Friday, October 31, 2014

61/91: Baseball Sweater, Grey Jeans, Chukka Boots

Happy Halloween! It looks like it will be nice for trick-or-treating here; how about where you live? I have so many memories of having to bundle up in winter coats over our costumes when I was a kid. I'm glad we won't have to do that this year. 

Have a fun night!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

60/91: Maroon Tee, Denim Skirt, Chukka Boots + A Different Decluttering Technique

Have you heard of Japanese declutterer Marie Kondo? She wrote a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Her thoughts on how to go about decluttering are a bit different from most of what I read on the subject. She says to forget about doing a little each day; make it one huge decluttering event! 

It might take six months, but make it a once-in-a-lifetime purge and she says you'll never have to declutter again. That sounds good to me. 

One thing she promotes that I've done is to gather together all your like items and go through them all at once. So, instead of sorting through a drawer of folded t-shirts one day and then looking through all the hanging shirts another day, get them all together first - and maybe add all your sweaters and jackets, too. I think this is really helpful for a few reasons:

* You can see how much you have. If it's a lot, you might feel sort of disgusted and that helps you to get rid of extra stuff! When you look at things one at time, you might feel more sentimental about when you bought it or where you wore it. It's easier to let go if you are feeling a negative emotion toward a big pile, rather than positive feelings toward each piece of clothing. 

* It will be easy to see if you have multiples of the same item. If you have three similar shirts, you probably have a favorite that you reach for every time. The others likely just sit there, unused. When you see the multiples all at once, it can feel easier to get rid of the extras.

* You'll see mix-and-match and substitution opportunities. If you've classified some tops to fill a certain role, you may never consider wearing them in a different context. Seeing all the tops together could spark ideas about using a cardigan instead of a jacket with a certain outfit, or layering some different shirts together. And if a sweater can take the place of that jacket, do you still need the jacket?

Have you emptied out your whole closet to sort through all your clothes? Great! Now, did you also get out all the clothes from the attic, basement, hall closet, and under the bed? Will you give it a try? I will think about gathering all my like items as I declutter the rest of my house. And after I finish reading the book, I'll let you know what I think about Kondo's whole technique. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

59/91: Sweatshirt, Jeans, Birkenstocks + Making a Lot of Outfits from a Capsule Wardrobe

I'm on day 59 and I haven't repeated an outfit yet! I don't know if I will make it 91 days with no repeats, but I'm not done with new combos yet. Remember, I'm using 40 items of clothing. Even if you're using fewer than that, you should still be able to mix and match a lot of outfits. It will depend on what you choose. Let's say you have 10 tops and 5 bottoms. If they all go together, you have 50 different outfits right there! That's not even including footwear or layering pieces like sweaters and jackets. Of course, you will likely have some pieces that don't go together (the colors won't coordinate, the silhouettes won't look good together, or the level of casualness/dressiness won't mesh), but you can see how easy it would be to make a lot of outfits from 30 or 40 pieces. 

Normally, without a capsule wardrobe, I repeat some favorite outfits a lot! I think I'm actually wearing more unique outfits by choosing from fewer clothes. 

Of course, there's nothing wrong with repeating outfits! I'm trying to make a lot of unique outfits to show myself (and you) that dressing with a capsule wardrobe doesn't have to mean wearing the same outfits every week or being bored with your clothes. You can still be creative with new combinations and have fun mixing and matching all your pieces. 

Also, I accepted Courtney Carver's #33in33 challenge: to post photos of 33 unique capsule wardrobe outfits beginning back on October 1st. This is outfit 29 for that challenge and it's been pretty easy. I just keep track of all the outfits I've worn and then choose a different pair of pants or a different skirt the next time I wear that shirt. At the very least, I can put on a different pair of shoes to freshen up the same old outfit.

I don't include accessories in my 40 items, so I have a lot of room to play there, too. A different bag or jewelry can make an outfit look more polished - or more casual. Even different makeup could take your look up a notch. If you are good at styling your hair (I'm jealous!) you can make a big difference in your look that way, too. And those of you who wear hats as accessories (not just to keep warm) can maybe skip the hair-styling and change up your look with a cool hat - or a sophisticated one - or a baseball cap. 

Don't hold back from trying a capsule wardrobe out of fear of boredom! You can make a lot of different looks from a well-curated mini-wardrobe. 

I am learning a lot this time (my first capsule) and I think my winter capsule will work even better for me. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

58/91: Jersey V-Neck, Zippered Cardigan, Jeans, Birkenstocks, Infinity Scarf

This look has three grey pieces in it, and I think grey boots would look good, too. I definitely like monochrome sometimes, but it's fun to add the red scarf and brighten it up. I think the brown boots also help keep the outfit from being somber or boring. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

57/91: Beige Sweater, Jeggings + Black Boots

This is a favorite fall and winter outfit for me: a cozy sweater, comfortable pants, and boots. It looks more put-together than yoga pants and a sweatshirt, but it feels pretty great. 

