Three years ago, just climbing out of bed every morning was a monumental effort. I never knew when my period would strike, never knew when the maelstrom of hormones would appear as bursting ovarian cysts (hello, internal bleeding) or a stunning migraine. I was living with anxiety, depression, and a hormonal disorder called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 15 years old. I was a late bloomer—my first period hit when I was six weeks shy of my sweet 16—and my lack of menstruation was the first symptom that tipped off my mother to take me to the doctor. I was also experiencing uncontrollable weight gain even though I ate clean and had hormonal imbalances that led to depression and social anxiety. To put it simply, I felt “weird,” like I wasn’t like other girls. This makes sense since PCOS causes unusually high levels of testosterone in women. I was having some of the hormonal experiences of a 16-year-old boy (with the upper-lip hairs to match).
At the time, I was being held hostage by my body. Until my capsule wardrobe empowered me.
New clothes, new outlook.
In the old days, I had tons of clothes in all different colors and styles, half of which didn’t even fit. Getting dressed was a chore that made me feel fat and disappointed with my final outfit. Getting out of bed could be so difficult, and I was tired of this added stress. I just wanted to have an easy closet that reflected my personal style and soul. Enter the capsule.
If you’ve ever browsed Pinterest, you’ve probably come across capsule wardrobes—closets that consist of about 32 to 40 pieces of clothing for a specific season. I soon created my first bohemian capsule wardrobe in the hopes that it made mornings a little less painful. I created a system to incorporate bright, unusual patterns into an otherwise minimalist closet (an aesthetic that I now share with my clients!) to bring out my free-spirited personality.
After I built out my wardrobe, it was suddenly easy to get dressed. No more trying on five outfits only to end up upset. No more sweaty, panicked rushes out the door only to be late—again. In fact, I was saving more than 30 minutes each morning, which turned into time I’d use to implement my health goals. I started by going for a 20-minute walk every morning, which soon became a 30-minute run. I fell in love with the happy hormones, the runners high, and the calm, confident feeling that followed long jogs. My capsule wardrobe helped my health in other ways, too. I stopped mindlessly spending my money on clothes and instead used it to buy healthier food.
Over time, I lost over 20 pounds and my periods slowly became more regular. On top of that, my new wardrobe—filled with color and life—gave me confidence and a spark in my eye. It’s helped me rediscover how to take care of (and love!) myself, even on dark days.
I truly believe our closets are opportunities for self-care. You have to wear clothes every day, so why not choose some that make you feel like a glowing goddess rather than a disorganized hot mess?
Inspired to start your own capsule? Here are my top three tips:
1. Pick three concrete descriptions of how you want to feel in your clothes daily.
I call these “image words,” and they guide everything you do in your closet. Such a money, pain, and timesaver! They’ll give you a goal to aim for during any closet clean-out or capsule building you do, making the whole project simple.
One of my image words is “cloud” because I want to feel natural, light, and airy in my clothes. Another of my image words is “Stevie Nicks” because I love her rock-n-roll, slightly goth style.
2. Choose items that have details you love.
That way, even if you’re just wearing 40 items in a season, you won’t get bored. I recommend donating items that no longer serve you to local homeless shelters and charities. If you have a garment that is very special to you but you no longer wear, think about turning it into a quilt, a pillow, or even a framed piece of art.
3. Build your capsule around a specific color palette.
Pick three neutrals for every three pops of color. This way, you’ll have a solid foundation of staples to play with.