Two dresses were allowed in my Spring capsule wardrobe. I chose to keep two that I already had, but right now I’m noticing how similar in color they are. Ugh! Just like the shoes! My goal was to put together a vibrant, colorful feminine wardrobe, and here I’ve got . . . oatmeal. I’m definitely going to have to buy some new ones for my summer capsule. Lesson learned!
Here’s my outfit for today. Please excuse the not-so-thrilled look on my face. By then, it had already been a very long day!
Today it warmed up a little, so I figured I could deal with a T-shirt. I liked the bright yellow, but I felt that the outfit was kind of boring. In pre-capsule days, my summers were full of jeans and tees. Then I remembered . . . I bought scarves! If I’m going to learn to accessorize, I may as well start now!
Never having tied a scarf for the purpose of fashion before, I really had no idea what to do. I didn’t really have a lot of time, so I just tied it in a knot around my waist. I liked the splash of color it provided. I’ll have to look up more creative ways of tying scarves later on.
When I first read about capsule wardrobes, I thought nine pairs of shoes was excessive. I figured that the shoes were the least important part of the outfit; they just needed to be comfortable, weather-appropriate, and should match the clothes. But then as I spent Saturday going through my closet, I realized how useful that number of shoes could be. My pre-capsule wardrobe contained several skirts that I never wore because I didn’t have any shoes that looked right with them.
Here’s what I’ve ended up with in my Spring capsule.
Wow. Very . . . brown, isn’t it? Not at all what I think of when I think of Spring.
Now, rethinking this, I wish I had been a little more expressive with color. I was just so worried about them matching everything in my wardrobe, and having enough for any type of weather, that I ended up with a completely neutral group. I think with my summer capsule I’m going to experiment a little more. Most of these were from my pre-capsule days.
Worthington uppers I’ve had these loafers for years but rarely wore them. I had it in my mind that they were only for dress pants, and since I didn’t have any, they didn’t see the outside of my closet.
Carlos sandals This is one of the ones I bought for this capsule, with dresses and skirts in mind. But I’ll bet they’ll look great with jeans, or really, anything I’ve got in my closet.
Athletec walking shoes Hmmm. Not sure why I kept these. I’ve had them for years and they’re incredibly comfortable. But I really don’t love them. These shoes are rule-breakers; they shouldn’t be in here. I think they’ll be leaving at the end of this season.
J-41 I’ve got these in black, too, and they’ll probably show up in another capsule. They’re extremely comfortable, and with their furry insides they’re wonderful for cold weather.
Lower East Side boots I have these in black, too. They’ll work with some skirts and dresses, and most pants. Good for when it’s cold outside, but honestly, not that comfortable.
Rampage Legend uppers I’ve never worn these. My husband bought them because my they reminded him of shoes I always wore when we were dating, almost 20 years ago. It kind of made it difficult to let them go. I’m determined to wear these . . . someday.
Nike I bought these a few years ago to prepare for a trip to Disney World, where I knew I’d be walking alot. I wear them often, and they are still very springy. Lots of support in these shoes, which I find I’m needing more and more often.
Earth Spirit sandals I’ve had these for a long time. Are you noticing a common theme here? They were my summer sandals, and I’d wear them almost every day. They’re very worn, but they work for me. I like them with jeans and jean shorts.
Franco Sarto This is the other pair of sandals that I bought on Saturday. These are also for dresses and skirts, but a little dressier. They’ll work for pants, too.
Pretty cold day, so I knew I had to go for a sweater. This one is an old one; I have no idea where it came from. I wore it with a striped tee and pink pants, and the boots I bought last winter but rarely wore. Again, it was really easy to grab something and go.
I’m not exactly in love with this outfit. Not enough color for me. I think if I’m going to wear this sweater again it needs to be with a brighter colored shirt underneath. But I do like the pink, and it was comfortable and warm.
The day after my closet project was Sunday. All I had planned was church, lunch out with my family, and then a quiet afternoon at home.
Picking out an outfit was incredibly quick and stress-free. I checked the weather forecast first, and then went to my closet, taking less than 30 seconds to grab a few pieces.
Okay, clearly I’m not a fashion model, so please excuse my awkward pose. The important thing here is the clothes.
I wasn’t brave enough yet to attempt a skirt or dress. I chose jeans, but they weren’t the as usual jeans. I wore white, stretchy jeans, which I felt looked a bit more feminine than what I normally would wear. I paired a new sweater (from Maurices) with an old favorite button up.
Wait, back up . . . what? Did I really wear white pants? What was I thinking? Yep, they’re stained already. I can’t even blame my kids or dog for this one; it was my own sloppy eating at lunchtime. A bit of serious laundering in the evening got most of it out, and it’s probably only noticable by me, but it was a little sad, just the same.
In all, my first day was a success for two reasons:
My morning was stress free. Normally, I spend lots of time going through my closet, trying to find something to wear before finally settling on the same old thing. This time it took me less than a minute.
Regardless of how I actually looked, I felt feminine, and put together.
Wow. So it took less effort to look and feel better! I could get used to this!
Doing anything creative with clothing is completely foreign to me, so my first instinct was to take the Spring Capsule from Un-Fancy and just buy the same things that she has in it. But I knew that wasn’t right. One of my goals in doing this is to find my own style and figure out how to get there. My style is not her style, and I’m going to have to do this myself. So I took her basic guidelines of 15 tops, 9 bottoms, 9 shoes, 2 dresses, and 2 jackets, and made my list according to that.
