organizing a capsule wardrobe
Minimalism & Decluttering

Capsule Wardrobe for Weight Change: How to Flatter Your Fluctuating Figure

What’s inside: Your guide to understanding how to organize a capsule wardrobe for changing weight (whether you’re losing, or you’ve gained!)

The mom years can be tough on a body.  Pregnancies. Postpartum body shifting. Working to get back to your “ideal” image of your former self. All that weight coming on, stubbornly fighting to take permanent residence on your hips like English settlers in Jamestown. Your stomach showing battle scars and a healthy roundness that doesn’t understand it’s not welcomed.  

Maybe you were one of those women that had to fight for fertility, injecting hormones that made you bloat up like a balloon. Maybe, like me, you struggled with miscarriages. Or maybe your morning sickness was so bad you had to constantly eat to keep it at bay. Perhaps you were bedridden and couldn’t get regular activity.  Or, maybe you just truly enjoyed the pregnancy eating experience and had a few too many ice cream cones. We all have a story.

As if adjusting to life with kids isn’t enough, now you have to dress that new body in all the clothes that were made for your old body.  You and your body both know this is a lie and it’s not working. Every morning you stuff yourself into styles that fit the body you used to have, constantly reminding you of where you want to be, but you just aren’t.  It’s frustrating. Disheartening. And sometimes downright painful.

Why a transitional capsule wardrobe for changing weight is the solution

Don’t worry- I’m about to share a secret that will save your mornings- and your self-confidence!  You can still feel beautiful and confident in this new body, whether it’s here for a season or a lifetime.  I’m sharing the tricks to organizing a capsule wardrobe for changing weight so that you can feel great about your style and look, no matter what stage of weight gain or loss you’re in!

Side note: If you’re one of those women who barely wore maternity clothes on that gorgeous bump and your body bounced back like you just overate at Chipotle, don’t worry-there are tips for you in here, too! Go make yourself a cup of coffee while we handle the capsule wardrobe for changing weight tips, then sip it like the glorious unicorn you are and join back with us further down when we curate your closet.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

Essentially, a capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothes you love (and feel great in) that is easy to mix-and-match and changes with the seasons.  

Some people have four capsule wardrobes per year, but since I don’t find I have time for that, and the seasons overlap a lot here in the Midwest, I created a fall/winter and spring/summer capsule.  If you’re a fashionista who really loves clothes, feel free to create four capsules a year and live your best life. Or, if you’re a diehard minimalist who despises fashion, you might create a year-round capsule so you never think about clothes again. You do you.

Capsule Wardrobe Formula

There are lots of variations of capsule wardrobes out there on the interwebs.  Some focus on a very specific number of items in each category, or a certain number of pieces altogether.


While there are technically no hard or fast rules, you will likely find a happy number of each item as you go along.  If having no rules makes you feel liberated, great. If you are angry at me right now for not providing specific rules, I’ll set some optional boundaries for you. Here’s a great capsule wardrobe formula for getting started: 8 tops, 4 bottoms, 2 dresses and 5 pairs of shoes.

I also love this 4×4 capsule wardrobe formula from The Vivienne Files as an alternate way to choose your pieces.

A general capsule wardrobe formula is to aim for 21-28 outfits for a transitional capsule wardrobe.  That’s enough outfits to not repeat a combo for three to four weeks!

To determine how many outfits you currently have, use this capsule wardrobe formula:

# of tops x # of bottoms + dresses = # of outfits

So for example:

8 tops x 4 bottoms + 2 dresses = 34 outfits

You’ll notice this results in more combinations than the 21-28 rule, but here’s the thing: the capsule wardrobe formula assumes that every shirt coordinates with every option for bottoms. 

Since this is rarely the case if you’re keeping the stuff you currently own that fits, don’t lose sleep if you have a few more than that number.

Creating a transitional capsule wardrobe isn’t about stringent rules.  It’s about clothing freedom- learning how to put together a capsule wardrobe that you love and feel great in!

