the nursing-friendly spring capsule wardrobe.

My household has been sick for 100 years. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, more like two weeks.

It started as a cough, turned into a sneeze, and before you knew it, everyone had fevers/double ear infections/colds/bronchiolitis/laryngitis/sinus infections. I don’t even know.

Don’t worry, I totally sanitized the whole house. Anyone up for a playdate?

We are never home this much. I usually have daily activities planned with the kids Monday-Friday so when I found myself home for days on end, my inner Monica Geller squealed in delight.

I CAN CLEAN! All! The! Things!

There is nothing better than a freshly organized bathroom drawer, AMIRIGHT?

In other words, it was the perfect time to create a capsule wardrobe! What’s a capsule wardrobe, you ask? You can read all about it here from the original source.

Basically, the idea of the capsule wardrobe appealed to me for three reasons:

1. Half the items in my closet do not fit well (friendly reminder – I just had a baby).
2. Half the items in my closet are not conducive to nursing.
3. I only get dressed in real clothes, like, twice a week.

I’m a big believer in making up your own rules, so here are the rules I set for my capsule wardrobe:

1. Clothes must fit my current body.
2. Clothes must work for breastfeeding.

That’s it. How did I do this? I pulled every single item out of my closet, threw everything on the bed, and only put back the seasonal items that worked for my two rules. I ended up with 45 items, which is more than the recommended 37, but Carson still throws up on me like once a day so it seemed fair to include a few extra tops.

Right away I noticed something alarming: I have a lot of clothes. Which is ironic, considering how many times I stand in front of my closet whining, I have noooooothing to wear! I actually do a great job of rotating my clothes seasonally (usually twice a year, once for fall/winter and once for spring/summer), but I don’t do a great job at paring down my wardrobe to fit my current size and lifestyle. And when you’ve spent a total of 18 months over the past 4 years carrying 2 babies in your belly and a current total of 18 months (and counting) nursing said babies, “size” and “lifestyle” are worth taking into consideration. I spent all of 2014 gaining weight during my pregnancy with Carson, and now I’m in the process of losing that weight, but my chest is 3x bigger than it normally is, which leads to a lot of whining in front of the closet.

Enough of that.

I took all of my teeny tiny itty bitty clothes and threw them in a storage bag so they would stop taunting me and adding to my indecisiveness/discontentedness. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Without further ado, here is my (mostly) nursing friendly spring capsule wardrobe, created to dress me from April 1-May 31st! A lot of the items are old(er), but I tried to include relevant or current links when applicable on a few of the recently purchased/gifted items.

Capsule - Shirtsbasic white button down (Target) / grey open cardigan (Anthropologie) / fringe open cardigan (Stitch Fix) / cream open shoulder blouse (old, from Nordstrom Rack) / basic black tee (old, from Banana Republic) / deletta slouchy tee (old, from Anthropologie) / floral blouse (thredUP) / denim vest (last summer from H&M) / floral button down blouse (free from local clothing swap)

Capsule - dress + bottoms

green shirtdress (H&M) / black & white abstract dress with buttons (from Nordstrom Rack) / striped t-shirt dress (bought last summer from Target) / denim shorts (Gap) / black scalloped shorts (ASOS) / denim roll-up shorts (Anthropologie) / hi-rise jegging (American Eagle) / abstract romper (bought in store from Target, like yesterday) / hi-rise jegging (American Eagle)


maxi skirt (Anthropologie) / soft grey maxi dress (thredUP) / floral maxi skirt (Nordstrom Rack) / slouchy tee (Nordstrom Rack) / brown maxi skirt (The Limited) / california tee (Nordstrom Rack) / tissue coral v-neck tee (J.Crew, from thredUP) / striped tank (J.Crew) / coral racerback tank (Madewell, from thredUP)

capsule 2

Madre tee (Riley & Co) / pink racerback tank (Nordstrom Rack) / love tee (free at local clothing swap) / grey essential rib tank (Gap) / black & white striped tee (Nordstrom Rack) / sequin tank (J.Crew via thredUP) / white button down tank (Hi-line via thredUP) / light grey sweater (thredUP) / blue & white striped tank (Stitch Fix)

Capsule - ShoesToms (via Zulily) / black sandal heels (Modcloth) / striped flats (Target) / ankle sandals (old, from Target) / jellyfish t-bar flats (ASOS, similar) / Toms sandals (via Zulily) / Franco Sarto wedges (old, Nordstrom Rack) / Sam & Libby flip-flops (Target, similar) / Anne Klein wedges (old, Nordstrom Rack)

And now? NOW my closet looks like THIS:

capsule wardrobe-1

Ahhhhh! Isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t it simple? Isn’t it so easy to get dressed now?

