Thursday, December 29, 2016

White Tank, Tan Cardigan, Jeggings, and Grey Fryes

Hi guys, here's my first outfit with my Winter Mini Capsule. I only added a white tank top; the rest of the clothes are from my capsule. 

As usual for me, this is very simple and easy to wear. I can sit on the floor to play Gooey Louie or carry my 3-year old around. There's nothing fussy or easily ruined here. 

It's all neutrals today, but since there are four different colors, I don't think it looks too boring. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Winter Capsule 2016-2017

I've got my winter mini-capsule ready to share with you. I aimed for 20, but ended up with 21 pieces that will form the base of my wardrobe. I'll add in other clothes as needed or as desired. On days when I need to get dressed quickly, I don't need to think about what to wear - I'll just grab something from my mini-capsule. When I have more time to put together an outfit, or if I'm bored with just these 21 items, I'll wear whatever I want! 

This is how my use of capsule wardrobes has evolved, and I think it's great for me. I love the ease of getting dressed with a capsule wardrobe, but the rebel in me loves to break the rules and wear things from outside of my capsule. Also, I hate the idea of having clothes that I like but am not "allowed" to wear because they don't fit into a prescribed number of pieces. For now, this combination of mini-capsule + leaner closet seems like a great fit for me.

Now, let's look at the clothes. This post contains some affiliate links, meaning if you click through and buy something, I might make a small commission but your price would stay the same.

 Many of these are older, so I'll link to similar items if the exact clothes are available anymore.

Tops, tunics, and a dress:

Top row, left to right: 

Second row, left to right:
Self-dyed and self-sewn sweatshirt tunic

I have a variety of colors and lengths included here. There are 4 shirts, two tunics, and one dress. Three of the shirts (not the flannel) can be layered under pullover or cardigan sweaters. The flannel can go on top of t-shirts (though I wouldn't layer it with the navy or burgundy shirts I have here). I can layer the tunics and dress over skinny jeans, jeggings, or leggings for warmth. 

I will definitely wear, but did not include, t-shirts and tank tops for layering.


Top row, left to right:

Middle row, left to right:

Bottom row, left to right:
Self-knitted speckled sweater

In this category, I stayed pretty neutral. I have a lot of color in my tops, and it will be easier to layer them with neutral sweaters. 

I really like my Everlane sweaters so far. Their clothes seem to be good quality and long-lasting. I also have several plain tank tops and t-shirts from them, and they are my favorites. The company places a focus on transparency, letting you know a bit about where their clothes are made, and that their factories are not sweatshops. They also offer easy returns and good customer service. If you haven't checked it out yet, why not click over


Top to bottom:

I think this assortment will serve me well this winter. I like to wear longer shirts a lot in the winter, for extra warmth. They go best over slim pants. It's also nice to tuck skinny pants into boots, especially if it is wet outside. My flared jeans' hems would get wet if I walked through snow or slush, but I could stay dry with waterproofed boots on top of leggings or skinny jeans. 


I don't imagine that I will only wear these four pairs of shoes and boots all winter, but they are a great place to start. Those fleece-lined Vans are so cozy, I can't wait to wear them. I just got them for Christmas and haven't worn them outside yet.

The Toms suede boots are similarly cozy and comfortable. I wear them a lot, as you might be able to tell from how dirty they are. I should really clean them up and waterproof them to make sure they last a long time. 

I love the grey and black boots, and one or the other of them can complete almost any outfit this time of year. 

So that's my mini-capsule. I'll be sharing my outfits a few times a week and letting you know how my plan is going. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Winter Capsule 2016-2017 Is Coming

Hi guys! I lost my capsule mojo this fall, but I think I've found it again. I didn't use a capsule wardrobe this fall, and I had mixed results. On one hand, it was fun to use all my clothes and not feel limited to a certain number of items. On the other hand, I had a mess of clothes from late summer, fall, and winter jumbled together in my closet. There were several times when I tried to get dressed and felt like I had nothing to wear. I felt frustrated and like I was wasting time.

So I'm back! I cleaned out my closet, put away all the summer and early fall stuff (anything that's too lightweight for winter weather), and donated a few things. I organized everything so that similar items are together. I tried on some clothes to make sure they fit right now (I weigh a bit more than I did last winter, and a recent spate of eating cheesecake and cookies has added to the situation). 