Saturday afternoon, I went to several stores, which I’m not used to doing. I found some great deals at T.J. Maxx and Target, I spent a lot at Carson’s, and I really had fun finishing up at Maurices. I actually told the saleswoman that I wish I’d started at that store.
The shopping trip was tiring, I won’t lie. I think I may have fallen into my old habit of settling for clothes I don’t love in an attempt to hurry up the job. But only a little. I’m happy, for the most part, with what I ended up with. Oh! And I even bought 2 scarves! I was inspired by the other bloggers to try accessorizing my outfits for the first time ever! Accessories don’t count as part of the 37.
I did come to a realization. The two blog writers I’d been relying on for my info were both from Texas. Ha. I’m from Illinois, where in the beginning of April, the temperature had already ranged from 24 balmy degrees up to a very warm 76. I really wasn’t sure that 15 tops would be enough, from short sleeved T shirts all the way up to warm sweaters. So I did move it up to 18 tops, for a total of 40 pieces, not 37. I really don’t feel too guilty about this, since I do plan to stick with 37 for my summer and winter capsules.
Before building my wardrobe, I knew I needed to tear it down.
By Saturday morning I’d read numerous blog posts about creating capsule wardrobes, and decided to use the how to by Un-fancy, with a few tweaks. My husband and kids were downstairs and I had the whole day to get this done. Many bloggers I’d read suggested completely emptying your closet, and only allowing clothes back in that are really going to work. So I did.
Step 1: PURGE
I had way too much stuff to pile it all onto my bed at once, so I started with all of my hanging clothes. I then moved on to my sweaters and shoes. Once my closet was completely empty, my attention went to the overstuffed drawers in my dresser. I just piled it all onto my bed and worked through it one piece at a time.
Step 2: PILE
I put each item into one of three piles: “Love it and can wear it now,” “Maybe later,” or “Goodbye!” It was surprisingly easy to separate them. I’ve got many pieces that I absolutely love but I cannot wear because they don’t fit or they’re ruined; I really thought I was going to have a hard time saying goodbye to them, but I really didn’t. Thinking that I would soon have other things to wear that I would like much better helped to motivate me.
Nothing made it into my “love it” pile without my trying it on, looking at it from all angles, and honestly considering whether it worked for me. That was going to go back into my closet. These were items that I really liked. Some of them I did already wear, but most of them I didn’t, for several reasons. Some, it was because I didn’t have anything to wear them with. Others had been lost in the clutter of closet or drawer.
My “maybe later” pile consisted of things that were out of season, or things that I liked well enough and that fit me well. This was much bigger than I had hoped, but I know many of them will end up in future capsules, and I’ll clear out many more with each seasonal capsule that I create. I ended up having to buy bins in which to pack it all in:
My “goodbye” pile was huge. Lots of the clothes didn’t fit me, but I had kept them all this time because I liked them so much. But, really, my arms aren’t getting any shorter, so out they go! Then there were the ones that were too small, see-through, or too tight, but I could wear them under other things. I knew that wouldn’t fly with a 37 piece wardrobe; each item needs to be able to stand on its own, or it’s gone. I ended up with two huge boxes. Goodwill employees were happy that night. Or maybe horrified. I’m not sure.
Items that I used to love but were stained, faded or torn? Those didn’t make it into a pile. They went into the trash.
Step 3: COUNTING AND CONSIDERING
After all that, the “love it”clothes were back hanging in my closet (no more drawers, now. Everything hangs so I can see it.) Now it was time to look at the list at Un-Fancy and decide what I could keep and what I needed to buy. A few more things needed to be moved to the “Maybe Later” bins, and then I made a list of what I needed for my shopping trip.
Yes, after all that, I still had to go shopping. Not my favorite thing to do, but especially not after spending over half the day working on this.
I had hope, though. After all, I wasn’t going to the store with a vague notion that I “needed more clothes.” No, this time I was going with a list of what I needed.
“Mommy, when are you going to wear one of your skirts?”
I had to remind myself that this was an innocent question from a five year old girl who loved to wear her own dresses and skirts. But she had hit a sore spot.
I was in a rut and I knew it. Despite a closet full of clothes, some of them very nice skirts, as my daughter had noticed, I felt like I had nothing to wear. So I wore the same few things time after time: jeans, a pair of comfy but boring shoes, and a few tops that I cycled through. I was self-conscious because my jeans didn’t fit right, and felt wrong because my outfits did not reflect my taste. Even at church, it was still jeans, albiet a nicer top and better shoes. But it just didn’t work.
Within days of that question, I ran across a blog entry on facebook that smacked some life into me. In Why I Got Rid of My Wardrobe, Denaye writes about what brought her to create a capsule wardrobe of just 37 pieces, and how she accomplished it.
I could do this, I thought. I am a minimalist at heart, and her reasoning made so much sense. With fewer clothes to choose from, my first-thing-in-the-morning decisions wouldn’t be so tough, and I’d have clothes that I’d know I could wear because each item fits, is in good repair, is in season, and goes with just about anything in my closet.
But thirty-seven items? From what I read, that’s 2 jackets or coats, 2 dresses, 15 tops, 9 bottoms, and 9 pairs of shoes. I ran up to my closet for a quick count.
72 pieces! And that was just the items hanging in my closet; I hadn’t counted the shoes, the sweaters folded up above, or the drawers full of pants and shirts. Yikes. I was in for quite a project. But it was something I really felt I needed. I was tired of not feeling good about myself.
After a chat with my husband and a look at our budget, I decided to do it. I really never thought I’d be enthusiastic about clothes, but this is turning out to be fun!
What do you think? Comment to let me know if this is something you could or would do.