What I Needed to Learn Before Creating My Capsule Wardrobe

There were many things I needed to learn before creating my capsule wardrobe

Since creating my own capsule wardrobe almost four years ago, I’ve had so many friends ask me how I did it. And every time, I wish I had an easy answer. But I don’t. I had so much I needed to learn before creating my capsule wardrobe to make it work for me. To have a fully functional capsule wardrobe that will serve you best, you’ll need to discover many of the same things about yourself. 

So here’s my story: 

Life Before My Capsule Wardrobe 

I’m thinking back to 2016, right after I’d had my last of five babies. I remember dragging myself into my closet each morning after a night of “mom sleep.” You know, that completely interrupted sleep where wake up in the morning wondering how you can possibly be more tired than when you went to bed? Yes. That kind of sleep.  

I’d stand in front of 75+ shirts, boatloads of jeans, skirts, dresses, 50+ pairs of shoes and more scarves than any human could ever need in a lifetime. Instead of feeling excited, motivated or inspired, I felt so incredibly overwhelmed. 

Everyday I’d look at all those clothes and say, “I have nothing to wear!” and walk out. 

Before I learned how to create my capsule wardrobe, I was frustrated by my closet all the time.

Then I’d pull on the same yoga pants from the day before and a big baggy t-shirt of my husband’s, completely defeated by two things: 

  1. My lack of ability to make a decision about what to wear. I began to wonder how I’d have the fortitude to make it through the day. If I couldn’t do something as simple as put on decent clothes, how could I ever make all the decisions I’d need to in the course of a day???
  1. My feelings toward my own body. Sure, I’d experienced the miracle of growing and giving birth to a real, live human. But I also felt so much disappointment with the way my shape had changed. I was working on giving myself some grace, but my clothes? They’ve never been known for giving a lot of grace at all!

Enter Retail Therapy 

And you know what one of the craziest things was? To help myself “feel better” about my wardrobe woes or the exhaustion of my mom life, I’d often go to the store and buy. more. clothes! I’d grab whatever looked cute on the rack, feeing the momentary rush of a buyer’s high, and head home. Or I’d search for something trendy I’d seen a friend wearing, or something I’d seen on Pinterest. 

Retail therapy became a real crutch for me. But I didn’t realize how much it was contributing to my overall problem. 

More often than not, those retail therapy pieces ended up in the back of my closet after one or two wears. They began to contribute to the clutter too!

And of course, after only a few days, I’d go back to my friendly, unflattering yoga pants and big, old t-shirt. Frump mode was in full effect, and I was so discouraged!

Something Had to Change

Finally, I got to the point where I knew something had to change. It dawned on me one day in February that I needed to declutter my closet. Somewhere I’d heard the statistic that it is typical for every woman to wear 20% of her clothes 80% of the time. I knew it was true for me. That meant I had more than 50 shirts and 30 pairs of shoes that I barely wore. Hearing that big, illuminating statistic was definitely something I needed to learn before creating my capsule wardrobe. 

I had many items in my closet that was I keeping simply because of nostalgia. The pink fuzzy sweater reminded me of my mom, and even though I accidentally shrunk it in the wash, I still held on to it. I still had a grey and black rose print cardigan that I’d bought at the Gap in Piccadilly Circus in the 8th grade because shopping there made me feel so fancy and empowered. 

Other pieces were still in there because I hoped I’d fit in them again – like the tiny low cut jeans I’d worn when I cheered in college (ha!). I had other items that I’d spent good money on and only wore a few times – like the 2 pairs of tailored pin stripe trousers that would have been perfect for my advertising career in New York City, but weren’t so practical for a mom of five kids under ten. 

Decluttering My Wardrobe

I did hours of research about how to declutter a closet. While I knew the physical exercise of getting rid of my clothes would take time, I realized I’d need to do some emotional work as well. For more on this, read my post called Reasons Why We Hold On To Clothes and How to Get Past Them. 

After all of the research and mental preparation, I was ready to purge my closet! And so I started. It took me three weeks. But I was determined, and I would not stop. Some nights I’d try on five shirts or dresses. Other nights I’d stand in the same pair of jeans for thirty minutes, carefully examining every angle of my reflection. But finally, I did it! Getting rid of all of those unwanted clothes felt amazing!

