Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fall Capsule: Tops

These are most of my tops for my Fall capsule:

Fall Capsule Tops

There are three shirts, two jackets, and one sweater missing. I have ordered one shirt:
And I actually don't have that pink jacket yet - it's on its way. I hope I love it as much in person as I do online. Here is the link to it, in case you like it, too.
I plan to get two more short-sleeved shirts, a crewneck sweater, and maybe one more new jacket. After I know if I'm getting a new one, I'll decide which one or two to use from my closet. 
I should have everything by September 15th, and though it would have been ideal to have everything before tomorrow, I say it's never too late to get started! So jump in any time - you don't have to wait until any particular date. Anyway, I'm just using an even smaller capsule until those spots are filled, so I'm not even breaking any rules.  
You might notice that I don't have a lot of color going on. It wasn't intentional, but I think it will make it really easy to mix and match. With my pale complexion, I think neutral colors tend to be more flattering, too. 
As you choose your capsule wardrobe, are you noticing that you have a few favorite colors to wear, or are you choosing a wide variety? I think either way could work just fine, especially if you choose colorful tops but have several neutral bottoms to mix with, or vice versa. 

Fall Capsule: Shoes

Here are most of my shoes for my Fall Capsule. 

Fall Capsule: Shoes

From left to right, starting at the top:
Old Birkenstock Oxfords (bought in about 1997!)

I have one spot left to fill - and don't worry, I have a couple of options in mind to fill it:

I hope this assortment will cover all the different weather possibilities of Fall. It's still hot here during the day, but it's getting pretty chilly at night. I don't want to rush Summer out the door - I love Summer! But I think I'll get more use out of sneakers and boots than sandals, so I only included one pair. We'll see if that was the right decision.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Official Rules for My Fall Capsule

I've decided on my rules or guidelines for the Fall Capsule! I'll see how it goes for September, October, and November, and then I may make some changes for Winter. 

* I will choose 40 items, including shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, shoes, boots, and jackets.

* I will only wear those 40 items, mixed and matched, for 3 months.

* Jewelry, underclothes, pajamas, lounge clothes for inside the house, and workout clothes are not included. I will also exclude a hat, gloves, and scarf from the 40-item limit.

* If an item of clothing gets ruined, or no longer fits, I will swap it for a different item.

* I will assemble the majority of the pieces by September 1st (using mostly things that I already own), but I will buy a few things during September. 

I haven't gathered everything I need yet. In general, I think it's best to have everything ready to go before the beginning of the three-month season. Ideally, I'd have rounded up all the pieces with two or three weeks to spare, leaving time to alter, hem, or mend anything that needs it. Plus, I'm excited to lay everything out and see what outfits I can make!

Getting the shopping done during a shorter time period - like a couple of weeks - means I'd spend less time shopping, and be less tempted to buy more clothes. Somehow I have to find the balance between making sure I get the right thing that I will really like, and not wasting time by shopping for too long. I'd rather spend most of my time on something other than window shopping online - and my kids would definitely prefer that we have more time at the playground.

This weekend I will take photos of what I have and share them with you. I'll show you my new additions as I get them. It's only a few days until my Fall season starts! I'm excited.


Monday, August 25, 2014

What if I Change Sizes During a Season?

I mentioned this briefly in my first post, but I am slowly losing weight after having my second baby. I expect to lose about 10 pounds over the next several months, and then maybe 5-10 more over a longer period of time. After I've lost 10 pounds, I will definitely fit into a smaller size of clothing. 

Do I have to wear baggy clothes until the next season arrives? 


I am setting up my own guidelines for this capsule wardrobe experiment, and none of it is about suffering or settling for clothes that don't fit. Here are my thoughts on what to do if an item of clothing no longer fits (or gets worn out or stained):

* Swap it out! Just donate that item, or cut it into cleaning cloths, or throw it out if it's not usable. Replace it with something that fits (and is in good condition). 

* It makes sense that if I get rid of a pair of pants, I would most likely replace it with another pair of pants to fill that hole in my wardrobe. But, if I have discovered that I actually had too many pants because I am loving wearing skirts and really I could use another top to mix with the skirts, I'm fine with trading pants for a top (or whatever). 

* Are you sensing that my rules are going to be somewhat loosey-goosey? 

Me, too. I feel okay about that because I'm doing this to simplify and to reduce my wardrobe, and I think it should be an experiment that serves me, rather than me strictly following arbitrary rules. Of course, whatever number of clothing items I choose to work with will be somewhat arbitrary. But some aspects will reflect my own needs, logic, self-awareness, and desires. If you want to be more strict, go for it! 

And feel free to call me out if you think I'm not merely adapting the capsule wardrobe concept to suit my own needs, but actually cheating! Our minds resist change and will use all kinds of arguments to convince us that the old way was better. Part of me already wants to abandon this idea and enjoy having tons of clothing in my closet. 

In terms of meditation, that change-resistant, naughty part of our minds is sometimes referred to as "Monkey Mind." The Monkey Mind will try to convince you not to meditate, that it's a waste of time, that really you have so many other things to be doing and you should give up now. I find that my Monkey Mind is at work all over my life (not just when I'm meditating), trying to get me to take the easy way out, to eat more junk food, to skip my workout, etc... I'm sure it will be busy and loud during this capsule wardrobe experiment! I will battle to keep my Monkey Mind under control and stick to the rules I set, as much as possible. 

