HOW TO MAKE A 10 PIECE SUMMER CAPSULE

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In 1930, the average woman had 36 pieces of clothing in her closet. If you are old enough to be raised with grandparents who came from this generation, you probably know this to be true. 

My grandmother was an immigrant, an entrepreneur, and a mother. She was the hardest working woman I've ever known. I vividly remember, she had very few pieces of clothing. She wore clothes until they wore out. 

Today, the average woman may have up to 120 garments in her closet. Maybe more? I know I have. 

Clothing is tricky. Our bodies change a lot and Target is just so tempting! You know? 

But I do think you can dress your best for less. It is possible.

I've been working on this area of my life for some time now. I want to look my best without breaking the bank. I want to wear nice, well-made clothing without going broke. I want to feel stylish and put together without spending hours getting ready each week. 

I've done some experimenting with larger capsule wardrobes. I cleaned out my closet to 25 or 30 pieces per season. I only bought what I needed. I enjoyed the process, but I wanted more. More simplicity. More style. Less work. 

Related: 

My 25 Piece Summer Capsule Wardrobe

My 30 Piece Winter Wardrobe

This fall I went a step further,  I cut my capsule down to 10 pieces. I was scared at first. Would I feel restricted? Would I get bored?

The verdict? I LOVE it. It works for me and it may just work for you. Let me show you how I do it.

WHY A  10 PIECE CAPSULE WARDROBE?

I stumbled upon the idea of a ten piece wardrobe after I read Lessons from Madame Chic.

While living in Paris, Jennifer Scott learned fascinating things about French culture. I love learning about the way French woman care for themselves! 

According to Scott, the average French woman has a basic, chic 10 piece uniform. High-quality clothes that fit well and can be worn many different ways. I was hooked as soon as I read it. 

If you think about it, a ten piece wardrobe is incredibly cost effective too. I can buy more expensive, high quality, well-fitting garments if I only have 10 pieces. I shop the sales at some of my favorite boutiques. The crazy part is, I am spending less money on clothes now and feel so much better about what I am wearing. High quality, well fitting clothes matter!

I wear a garment until it wears out or I don't love it anymore. At that point, I give it away or sell it.

THE 80/ 20 RULE 

I know the thought of only having 10 pieces is scary. Can't it possibly be enough clothes? 

This is where I follow the 80 / 20 rule. Eighty percent ( sometimes 90%) of what I wear is from my 10 piece uniform. It is amazing how many different outfits you can come up with when you only have 10 pieces. It is a fun challenge. 

I do have a few extra pieces in my closet that I love. I call this my 20%. I wear these pieces less often but I love them! These may be trendy pieces. Clothing that is really on trend this season. Things you LOVE.

My black leather jacket is a must all year round. I have a few beautiful dresses from Anthropologie that I bought on sale and wear for a special night out or just because! 

I don't go overboard with my 20%. This is not an invitation to buy 20 more pieces. Keep it small. Make sure you love it.

I completely clear out my side of the closet. Get rid of everything else. Store in boxes or give it away. I have my 10 basic pieces hung up on wooden hangers. It so visually appealing to wake up and see all your things ready to go. 

Getting dressed is a breeze. I know what I have to wear it is at all times. Oh, and laundry is so much easier too!

MY TEN PIECE CAPSULE

So, how do you pick 10 pieces for you personal summer uniform?

It is really up to you. Experiment. Pay attention to pieces you love and fit well. Think about your lifestyle and make clothing choices that fit your life. Over time, you'll notice what works for you. 

Here are MY GROUNDRULES for purchasing clothes:

  1. They must fit me. A good flattering fit. If I feel uncomfortable, I do not buy it.
  2. I have to LOVE it. If I feel so-so about it, I don't purchase it. I have to LOVE the piece.
  3. Can I afford it? We are cash only around here. Every dollar counts. I keep myself on a clothing budget. If I can't pay cash for it, I can't buy it.

Here is my basic formula for a 10 piece uniform. 

For summer, I opt for cropped slacks. A well fitting skinny boyfriend cut jean. I like cropped jeans for summer. Mine have a little rip in them too. I can dress them up or down. I also have one pair of shorts. 

For my shirts, I can one high-quality black tee. Two feminine and flowy blouses. One high-quality sleeveless tee. 

I am not a big fan of shorts so I also have 3 dresses for summer. These can be worn so many different ways! I have 2 dresses that are A-line and define the waist. One dress is a straight cut high-quality t-shirt dress. It can also be worn as a tunic. 

IDEAS BASED ON BUDGET AND STORE 

Let's go shopping!

I created 3 different 10 piece capsule wardrobes based on price point. I usually have enough money in my clothing budget to splurge on 1 or 2 high-quality pieces.

For instance, I have these pants from Anthropologie in my current 10 x 10. I LOVE them. I bought them on sale. You can dress them up or down. They are the perfect summer pant. 

HIGH-PRICED ITEMS

In my opinion, high quality clothing fits better and lasts longer. So if you can afford it, buy a piece you love. Try stuff on. Send it back if fits weird. These are the pieces you may have forever. The investment is worth it. 

It's worth noting, Ebay and Thread UP are also great places to score higher quality clothing at rock-bottom prices. 

MID-PRICED ITEMS 

Gap and Old Navy run great prices if you are on a tight budget. Get on their email list and wait for sales. 

Right now, I am loving their Girlfriend Jeans (see above). They are a must have for me and a fantastic price. I linked to them for you! 

I also love their vintage tees right now. They are soft and flattering. I linked to those as well!

BUDGET FRIENDLY ITEMS

Target is also a great place to get affordable clothing. When we were paying off debt, I spent a lot of time at Target trying to find clothing. At the time, it was all we could afford. 

I find their styles to be on trend and (for the most part) fit well. I read the reviews online to see what fit is like before I buy. 

I pulled together pieces I loved this season from Target that would make the perfect summer 10! 


Okay, go build you own 10 piece capsule! Remember our groud rules:

  • Does it fit your body?
  • Do you love it?
  • Can you have to afford it?

If you have some wiggle room in your budget, use the 80/20 rule to add some fun extra things that in trending right now. Have fun! 

Be sure to let us know what piece you will have in your 10 piece capsule!!!

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