Learning how to effectively declutter my closet was something I needed to learn before creating my capsule wardrobe. Because the process took me so long, I have now developed my own closet decluttering system called How to Declutter Your Closet in 3 Simple Steps. It’s a quick 13-minute video training and a 6-page workbook for free! Just click here and it’s all yours. Believe me, I’m all about saving my fellow mamas some serious time!

Was a Capsule Wardrobe the Answer?

Once my closet was empty, I did not want to rush out and start filling it with random clothes. After all that work, I wasn’t about to get myself right back to where I started! There were still some big things I needed to learn before creating my capsule wardrobe. 

The idea of a limited number of clothes that coordinated with each other definitely intrigued me (no more closet clutter, hello!). But searching for capsule wardrobe information on Pinterest often brought up the same wardrobe plans – a very scripted number of clothes in a very particular style. I also didn’t want a neutrals-only wardrobe. And I knew I couldn’t be limited to 10 or 20 pieces when I had messy toddlers running around! 

There were many things I needed to learn before I created my capsule wardrobe.

More That I Needed to Learn

So I started to educate myself about what clothes would look good on my new shape. I learned about what colors would complement my light skin tone. Finally, I hired an online color consultant in Australia to help me. I spent months and months reading, researching, and planning. 

I’ve always believed that knowledge brings power and confidence, so I started to do some research into style and fashion. My motivation wasn’t just to see the cute, trendy things everyone was wearing, but to understand how to help myself personally. I needed to zero in on my style likes and dislikes. Next, I needed to get real about what clothes I would actually wear everyday as opposed to what I thought I would wear. lastly, I needed to understand how to dress flatteringly for my new straight body shape. 

All of this learning took me months to accumulate, but each one was an essential piece in what I needed to learn before creating my capsule wardrobe. 

What does The Confident Closet teach? 

After not having an easy answer to my friends’ questions about how I created my capsule wardrobe, I decided to create that easy answer! 

My updated online course, The Confident Closet, is designed to teach you exactly what you need to learn to create your own fantastic, functional, and personalized capsule wardrobe. 

Here’s a look at some of the major things the course teaches: 

  1. How to identify your personal style. Even if you don’t think you have a style, I’ll show you that you do and help you develop a clear picture of what you like. 
  2. How to declutter your current closet. We will break this down into simple actionable steps over a weekend. (And there’s a prize drawing for everyone who completes it!) 
  3. How to dress to flatter your body shape.
  4. How to identify your personal color palette. You will learn what colors look best on you based on your undertones and value contrast in your skin, eyes and hair. (And for anyone in the Premium course, I will do this for you!)
  5. How to create a color palette for your capsule wardrobe. This will help you to make your shopping become laser-focused and effective. 
  6. How to decided the range and approximate number of pieces to include in your capsule.
  7. How and where to shop. Whether you prefer to shop online or in store, I’ve got you covered.
  8. How to style your clothes for maximum impact. 
  9. How to troubleshoot your capsule. Adding new items and editing your capsule in the future will be a simple process. 
  10. How to plan and create future seasonal capsules. 

What else does The Confident Closet include?

The course also includes entry into our private Facebook group, as well as a 5-6 page workbook to download and print each week. And for anyone who wants my personal consultation for body shape and coloring, I’ll be offering that service for a limited number of students as well.  It’s going to be so awesome!!! 

I’ve been very careful to make sure that the course covers everything I needed to learn before creating my capsule wardrobe, and I can honestly say that it does! The process that took me months and months and lots of trial and error has now been streamlined for you and other like-minded moms who want to

  • show up intentionally everyday
  • save time and money
  • feel more confident

Be sure to mark your calendar for Tuesday, May 5th, when The Confident Closet will be open to public enrollment again!

We will get everything underway on Monday, May 11th, so this would be an amazing Mother’s Day gift!  For more information about how to create your personalized wardrobe, click here. 


the confident closet will teach you how to feel confident every time you get dressed

And tell me, what questions do you have about creating a capsule wardrobe? 

Jen Bradley, the founder of Jen Bradley|MOMs

Hi there! I’m Jen and I’m so glad you’re here. I am a mom who believes that meaningful connections with our families can happen in small and simple ways. Read More …


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