Creating a Minimalist Winter Wardrobe

Written by Eléonore

In Dressed we taught you how to create and design a capsule wardrobe, but since then we have received many requests to apply The Method to the rest of the Deer&Doe library. Today we’ll cover some ideas for how to build a capsule wardrobe around the colder seasons.

Our goal today is to create a minimalist winter wardrobe that will be warm, comfortable, and still chic. To do so, we need to define the context more specifically, and identify the criteria this context calls for. What situations do we need the garments for? What do the garments need to do for us?

Defining the Context and Criteria: Life at Home

  • Work days spent on a computer. Garments need to be comfortable when seated for long periods of time.
  • Playing with children throughout the day. Garments must allow for mobility (bending over, picking things up, moving around, etc.)
  • Occasional outings. Garments need to feel stylish and well put together.
  • Overall Style: minimalist chic. Create simple, but intentional pieces.
  • Fabric Preferences: natural and breathable fibers. Cotton, linen, wool, etc.

Creating a Moodboard: Minimalist Casual Wear

The next step is to start sourcing images that are inspiring and create a moodboard. This helps to identify preferred silhouettes, styles, and gives inspiration for complete outfits rather than individual pieces. We have reiterated this process until the moodboard felt cohesive and appropriately suited to our context defined above.

Now we will take note of colors, textures, and other qualities.

  • Outfits are soft, chic, and comfortable.
  • Fabrics are heavy and feature semi-fluid drape.
  • Textures: matte, soft, smooth, opaque, spongy.
  • Patterns: solids and heather fabrics.

Planning the Outfits:

Once the context is identified and styles defined, now it is time to drill down into exactly how many pieces we need. In Dressed we cover in detail how to arrive at these numbers (and provide an easy formula and worksheet to calculate your own requirements and personal preferences), but in summary here is what we need for this particular capsule wardrobe:

  • Outfits for November through February. Total of 122 days.
  • Each outfit will be worn 10 times, which means a minimum of 12 outfits required.
  • Goal is choose pieces that are varied enough to not get boring, and avoid making the same garment several times .

Choosing the Patterns:

With those requirements and numbers in mind, we’ll identified 8 garments that will meet our needs and provide enough variety for the months ahead.

Identifying Outfit Combinations:

Perhaps the most fun part of building a capsule wardrobe: planning outfits! We previously determined that we need at least 12 different combinations, but luckily these outfits will provide over 18 combinations:

Planning Fabric Choices

Now that we’ve selected the patterns to sew and figured out how to style them all together, it’s time to finish the planning process by choosing what fabrics to make them in. Here we will refer to our earlier moodboard and context notes:

  • Natural and breathable fibers like cotton and wool.
  • Soft and comfortable.
  • Jersey and sweater knits ideal. For woven patterns, be mindful of stretch percentage and sizing down if sewing the pattern with knits. Apply interfacing and stabilize seams as needed.

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Of course, there is no reason to purchase all new fabrics if you don’t want or need to. If you’d like to repurpose items already in your closet or stash, refer to this post for some creative ways to make use of what you already have. Likewise, we did not touch on developing a color palette in this post, but you can find a full tutorial for that here.

We hope this post has helped and inspired you to embark on some seasonal sewing planning! Do you have a favorite outfit combination from the capsule wardrobe above? What do the months ahead look like for you?

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