02/09/2015 04:11 pm ET Updated Apr 11, 2015

How a Capsule Wardrobe Can Save Any Working Mother's Morning


I'm only somewhat embarrassed to admit that the hardest part of going back to work has been getting dressed each morning. Enter the solution: a capsule wardrobe. This simple concept has changed each and every morning for the better, simplified my days, and -- I believe -- improved upon my style, although that part is debatable and ultimately irrelevant. What is important is that I no longer worry about what to wear, or waste precious morning moments arguing with myself over the right outfit only to come up short and leave the house in the third attempt which is still not great but will have to do because I've run out of time. If you don't have trouble getting dressed every day then by all means, move on. But if, like me, you do, then the capsule wardrobe is for you too, dear friend. Your world is about to be rocked.

When I first started back to work in an office (with a highly individualized dress code norm) I enlisted the help of my daughter to plan my outfits. But stylish as she is, no 14-year-old girl can grasp the unique challenges with which we women of a certain age must grapple. The capsule wardrobe takes the guess work out of getting dressed.

The concept is so simple: 37 pieces (give or take) including shoes but not other accessories, switched out every season. It's like having a uniform with a lot of different options. I've followed the UnFancy post that the lovely (and very fashionable, no matter what she says) author Kyran Pittman pointed me toward in her post on Planting Dandelions. I shall be forever in Kyran's debt for chronicling her own wardrobe adventures.

There is peace in my closet now. And the constraints make room for creativity. More is never more for me. The capsule wardrobe is to getting dressed as deadlines are to writing. Every morning I've got to put something on and it's going to be some combination of these 37 things, one way or another. Just like when I commit to submit some bit of writing by a certain date, it gets done, one way or another. I'm fairly certain that I've actually put together better outfits with fewer repeats under the new system, but even if that's not true, what matters is I have an easier time of getting dressed every morning. If I haven't driven this point home yet, let me say once more, as clearly as I can, I have a really difficult time dressing myself. I'm like a 3-year-old, but with less fashion savvy.

I suspect there are deep insights to be found in the way we dress ourselves each day and how we manage the care and keeping of our clothes. Maybe someday I'll write about that. And while I appreciate those who share their fashion savvy with the world, you'll probably have to see me in person to check out my outfits. A fashion blogger I'm not. What I will tell you is that if you have trouble getting dressed in the morning (or afternoon or evening) then the capsule wardrobe might just change your life. Or at least get you out the door faster.