black is a no go as well. I am trying to whittle down but will never have a small wardrobe and I like it that way. I am curious to see how you handle this as well. I am rereading the Jennifer books and try to take as many ideas as I can from her great experiences in France. Looking forward to see what you have for us on Thursday as always.

    1. Thanks Diane. There is always something new to learn. I have made a beginning swipe at this and will go through my thought processes with. you. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I always thought the concept would be a little boring! Then I got to thinking, and realized I have done some sort “Capsule wardrobe” my whole life! Play clothes. School clothes. Sunday clothes (church and funeral). Work clothes. “Nice clothes” for going out or special occasions. Summer clothes (shorts, sandals, bathing suits, etc.) That vs. 1 pair of black pants, 1 pair of white pants, 1 black blazer, etc……. I don’t know – lots of times, my budget (or lack of $$) determines what I buy and in what color! In the past, shopping a clearance sale and see a nice top in a color/pattern that wouldn’t be my 1st choice, but I really need something new to replace an item that no longer fits or is worn….and I “settle” for that item. And I don’t think I’m the only woman that does that! My closet is a mish-mash of clearance items! I suppose as “women of elegance” that we are now striving to be would never shop like that! 🙂 I have purged lots of things recently from my closet – shoes and jewelry, too – Now that I’m a 60-something Mimi looking at retirement and a simpler lifestyle, ready to enjoy my life and my grands…I’ll have to take another look into my closet! Great article, Pam – you really got me thinking!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Shirley! I am thinking about this alot these days as I make adjustments for this new phase of life. Thanks for being here.

  8. Pam:

    I love your blog! You do a great job of being “real” & I deeply appreciate your approach. Thank you so much!

    I have always created – without knowing what I was doing – capsule wardrobes by color! I have a months or more worth of clothes in black, red & white. I have smaller capsules – at least a week’s worth – in blues; greens; browns; peach, coral & orange; yellows; purples & pinks; turquoises.

    I love my color capsules because it’s easy to pick a color I am going to wear for a week. I coordinate my nails, lip colors & accessories. This works for me because it gives me the variety my soul craves yet it narrows down my choices each week.

    1. This is so interesting, Judy! I have not read or known anyone who approaches the capsules like this, but so many women are afraid of a capsule wardrobe because they love color. Thank you so much for sharing this…I know your approach will be attractive to many. You have given me something else to ponder!

  9. I think I have you all beat at 117 in Palm Desert California! It’s a dry heat that makes you feel like you’ve opened the oven door! Capsule wardrobes do not work for me because I like variety. After retiring 2 years ago my lifestyle changed dramatically. I discovered I had very few fun clothes; nothing for golf and very little for walking/exercising. It’s country club casual/chic here and I try to abide that mantra when shopping. The biggest hole in my wardrobe was shoes; no need for heels but desperate for sandals. When I first started golfing I hit the second hand shops to wear with the basic skorts but now that I’m out there everyday I’ve invested in some more stylish attire. My closet is constantly evolving but I am more mindful of what I buy now.

    1. OK, Linda….you win! I know it is a dry heat…right? People say that like it matters…perhaps it does. I have not played golf since high school but would love to give it a try again. I like your country club casual/chic idea. I see many women around San Antonio going for the same aesthetic. Thanks for sharing.

  10. In the climate I live in (with at least two very ‘distinct’ seasons) it would be impossible to create a capsule wardrobe. With that said; do use its concept though for holiday travel (as usually to the tropics) and overall in choosing my neutrals/basics that are in the color family of white/black/browns that of which I add color to vie accessories or other pieces of clothing under the categories of household casual, street wear and special occasion. -Brenda-

  11. Pam, Thank you for answering my question on the apple cider vinegar gummies. I just placed my order. I don’t think I could ever have just a capsule wardrobe. Sounds good, but like you I don’t think I could ever go with just 10 pieces or even that 20. HA!!

  12. Now that I think about it, I had more of a capsule wardrobe when my children were young and I had no time or money to do much shopping. Yes, it was easy, but got boring and I soon felt outdated. Shoulders, hem lines, colors all changed. Plus, I was working and had to be conscious of not wearing the same thing every Monday, etc. So, if you love clothes and variety, it’s a hard thing to live with. If you just want to quickly get dressed and be done with it, it’s a great solution. My game now is to choose 1 or 2 pairs of pants each week and put different tops with them that maybe I hadn’t thought of before.

    1. That’s a good goal, Susan. I think it is hard to do if you really love clothes…like so many of us do!

  13. I have many pieces that would work in a “capsule wardrobe” but, I like variety, so limiting my closet to 10 items would drive me crazy! I usually buy separates that can be paired with more than one thing. I am picky about fit, fabric, and construction. Fortunately, I have the skills to alter clothes that don’t fit the way I want. My advice is to always choose styles and colors that make you feel good about yourself!

