My 7 rules for cutting back on social media
The 4 AM project

Planning a capsule wardrobe

Creating a capsule wardrobe with timeless, ethically-made clothes

Part of my Year of Kelsey goal is investing money in creating a capsule wardrobe. My definition of a capsule wardrobe is a collection of essential wardrobe staples that are well-made, fit wonderfully, make me feel great, can be mixed and matched and won't go out of style. 

Along with excellent fit and quality another consideration for my capsule wardrobe is how the clothing is made. I want to support brands that adhere to responsible labor and environmental practices. A few of the brands I've found that have statements about these things include Everlane and Boden and The Art of Simple has a great ethical shopping guide (thanks to Dawn for sharing this with me!). Currently I'm trying out Stitch Fix and requested capsule wardrobe pieces that are ethically made. 

It feels like a perfect time to build a capsule wardrobe. My weight has just about stabilized after significant gains and losses associated with two pregnancies and I feel that I've finally figured out the styles I prefer to wear (classic with inspiration from effortlessly chic French gals and from Audrey Hepburn in her slim black ankle pants).

Creating a capsule wardrobe with timeless, ethically-made clothes

As I've seen girl friends for coffee and play dates over the past couple of months I've been asking them for their sage wardrobe advice. I've loved these conversations would recommend you ask your own girl friends about fashion and style! I asked what pieces they keep reaching for in their closets and what fashion advice they've found most valuable over the years. I've been jotting down everything in a notebook. 

OK, enough preamble! Below is my list of the capsule wardrobe I want to build. Pieces in italic are things I already own. This is not an exhaustive list of everything in my wardrobe. As I acquire new pieces I'll evaluate what I already own and whether it should stay or go but I have already thinned my wardrobe significantly in recent years. By the end of the year I hope to have many things on the list below but don't expect to have them all. 

Creating a capsule wardrobe with timeless, ethically-made clothes


2 pairs of jeans in dark denim and grey or black / Just recently my ONE pair of jeans that I'd been wearing since at least 2012 (when not wearing maternity jeans) finally wore a hole and at Joanna's recommendation I bought a pair of Madewell jeans and I loooooove them. Perfect for being up and down on the floor with little kids without revealing my bum.

2 pencil skirts / I have one in a navy/denim-like fabric (pictured above) and one in black, they are just now fitting again.

slim fit ankle pants / I have a pair in navy (pictured above) that I allllmost fit back into. Stay tuned...

1 - 2 pairs of slacks (for work)

black capri-length leggings / To wear with dresses or tunic-style tops.


2 - 3 everyday tops / such as well-made t-shirts or knit tops.

3 work tops / I have a couple already that might make the cut.

black and white long sleeve sailor-inspired top / purchased from my first Stitch Fix box and pictured above.

white button-down shirt

tunic top / The tunic + leggings is a look I love.

black blazer / I so badly want to rock the blazer look and am hoping Stitch Fix will help me find a great one.

1 - 2 cardigans / I have a few but none are of great quality, I'd like to upgrade them over time. Plus it's hard to find lightweight Arizona-appropriate styles that still look professional enough for the office. One cardigan that I do love is the gold shrug pictured above, perfect for keeping shoulders warm on dressier occasions.

grey zip-up hoodie / mine is worn out and needs an update. Over the years I've found I love having this easy, casual layer in my closet.

black trench coat / Trench coats are the perfect weight for Arizona winters. I actually had one that I loved but left it at a hotel.


casual weekend dress / something like this that I can wear to the park with the boys or out to breakfast.

3 work dresses / I have a simple grey dress (pictured above), a black dress and a dress with a modern print that I consistently wear to work. What I need are ways to complete these outfits, like a sweater, scarf or the right jewelry.


low boot / I wouldn't have put this on my list except my stylish friend Allyson looks so great in hers and convinced me they are versatile and not scary. :)

tall boots / I've had trouble finding boots that don't have a wide calf, recommendations welcome!

sandals / Something for the summer that can go to the park or out to dinner matched with a dress.

dress shoes / I have a pair of simple, black shoes with a wedge heel that go to work or out on a date.

slip-on low sneakers / I love my leopard print sneakers and can wear them to the playground or to book club, mine are from DSW and similar to these.

2 pairs ballet flats / I have one pair that are camel with black detailing and uber cheap from Old Navy but they are comfortable and versatile. I'd like another pair that are grey or metallic.


2 pairs of capri pants / I've found Lululemon pants to be worth the investment.

2 sleeveless tops / I have two of this style and love how soft they are.

1 sports bra / Although I really should get a second one!

long sleeve workout top

~5 pairs of anklet socks

running shoes


10 pairs of underwear / like many of us, I'm sure, I could use an update! These have been my simple go-to for years but I'd like to find another brand committed to ethical production, any recommendations?

3 - 4 bras / Once I'm finished nursing I need to be refitted and potentially buy a new bra or two. I've heard Third Love advertised on a podcast and think I might try it out (and just saw that they have underwear too!). 

2 camisoles / I have one in nude and one in black. Perfect for wearing under sheer shirts or for a little extra warmth when it's chilly.

7 pairs of no-show socks / These have been a revelation since my good friend Kathy told me about them, every woman should have these in her wardrobe! 

black tights


3 pairs of everyday earrings / I usually wear my favorite tiny bar studs everyday but I also love my simple pearl studs and diamond studs.

1 pair of dressier earrings / Something dangly.

~2 everyday necklaces / On most days I wear a simple gold bar necklace. I also have a multi-colored glass bead necklace that is versatile. I love wearing necklaces and wouldn't mind getting one more simple necklace

1 - 2 statement necklaces / I've tried to find something fun but am never sure what will look good on or with my clothes.

work bag / I really like my current work bag (from Target) but it's starting to wear.

everyday purse

clutch / Great for date nights.

scarf / I probably need to thin my scarf collection. 


WHEW! That feels like a lot but I'm pretty sure that covers EVERYthing. I would LOVE to hear what essential pieces you are always reaching for and your sage fashion advice!