A few things….

-I did not count loungewear/pajamas/workout clothes, which actually account for 80% of my wardrobe (embarrassing). I am hoping that this capsule wardrobe will encourage me to wear “real” clothes more often.

-In non-postpartum life, I wear Paige denim, not American Eagle. I had Carson in October and needed jeans stat, but couldn’t justify buying nice jeans to get me through the in-between phase. AE was having a huge sale, the jeans were $30 a pop, and hey! The high-rise + stretch combination is super forgiving on a postpartum body and made shopping in a store full of teenagers totally worth it.

-I love my Madre tee, but it runs crazy small. I ordered an XL, and it fits perfectly loose on me (I am usually an XS-S). If you ever order one, order up up up!

-My capsule wardrobe was SO inspiring, that Brett has asked me to make him one, too. I am totally up to the challenge, and let’s just call this his father’s day present, yes?

Have you ever tried a capsule wardrobe? How’d it go?

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34 Responses to the nursing-friendly spring capsule wardrobe.

  1. Annie says:

    Love this! I was recently looking for capsule maternity wardrobe tips, although I think mine has ended up being “capsule” by default because I didn’t want to buy very many maternity items. Will definitely reference this for after baby comes, but I’m wondering, how are the regular (non-buttoning) tees/tanks nursing friendly? Are they just loose/stretchy enough that you can pull them up or down without issue?

    • Ashlee says:

      Yep! Most of my slouchy tees can be pulled down; everything else can be pulled up. The only thing on here that really isn’t nursing friendly at all is the striped t-shirt dress. But sometimes I leave the kids at home to run a quick errand on the weekends, and that dress works well for that!

  2. Brittany says:

    Love it all! No need to not look cute while nursing. You go girl!
    Brittany´s last blog post ..Shop the Trend for Less

  3. Jo says:

    I’ve never done a capsule wardrobe but I did just do a maaaaaaaajor purge of my closet. It feels SO good! And we are going to do the same thing for my husband too. 😉

  4. Mimi says:

    Love how your closet looks – so clean and inspiring! Have been meaning to sort out my stuff for WEEKS before my first baby arrives in May! Will get on with it now ASAP!

  5. Shay says:

    I love this! Thanks so much for sharing. I’m working on this, it’s just taking me a while to get going. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Shay says:

    I love this! Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while but keep getting stuck. Thanks for the inspiration! Hope your house gets to feeling better soon.

  7. Emily says:

    Hi Ashley! I’m sure you get these comments all the time, but I DON’T normally comment, so I wanted to share. I found your blog a few months ago after your You Just Had a Baby post, and have loved every single entry you’ve written since. Thank you so much for being a positive, real example of motherhood and influence on the blogging community at large. I have gained a lot of inspiration from your writing and experiences. We just had our first little baby in December, so I have especially enjoyed reading about your two boys and your life in this stage. Your style makes me, as a reader, feel like I’m chatting with one of my friends. I super appreciate you!

    • Ashlee says:

      Hi Emily! Thank you so much! This put a huge smile on my face today, thanks for reading and for taking the time to leave a comment 😉 Congrats on your new little one!

  8. Holly says:

    I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe but I live in Alberta where it’s typically winter from October to May – so I just switch up jackets and boots and wear the same jeans throughout! I’m toying with the idea of making a summer capsule this year, though. Your closet looks so pretty!
    Holly´s last blog post ..Then and Now

  9. Sarah says:

    All I keep thinking of is freshly organized bathroom drawers and I’m feeling a little red with envy! I want a freshly organized bathroom drawer!
    xo, Sarah
    Sarah´s last blog post ..Those Things I Want To Do Before I Die

  10. kate says:

    i definitely need to do this, my postpartum body is causing a lot of closet angst when it comes to getting dressed for work! (loungewear is a big part of my weekend wardrobe..hangs head in shame 😉

  11. Amanda says:

    I basically want to dive into your wardrobe right now. So many cute things!
    Amanda´s last blog post ..5 Stores that Make Me Want to Buy All the Things

  12. sarah says:

    I love your style! I am in the process of moving my stuff over to my fiancé’s house, so I’ve been purging my clothes. Do you have any recommendation on a good place to sell gently worn clothing? Also, what do you do with the clothes that aren’t in your capsule wardrobe? Are they stored somewhere neatly?

