Fall Capsule Wardrobe Prep (Part 2) — The 5 Steps To Update A Capsule Wardrobe

July 24, 2017


It’s one of my favorite times of the year—the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale—and in my last post I began my Fall Capsule Wardrobe Prep (Part 1).  Last time I put together an action plan for shopping the sale.  This plan focused on becoming familiar with the merchandise that is currently on sale, plugging up any wardrobe holes, and ensuring that the pieces that I buy will help me to create outfits.

So what did I order and more importantly—why?

Before I can buy anything new, first I have to figure out where it is going to go.  If I never add something new/remove something old (also called one in/one out purchases) it’s not going to take very long for my closet to become overfilled with clothes and shoes.  Before I know it, I’ll have too many things and “nothing to wear!”  That’s why I developed 5 steps to update a capsule wardrobe:

  1. Review and edit last year’s capsule wardrobe
  2. Shop your closet
  3. Write your shopping list
  4. Go shopping
  5. Confirm your new outfits

I already have a shopping cart filled with items, but how did I figure out what I needed?  Well normally I begin by editing my capsule wardrobe from the previous season, but I’m doing something a little different this year, I’m going to start with my 2017 Summer Capsule Wardrobe and edit that instead.  Now I’ll get twice the use out of some of my summer items because I’m using them for another season—a win win!

First I removed all of the clothes that say “summer” to me.  Once the fall season begins I’ll put these pieces aside until next year.

Shorts, cropped white jeans, floral print blouse, short sleeve tops, striped hoodie, navy 3/4 sleeve knit, printed t-shirts, and a tunic top will all go on hold until next summer.  After this review my closet looked like this.

fall capsule wardrobe first wave

Fall capsule wardrobe begins with summer leftovers.

Look at all that empty space I have to work with now.  So I’m ready to shop now right?  Not yet!  There’s another capsule wardrobe I can turn to first, my 2017 Spring Capsule Wardrobe.  Since I’ve been favoring a heavy neutral colored palette lately, there are plenty of pieces I can put to work from my spring capsule wardrobe.

Cardigans, pullovers, a floral print scarf, a lace knit top, brown plaid shirt, tan blazer, 3 long sleeve t-shirts, and a 3/4 sleeve turtleneck are all spring capsule items that will work well in the fall too.

I also placed some jeans on hold (top row) and added 2 pairs (bottom row) to my fall capsule wardrobe.

spring items added or on hold

Top row on hold // Bottom row new additions

After these spring pieces were added my fall capsule wardrobe is starting to look rather full.

fall capsule wardrobe second wave

Fall capsule wardrobe after spring additions.

Well now that I’d added clothes from both my spring and summer capsule wardrobes, I’m ready to shop, right?  Not yet!  There’s still one more place I can shop in my own closet—my fall capsule wardrobe from last year.

fall items added from last year

Clothes from my fall capsule wardrobe from last year.

A black tunic shirt, a red floral print shirt, 2 hoodies, a black blazer, 2 scarves, and a pair of bootcut jeans all got added to my fall capsule wardrobe.

But wait, what about the pieces from my spring and old fall capsule wardrobes that I didn’t use?  Well those items all got purged from my wardrobe.

purged items from capsule wardrobes

Clothes purged from my spring and fall capsule wardrobes.

Removing these pieces now helps to keep my wardrobe at roughly the same size, because I know I’m going to be adding new things in when I shop.  But can I shop?  Let’s take a look at my fall capsule wardrobe.

fall capsule wardrobe third wave

That fall capsule wardrobe looks complete, or is it?

At first glance my fall capsule wardrobe looks finished.  There are no empty spots on the shelf or empty hangers.  Does this mean that I don’t get to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale now?  No way!  I’m still planning to shop the sale and keep my capsule wardrobe from doubling in size at the same time.  How am I going to do that?  Find out in my next post.

Did you look at your capsule wardrobe before you shopped the Anniversary Sale, or after?


  1. I always love reading about your process…. but I find I am curious about this part:

    “But wait, what about the pieces from my spring and old fall capsule wardrobes that I didn’t use? Well those items all got purged from my wardrobe.”

    Purging the stuff from the old fall capsule wardrobes that you didn’t use – that makes total sense.
    But are you purging the stuff you wore in the spring, that you’re not using for this fall? Or are you packing away those items for next spring?

    1. The only items from spring that I’m putting on hold is the jeans. Since jeans are hard to fit and are one of the most expensive items in my wardrobe (I have a weakness for premium denim), I don’t give them up easily. Everything else is going in the donate bag. Why am I doing this? Purging the spring pieces I’m not interested in wearing for fall leaves me open spots to fill next spring. If I put everything from spring that I don’t use in the fall on hold, I won’t get to refresh my style in the spring. It also helps me to keep the total number of pieces in my wardrobe low. No wardrobe creep for me! 🙂 The only other item I would have out on hold for spring (besides jeans) would have been blazers as they too are a hard to fit and higher prices item in my wardrobe. But knit tops, blouses, etc I’m fine with moving on to a new home so that I can budget for new pieces for myself. I hope I’ve answered your question and thanks so much for reading and commenting! Lisa

      1. That makes sense! I guess I was thinking that spring colors might look out-of-place in the fall, or vice-versa. But I remember, you said in a post somewhere, that your wardrobe is pretty neutral these days.

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