I may end up tweaking my rules for the Winter Capsule, as I see how it goes with Fall. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Making My List

My donation boxes were picked up this morning. It's nice to get them out of here so I'm not tempted to take anything back out. 

I am deciding how many pieces to include in my Fall capsule wardrobe, and 35 is sounding good to me. Fall is a transitional season, so I think I will need everything from shorts to sweaters. My first thought on what pieces I will need looks something like this:

Tops - 12

1 tank top
2 t-shirt
3 t-shirt
4 t-shirt
5 long-sleeved t-shirt
6 3/4-sleeved shirt
7 cardigan
8 pullover sweater
button-down shirt

Pants - 5

13 shorts
14 cropped boyfriend jeans - medium-wash
15 cropped boyfriend jeans - dark-wash
16 dark-wash jeans
17 medium-wash jeans

Skirts - 4

18 denim
19 jersey
20 jersey
21 jersey

Dresses - 3

22 jersey wrap
23 jersey 
24 something fancy

Shoes - 4

25 sandals
26 sneakers
27 canvas slip-ons
28 flats

Boots - 3

29 short leather boots
30 rain boots

32 Jacket 

33 Coat 

Wild Cards - 2

I know I will have Jason's fancy-ish workplace holiday party to attend in late November, and I will want a dress that looks great, and shoes to go with it. I'm not sure what to choose yet, so I think I'll leave that open for now. I have some dresses that would be fine for the occasion, but I don't know if they will fit well three months from now. I will allow for the purchase of a dress and/or shoes for the party, if what I already have doesn't work. 

I think the wild card slots might help me get through the first season without cheating. If I really need something, I can add it. If it stays hot throughout September, I may need to add another pair of shorts or a skirt. If it cools off early this year, I may need another sweater, or a flannel shirt. I think these empty slots make the whole project seem more like something I can successfully complete. 

What do you think about this wild card idea? I have noticed that experienced capsule wardrobe-wearers don't even use all their allotted clothing items, let alone save room for extras! I think I will keep track of how many times I use each item and whether or not I really needed so many slots in each category. I have a feeling that it will become easier to dress with less as I get used to it. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why I Am Making A Capsule Wardrobe

I have some progress to share. Here's an in-process photo of my closet. I've sorted through the hanging clothes, and separated the ones that fit me now from the ones that do not. I can easily grab something that I know will fit, which is a relief. I actually tried everything on, and I was surprised that more things fit than I expected. My wearable wardrobe has increased and I am already benefiting from this experiment.

I have several boxes packed up and ready for donation. The charity truck is coming tomorrow morning to pick them up. In those boxes are all kinds of things from around the house, plus the clothing that I've weeded out so far... 

And NINE pairs of shoes! I even let go of a pair of really cute boots that always rubbed and hurt my ankles. I tried on all my boots, and the rest of them fit properly and don't hurt. So the cute, painful ones had to go. It feels a little sad to get rid of something I like, but honestly, I hardly ever wore those because they weren't comfortable - and they were a style that should have been comfortable. I am not willing to suffer through uncomfortable shoes anymore. 

I also want to share my motivation for downsizing my wardrobe. 

Simplifying life. All over the house, I'm trying to think of ways to make things easier. My kids have just reached a new stage of both being more independent, leaving me time to do a little bit more than the bare minimum (keeping us all alive). If I can get things organized and simplified, I think it will be a lot easier to keep things clean and organized. When everything has a place to go, it can be put away much more easily. When there is less stuff, it's a lot easier to find a place for everything. 

If my closet and drawers only contain things that fit, that look good together, and that don't make me look or feel like a slob, getting dressed might be so much more fun and enjoyable. I won't waste as much time trying things on and deciding they don't look right. I won't arrive at a get-together and feel like the least put-together person there. I won't choose an outfit, only to realize that my clothes need to be ironed, mended or are stained - and I have to leave in 5 minutes. With fewer items, I can pay more attention to each one and make sure they are all ready to wear.

Decluttering. I love the idea of a spartan, clean home. Clear surfaces and empty spaces seem so soothing and calm. 

But I am a collector. And I leave books, notebooks, and pens near any chair I sit in. I have crafty works-in-process scattered around the house. I have a lot of cool stuff that I've collected over the years, and sentimental things from forebears. I don't leave a lot of clear surfaces or empty spaces in my house. It's still nice to daydream about living in a space like that. In my decluttering zeal, I aim to keep only the best, most loved things, and to create more empty spaces.    

Whenever I get the urge to sort through everything and minimize my possessions, I always feel so good afterward. I can find everything I need. Everything I have is something good, something I want. I try to get rid of anything that causes guilt (I paid so much for it, I really should use it... but I don't like it = get rid of it!), or has bad memories attached to it (those shoes I was wearing when I tripped and broke my ankle always felt like bad luck charms after that = throw them away! I didn't risk cursing some thrift-shopper who thought they were cute). 

