Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Outfit 59/59: Red Tunic, Cropped Jeans & Sandals

It's the last day of my winter capsule.

Why not celebrate with a balloon leftover from my son's birthday? Spring is here! Sure, the flowers blooming and warmer temperatures make a huge difference, but what really tips it over the edge is wearing sandals. Having more skin out in the sunshine makes it real: it's spring! 

Sleep update: last night I stayed up too late. I was mad at myself for doing it, but I missed my sleepy window and got a second wind and just didn't turn off the light on time. Okay, it wouldn't have been so bad, but then my little boy started screaming about 10 minutes after I fell asleep! He rarely wakes up at night; he must have had a nightmare. I was up with him for a couple hours, and ended up very short on sleep. If I'd gone to bed on time, I'd have been a little short, but still much better off than I was. 

I felt so unhappy today, and easily made sad, and I had less patience and humor. Lack of sleep really affects my mood in a bad way. I hate feeling like that, and I need to remember that when I think about watching one more show from the DVR or reading one more article or chapter. Just go to sleep!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Outfits 56, 57 & 58/59

Here are my outfits from the weekend. I'm adding in my April wardrobe additions, and it feels pretty nice to make some new outfits. 

Outfit 56/59: Blue t-shirt, green pants, and white Converse.

Outfit 57/59: Jersey dress, ivory cardigan, and sandals.

Outfit 58/59: Grey crewneck sweater, jeans, and tan Frye boots.

I've been working on going to bed earlier, and I got 8.5 hours of sleep the other night! I felt so great after that. Then last night, only 7 hours. Seven feels a lot better than six, but I think eight hours is my perfect amount of sleep. I'm going to keep trying to just force myself to get to sleep on time, and it should become a habit after a few weeks. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Outfits 54 & 55/59

This week, Jason was out of town for a few days, and I didn't go to bed on time, and my tiredness has led to Polyvore outfit composites instead of photos. So, for yesterday and today:

Untitled #24

Outfit 54/59: Blue t-shirt, boyfriend jeans and white Converse (a little early, since they're supposed to be for April)

Untitled #23

Outfit 55/59: Green crewneck sweater, jeans, and moccasins. 

My aforementioned lack of sleep is something I want to change. I think I would feel so much better if I would get enough sleep. I also think it would improve my memory, ability to learn, patience with the kids, energy to exercise, determination to cook healthier foods, and mood. I usually wake up around 7:00. If I'd go to sleep at 11:00, I'd get eight hours, which would be awesome! It's not like 11:00 is early, so I shouldn't be struggling to go to sleep then.

There are two reasons why I stay up until midnight or 1:00 in the morning. One is, my sleepiness cycle makes me very tired at about 9:00 (too early) and then I get a second wind and feel wide awake until after midnight. The second reason is just a desire to be awake without the kids. It's so hard to give up that time after they're in bed!

I think the only thing I can do is decide to turn off the light at 11:00 and then just stick to it. So good night! I only have 20 minutes until lights out.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Outfits 52 & 53/59

Outfit 52: Wine shirt, bird skirt, leggings, and fringe boots.


Outfit 53: Fix the Outfit! This outfit didn't change much from my original attempt. I just wore ankle boots instead of moccasins. The toughness of the jacket was too incongruous for me with the moccasins. I'm fine mixing the jacket with the business casual button-down shirt and pinstriped pants, but the shoes didn't work for me. It's still not an outfit I'd wear much, but it's fun to try mixing different styles together and see what happens. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

April Capsule Wardrobe

It's time for new clothes! Hurray!

I told you yesterday that I decided to choose twenty pieces for this month, to rotate in with my winter capsule. I learned a lesson in September, when I made my first capsule wardrobe: months with big temperature swings can be tough with a small wardrobe. It's not as enjoyable for me to dress with a capsule wardrobe if I don't have everything I need. In September, I didn't include enough shorts or t-shirts since I was thinking more about October and November being cold. There were a lot of hot days in September, and it was pretty challenging to stick to my commitment to only wear what was in my capsule. I don't want this to be hard! I want it to make life easier.

