January can be tough.  We are in the thick of winter and it’s cold.  VERY cold!  I often find it difficult in January to get thrilled about dressing.  Reality is, I’m just not thrilled about leaving the house in the cold and dressing starts this process.  To limit my doldrums last January, I participated in the Who What Wear Winter Wardrobe Challenge  and it was tons of fun. It helped me mix up my closet and try some new things.  I haven’t seen the post yet for this year’s challenge but I will probably mix in at least a few days of challenge fun.  Until then, I’m trying my own challenge.

I’ve challenged myself to create a Winter Capsule Wardrobe.  I frequently do mini-capsules when I pack for work trips (see an example in this post) but those are typically a week at most.  I’m going to make this capsule last a month!  It’s been on my mind to try for awhile and I figure January is as good a time as any.  So what I am really going to do?  Let’s start with the basics …

What is a Capsule Wardrobe?

There is lots of social media chatter about Capsule Wardrobes … and for good reason … they make lots of practical sense. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, they are basically mini, mixable wardrobes full of only pieces you love.  “Mini” is relative depending on who you talk to. Some go as minimalist as 10 pieces but the norm is generally around 40 pieces (seasonally based).  One of the reasons for their popularity is they can help keep your clothing budget in check.  A second reason, they help ease the decision making burden in the morning.   #NoCoffeeRequired

I like Capsule wardrobes because they encourage creativity.  You will start mixing pieces in your wardrobe you would not have originally thought to pair together. While I can honestly say my closet is far from the definition of a capsule wardrobe … the part of it I use in January will be!  #IPromise

How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe

The first step to creating a Capsule Wardrobe is to pick a neutral base.  This is generally going to be black, navy, tan or white.  For my January challenge I’ve opted for black as my neutral base.  (I had a pretty heated internal debate on black versus navy so if there is enough interest, I may try the challenge again in February with navy or at least create a post).

Once you pick your base, you then choose some color (stick with two or three).  These additional colors are generally colors you love.  Look at your current closet for inspiration.  I stick to two or three coordinating colors to make sure all the pieces will mix and match.  For January I have chosen red and blue as my two additional colors and I will also be adding in a second base color with some off-white.

The Capsule Wardrobe theory is that once you have a color palette you can mix and match within it.  It also means as you expand your closet (or attempt to clean and purge) you use this palette as a guide to determine whether or not each piece works within it.

My January Capsule Wardrobe

My9to5shoes.com My 9 to 5 Shoes Winter Capsule Wardrobe

My original goal for the challenge was to keep it to 10 pieces.  I’m close!  I may find I have to add a piece here or there but I’m trying not to. I am starting the challenge with 5 tops, 4 bottoms, 1 dress and 1 suit.  Some of the pieces were easy picks.  A few were not! Clearly good staples are the foundation but to be true to my style, I’ve also included some fun pieces.  The key is everything can mix and match whether it is a staple piece or something more unique.

Below is a little more information on each of the pieces (some of mine are older) and at the end of the post you will find shop-able widgets for tons more choices in most of the categories!

  1. Striped Silk Blouse – Mine is currently at the dry cleaners so it’s been a rough start to the challenge.  It was a cold week so I wore mostly sweaters anyway.  #ColdIsAnUnderstatement There are several linked below but this Everlane one is also a good choice.
  2. Windowpane Sweater – This recent addition has become one of my winter favorites.  On the coldest of days I did have to add a black turtleneck underneath.  See more choices below.
  3. Red Blazer – For adding a punch of color to any outfit.  I’m using my Notched Blazer from Loft but red is not currently one of their color choices.  I do like this currant colored Tweed one as an option.  The one pictured is from Anthropology.  I linked tons of choices below though.
  4. Black Turtleneck Sweater – Sweater turtlenecks are a little thicker and can stand on their own.  I have one from Zara and one from Kohls.  I think I’m using the Zara one for the challenge but I have already found that I am also going to need to include a layering turtleneck.  My favorites are either these majestic ones or these less than $20 ones from Amazon (I have multiples of both and tons of colors in the Amazon one).
  5. Red V-Neck Sweater – Mine is from J.Crew with a cute little bow (this year’s version is ruffled but does not come in red).  I linked tons of options below though.
  6. Hugo Boss Suit – I’m going to have to wear a suit, probably quite a few times.  My black Hugo gives me the most mixable options.  I also have two jackets meaning I can still be challenge compliant even if one ends up at the dry cleaners.  #NotCheating
  7. Betabrand Yoga Pants – Another new purchase that I’m not sure how I ever lived without.  These things are amazing.  I have a full review scheduled for later this month but if you can’t wait … use this link to save $15 off your first purchase ($75 or more). #winning.
  8. Bright Pencil Skirt – Another punch of color to brighten up the winter blahs and another staple from J.Crew that is not currently available in this color.  See tons more choices from J.Crew or below for similar.
  9. Pleated Faux Leather Midi – A pleated skirt is a wardrobe workhorse.  Having a leather version is simply fun and a little different.  Mine is from the Anniversary sale two years ago but J.Crew has an exact replica and I’ve linked some other options below.
  10. High Rise Denim – Because I wouldn’t survive the challenge without some denim for the weekend … and travel days … and maybe a casual Friday.  Picking one was tough but I’m currently still loving this style!
  11. Black Dress – This Topshop one is from last year and I can’t find anything comparable currently for sale.  I’m still deciding on which dress but this one is place holding for now.

I’m not counting accessories or shoes as part of the capsule but you could go the entire month with a pair of classic black pumps (I linked my favorites) and a pair of black booties (see this post for my favorite black bootie picks).  I will showcase the shoes and accessories I wear as the month goes along.  #StayTuned

The rest of this month I will post my OOTD on Instagram and Facebook. I will also do a weekly round up of the looks on the blog each Friday or Saturday.  Check back tomorrow to see all the looks from this week and then follow along in my challenge to see if I succeed. #FingersCrossed

Red Blazers

Colbalt Pencil Skirt

Pleated Midi

Windowpane Sweater

Stripe Silk Blouse