Now everything in my closet is right for the season, for what colors I like now, and what fits now. I thought I'd put together a small capsule to use as my wardrobe base. I can use those as my defaults to make quick outfits, and layer on variations when I have more time or imagination. If I feel like wearing something outside of that capsule, I will! I'm not imposing many strict rules on myself this season.* I'm just making my life easier by choosing some outfit components ahead of time. When I'm in a rush to get kids to school, I'll know I can grab anything from the capsule and it will work. 

*My one rule is that I'm not buying any new clothes this winter. I have plenty of stuff that I love and I don't need anything.

I'll admit that I wore baggy sweatpants to preschool drop-off twice this fall! I was a little embarrassed and would rather not repeat that. Even though I was really cozy and physically comfortable, I didn't feel like I had on "real" pants for going out in public. It was psychologically uncomfortable.

I'm choosing 20 items for my base capsule and I'll share them with you this week. I think it will be fun to make and share outfits again.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fall 2016: Warm and Cold

Hi guys! The temperature has varied a lot here so far this fall, so I've gotten to wear a lot of different kinds of outfits. 

Tank top from Everlane
Cardigan from Old Navy
Denim skirt from Boden
Slip-on oxfords from Pikolinos

Tank top from Everlane
Moccasins from Minnetonka

Flared jeans by Madewell
Ankle boots from Clarks (similar)

Handknit sweater - pattern by Isabell Kraemer
Skirt from J. Crew Factory
Slip-on oxfords from Pikolinos

Addison tank top - pattern from Seamwork Magazine
Flared jeans from Madewell
Ankle boots from Clarks (similar)

Luxe Sweater from Everlane.
Grey jeans (similar)
Rain boots from Madewell. I just got these boots and I think they're great for rainy and slushy days. We haven't had many this fall, but I'm sure there will be plenty to come. 

Tank top from Everlane
Cardigan from Old Navy
Black jeans from Madewell

I still haven't chosen a true capsule yet, but I can see the things that I'm reaching for the most. I got out all my cold-weather clothes today and my closet feels pretty crowded. Maybe this weekend I'll narrow it down. It will be nice to have a go-to capsule again instead of having to make so many choices every morning.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Outfits from October

Hi guys! This year I'm figuring out my fall wardrobe by just getting dressed and seeing what I want to wear most often! A few things are already clear winners for me: jeans (of course), the sweater I knitted, and the tan cardigan you'll see below. Soon I'll try to narrow it down to declare my main pieces for the blog - maybe this weekend. 

Souvenir t-shirt from our trip to the Garden of the Gods this summer. Camping with kids for the first time was a fun adventure! Next summer hopefully we'll go a few times, and we'll have a better idea of what gear we want to bring (especially a great air mattress as opposed to the one that went flat and left me sleeping on rocks this summer).
Off-white linen Oceanside pants - pattern from Blank Slate Patterns. These have served me so well since I made them! I wish I'd sewn them at the beginning of summer. I'll keep wearing them until it gets too cold for their breezy lightness.
Camper leather sneakers. I've had these for years! I think they are so weird and fun, and they're super comfortable. 

Red cropped Linden sweatshirt - pattern from Grainline Studio. I originally made this long-sleeved, but the sleeve bands were too tight to push the sleeves up so I hated wearing it. I had to alter it to make it right, and now it's pretty much perfect. The fabric is a weird mystery knit from Colorado Fabrics. It was very inexpensive, but had no content or care information attached. It's certainly not a natural fiber, but it's still working for me as a short-sleeved sweatshirt.
Madewell flared jeans. I got these last year and still enjoy the wide legs and higher waist. I love that there is no whiskering! Why is that still being done to jeans?

Sallie jumpsuit - pattern from Closet Case Files. I'm trying this layered with my new favorite sweater. So far, it has not been too annoying to take off the sweater to use the restroom. 
Tan cardigan from Old Navy. I love the size, weight, shape, length, and color of this sweater. I think I'm going to get a ton of use out of it this winter, and if it survives heavy use and laundering, I can imagine wearing it for years to come. That's one way to defeat fast fashion - only buy things that you love and then wear them a ton. (The other way is to avoid shopping there at all, but I could not find a similar style at a price I was willing to pay from a more ethical supplier.)
Ankle boots from Clarks. These are a couple years old. This year's version of the Spye is here, and also looks great. Mine are really comfortable and I love the fringe detail and the low heel. 

My hand-knit sweater, the Daelyn Pullover by Isabell Kraemer.
Flared jeans from J. Crew Factory
Minnetonka Moccasins - these shoes just seem like fall to me. They have thunderbirds made of beads on the toes, but my kids think they are robots. That makes me like them even more (both the shoes and the kids!)