If my closet is decluttered, only the good stuff will be left! I won't have any forgotten clothes hidden in the back, going to waste and going out of style. I'll be able to easily find and use everything I have. 

Upgrading my wardrobe. For me, this doesn't necessarily mean spending much money. I am a casual dresser with a very informal lifestyle. Someday, if I go back to work outside the home, I'll buy appropriate clothes for that job. For now, I want to upgrade in terms of buying clothes that make me feel great (not necessarily expensive clothes). They shouldn't be almost-right or just good-enough-for-now. They should fit well and make me feel confident and happy. I want to get rid of the things that are uncomfortable, unflattering or ill-fitting. My clothing shouldn't ever make me feel badly - it should be fun and make me feel comfortable and cute. 

Those are some thoughts on why I am creating a capsule wardrobe for this fall. I only have a couple weeks until September 1, so I better start deciding on my rules/guidelines! 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Brainstorming and Getting Started on My First Capsule

I'm on a mission to simplify my life and one aspect of that is my wardrobe. Now that my babies are a bit more independent, I finally have a little time to myself and I'm using some of it to pare down the contents of my closet. The clothes therein are a mix of a little bit nicer, decent quality items, and lots of cheap-o stuff from Old Navy, Target, and Kohl's. Some things fit well now. Some are still tight since my pregnancies. Some things never fit well, yet I've held on to them for years. Those in that last category should be the easiest to get rid of, but they are still here! 

A capsule wardrobe is a smaller, simplified number and variety of clothing. It should consist only of things that you love and want to wear! Remove anything that is out of season, ill-fitting, unflattering, or just a lesser version of something else you like more. 

I am still figuring out my own rules/guidelines for this challenge. Some things I am keeping in mind are:

* I expect to slim down over the next several months as my baby weans. After my firstborn, I was able to return to my pre-pregnancy size and shape (pretty much). It may not be exactly the same this time, since I'm a couple years older and things change over time. But I'm not getting rid of anything that I still like just because it's a little bit too small right at the moment. 

* I don't have much money to invest in really nice clothes - or interest in spending lots of money on clothes - and I don't need them. I work part-time from home and spend most of my time with a 3.5 year old and a 1.5 year old. I mostly need comfortable clothes that can go to the playground, sit on the dirt, withstand food stains, and be machine-washed. They also have to stay on and hold their shape while being tugged on by surprisingly strong little hands.

My first inspiration for creating a capsule wardrobe was Courtney Carver, whose blog can be found at Her 333 project means that for 3 months, her wardrobe consists of only 33 items to mix and match. Everything else is packed away or removed from her life (she has exceptions for workout clothes, pjs, lounge clothes, and wedding rings - yes, she includes shoes and accessories in her 33 items!) Every 3 months, she makes a new capsule wardrobe. 

So, if you're doing this with me, let's think seasonally. For me, in Colorado, we have four seasons, so it makes sense to create four capsules each year: Fall (September, October, November), Winter (December, January, February), Spring (March, April, May), and Summer (June, July, August). 

But, I am making up my own rules - and if you want, you should, too! So I was thinking about doing more than four capsules. There are some months that are transitional, like September, when I might need shorts at the beginning and then sweaters at the end. March and April are also wildcards where I live. Both could be cold and wintry or quite mild and spring-like. So I'm considering a couple of strategies to address this:

* I could make 6 capsule wardrobes and switch things up every two months.

* I could even make 12 capsule wardrobes and get to use new items every month. I know some people commit to a capsule wardrobe as a way to break a clothes-shopping addiction, so if they were allowed to spend money on new clothes every month, it would defeat the purpose. That's not my situation, and I wouldn't plan on spending much at all - mostly just pulling out different things from storage (or the back of the closet - I probably won't really seal up everything I'm not using - I will just commit to ignoring it!). 

* I could make four capsules, but allow an as-needed transitional period if I need to borrow something from the previous or upcoming capsule. 

Another fun blog to check out is, where Caroline shares her casual-but-stylish wardrobes and tips on living more minimally. Her rules allow her to choose 37 pieces, and she doesn't include jewelry in that number. She offers a free wardrobe planner that you can download here. It looks like it will be helpful in figuring out what style you want to aim for, which colors are currently appealing to you, what activities/lifestyle you need clothes for right now and which types of pieces and outfits you tend to wear the most. 

And here Gina from talks about planning her first capsule-inspired wardrobe. She shares a checklist with specific items listed, i.e. dark skinny jeans, neutral day dress. She is not limiting herself to a specific number of pieces, but is focusing on a "less is more" mentality and only shopping once per season. 

Here Sarai of Colette sewing patterns discusses a capsule wardrobe that, of course, includes self-made items. Her whole Wardrobe Architect series is inspiring and interesting. She walks us through the work of planning and designing a personal wardrobe to reflect our own true style. This is the homework we should all do before we start shopping for our capsules (whether at stores or in our own closets). 

You can also read a lot more about capsule wardrobes and minimalist style on the INTO MIND blog.

This is fascinating to research - now let's see what it's like to do it! If you're planning to start a capsule wardrobe this fall, I'd love to hear about it.