Summer Wardrobe: Thirty-Three Item Edition

The idea of a capsule wardrobe is, to me, kind of a maximalist way of being minimal. That is, for someone with a truly minimalist wardrobe, selecting an array of thirty or forty items to get you through a season is purely crazy. My husband laughed and laughed, and counted that he only had about 50 things in his closet, for summer and winter, and that includes everything but shorts, sweaters, socks, and underwear. (Also, at least 5-10 of those things are identical duplicates. Not just “this looks the same to me” but 100% identical.)

It’s harder for women. We’re the locus of most of the fashion pressure in the world. Our bodies are the site of conspicuous consumption. Even my best meaning and most feminist of husbands likes me to have pretty new clothes. Also, women’s clothes are more event-specific (i.e., there is a larger gap between my professional and casual wear than there is for my husband.) and usually made to be more disposable. It’s a messy place.

So, we’ve come up with the idea of the capsule wardrobe, to convince ourselves that we could get by with less, if we really wanted to. I thought I’d play along for the summer, because summer is interminable here and you need to do something. And I would like to know if I can get by with less, if I really wanted to. I’d like this set of clothes to get me through until late June, at which point I may reevaluate out of desperation. (It will be well into October before I need warmer clothes in the rotation.)

Caveats and exceptions: I’m not counting accessories, because I don’t have that many and because this is more than a one month project for me. I’m not counting exercise clothes or grubby cleaning clothes, but I am including “take the dog to the park” and “sit around and watch TV” clothes.

Ten Bottoms: 4 pr. shorts (khaki and navy, in various lengths), 3 skirts (grey, khaki, and navy), 3 pants (light and dark skinny jeans, cream “khakis”)

Three dresses: One simple knit, one shirt dress, one fancier but not too fancy.

Five tank tops for layering that could be worn solo: black, orange, purple, blue, and pale grey.

Five tank tops for solo wear, that could be layered: floral, embroidered, green with detailing, navy with detailing, and a green print

Two solid T-shirts: charcoal and lime

Five lightweight button ups for layering: green, white, pale green, chambray, and blue striped

Heavier layers: Sheer grey cardigan, olive cropped canvas jacket, navy wool cardigan




2 thoughts on “Summer Wardrobe: Thirty-Three Item Edition

  1. I’ve thought about trying a thing like this! I have far too many clothes, many of which aren’t in circulation very often, and some of which are “goal clothes”. I think it would really be a load off to pare down to something like you describe here!

    1. Two or three days in, and I’m loving it! So easy. I just pushed everything else to the back of the closet, but a lot of people who do these challenges will pack them away out of sight. I have more closet pole than I have other storage.

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