This spring, I'm going to switch over more gradually from my winter clothes to my spring clothes. It makes sense for me to start wearing warm-weather clothes when the weather changes, rather than being tied to a certain date. I think this will work a lot better for me, and help me to feel happy with my wardrobe. I'm not buying extra things, I'm just keeping more in my closet until the weather settles into spring. 

So here are my 20 pieces, in a breezy photo shoot:

I'm adding three pairs of shoes: black leather espadrilles, white slip-on Converse, and Naot sandals (from a few years ago). 

Here's the breezy part - it was windy today! Here are a kimono shirt and a jersey dress (from Boden a few years ago). 

A grey and white tunic from Boden, a cream shirt from Old Navy, and a black and white tank top from Old Navy (all from past seasons).

A blue top from Modcloth, a colorful tunic from Boden, and a blue and white striped t-shirt from the Gap (all from past seasons).

A grey button-down shirt from Old Navy, a black and white polka dot top from Boden (both older), and a swingy black tank top from Old Navy

I got both of these sweaters on sale at Boden: a grey crewneck and a blue retro sweater.

And finally, some shorts and lightweight pants. These were all bought in past years: distressed jean shorts from Old Navy, green pants from the Gap, cuffed cropped jeans from Apt 9, and grey shorts from Old Navy.

I'm excited to add some "new" clothes to my wardrobe, even though most of them came out of a box in my closet. It's still fun to see them again after they've been packed away. Are you getting out your spring clothes yet? What are you buying or considering for spring? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Outfits 48, 49, 50, and 51/59

I've got four outfits to share, since I didn't post on Friday. My April capsule has to wait until tomorrow since I didn't take photos of the clothes - and they're mostly older things from storage, so I can't use photos from the websites. I was going to take photos today, but we had to get a new furnace, and it ended up taking 7 hours to install it! Then we had a play date planned, and then it was dinner time. So, hopefully tomorrow will be the day. 

But I can tell you that I decided to pick 20 spring items to mix with my winter clothes. Today was warm and sunny; Wednesday the high is predicted to be in the 40s and it might snow. I learned from my fall capsule that the transitional months here can be a problem when I'm dressing with a capsule wardrobe. There will likely be a huge variety of temperatures and weather conditions. September was tough since I didn't include many warm weather clothes, and there were lots of hot days. April will probably have some days that are 80 degrees and a big snow. It will be great to have clothes that are appropriate for whatever happens.

Instead of suddenly switching wardrobes on April 1st, I think this plan will work better for me: transition from winter to spring more gradually, using both wardrobes for approximately the month of April. When it seems like the warmer weather is sticking, I'll pack up my winter clothes and add the rest of my spring ones. How are you handling the transitional months?

Here are some outfits:

48/59: Snake top, boyfriend cardigan, straight-legged jeans, chevron Vans. 

49/59: White t-shirt, ivory cardigan, red skirt, leggings, fringey boots.


50/59: Navy top, boyfriend jeans, Vans Sk8-his. I'm thinking about shortening this top since it looks so lumpy when it lays over my pants' waistline, belt loops, fly, and pockets. If it's shorter, I can wear a regular-length tank top or camisole underneath to smooth the lumpiness. In the second photo, I just folded it under to see if I like the shorter length. I think it will work. I am very interested in trying the reader-suggested idea of ruching the sides. That would shorten it, and also create intentional gathers that should completely remove the problem of wanting it to look smooth and flat. Now, I just need to practice ruching!


51/59: Desert t-shirt, black and white cardigan, boyfriend jeans, Vans Sk8-his. 

Only eight more days in this month and with this capsule wardrobe! It feels pretty fun to get to have a whole new wardrobe every season, even though most of the clothes are coming from storage. That's the way I like to move toward minimalism, you guys. It doesn't feel like deprivation at all.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Outfits 46 & 47/59

Outfit 46: Black and white sweater dress, black tights, and grey Frye boots. Sometimes my style shows up in my daughter's wardrobe: a striped top and jeans look good at any age! 

