Wednesday, October 08, 2014

My Fall/Winter 2014 Capsule Wardrobe

In my previous post I discussed the theory behind having a capsule wardrobe.  I also listed the parameters I set up to create a core wardrobe that works for me.

Essentially, I am doing a modified Project 333 wardrobe.  However, I am only counting my daily wear pieces in the 33.  I am not including my scarves and jewelry, nor did I count my special occasion items in that number.

To show that you can easily do this without breaking the bank, I'd like to point out that EVERYTHING listed below was already in my wardrobe.  I will list the 4 pieces purchased new this season in a separate category at the bottom.

Please note:  My core wardrobe reflects the fact that I live a very informal lifestyle.  However the same approach will function equally as well for someone who works in a differnt environment.

Labels are not important to me, but I have tried to include the name of most items, just in case you might want to shop for something similar.  However, bear in mind that many of these pieces are likely no longer available since they are not current season purchases.

Now, on to the nitty gritty: actual clothes I am using in my core wardrobe...


--jeans - Levis Curvy 529 Skinny Leg (a great fit if you are not stick-straight)
--jeans - Lucky Brand Easy Rider boot-cut jeans (I've worn these to pieces!)
--skinny micro cords - Lauren Conrad (a darker berry color than they appear in the photo)
--black skinny pants with zipper detail on the cuffs - Lanalee
--knee-length black skirt  - Exact Change (I've had this one for YEARS & it still looks great)

TOTAL: 5 pieces


--3 long-sleeved tees (sapphire blue, charcoal, black from Old Navy and JCPenney)
--1 berry plaid button-up - St. John's Bay
--1 white cotton button-up - Apt. 9 (still searching for the perfect white shirt!)
--1 plaid flannel button-up - LLBean
--1 charcoal turtleneck rib-knit sweater - Basic Editions
--1 sapphire v-neck rib-knit sweater - Basic Editions
--1 white sleeveless shell - Lanalee

TOTAL:  9 pieces


--charcoal hand-knit cabled cardi - MicheleStitches (me!)
--black hand-knit cardi - MicheleStitches
--burgundy hand-spun, hand-knit cardi - MicheleStitches
--black & white swing cardi - Alison Sheri

TOTAL: 4 cardigans


--brown Chaco hikers
--brown Danskos
--black Alegria clogs
--black flats

TOTAL: 4 pair


--black leather bag - LLBean
--brown leather bag - American Angel

TOTAL: 2 bags

NEW for Autumn 2014

I went shopping this weekend at Dress Barn and Brown's Shoe Fit Co., adding a black jacket, 2 patterned shirts, and a pair of tall black boots to my capsule. I have waited several years to get a pair of basic leather boots!

--black zippered jacket (I bought this in leiu of a traditional blazer) - roz & ALI Textured Moto Jacket

--blue/black patterned button-neck blouse - Plumage Print Popover

--chevron, pleated, button-up bohemian blouse - roz & Ali (sorry no link available)

--black leather riding boots - Bussola "Trapani Tall" - these are super comfortable & a great price for tall, full-leather boots (I paid $30 less than the suggested retail on the company's website.)

TOTAL:  4 new pieces

That equals 28 items to make up a core wardrobe that should give me a great variety of outfits for daily wear.

I did not list the following special-purpose items in my capsule wardrobe, but they are on hand to be used as needed:

--Outerwear - 1 lighter jacket, 1 heavier coat, 1 pair of snowboots

TOTAL: 3 pieces outerwear (bringing my grand total of daily wear to 31 items!)

--Transition pieces - 3 to 4 short sleeved shirts for those days when the early fall weather is still warm
--Accessories - my small collection of jewelry as well as scarves & shawls
--Underwear & sleepwear - that's none of your business!  :-D
--Work-out wear - athletic shoes, 2 pairs of old yoga pants & an assortment of older t-shirts
--Cleaning clothes - 1 older pair of jeans & a few shirts I don't care if I ruin

In addition to these, I also have 2 nice dresses, 1 pair of black dress slacks, and 2 pairs of dressy boots to wear on those rare occasions when I need to be more formal.

So, whaddaya' think of my capsule wardrobe?  Have you ever tried to have a core wardrobe of fewer items that all coordinate well?  I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Working on a "Capsule Wardrobe"

You know what a capsule (or core) wardrobe is, right?  The concept has been around for ages, but I am happy to report that more and more people are currently embracing the idea.  For some real inspiration and a challenge, check out the Project 333 by my hero, Courtney Carver.

