I honestly wish I would have titled this "A mid 30 year olds guide to a Spring Boho Capsule Wardrobe" but I didn't want to leave anyone out and/or stereotype these pieces of clothing in any way! Honestly though, I chose each of these items from my person 37 year old perspective and I do feel that even if you are in you mid to late 30's all of these pieces are age appropriate.
The basic definition of a capsule wardrobe is 15-20 pieces of clothing that can be mixed and matched, worn in many different ways, in order to extend the wearability of each piece. I've included a quick visual below for reference using the vintage Johnny Cash tee. Essentially out of one t-shirt you are getting 3+ different outfits -- not to mention the other items you already own (like jeans and sneakers) that it will easily pair with.
In terms of budgeting and saving money on your wardrobe, think of a capsule wardrobe this way... if one item cost $50 and you wear it once a month over the course of a season (4 months) the cost of that item per wear is around $12.50. However if you can find a piece that is $50 and wear that item 5 times a month for an entire 4 month season the cost of that once piece goes down to $2.50 per wear. You are extending your dollar by buying clothing you can wear in multiple different ways.
Obviously your personal budget will depend on what items you are buying for your capsule wardrobe. I'm the kind of person who will spend more money on classic staples in my closet (like jeans) and then shop inexpensive for more trendy pieces. The items I chose here are all from Amazon and the highest priced item is $46. In fact if you purchase every single item from this list you would pay just over $300 and that's pretty awesome for an entire season of clothing. PS I made sure each item had a minimum of a 4 star rating.
TIPS ON CHOOSING PIECES FOR YOUR OWN CAPSULE WARDROBE
Maybe you like the idea of the capsule wardrobe, but aren't too keen on what I've included in my list. Here are a few tips as you are building your own capsule wardrobe.
1. Decide what are dressing for. Work or Casual? Vacation? In some cases these two may overlap depending on your career, however I believe in most cases, even if you can dress more casual for work, you don't really want to be wearing your work clothes on the weekends.
2. Define your personal style. What type of clothing do you gravitate more towards? Have you ever seen someone in public and complimented them on their outfit? What did that look like? Clean lines or flowing? Solid or pattern or a good mix? Classic or Trendy? If you aren't fully sure, head to Pinterest and start pinning what you like. Pin, pin, pin, and pin. Don't necessarily think about body type at this point, you are simply trying to find what your eye gravitates more towards including color palettes, prints, solids, fabrics, etc. After you have a hundred or so pins, take a good scroll through and see what things are common. More than likely you will find a similarity between them. Doing this will help you start shopping list. Let's say you have a lot of pins of women in a white t-shirt, with either a kimono or a button down tee over. Add a white tee to your shopping list and keep your eye open to different types of tops you can wear over the tee.
3. Decide on a color pallet. The only way a capsule wardrobe works is if all the items can be mixed and matched in multiple ways and while I'm a BIG believer in mixing tones and patterns, make sure you don't have too much of one thing. For example, when I first decided to do a capsule wardrobe was on an international trip. I immediately went for solids that mixed and matched well - grey, black, pink - and I added in a little camo. You can read the full biog here, but basically I was so bored with wearing solids so much I ended up only wearing 1 or 2 outfits the entire trip. If solids are more your thing, than yes, do the solid thing, but if you know you like pattern and texture, find ways to mix and match these into your basic pieces.
4. Shop your closet first. Always take inventory of what you already have that you love and can mix into your seasonal capsule wardrobe. You probably already have a favorite pair of jeans (or 7 pairs if you're anything like me), jean shorts, jean jacket, black pants, a neutral color sweater etc.
5. Make a shopping list for what you need. Obviously everyone is different depending on what they like to wear. I'm a dress girl so my capsule wardrobes always include at least three options for dresses. I'm also a t-shirt and jean girl so I like to have a few different options for t-shirts while I don't mind wearing the same jeans over and over again. Determine what it is you like to wear most often that fits into your lifestyle and the purpose of your capsule wardrobe. Create a list numbered one through twenty. First add in the pieces you already own and then the remaining spaces are what you need to purchase.
6. Spend Mindfully. I would be remiss not to mention a budget in this process. I personally think a great reason to create a seasonal capsule wardrobe is to keep us from buying items just because we like them when in reality the necessity it very low. Give yourself a budget for the entire capsule wardrobe. If you already own 10 pieces...AWESOME...you can either spend more on the remains 10 pieces or save money and cut your budget in half. As I mentioned above, I like to spend more money on things I know I will wear more often and into other seasons, like jeans or a jean jacket. Both of those items can be worn in every single season and they are classic pieces that will last for years. But I also love trendy things pieces like kimonos. I don't know how long I'll like to wear them so spending around $20 for those makes more sense to me.