I'm not saying I'd want to curl up on the couch in these boots, but they're pretty comfortable! I love a great pair of broken-in shoes, and these have been with me for over a decade, so they're pretty broken in. :)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

55/91: Bird Shirt, Jeans, Birkenstocks

It's another casual day around here: we had a preschooler soccer game this morning and are painting pumpkins this afternoon. We plan to try trunk-or-treating later. Are you familiar with this? They didn't have it when I was a kid. You take your kids to a parking lot and they just walk around and collect candy that was provided by the organization or sponsor. So you're in a safe place, with safe candy, and you can get it all done in one crowded place. We'll still go trick-or-treating on Halloween, too. 

I hope you're having a fun fall weekend! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

54/91: Polka Dot Shirt, Faux Leather Skirt, Leggings + Black Boots

Almost all black today, but it still looks fun. The shirt makes all the difference. The print and the shorter sleeves break up all the black and keep me from looking goth. 

You can find that shirt at Boden, here. Watch for sales! You can often get a great deal there. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

53/91: Grey Chambray Shirt, Boyfriend Crops + Chuck Taylors

A grey shirt and jeans could look pretty boring, but I think these cute shoes make it a little more fun. For a capsule wardrobe, it's great to start with a lot of neutrals so you can easily mix and match. A few pops of color or pattern can help keep things interesting. 

Do you buy colorful shoes or purses? How about scarves or jewelry? How do you add something extra to a neutral outfit?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

52/91: Constellation Tee, Green Cardigan, Denim Skirt + Black Boots

I'm making good use of my old black boots, while still thinking about a pair of short boots or booties. I feel like if I find the right boots, my wardrobe will be complete and I can stop thinking about clothes for a while. But will I just find something else to search for? I'd like to redirect that energy into something useful.

Hopefully this capsule wardrobe process will get easier with practice and I will spend less time shopping. I also hope that I will find long-lasting pieces to use for years to come and have fewer empty spots to fill each season. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

51/91: Bird Shirt, Grey Jeans + Vans Chukkas

Wow, I'm 51 days into this capsule wardrobe experiment. I'm happy with how it's going. My favorite things about it are:

* My nice, clean closet welcomes me with clothes that fit me right now, and that I want to wear right now. All the things that might fit me when I lose a few pounds are out of sight and out of mind. 

* I'm figuring out what my style is now, after years of maternity clothes and post-partum yoga pants and t-shirts. 

* Minimizing my wardrobe inspires me to declutter my whole house and change my buying habits. I want my house to be more like my closet: neat, clear, and containing only things we love and want to use now.

Monday, October 20, 2014

50/91: Red Chambray Shirt, Bird Skirt, Black Boots + Talking about Boot Disappointment

This is the skirt I made this fall, and a chambray shirt from Old Navy, and some boots I just got out of my stored clothes (more on that below).

Do you remember these boots (pictured below) from my fall capsule? They're the Frye Carson Tab Short in charcoal.

I preemptively added them to my fall capsule because I planned on buying them. Here's the update. Their regular price is around $350, but I found them on sale on for just over $200! I didn't have the money then, so I had to wait, and they dropped down to $175 - Wa-hoo! By the time I could buy them, they were around $200 again, but that was way better than $350, so I got them and felt happy about the price.

The color was great and I mostly loved them, but they were too big. Wah! The price had gone up on Amazon to the full $350, and if I exchanged them, I'd only get credit for $200 towards the smaller size. Wah! again. I took a refund instead.

I've been looking for a different (less expensive) pair of short black or grey boots but I haven't found the perfect ones yet. 

I'm still tracking the Amazon price of those charcoal Fryes to see if they drop back down again, but in the meantime I decided to start wearing the black boots that I already have. They're tall, and that's not what I envisioned for that spot in my wardrobe, but I'll adjust. These are from Kenneth Cole and I bought them in 2002, on sale. They still look good and feel good. I still really like them, so they've turned out to be an excellent, long-lasting buy. I may be getting over my disappointment about the Fryes. 

Can you remember a disappointing purchase that you kept thinking about for a while? What did you do? For me, sometimes when something is cheap (or a pain to return), it's tempting to keep it even though it's not quite right and try to make it work. 

The Frye boots were super easy to return to Amazon, and it's easier to return it when it costs more! More expensive clothes have to be close to perfect for me to buy or keep them. I'm trying to expand that mindset to EVERYTHING I bring into my home. 

To earn a place in my house, an item must be perfect. I need to make this my minimalist shopping mantra!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

48/91: Off-White Sweater, Denim Skirt, Frye Boots

I'm loving this comfortable outfit and I can easily add leggings to keep wearing it when it's colder. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

46/91: Red Chambray Shirt, Dark Grey Jeans, Chevron Vans

It's day 46 of wearing my fall capsule wardrobe and I haven't had to repeat an outfit yet. My small wardrobe of 40 items is giving me plenty of variety so far. I'm guessing that I'll be excited to change things up by day 91, but so far, so good. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

45/91: Grey Jersey Shirt, Grey Skirt, Ahnu Shoes + Adding in Sewing Projects

Here's the skirt I made - finally finished! I like this outfit both with the shirt tucked in and with it untucked. And you know I love clothes that work two ways in a capsule wardrobe. 