  14. I can appreciate the simplicity of the capsule wardrobe & like the idea of knowing you would always look good, but I can’t imagine actually doing it. I can’t really see myself wearing the same things to work in the yard or clean the house as I would wear to church or even to run errands. Living in the Midwest where we have very distinct seasons, what I wear in the summer is vastly different than what I wear in the winter. While I have certainly pared down my wardrobe & am more discerning about my purchases over the past several years, I still enjoy having options.

  15. I agree with some of the other gals that a capsule wardrobe, although probably less expensive and practical, would be pretty dull. I’m like you Pam and enjoy thrift shopping and trying new looks. I try to stay with dark jeans or slim pants, but I like different colored tops. I have a question for you though – how many Goli gummies do you take each day? I take one in both the morning and evening and I think I do feel a diffference. I too am finding it easier to say no to sweets, although I always have a couple of pieces of dark chocolate from Trader Joe’s as a snack. Thanks – love you blog and look forward to your closet clean-out!

    1. Thanks Sharon! I take two Golis in the morning when first get up and follow them with a glass of water. That seems to be working best for me. I also like a little dark chocolate during the day! Thanks so much for supporting the blog!

      1. Quick question on the gummed before I order. Are there 60 in each bottle, allowing for 2 per day? Thank you Pam, I’m going to order for my son too, just wondering about quantity!

  16. I love the pic with black pants and dark brown jacket. I would so wear that. I love the jewelry too! I think the idea of a capsule wardrobe has a lot to be said for it, but I like the instant transformation from new outfits.

    1. Thanks so much, Usha. I agree that there is more to look forward to when I enter my closet than I would if it were only 10 items.

  17. Years ago I spent 6 months working with a female architect who had what I’ve always considered the quintessential “capsule” wardrobe (& this was 30 years ago!). She had 5 3-pce suits — blazer, pants, slim skirt — in 5 different colours (black, forest green, burgundy, camel, red). The suits were identical to each other although she varied the blouse or shell she wore under the blazer. They were beautifully made (by a local seamstress) of high-quality fabric. She also had only 3 pr of simple 2″ pumps (dark brown, camel, black patent). At first I thought it was boring, but after a few weeks began to appreciate the simplicity. I never did do the math on how many outfits she made up out of those 15 base pieces — not all the colour combos worked well together — but I’m sure she never wasted time in front of an open closet trying to put together something to wear like I did! Grab a blazer, decide on the bottom half — skirt or pant, matching or coordinating — add a top & shoes, done.

    The blazer suit look wasn’t (& isn’t) my style, but the whole look suited her perfectly & I became a huge admirer of how she’d figured out what looked good on her, what suited her style needs & how to best pull it off. Her solution was very much her own, but the theory is one I can embrace: simple in look, simple in execution, a reflection of my personality, suitable for my lifestyle.

  18. I love Judy’s Capsule by Color idea and Susan’s two pants a week and then coordinating the tops. I’m going to give both of those ideas some thought. In my professional life, I too knew a professional woman who had a limited number of suits. Suits allowed her the freedom to make quick decisions and always look professional.

    I knew another exquisitely dressed female doctor who wore only white blouses, changing the pants for variety. Her white blouses were beautiful, always with some amazing detail in the sewing, fabric, or the decoration. In contrast, my new doctor is a young woman who is not afraid of color and she is a delight to see. I can hear her spirit singing through her colorful choices.

    I am retired now and the truth is I was able to toss 2/3 of my professional clothing. It can be donated to places where women who cannot afford the professional clothing they need to find a job.

  19. I always wonder if those small capsule wardrobes don’t indicate kind of a limited life. I need clothes for hiking, dance classes, warm weather ,cold weather. beach vacations, city vacations, babysitting grandkids, date night, painting, weddings, funerals, relaxing at home, casual lunch dates or shopping, etc.
    The only things I wear from those French Woman lists are black pants and jeans. No trench coat, no white shirt, no pencil skirts.

    1. I think you’ll find that the concept behind capsule wardrobes works just as well for people who are involved with numerous activities as those who prefer a simpler lifestyle. It’s not about how many things you do, it’s about being adept at dressing well with fewer items for each activity. People with capsule wardrobes don’t limit their activities, they simply don’t see the need to have 27 outfits for each one when a minimal number of well-coordinated clothes will do. In fact, the first step in planning a capsule wardrobe is sitting down & figuring out how many different things you engage in that require their own wardrobe selections — be it 10 or 110. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all capsule wardrobe; they’re as unique as we ourselves are.

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