Maroon t-shirt from J. Crew Factory. I love how these fit. 
Flared jeans from J. Crew Factory. 
Old Airwalk lace-up shoes. These are cute ones from Clarks.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Rainy Day Outfit

Today is cold and rainy (it's currently only 44 degrees!). Yesterday afternoon I wore shorts to work in the garden, but today I get to wear the first sweater I ever knit myself. I plan on wearing this a lot this winter. I finished it in January, maybe, but then I pulled a yarn end and made a hole in it. Luckily my sister was able to fix it for me, but the incident meant that I barely got to wear it after I made it, and then it got too warm outside. I'm excited to get to wear it more this year.

I'm working on knitting my second sweater now. I have to finish the first sleeve, knit the second sleeve, and finish the neckline. I should definitely be wearing that one soon! I think a less distracted knitter could finish it in a day of dedicated knitting. Since I'm always in the middle of a bunch of projects, and always starting even more, plus I'm a slow knitter, I'm hoping I'll have it done by the end of the month. And then I have a few more planned, and I want to learn to knit socks! Wouldn't it be awesome to have more time and energy? So many plans!

Do you have any cozy hobbies for wintertime? It feels so right to cuddle up with a blanket, a cat, a cup of coffee, and a knitting or crochet project. The cat's very important for lap-warming and for stealing your yarn. 

Handknit sweater - pattern is Daelyn by Isabell Kraemer. Yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Yarn in Cosmic Wonder Dust
Madewell skinny jeans
Lucky Brand ankle boots (mine are old but these are similar)

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October Outfits: Easing Into Cooler Weather

Hi guys, how's October treating you? It's a nice autumn here, with leaves changing color and gradually cooling temperatures - my favorite kind of fall! Some years it rains and the leave just turn brown. Some years it seems to go from hot summer right to cold winter. I love it when we get a sunny fall with a good stretch of temps in the 60s and 70s. Perfection. 

I've been wearing jeans a lot and layering on a sweater or jacket in the mornings and evenings. I've gotten out my ankle boots and hightop sneakers, which both feel pretty autumnal to me. And I also still need short sleeves, even tank tops, and sandals. This is the time of year that calls for a whole range of fabrics and styles to suit the changing weather. 

Blue Penny raglan top - pattern from Grainline Studio
Madewell flared jeans
Ankle boots from Clarks (mine are old but these are cute)

Striped rayon Willow Tank - pattern from Grainline Studio
Linen Oceanside pants - pattern from Blank Slate
Slip-on Pikolinos oxfords

Cloudy Scout Tee - pattern from Grainline Studio
Madewell flared jeans
Clarks sandals (mine are old, but if I were shopping for new ones, I'd want to try these on)

Sallie Jumpsuit - pattern from Closet Case Files
Leather Sam Edelman espadrilles
Cross-body purse (mine is old but here is another yellow one)

Blue Penny Raglan Top again. Sometimes I wear something, love it, and just keep wear it (see also my Madewell flared jeans this week).
Chambray skirt - self-drafted
Clarks sandals (mine are old, but Birkenstocks would work)
Clutch (mine is old, but this one is cute)

Linden sweatshirt - pattern from Grainline Studio
Madewell flared jeans
Hightop Vans

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Outfit: Flower-Dyed Raw Silk Shirt

 Hi guys, I have a new top to show you. I've been working on it throughout the summer. I started with raw silk fabric and then used a technique called Eco-dyeing. I rolled up flowers in the fabric, tied it tightly, and soaked it in an alum bath for several days. After washing the fabric, I sewed this top. I used a pattern from Simplicity, 1366, which is designed by Cynthia Rowley

I'm thrilled to get to wear this shirt, made from fabric that I dyed in such an unusual way! This is my idea of fun. 

These are higher rise skinny jeans from Old Navy, in the tall length. These are really long - I'm 5' 10" and these are extra long on me.  I double cuffed them this time, but I also like them bunched up at the ankle. 

 These shoes are old Clarks, maybe 10 years old! They're leather ballet flats with ankle straps. Here are some suede ones from Sam Edelman.

 Oh, yeah. I altered the pattern just a bit by making the back a little bit longer. If you're wondering about washing this silk shirt, I can wash it in the machine on cold and tumble dry low. I don't have the time or patience to hand wash much these days. It would just sit in the laundry room for a month, and I want to wear it as often as possible! You can actually wash any silk, if you buy fabric and pre-shrink it. Be very careful about washing store-bought silk garments, since they may shrink!

