In March 2018, I moved out of a 2,500 square foot house in Montana and downsized my life into my 16-foot horse trailer. Seriously, everything we bought fit in the horse trailer. If it didn’t fit, it didn’t come. Even with that serious downsizing, I still feel overrun with STUFF. One of my big goals for 2019 is to downsize even more to a minimalist lifestyle so that I can enjoy my property – both in the barn and in my house. The first place I am starting is my wardrobe.
I first learned about capsule wardrobes two years ago, and I love the idea. I have a closet full of clothes and I find myself wearing the same few outfits over and over. My clothes often go out of style before they wear out because I have so many and rotate through them so infrequently. So, this year, I am downsizing my barn clothes into a capsule wardrobe, so I can wear the clothes I love until they wear out.
A capsule barn wardrobe only works if you have the right pieces. These pieces need to be timeless, quality pieces that you can mix-and-match to create multiple outfits. You should love each item. You should feel confident when you wear it. If the item doesn’t do that for you and the fit isn’t perfect, let it go.
For tips on downsizing your barn wardrobe, read this blog post at Best Wishes, Taylor.
Your capsule barn wardrobe should contain high-quality pieces. Don’t spend your money on junk. Yes, it will cost you a bit more up front, but quality clothes last longer and fit better. Remember, this is just your barn wardrobe, and does not include your show clothes. These are day-to-day items.
Here’s what you need:
The specific items you choose within those limitations largely depends on your climate.
I live in Arizona, so for tops, my capsule barn wardrobe consists of four long-sleeve sun shirts, four tank tops, and one hoodie. I can layer these as needed to be dressed appropriately for the weather. I am a huge fan of sun shirts because they wick moisture away from my skin. In cold weather, I can layer one under a hoodie. See my favorite sun shirts in The Five Best Equestrian Shirts for Fall (but really, they are great for all seasons).
If you live in a cold climate, invest in a good barn coat. I love Carhartt (buy it here). My Carhartt coat lasted 16 Montana winters so it was money well spent.
Because I ride both English and Western, for bottoms I have three pairs of jeans and two pairs of breeches. If you only ride Western, choose all jeans. If you only ride English, choose all breeches. I love Wrangler Q Baby jeans for riding and barn work (buy it here). For breeches, I have one pair of black and one pair of tan, both Kerrits brand (buy it here). On cold days, wear your jeans over your breeches for extra warmth.
I have two pairs of boots. I wear my Durango western boots (buy it here) daily for barn chores and riding western. I also have a pair of tall English boots (buy it here) for the days I ride English. If you live in a cold climate, you may want to invest in a pair of winter riding boots as well. Buy quality boots and learn to take care of them. I have had my Durango boots for two years and wear them every day, and they still have lots of life left in them.
Care for Your Clothes
Once you downsize and choose quality pieces, learn to care for them so they last. My sun shirts need to be washed in cold water and line dried. My dark wash jeans need to be turned inside out and washed in cold water with vinegar to prevent fading. Take the time to read the care labels.
Stop Impulse Buying
I am extremely frugal, but impulse buying when I see a deal on the clearance rack is a problem for me. I am especially fond of anything marked 75 percent off or the $1.97 clearance rack at J.C. Penney’s. This has slowly filled my closet with more items than I need.
Now, I make myself follow the one-in-one-out rule. If a buy a new tank top, one has to leave. No exceptions. No more justifying how much I like the old item. If I liked the new item enough to buy it, then the old one has to go.
I have a few brands that I love, and I try to stick to those because I know they fit me right and give me a good value for my money.
Give to a Good Cause
Because I am so frugal, I sometimes have trouble letting go of items. I found two local thrift stores that benefit local nonprofit organizations, so thinking about how much good my donation does helps me let go. One raises money for an animal shelter, the other for a women’s shelter. To make your donations do the most good, choose small organizations. Your donation will be very much appreciated, and the money will stay in your community.
Have Less, Enjoy More
By downsizing to a capsule barn wardrobe, I am giving myself permission to really enjoy the clothes I wear. I choose quality pieces that fit my body and my style. I am less overrun with stuff, and I love walking into my closet without feeling overwhelmed. The hardest part for me was allowing myself to let go of items that no longer serve me. Once I conquered that, creating the perfect capsule barn wardrobe was easy.
Have you downsized to a capsule wardrobe? Tell me about it below!
Welcome! I've been a freelance writer since 2002 and have numerous horse-related articles published in print and online publications. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Rocky Mountain College with a major in Equestrian Studies and a minor in Business Management. My current business ventures include High Plains Arena and real estate investing.