Outfit 47/59 is another Fix the Outfit experiment. On the left, I tried wearing my striped tunic with a black and white batwing cardigan, wide-legged pinstriped pants and moccasins. I thought the loose top, loose sweater, and loose pants were unbalanced and just too much loose fabric for me. On the right, I switched out the tunic for a tighter-fitting jersey snake top and kept the rest of the outfit the same. I think it looks a lot better. 

This was an experiment in mixing patterns: the sweater's knit pattern, the snake print on the shirt, and the pinstripe on the pants are all different. But they work together because they're all black, grey, and white. Also, only one of the patterns is strong (the snake print). The other two patterns are more subtle and look pretty neutral.

This weekend, I plan to finalize my next capsule wardrobe and I'll tell you all about it on Monday. I'm pretty excited about getting out my old favorites and adding a few new pieces for springtime.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Outfit 45/59: Cream Sweater, Ladybug Skirt, Grey Fryes

It cooled off again, so I wore a sweater today - well, in the morning, anyway. Thursday it might snow, so I can bundle up one more (last?) time. I feel excited for spring and for different clothes, but I also think I'm going to miss my cozy sweaters. I know I'll be glad to see this cream turtleneck again in the fall. 

I'll probably put these boots away for six months, too, and I know I'll be excited to get them out again. That's a great benefit of packing away your out-of-season clothes: when the time comes to unpack them, you're so happy to see your old favorites! It's definitely as good as buying new stuff. You already know that you love these pieces, they fit, they don't ride up or shift around or wrinkle too much. There won't be any bad surprises the first time you wear them all day long. The clothes you keep are the ones that work. 

If something doesn't work really well, if you don't think you'll be excited to see it again next year, maybe it shouldn't be in your closet. That's one thing I'll be thinking about as I put away my winter things and replace them with spring clothes. I know I'll also be asking Marie Kondo's big question, "does it bring me joy?" If not, I'll donate it. I want to open the box of cold-weather clothes and feel happy about everything in it, and not think, "oh, are you still here?" 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Outfits 42, 43, & 44/59

How was your weekend? We went to a birthday party, had some short-lived illness, did yard work in the sunshine, and got the first estimate for having our house painted. And here are a few outfits:

Octopus t-shirt, straight-legged jeans, and chevron Vans. 


Green crewneck sweater, skinny jeans, and tan Frye boots. 

Desert t-shirt, jeans, and zip boots.

It's warming up here and I'm eyeing my shorts and tank tops. Are you wearing any of your spring clothes yet? If it stays this warm, I'll have to trade some sweaters for short-sleeved shirts, and trade some boots for sandals. Yay for spring!

Friday, March 13, 2015

41/59: Fix the Outfit: Red Tunic over Snake Top, Jeans, Zip Boots

Here's another experimental outfit. Above is the first try. I thought the striped shirt had too high of a neckline. Below, I tried my snake-print top as the base layer, which has a little lower neckline, and I think it looks much better. 

I also traded the straight-legged jeans for skinny jeans, and I think the proportions are better with the flowy tunic. I think it's great to play around with proportions and see what suits you best. It makes it a lot quicker to put an outfit together if you already know that you like to pair certain shapes.

Then, when you have extra time to play dress-up, try out some other combinations. Our tastes change over time so don't get stuck thinking you can only wear certain silhouettes -- you might discover more options if you give them a try.  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fix the Outfit: Navy Top over White Shirt, Jeans, Moccasins

Outfit 40/59 is a second try at layering this navy top over a white shirt. In the first photo, I tried my button-down shirt as the base layer. I thought it was too lumpy under the slinky navy shirt. It has buttons and pockets and you could see them all under the navy top. 

Today I tried a smooth white t-shirt underneath, and it looks better. I also tried slimmer jeans to help reduce lumpiness, and I think that helped. 