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall Chit Chat

Hi guys! It's been a while. This late summer and early fall has been pretty busy for me, and I often felt like I wasn't on top of things. My kids started school and then they both got sick. Then I got a sinus infection that lasted two or three weeks and stole most of my energy. We spent a week in Hawaii! After that amazing vacation, it took a while to get back to a normal routine. Now we've got soccer and Spanish club and play dates after school. It's a fun time and it sometimes feels like a lot to do.  

So now I feel a strong desire to take control of some parts of life, like menu planning, getting up early to exercise, and spending my time better after the kids go to bed. I've been spending my evenings mostly watching tv while messing around on my laptop, and I'd love to be sewing, knitting, tidying up, stretching, or doing ab exercises while I watch. OR watch less tv and read more books. Or a combination.

Today I started to solidify a fall wardrobe, and then I felt kind of defeated by the whole thing and decided maybe I wouldn't do it this season. I sewed a new top instead! And then I felt like I wanted to make it part of a fall capsule wardrobe, so I will probably be making one after all. I have some ideas and I think it will be fun. I will probably do something like a 20-piece wardrobe, where I choose some pieces that I want to wear a ton, but then I supplement with whatever else is in my closet. Plus I have some sewing plans, so I'll be adding in newly-sewn clothes, too (hopefully, if I finish them). 

I went through my closet not too long ago, and I liked almost everything. I thought I'd find a lot to donate, but I didn't. I think I've sorted through it enough times that what's left is what I like and what I want. It felt a little disappointing that I didn't have a big pile, but a second later I realized that it's awesome! I don't have a closet full of losers anymore. That's great. 

And I don't need to limit my wardrobe to 40 pieces anymore. I've already proven to myself that I don't need a huge amount of clothing. I don't buy many new things, and I'm getting better at choosing things that I will wear a lot. It's still fun to put together a capsule of things that mostly work together, or that convey a certain vibe for the season. But I love adding in whatever else I have! I don't want my clothes to just hang in the closet because I arbitrarily chose to only use 40 pieces of clothing. 

I think capsule wardrobing has a lot of uses and it can be part of a great process of having a more reasonable, useful, beloved wardrobe. Having rules and sticking to them is a good way to really try out living without excess or over-shopping. Self-discipline is a great thing. I'm not trying to diminish capsule wardrobes at all. I think I'm in a place to tweak the idea now.

I think I'll choose my 20-piece wardrobe this season and keep it in the front section of my closet. Those will be my favorite pieces, the ones I want to wear all the time, that are seasonally appropriate and fit really well. But the rest of my clothes won't have to be banished to a box; they'll just be farther back in the closet. I can easily see and reach for my capsule clothes and then add in other pieces when I have time to think about wearing something different. 

I like the progression from a strict capsule to a loose one. It's been really useful for me and I think some of the ideas will stick with me forever: I don't need to have every color represented in my closet. I don't need multiples of the same item. People usually don't notice what I wear and don't care if I wear the same things a lot. I only need clothes that suit my actual lifestyle.  

Have you tried a capsule wardrobe? Is it something you think you'll do forever, or is it more of a learning experience?

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Outfits 87 - 97 Summer '16

Hi guys! It's still summer for about 10 more days, but at my house, the mornings and evenings are a little cool and sometimes call for long sleeves or pants. I'm wearing jeans a lot more now, and my autumn-colored corduroy skirt, and I'm mixing in some long sleeved shirts. How is your wardrobe evolving as the seasons change?

Breton striped shirt (similar)
Copper corduroy Moss skirt, pattern from Grainline Studio

I made a jumpsuit! The pattern is the Sallie from Closet Case Files. I didn't do a perfect job with the v-neck, but I will wear this proudly anyway. It has front pockets, an elastic waist, and it ties at the back. I made the legs ankle-length.  

Here's how it looks with a jean jacket on top. I like it with a cardigan, too. I should be able to wear it quite a bit this fall, with one layer added. Of course the added layer makes it less convenient to use the restroom, since you have to take off the layer and pull down the top every time. The bathroom inconvenience is the main reason I resisted jumpsuits for the last couple of years! Finally the idea grew on me, and it feels worth it since I think this is really cute. 

Bird skirt, self-drafted pattern

Rayon Willow tank, pattern from Grainline Studio

And here's this outfit with a jacket that my mom embroidered in the 1970s. 

Corduroy Moss skirt, pattern from Grainline Studio

Batik-patterned maxi skirt, self-drafted pattern

Rayon Willow tank, pattern from Grainline Studio
Corduroy Moss skirt, pattern from Grainline Studio