If all this is giving you flashbacks to high school math class, I’ve got ya covered!  I’ve created a super simple beginner’s guide to creating your own capsule wardrobe that you’re going to love!  Be sure to snag it so you can DIY your own amazing wardrobe!

How to organize a capsule wardrobe for changing weight

Setting up a capsule wardrobe for changing weight doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Here are some tips to help you adjust your current wardrobe during seasons of weight change. It can be done.  You can still feel confident, beautiful, and put together, no matter where you are on your weight journey.  

I promise, putting together a capsule wardrobe during weight changes is easier than you think!

Capsule wardrobe for changing weight: tips for a shrinking figure

If you’re trying to build a capsule wardrobe while losing weight, here are some tips to simplify your closet and get more mileage out of the clothes you currently own:

  1. Experiment with shirt tuck styles.
  2. Buy a versatile belt– a great belt can help you cinch down larger blouses to help define your newly formed waist.  It can also help hold up those pants that are starting to slide out of place.
  3. Get rid of larger clothing that no longer fits or compliments your figure (or declutter down to your favorites and pack them away if you’re not done with the baby making years).

capsule wardrobe weight changes

Organizing a capsule wardrobe for changing weight: after a weight gain

The struggle with setting up a capsule wardrobe when you’ve gained weight is that, if you’re like me, you don’t want to spend money to dress the figure you have while you’re working to get the figure that you want.  It seems frivolous to spend money on clothes you hope to shrink out of.

However, as is often the case, the shrinking process takes a heck of a lot longer than the growing one. And during that time, feeling uncomfortable or miserable in your clothes does no favors for your confidence or motivation.

It’s true that money can’t buy happiness, but a few outfits that make you feel beautiful and stylish can go a long way.  Organizing a capsule wardrobe can be an easy strategy to build confidence at the size you are while you work to get back to the size you want to be. 

By being intentional with a few key choices, you can select pieces for your fluctuating figure capsule wardrobe that will continue to look great as you transition between sizes. 

Tips for organizing a capsule wardrobe after weight gain:

  1. Search out fashion ideas for your size.  Follow new people on Instagram or Pinterest that have a great style and whose size is similar to your own.  Find inspiration for where you are instead of pinning styles for the body you want someday.
  2. Buy basics that will mix and match with each other and accessorize them with cute shoes, scarves, or necklaces.  Accessories that make a statement compliment any outfit and look great whether you’re a size 6 or 26.
  3. Stick to a strict color scheme so that everything you own coordinates.  This will give you maximum versatility and many more outfit choices. If you need a rule, try two or three neutrals and two or three colors (or toss a pattern in- florals, stripes, or animal prints make fun options! Just make sure the pattern still works with your neutrals for easy pairing!)
  4. Buy clothing that skims the body.  Even if you don’t love your current size, you’ll look your best if you follow this advice.  Clothing that’s super loose fitting makes your silhouette appear larger than it really is and can make you feel frumpy.  And frumpy never made anyone feel confident.
  5. Try skirts on for size.  Skirts are often more forgiving than pants, so a few great skirts will be your best friends as you transition between sizes.  Plus, once you permanently shrink down, skirts can be altered without much notice. Try an A-line skirt for a super flattering look in your transitional wardrobe.
  6. Shop secondhand, swap with friends, and watch for deals on Amazon to buy some great pieces on the cheap. Then, once you’ve permanently transitioned out of that size, gift your larger pieces to a friend and teach her the value of creating a transitional capsule wardrobe! Remember, thanks to the power of the capsule wardrobe formula, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on transitional clothing to set up a stylish capsule wardrobe.

Curate your closet & transform your style!

Now that we’ve covered how to organize a capsule wardrobe while losing weight, and how to put together a capsule wardrobe after gaining weight, let’s dive deeper into how you set up a transitional capsule wardrobe so that you can create a rockin’ look- regardless of your size!

