A Capsule Wardrobe for the Homeschooling Mom

A Capsule Wardrobe for the Homeschooling Mom

You have probably come across the phrase “capsule wardrobe” by now. It’s hard to miss. Basically, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion.

These can include skirts, trousers and jackets / cardigans, to which we then add other seasonal pieces.

I use the term rather loosely, though, as do others.

A cursory look at Pinterest will show you how much you can customize it to fit your life.

Homeschooling Capsule Wardrobe Essentials

Clearly, a homeschooling mom’s capsule wardrobe will be different from someone else’s with a desk job. It will have to be more versatile. We go from lounging around reading aloud to the children to cooking to cleaning up messes to field trips in a span of an hour.

Your wardrobe works as hard as you do.

So here are some suggestions. Obviously, these will have to be tweaked depending on the season, your own preferences and where you live.


I love jeans. You can wear them anywhere, dress them down or up. You can wear almost any kind of shoes with them – and they are endlessly versatile. Be sure to pick out a dark wash. Also, I wear boot cut jeans as a rule. (Yes, I know the skinny jeans are in fashion, but they are not a classic piece and, besides, do horrible things to your body shape and only work with certain shoes. I avoid them.)

If you like dress pants, go for it! Why not? Enjoy your clothes. I find that dress pants are a little more roomy which makes them more comfortable to wear around the home than jeans. It might feel a little odd lounging in them while checking your child’s math, but after a while, it might become second nature. You won’t know if you don’t try. (However, if you have very young children and are cleaning up spills all day long, these might be a bad idea.)


Choose only a handful of tops that work with both your pants and skirts. This is important. Your tops should be able to do double duty. If your top only work with one piece in your wardrobe, you then have to make the important decision of whether to keep it or not.

If you do decide to keep it, make sure it is one that is reserved for special occasions – like weddings or, I don’t know, fundraisers – or not-back-to-school parties. You get my drift.


I love skirts in the summer. But I also live in California. I’ve tried working with shorts and I hate them. There’s just something about my body shape that makes them never sit quite right. So make sure you try on your clothes. Be brutal about getting rid of the ones you don’t like.

Again, remember that the tops you wear should be able to work with these as well. So use those as a reference point in deciding what to keep and what to throw, if you need to.


Dresses are perhaps the least versatile of your clothes because they just are themselves. You can’t quite make them work with other pieces and either you wear them or you don’t. As such, unless you really are a dress person, treat them carefully. 

I have a few dresses I wear to church, so I keep those in the special occasions category in my capsule wardrobe. But otherwise, unless it’s summer and I absolutely love a dress, I prefer to swap it out for a more hardworking blouse and skirt instead.


Okay, so I’m slightly jealous of you people who get to wear lovely coats on the East coast. The closest we get to those are blazers and jackets. But to think in terms of versatility, a cardigan is probably your best best for homeschooling. I wear one almost all the time.

In the summer, I like that I feel covered even though I’m wearing a sleeveless camisole underneath with a skirt. In the winter, a slightly heavier cardigan with jeans keeps me warm. It helps me move freely whether I’m on the floor wrestling with my children, on the couch reading to them or washing dishes with my sleeves pushed up to my elbows.

Also, cardigans usually come in pretty colors and help keep the drab look out of the wardrobe. They are an essential in your capsule wardrobe.

Keep structured jackets on hand for when you want to leave the house at a moment’s notice. Nothing pulls at outfit together like a good jacket or blazer.


Obviously, I don’t wear accessories when I’m at home, but I do love having them on hand. Scarves, earrings, necklaces, hats add depth and texture to an outfit when stepping out of the house. If you do decide to have an impromptu lunch or dinner or just happily get a few hours to yourself (because you’ve hired a mother’s helper or a sitter – hey, it can happen!) nothing will left your mood as much as being able to throw on a few pieces of jewelry and a scarf and head out.

Comfort Clothing/Nightwear/Pajamas

So I imagine it’s pretty obvious by now that no, I don’t wear pajamas or sweats all day. I’m sorry, but… no, I’m going to say this without apology: Pajamas have become the denim jumpers of homeschooling today and it’s a sad trend. Your children should not ask you where you are going if you put on pants. Just because you can homeschool in your pajamas doesn’t mean you should. 

Keep some comfort clothing in your capsule but reserve it for days when you literally do nothing. Because we work and study and learn and relax in the same environment, it helps to have clothes to compartmentalize our life. When I am dressed for work, it’s easier to focus on work.

I hope this helps you, homeschooling mom! You’re doing an important job – getting dressed in the morning is where you prepare for it. Don’t sell yourself short!

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Author: Purva Brown

Writer / blogger at http://TheClassicalUnschooler.com - unapologetically blending two seeming opposites.

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