I'm happy with how that skirt turned out! And thinking about making things to wear, how can I fit more of them into my wardrobe when I'm dressing with a capsule wardrobe? I really like sewing and want to make more jersey dresses, maybe some tunics, and skirts. But I don't want to make them and then be "not allowed" to wear them. 

I was talking to my sister about this subject and we were discussing the idea of starting with a certain number of items in a wardrobe (like my current 40), and then being allowed to add in whatever you make during that season. That way, if you realize that something is missing from your wardrobe, you may not let yourself buy it, but you could make it yourself. 

This idea might be great if you want to encourage yourself to sew more. If you have a problem with making too many clothes, perhaps it's not a good plan for you. So, when making your wardrobe guidelines, think about your motivation for starting this capsule wardrobe experiment in the first place. Are you trying to break a shopping addiction? Do you have a fabric-buying problem? Will this exception help you use up your fabric stash or give you an excuse to buy even more?

The rules are always up to you! Just be honest about what you're trying to accomplish, and don't let yourself cheat and ruin your goals. There's no reason to be unnecessarily strict with yourself, or to deprive yourself of the joy of dressing in clothes you love. We just want to remove the impulse shopping, the excess stuff, the unnecessary multiples, the time-wasters, the guilt-causing impulse purchases, and the things that don't fit. 

So, I am making a couple things right now, and I think I might rotate them in once they're finished. I'm thinking that I can swap them in, rather than increasing the total number of items. I want to sew more, so it's great if I have an added incentive to sew. My main motivation for trying out a capsule wardrobe is to have a manageable selection of things that fit and that I like and want to wear right now. So as long as I make things that fit and that I like, I think I'm still sticking to my goal. I don't have the free time to make a ton of clothes, so I doubt I'll go overboard. I'll keep you updated if I finish making anything else and decide to add it to my rotation.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

44/91: Sweatshirt, Jeans, Toms Boots

Sweatshirt, jeans, and Toms boots = a warmer version of my t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers uniform. 

Do you find that you tend to wear a uniform or two? Or do you mix it up with a lot of different silhouettes? 

Monday, October 13, 2014

43/91: Typewriter Tee, Hooded Sweater, Jeans, Chevron Vans

I'm in my uniform again: jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers. I've added a warm sweater...

a red scarf, and a playful little girl to to brighten it up!

I have instructions for making this scarf on my crafty blog, The Make Me Sisters.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Saturday, October 11, 2014

41/91: Constellation tee, jeans, chukka boots

Constellation t-shirt, jeans, and Vans chukka boots. 

And my happy little helper. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

40/91: Green Jersey Dress, Grey Faux Leather Jacket, Frye Boots + Talking About Accessories

Today I'm mixing grey and brown and loving it. I have none of the doubt and sense of wrongness that comes with wearing black and brown together. 

And now let's talk about accessories! I pretty much stopped wearing them when I had babies. I didn't want a baby to be scratched, or to yank out my earrings, or to break a necklace. I also just didn't feel like I had time to spare to think about jewelry or scarves or anything. 

Now that my little boy is 19 months old, I've started wearing a bit of jewelry again. I can't wear any clips in my hair, or bobby pins or anything - my little boy loves to pull them out! But he doesn't mess with earrings or necklaces, so I'm starting there. 

I think an outfit looks more polished and finished when you add some jewelry, and I like feeling more put together! After a few years of wearing the most comfortable clothes I could find (which weren't always the most attractive or flattering), it's nice to balance a desire for comfort with looking a little bit nicer. 

Earrings: studs are great because they brighten up your face and add a little sparkle, and they're so easy to deal with. If they're small enough, you can sleep in them, so you could just choose a pair and stick with them for a week, or until you notice that you want something different. 

How about these silver discs? I don't like the knots, but I love those plain circles. 

A necklace can elevate any outfit. It can even make a t-shirt look a little more sophisticated and thoughtful. 

Dandelion necklace pendant necklace jewelry gift

Bracelets: I want to wear them while I'm still wearing short sleeves. I'm thinking about adding a leather bracelet to my accessories. What do you think?

I like this leather wrap bracelet. It's too expensive for me but looks great. I wonder if I could make something similar myself.  Yep, here's a tutorial on how to copy that bracelet!

And here is a tutorial  on making your own beaded leather wrap bracelets. I think I might try this, too. I'll show you what I make, if I find time to do it. 

I'm also trying out lightweight infinity scarves this fall. A plain shirt and jeans can be the backdrop to a great scarf and make an interesting outfit. 

I'm loving adding on accessories. I can still dress casually and comfortably, but look a little more polished and put together with just a little more effort.