Simply put, a capsule wardrobe means having fewer items of clothing, preferably of high quality, that coordinate well with each other.

A capsule wardrobe does NOT have to be boring, limiting, or unfashionable.  A capsule wardrobe can eliminate the problem so many of us have:  a closet full of clothes, yet feeling as if we have "nothing to wear!"

Developing a capsule wardrobe and thinking carefully about your clothes can save you tons of time & money.  No more mountains of laundry.  No more impulse buying, filling your closet with "bargains" you don't actually need or wear.  You will find that even though you have less clothes, you have more outfits that make you feel great when you wear them.

When I went through my closet and drawers to work on my core wardrobe for cooler weather, I was astonished at how many clothes I had kept around that were getting quite shabby and did not fit well.  These items were muddying the waters, making it hard for me to see the clothes that I really enjoy wearing. 

I started to ask myself this question:

WHY am I wearing clothes daily that make me feel like a slob? 

It dawned on me that wearing faded yoga pants and worn-out tees does not really show much respect to myself and those who have to look at me every day.  (Sorry, dear family!)  Don't get me wrong, you won't see me doing the dishes in pearls and heels. (Sorry, June Cleaver.)  My daily uniform may be extremely casual (jeans, t-shirts, clogs) but it can still be well thought-out and put together in a pleasing manner.

Here are some of the "rules" I am using for my Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe:


1) Shop my closet and try to work with things I already own as much as possible.


In a dream world, I would probably toss a large portion of what I have and buy new, carefully coordinated basics.  Sadly, that money tree I planted in my back yard is not bearing fruit.  So, I am trying to be creative and work with what I have.  Fortunately, most of my clothes fit (although losing 5-10 lbs. would give me a little more wiggle room!)  While some of my long-sleeved tees are not in "new" condition, they are not so shabby that I am ashamed to wear them.

2) Let go of any items that don't make me feel "good." 


Clothes should fit and flatter.  I have several basic tees that have shrunk in length and are worn and faded.  I have gotten my money's worth of wear out of them.  Every time I put them on, I am constantly tugging at the hem line.  NO MORE!  They will be tossed out or designated to my "work-out" and "chore" clothes.  Once again, in an ideal world with a limitless budget, I would not even save these less-than-stellar items for exercise and doing chores.  I truly believe we have a right to feel great about ourselves no matter what we are doing.

But for right now, baby steps.

3) Core items (tops & bottoms) should frequently work as a blank canvas, adding accessories to perk things up. 


I actually like solids.  Also, I am a knitter, which means I have quite a few scarves and small shawls that I can drape around my neck or shoulders to add color and interest.  Years ago I created and sold jewelry.  I still have a pile of unused supplies.  Perhaps this will spur me to use some of those beads and get creative.

4) Core items should coordinate with each other as much as possible.


Ideally, every top will work with almost every bottom.  No one-hit wonders allowed.  Math geeks will appreciate the following concept:

If your closet contains tops that only match one specific bottom and bottoms that only match one specific top, you get:

1 top + 1 bottom = 1 outfit

2 tops + 2 bottoms = 2 outfits

3 tops + 3 bottoms = 3 outfits

4 tops + 4 bottoms = 4 outfits

Get the idea?  8 items gives you barely over half a week's worth of different outfits.

HOWEVER, if your closet contains tops & bottoms that all coordinate with each other, you will have:

1 top + 1 bottom = 1 outfit

2 tops + 2 bottoms = 4 outfits

3 tops + 3 bottoms = 9 outfits

4 tops + 4 bottoms = 16 outfits

WOW!  8 items and you have more than 2 full week's worth of different outfits, including weekends!

5)  My wardrobe needs to reflect my lifestyle, location, and culture.


I am a stay-at-home mom who works part-time as a nanny.  Therefore, I do not require office-appropriate apparel.  Nor do I have many fancy dress occasions.  I don't need a closet stocked with suits, cocktail dresses and high heels. I live in Wyoming where the weather can be severe and the culture is very practical and relaxed in regards to fashion.  Dresses and skirts in winter aren't my best bet unless they are a style that works well with leggings or tights underneath.

So there you have it, my overarching plan for creating a workable capsule wardrobe.  I'd love to know what you think.  Have you ever lived with a capsule, or core wardrobe?  What were the results?

Coming Soon:  I'll go from theory to application, giving you the nitty gritty details on what items I am planning for my Fall/Winter 2014 Capsule wardrobe.


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