Snag your free DIY capsule template to inventory your closet and determine gaps in your wardrobe. Use the template to fine-tune your closet and create an easy-to-use capsule wardrobe!  This guide will take the guesswork out of what to wear!


How to organize a transitional capsule wardrobe during weight changes

Note: the style guide steps below will work even when you aren’t transitioning between sizes (welcome back, unicorns!)

1. Go through your closet and assess everything you own.

    • Remove all clothing NOT in your current size.  If you don’t want to part with them permanently, place them in a storage container.  As you shrink, you can “shop your storage” for smaller clothes to add to your capsule.  If the clothing is too large, but you aren’t done having babies, declutter to only your favorites and put this clothing away with your maternity gear (see how I declutter with the container principle for more thoughts on this!).  If the baby making season is over for you, don’t keep this clothing! Swap with a friend or donate it.
    • Removing clothes that are worn, holey, stretched out, or just don’t fit right on your figure.
    • Assess what remains.  Declutter any pieces you don’t love the look, feel, or style of.  Only keep clothing that fits and that you enjoy wearing. Don’t worry if this doesn’t leave you with much.  You’ll be surprised how many ways you can build a wardrobe with a few basic pieces.

2. Set a budget

You don’t need to spend a ton of money on creating a transitional capsule wardrobe.  Your budget will depend on numerous factors, including how many current pieces you can include in your capsule and what type of clothing you wish to purchase (brand new, name brand, thrift or secondhand, etc.). 

As we mentioned earlier, a great way to make your money stretch is to buy coordinating basics and punch them up with accessories like earrings, scarves, necklaces, or bold shoe choices.  Splurge on accessories- they are sizeless ways to add drama to any capsule!

3. Buy Core Capsule Pieces

Remember from above that a good rule of thumb is to aim for 21-28 outfits when putting together a transitional capsule wardrobe. That’s 3-4 weeks of cute looks you love and feel great in!  

In order for the capsule wardrobe formula to work, your capsule must consist of items that can easily mix-and-match.  The simplest way to achieve this is to buy items that stick to a preselected color palette. For instance, stick with two or three neutrals, then add in two or three colors + denim (denim goes with everything, so it gets a pass!)

Here is my current color palette for my fall capsule:

Neutrals: olive, navy, cream

Colors: wine, camel, dark turquoise

And that’s it!  You now have all the tips and tricks you need to put together a stunning transitional capsule wardrobe! 

capsule wardrobe for changing weight

Helpful reminders as you organize a transitional capsule wardrobe for changing weight:

  1. Shop your body type– remember to shop for the body you have, not the body you want.  This will ensure all the transitional pieces you select will make you feel great, just as you are.
  2. Prioritize lifestyle spanning pieces– shop for wardrobe staples that can do double duty, like a cute floral dress that could pair with pumps for a wedding or with Chucks and a denim jacket for a more casual look. Not only will this maximize your wardrobe options, but it will stretch your budget, too!
  3. Stick to your color palette!  This is the hardest one for me to follow, as I often find super cute stuff that is outside of my specified colors.  However, buying outside your palette will reduce your outfit options and will not help you get the most for your money out of your transitional budget.
  4. Buy what makes you feel great!  At the end of the day, you have a personal style that you enjoy and that makes you feel confident (if you don’t, you will by the time you create a seasonal capsule wardrobe or two!).  Find pieces that make you feel amazing that also work within the structure of the capsule you’re creating.

Organizing a capsule wardrobe for changing weight- you can do this!

The mom years can be tough for so many reasons.  Your wardrobe doesn’t have to be one of them.  

Whether you’re trying to set up a capsule wardrobe while losing weight and need some flattering looks, or you’re trying to build a capsule wardrobe after some weight gain and want to feel confident again, these tips will help you get there!  Incorporate this style guide to create a capsule wardrobe for changing weight and feel great no matter how your weight fluctuates!

Remember to snag your free beginner’s guide to creating a capsule wardrobe!  This simple template will have you looking stylish in no time!

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