This top is so slinky, I can't just throw it on over anything and feel like it's flattering. But, it's bamboo jersey, and I love the feel of it. I like the color, too. It was tricky to sew because the fabric is so slippery, so I had to put in extra effort to make it. For all those reasons, I'm going to give it another try and see if I can figure out a nice, smooth looking outfit. Some clothes are worth a little more effort to get right, and I'm willing to spend a little longer on this top.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Different Styles of Capsule Wardrobes + Outfit 39/59

If you're thinking about starting to dress with a capsule wardrobe, you might be wondering if you have to follow someone else's strict rules. The answer is Nope! There's no wrong way to capsule. The idea of consciously choosing a small, coordinating wardrobe of clothes has been around since at least the 1970s, and it's been done in many ways since then. There are lots of variations possible, and you can choose or create the style that works best for you. Here are a few ideas:

1. A Small, Long-Term Capsule + Seasonal Add-Ons
This capsule could be made up of timeless, quality pieces that you'll use year-round, year after year. The pieces should be basic so they coordinate with all your seasonal additions. These are the pieces that might be investments, and they should be perfect for you. Nothing that's "almost right" makes the cut. 

While you use these same capsule pieces all year long, you get to add whatever extra/fun/seasonal pieces you like each season. Those might be cheap and trendy, or they might be other timeless investment pieces that happen to be season-specific (like sweaters, a coat, sandals, or sundresses). 

Your wardrobe could be any size that works for you, but you always have your reliable capsule pieces as the starting point for getting dressed. This is great if you know that certain silhouettes work best for you. Buy perfect versions of the pieces that you love and then build on those. You know you will look great when your outfit starts with a perfect-fitting signature A-line skirt/shift dress/whatever suits you. Of course, you can still experiment with any shapes you want, but when you just need a reliable outfit that looks and feels fantastic, with no surprise riding up or falling down, you know you can rely on the uniforms you have in your capsule wardrobe.

2. A Very Minimalist Capsule
This collection might be 33 pieces (like Courtney Carver's Project 333), including coats, purses and jewelry. Following Courtney's model, you use a new capsule every three months. If minimalism is your main goal, you'll probably reuse a lot of pieces from spring into summer and from fall into winter. You'll likely store everything you're not using and unpack it as its season comes around again. You probably won't buy many new items as each new season arrives; you'll mostly reuse what you had in storage.

With a smaller capsule, it can be helpful to choose one neutral color and build your whole wardrobe on that base (like black or brown). Even if you like to mix black and brown, I think choosing a more monochromatic palette makes it a lot easier to make more outfits out of a few pieces. 

3. A Tiny Fashion Capsule
I've read about a woman who only owns 10 items of clothing! She wears the same thing several times a week, takes really good care of her clothes, and doesn't get bored with it. Some of the pieces are expensive, designer clothes and shoes, but she has bought only a few and she wears them all the time, so her cost per wear isn't very expensive. 

If you think about buying 10 different shirts for $8 each, and you only wear each one a couple times before you're tired of them, you've paid $4 for each wear. If you invest $200 in a pair of boots, and you wear them twice a week for a year (104 times!), you paid about $2 per wear. If they last more than a year, your cost per wear obviously keeps decreasing. 

So with this type of capsule, you might invest all your budget into buying a few really nice pieces that you really love and want to wear a ton. The cost could balance out compared to buying a ton of cheap clothes that you don't really love or even wear - or low-quality clothes that don't look good after a few washings, anyway. 

With this type of capsule, you would be wearing your best clothes all the time. Do you have anything that you are saving for the right, special occasion - but it's not formal wear? With this capsule, you would have to wear your best clothes all the time, because that's all you'd have. Great! Why invest in something special and then never enjoy it? No matter what type of wardrobe you choose, why not start wearing your favorite, beloved clothes right away?

And today's outfit:

Black T-Shirt, Grey Sweater, Boyfriend Jeans, and Vans.   

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

38/59: Wine T-Shirt, Straight-Legged Jeans, Converse

Today it felt like spring here and the kids and I spent about five hours outside! There was play time, yard work that should have been done in the fall, and then we met friends at the playground, and then played with the neighbors! I had to change to a short-sleeved t-shirt before we walked to the playground, but this outfit was great for the morning.

Are you thinking about what you're going to wear this spring? I think I want a flowy knee-length skirt and a maxi skirt. And a jean jacket. I know I want some slip-on shoes so we can get out the door one minute earlier. I think this spring capsule is going to be really fun to plan and to wear.     

