Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Look great while losing weight - The Wardrobe Capsule

How to have a varied wardrobe without going broke is a big concern to those losing weight, especially if you have a lot of weight to lose.  Needing several wardrobes in different sizes can cost a lot of money.

However, once you know about Wardrobe Capsules, you can easily look great all the time with a minimal investment.  In fact even if you're not dieting, this is a great strategy. (Image from

Many beautiful, stylish and well-dressed women create their wardrobes in this way.  French women especially are known for dressing beautifully with a very limited amount of clothes. (Not surprising as most French homes don't have closets.  Can you imagine having to fit your whole wardrobe into a cupboard like the one above - regardless of how beautiful it is?)

Most North Americans would consider this major deprivation, but especially when you are losing weight and having to find money to replace clothes that are too big (what a nice problem!), taking some tips from the French might not be a bad idea.

So how do you do this?  It's simple really.

The main idea behind the Wardrobe Capsule system is that you own fewer but more versatile clothes. You build a colour coordinated wardrobe, made up only of pieces that can be worn with most of your other clothes. This way, with a few accessories, you can create many different outfits and be well dressed for every occasion.

Talking about accessories, this is the area where you can still grow your wardrobe even while you are cutting down on clothes.  Accessories don't need to be changed when you lose weight, so if you find something you like and can afford, buy it.  You can continue building a nice collection  even while you are changing sizes.

Here is how it works.

First you choose a number of pieces (usually anywhere from 5 to 15) as your core wardrobe.  These will include basic colours and a few complimentary ones.

When choosing the pieces in your capsule, take into consideration your needs and activities.  This sample capsule would be great for someone who works from home, or a stay-at-home Mom with a casual lifestyle.  If you need a more professional look, you might want to include a suit and perhaps a skirt and/or dress instead of some of these pieces.

Next, create a capsule of accessories in a colour of your choice, that you can wear to make your outfits more or less casual.  (This can be - but doesn't have to be - a neutral colour, because it's an accent that you can easily change.)

This capsule can be any size you choose. Since some people wear more accessories than others, this can range from just 3 or 4 items to 10, 15 or more - whatever works for you. Chances are you already own a lot of favourite accessories and will want to keep using them.

 Then all you have to do is mix and match.

When you get bored with these choices, create another capsule of accessories in a different colour ....

..... and again, mix and match.

Here is another example, this time using red.

And here are a few ways you can mix and match with your basic pieces.

If red happens to be your favourite colour - and you can afford to splurge a bit - you might want to add a few more wardrobe pieces in this colour as well.

This will give you even more options when you mix these with your basic pieces and accessories.  This is a great way to incorporate your favourite colour into your wardrobe without having to spend tons of money.

This is the perfect way to build a decent transition wardrobe when you're losing weight, but even if you're at your ideal weight, it's a great wardrobe planning system.  It just makes so much sense. With a plan like this, your wardrobe dollars will go so much further, not to mention you will always be so much better dressed.

All of these wonderful examples are from a fantastic blog called The Vivienne Files.  The woman who writes this (who's name is not Vivienne ... but that's another story) is an absolute master at this concept and explains it in her examples much better than I every could.

I suggest you put some time aside to check it out.  You might even find a capsule right there that appeals to you and can serve as a basis for your own wardrobe.  Certainly, at the very least, you will find it very inspiring.  More than likely, you will become a regular reader as I have.


When you are creating your own Wardrobe Capsules, there is a great free program you can use at  that will really help. (Unfortunately this program has now been removed.)
For example, I created this 8-piece Casual Cold Weather wardrobe that I use as a basis for my own transition wardrobe.
And this 8-piece Warm Weather wardrobe that goes with me when I head down south.
I live in the country, so my everyday wardrobe is casual.  When I'm staying for a few days in the city I have another capsule that fits nicely into a small suitcase and gives me a more professional look.
I've also planned a capsule of clothes for wearing at home.  Here is a tip - keep some of your older clothes that aren't good enough for wearing out any longer to wear at home when you're doing things like cleaning and gardening.  This way you can get double the wear out of them.
Finally, if you live in a four season part of the country as I do, don't forget to create an outdoor capsule as well.

These are not exactly the clothes that I have in my wardrobe, but they give me a good basic plan to follow.  These pieces, plus a few extra accessories, give me all the clothes I need to cover most occasions any time of year, and having a guideline like this keeps me from buying things I don't need.

It might surprise you when you start planning just how many clothes you really need to cover every occasion. I bet if you check your own wardrobe you will have many more pieces than I've shown here.  It's incredible how it adds up.   With so many clothes it's so easy to forget what we have and to buy new pieces that end up sitting in our closets because they don't go with anything. That's why having a plan really is vital.

There are a number of forms available online to help you plan your wardrobe, such as this one from  At you will find a post on different apps that are available for wardrobe tracking.

However you decide to plan your wardrobe, please consider using the Capsule Concept to simplify your life. Spending just a little time planning will make your life a whole lot easier, and help you to save money as well. Having a few well planned items that you actually use, as opposed to a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear, makes a lot of sense. You will always be well dressed ...... and your closet will look much better as well.

Is losing weight and getting into shape one of your New Year's resolutions?  Check the WEIGHT LOSS tab for diet plans, exercise information, and much more.

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 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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  1. Fantastic post! Thanks for all of the visuals!

  2. Wow! that was very helpful, thanks! I just wish someone could help me with the shopping...


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