Capsule Wardrobe

400+ Outfits from 39 Pieces

Capsule Wardrobe Math

Happy day, dear reader!

My apologies! I am running late today. Holiday decorating was on the agenda this weekend, and pushed my publishing back a few hours. Hope your week is off to a great start! If you are new here, Welcome! If you are returning, Welcome Back! If you are returning, you already know a lot about me, so now it’s time for me to find out a little about you. Ready to get personal?

How large is your wardrobe? And how large does it need to be? This is a question I ask myself each season. If you are reading this, you are no longer in the days of one outfit for Monday through Saturday, and a second for Sunday best. Many Americans (and some others) have enough clothing in their wardrobes to wear a different set of clothes every day for a year, and still have options left over. I realize that some people need LOTS of options, and others need fewer to be happy. That’s a personality thing! If you are an options person, great! But how much is necessary for lots of options?

At the beginning of December, I started my winter capsule wardrobe. If you want to know more about how I did that, here’s the post on my inspiration, and how I get from inspiration to clothes hanging in my closet. The other day, I realized that I’ve never really talked through the math. (If you are a math-phobe, hang in there, it’s not too scary!) Today we’re going to do a little of that math!

Let’s start with stand alone tops. These are tops that can be worn by themselves. They don’t need a layer over them or under them to make them work. I count 19.

Now let’s grab some bottoms. I won’t leave the house without something covering my bottom half! I only chose 8, four jeans and four others. It’s winter, and I can wear them a few times before cleaning. As long as I am careful with my coffee…

If I wear every top with every bottom, I have 19 tops X 8 bottoms = 152 outfits. Now some of these probably aren’t going to fit my preferred silhouettes, and color and value contrasts, but I certainly could leave the house in any of them and avoid arrest!

Now let’s add some toppers, or layers. You’ll notice that some of these were also shown as stand-alone tops, because I wear them as both. There are some other sweaters above that I could wear as toppers, but don’t… If I take just 100 of the 152 outfits above (discounting some that I might not like combined), and combine those 100 with only 4 of these toppers, now we have 100 top/bottoms X 4 toppers = 400 outfits. (If I combined them with two more, there would be 600!) Is that enough choices, yet?

If not, I’ll throw some dresses in the mix. I know some women don’t wear dresses. If you want to know why I love a dress, take a detour over here, but if dresses aren’t your thing, just skip these additions. You still already have enough to avoid nakedness. (Or nakedidity as my boys used to say!)

Some of these dresses aren’t  winter-friendly worn alone, but that’s easy enough to remedy by combining them with the toppers above. If for ease, I just choose the toppers that open down the front, that’s 6. Let’s see… 5 dresses X 6 toppers = 30 more outfits. Added to the 400 outfits we already have, now we are at 430. If that’s not versatile enough, I could easily wear 4 of these as tunics over trousers, so let’s do another quick multiplication… 4 dresses X (just) 5 trousers = 20 more options. 430 + 20 = 450. That is certainly lots of wearable options out of the 37 pieces pictured above! (I won’t even add in the dress as tunic + pants + toppers equation, or the dress as jumper over a top options!)

What about if I need something a little more special for a date, or holiday ‘do? I have that covered, too. Time for some special occasion pieces… I added the satin cami and a jumpsuit; the jacket, cardigan, and lace blouse you’ve already seen above. I’ll treat the jumpsuit like a dress, so that would be 1 jumpsuit X 6 toppers + 1 jumpsuit alone = 7 more outfits. The cami will always have a topper, and can be worn with a variety of bottoms. I’ll limit the toppers and bottoms to mix it with to artificially depress our options. Adding that cami gives us… 1 cami x 5 toppers X 5 bottoms = 25 more outfits. Adding 7 + 25 + 450 = 482 outfits.

If that’s not dizzying enough, we haven’t even started adding accessories. Changing shoes, jewels, and scarves immediately triple, quadruple, quintuple… ARRRRRGH! My head is melting with all these choices! If I have easily more than 500 outfit choices with just 39 clothing pieces, what do you have in your closet?

Stylishly yours,

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