    • Ashlee says:

      I sell all of my (good brand) gently worn clothing on ThredUP! I could probably get more money if I took the clothes to a local consignment store, but ThredUP makes the process SO easy, I almost always go that route. They send you a giant bag with a prepaid shipping label, you fill it up with clothes, and drop it off at the post office. Could not be easier!

      Non-capsule wardrobe items are stored in 3 places: one bag in my closet, one bag under the bed, and I have two bins in the garage (the garage bins have out of season clothes, so right now they’re full of pants/sweaters).

  13. Jules says:

    I just bagged up all of my pre-pregnancy clothes today! Even though my little one is freshly weaned and just about to hit the 18 mo mark, those things just don’t fit yet (it took me two years with my first so I didn’t actually get rid of anything, I’m still hopeful). It feels amazing to rummage through only things that fit that are actually options to wear, and it looks so much better too.
    (Ps- just found you about two weeks ago, linked over at camppatton, and I’m loving your blog- excited to read more!)

  14. So fun to see inside someone else’s wardrobe! 😉 I really want some of those Anthro jean shorts….
    Becca :: Making Room´s last blog post ..Why You Should Have Your Friends Over for Dinner

  15. Abi says:

    I’ve done a few wardrobe capsule and I love them! Well…I love what it’s taught me! I shop way different now for clothes and think a lot more about the pieces that I buy.
    Abi´s last blog post ..Family Dinner

    • Ashlee says:

      I can TOTALLY see that. I feel like I’ve already had a shift… when I think about shopping, I feel like I have to love the item and want to wear it once a week to buy it.

  16. Love this! I’ve down-sized my wardrobe enough at this point that basically all I own is a capsule wardrobe, & it’s so east to figure it out & hit the road. I still have moments of indecision/what-to-wear panic, but when there’s only so much to choose from, there’s only so much to freak out about!
    Kate @´s last blog post ..10 Things That Happened During My BFF’s Wedding Weekend

    • Ashlee says:

      Totally. This has happened a couple times already. I try something on, decide I don’t like it for that moment, then reach for something else. The good news is, there’s only a few things to reach for so I usually get it right on attempt #2.

  17. Anne says:

    Inspiring! Thank you for taking the time to detail it out. I love living in clean clean clean, but feel it is endless and I am not sure WHY but neither of my kids 11 and 7 are doing anyting but making it worse, and my husband claims cleaning PTSD from his childhood.

    OH – TIP on the sickness… my latest thing: Elderberry Lozenges – or you can make the Elderberry honey too. Last year we got SUPER sick. Now I am hitting the Elderberry hard, and so far we have been pretty clear. From what I read Elderberry strengthens the lining from your throat on down – and therefore virus’s can’t attack as easily. Donnow but it is workin’ for me. Natural sweets, so the kids are willing to take them (my husband Sky teases me, it is my magical unicorn blood).
    I really enjoy your blog; I *hear* you! Heading to some other posts…
    Anne D

  18. Anne says:

    My pregnancy nesting crazy just loves the idea of overhauling my closet right now! Except being pregnant and going into that super fun few month post baby is making the whole thing feel rather daunting… you’ve given me inspiration though!
    Anne´s last blog post ..33 Weeks

  19. Melissa says:

    I’m doing a capsule wardrobe too this Spring… And I totally get you on the jeans business. I actually went to F21 and got some SUPER cheap jeans and some other non-designer jeans at the Gap. The F21 jeans are not super great, hello they were $9 but they do the trick for now. 🙂

    I love having a streamlined closet that makes getting dressed really so much simpler.
    Melissa´s last blog post ..M+AK+E in March

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