Why a Capsule Wardrobe is the Secret to an Easier Morning Routine

Art teachers are busy people and time is our greatest resource. We begin the school year with the good intention of pre-made lunches, pre-planned outfits, and even early morning exercise. Soon, reality kicks in, and we fall into our old patterns and same old rushed morning routine.

Nobody knows this better than AOE’s fearless leader, President, and CEO, Jessica Balsley. She’s a trailblazer in art education, a busy mom, and still has time to look great. Jessica used to be one of those people who had a pile of clothes outside her closet each morning after getting ready. Now, her closet is reminiscent of a classic boutique. How the heck does she do it?

The Capsule Wardrobe

Jessica was inspired by writer Jennifer L. Scott’s idea of the 10-item wardrobe. As a busy entrepreneur, the idea that her closet could be simplified was revolutionary for Jessica. The phrase “capsule wardrobe” was coined in the 1970s by London fashionista Susie Faux. It revolves around the idea that the best wardrobe consists of a small number of high-quality, versatile items that make you feel good when you wear them.

The capsule wardrobe is different for everyone. For instance, Jessica has about 10-15 items she rotates for the seasons. To keep her closet simple, she stores the clothing for other seasons in drawers or boxes out of the way. This method cuts down on her need to make too many decisions each morning by having only simple, versatile, great fitting clothes she loves to wear! For example, a black dress can be dressed up or down with a beautiful piece of statement jewelry, a trench coat, a pair of red ballet flats (Jessica’s go to shoes), or a vibrant scarf.

Jessica with red flats

Jessica knows art teacher wardrobes are unique. Our clothing can get messy and, of course, as creative people, we express a lot of identity through what we wear. This can be challenging when choosing simple items you can mix and match.

Here are 3 ways to keep your capsule wardrobe art teacher friendly:

hanging clothes

1. Make your school wardrobe mess friendly.

Jessica recommends getting higher quality fabrics so your clothes can survive multiple washings. In addition, you’ll want to think about having darker colors that resist stains. That beautiful white blouse might need to be for after school hours only!

Also, Jessica has a work wardrobe but also has a few items reserved for nights out and special occasions, like weddings or art shows. Because you’re not buying a million different dressy outfits, you can focus on spending the money on something you love to wear.

2. Express yourself with accessories.

Creating a capsule wardrobe may mean less of those cheap, fun crazy-colored purchases. But, that doesn’t mean your wardrobe will be boring. Jessica’s summer wardrobe is full of colorful pieces, and she relies on accessories to bring her outfits to life. Creating a small capsule of 10-15 statement necklaces, earrings, and scarves can turn “simple” into “artsy” in seconds. Plus, necklaces are less likely to get paint stains!

3. It’s all about your attitude!

Jessica is quick to remind us being artsy isn’t all about crazy outfits. It’s more about being confident and feeling good in our own skin. An easier morning means your greatest accessory will be the smile on your face! Plus, having great looking pieces you can throw on in minutes will help you feel put together on even your drabbest days.

Jessica in her office

So, with the likes of President Obama and Steve Jobs touting the idea of a uniform outfit, why wouldn’t we give the capsule wardrobe a try? Start by taking all your items out of your closet and keeping only 10-15 seasonally appropriate pieces that look and fit great. Then, keep the rest in storage. If you miss something, you can make it a part of your 15! On the flip side, if something stays in the box for three months, you probably don’t need it. Donate or toss it.

As your clothing items wear out, feel free to replace them with newer high-quality picks. Just be careful, says Jessica! Resist the urge to replace items over and over again, or worse; refill your closet beyond your 15-piece limit. If feelings of boredom or the desire to shop pops up, remember the joy of waking up and getting ready in minutes each morning is worth it.

Do you have any hacks for an easier morning?

 Have you ever tried a minimalist wardrobe? How did it work?

Kelly Phillips

Kelly teaches elementary TAB in Hopkinton, MA . She strives to create an environment where all students can become independent, self-directed risk-takers.

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  • Mrs. Bacon

    I teach online and it is key to have easy camera ready items to wear when meeting with my supervisor or meeting with my students. I also have to transition quickly to meeting with face to face students as well later in the day with my adult students so capsule your wardrobe and never forget to find good staple items to mix and match. The foundations matter. Also, if I had to add something to your list is that get a really good apron that is cute.

    • Jessica Balsley

      Great addition with the apron! One for home (cooking) and the art room is a must. When you invest in something, a stain can feel devastating!

    • Kelly Phillips

      Every year I buy a really great apron to help me her excited to be back in my classroom!

  • johana gugman

    ive the capsule wardrobe a try? Start by taking all your items out of your closet and keeping only 10-15 seasonally appropriate pieces that look and fit great. Then, keep the rest in storage. If you miss something, you can make it a part of your 15! On the flip side, fotografien gibt mir die idee einer kunstausstellung in unserer stadt in den kommenden jahren, wo es unter anderem digitale Werke der Statur von Edouard Manet, Gabino amaya cacho, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Edgard Degas Paul Cézanne geben wird.r emember the joy of waking up and getting ready in minutes each morning is worth it.

  • Chris

    I check the weather over the week-end & then line up 6 outfits that will go with what I’m teaching and the weather reports. I have a couple of cardigans or jackets that will go with several of the outfits. Then, I put them at the front end of the closet so I don’t have to search or even think too much in the mornings. I have 6 so that I can choose even on Friday.

    • Kelly Phillips

      That’s a great idea, Chris!