Monday, March 9, 2015

Outfits 35, 36, and 37/59

Outfit 35/59 is a Fix the Outfit: Black and White Tunic, Black and White Cardigan, Black Jeggings, Moccasins. On the left was my first try with this sweater and tunic together. I thought the loose top and loose pants were too big together. On the right, I matched the same tops with black jeggings, and I like the proportions a lot more. 

Outfit 36/59: Green Cardigan, White T-Shirt, Bird Skirt, Fringe Boots. 

Outfit 37/59 is another Fix the Outfit: Grey Striped Sweater, Ladybug Skirt, Zip Boots. On the left, I tried some pattern mixing and I did not like the result at all. The shape of the shirt's hem is not right with the skirt. I think the tights and boots make my legs look choppy. On the right, my striped sweater has a better shape than the t-shirt. I much prefer the look of the black tights and ankle boots - the matching pieces are elongating and also the height of the boots works better with the length of the skirt.  

I'm going to do some more of these before-and-after outfits. I also think it's fun to first try any crazy combination and then try to refine it and make it into a wearable, flattering outfit. It's nice to see more possibilities from a capsule wardrobe -- you don't have to wear the same few outfits all the time. 

If you want to see all of my experiments with mixing and matching, check out this post.

Friday, March 6, 2015

34/59: Snake Top, Boyfriend Cardigan, Straight-Legged Jeans, Converse

What are you up to this weekend? I'm hoping to have some time to sew. Jason was out of town for most of this week, so I would love a few hours off from childcare after being on duty 24/7. I have some cute fabric and lots of ideas, so I'll see what I can do. 

I'm enjoying following along with this wardrobe planning challenge on Coletterie.com (the Colette Patterns blog). Kristen is using Colette's Wardrobe Architect plan to design her personal wardrobe. She has committed to buying no new clothing in 2015; she will make new things or buy second-hand items. It's fun to see what patterns she is buying and what she plans to make. I'm looking forward to seeing her finished garments, especially since I have a couple of the same patterns. 

I love to see how different people use the same patterns to make their own unique clothes. If you've ever bought a pattern and then weren't sure what kind of fabric to buy, or which trims or details to add, try searching for the name of the pattern on Flickr. Chances are, you'll get to see several interpretations of the same piece of clothing. It can be pretty inspiring and fun. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

33/59: Ivory Turtleneck Sweater, Jeans, Tan Frye Boots

Ah, this outfit is so easy! The only risk is kids' sticky handprints on the sweater. It's okay if they only eat white foods for a whole day, right? ;)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fix the Outfit: Black Crewneck over Red Shirtdress, Fringe Booties

Outfit 32/59 is very similar to one I showed you before, in this post. I tried mixing and matching a bunch of different pieces to see if I could discover any new outfits. This was one attempt:

I really like the dress and sweater together, but I thought it might look better with black tights and ankle boots. Here's the result:

I like this a lot. If I had to nitpick, I wish I had black tights that were very opaque and matte. In person, I don't think these looked sheer or shiny, but they look a little thin in the photos. 

Have you tried making any new combinations to change up your capsule wardrobe?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Outfits 28, 29, 30 & 31/59

Hi guys! I forgot to post yesterday, so I have four outfits to share today. 

Cobalt t-shirt, boyfriend jeans, and Chevron Vans. This is what I wore for my little boy's birthday party. It was great for carrying him around, eating cake, and sitting on the floor. He had a blast and he is still so excited about the party decorations and balloons. 

White button-down, ladybug skirt, and ankle boots. This is a skirt I made using knit fabric printed with a design by Charley Harper. If you'd like to see more of the designs, you could check them out here.

Black and white tunic over a white t-shirt, distressed jeans, and riding boots. I made this top, and I want to make a bunch more. It's easy to change the neckline, sleeve length, and hem length. If I somehow had a whole day free, I just might spend all day making different variations.

Cobalt t-shirt, ivory cardigan, jeans, and moccasin boots. It's really cold here again, so these boots are my current favorites. They are so toasty-warm and are as comfortable as slippers. My kids love to be barefoot inside, even when it is cold. It makes me feel cold just to see them taking off their socks again - let alone when they touch me with their icicle feet. I need to stay extra warm to counteract my sympathetic chills.