A few weeks ago I wrote a post On Building a Wardrobe and told you I was going to start a capsule wardrobe in August to test the waters for Fall. I’m happy to report it has gone swimmingly. Be sure to check out yesterday’s post discussing the Fall Capsule Wardrobe linkup with Anne.
I loosely followed Caroline’s guidelines and did what was right for me right now. Here is my process:
1. Caroline said to empty everything out of your closet and so I did. Honestly, I think this is the most important step. I am no stranger to paring down my closet and taking things out I don’t wear, but holy crap. What a difference when you empty it out. For example: I started with my dresses. If you had asked me to guess how many I had I would have said about 20-25. I had 36. 36. Now granted, a few of them were fancier dresses I got for fancier occasions. And I’ve worn some of them, but some I haven’t. And some of those nicer dresses are a size or two smaller than what I currently wear and I’m not ready to get rid of those yet because I quite like them and their size is a realistic size for me. So after going through my dresses I went down to 13 (the picture below lies a little if you read the comments… I had one dress hanging in another section I forgot I had and I’m keeping it) for the summer, 7 for the next seasons, and 2 to hopefully fit into again.
<iframe src=”//instagram.com/p/rLYaLmIo10/embed/” width=”612″ height=”710″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” allowtransparency=”true”></iframe>
I pulled each section of my closet out seperately. That was more workable for me than pulling every single thing out at once. It would have been a mess and that would have stressed me out. So after the dresses I did long sleeves, short sleeves, and sleeveless tops. We’ve had an unseasonably cool summer this year so I kept out some long sleeve shirts and opted not to go through my cardigans/blazers right now.
2. Sorting the items. Things I knew were absolutely going to work for August were hung on the back of my closet door right away. Items I wasn’t too sure about went into one pile, things for a future season were another pile, things that are still in excellent condition that are too small and it is realistic for me to fit into in the future made a different pile, and donate/sell items were the last pile. Things that were definitely not going back in the closet for August were immediately taken off the hanger, folded, and put in it’s appropriate pile so I wouldn’t be distracted.
3. Looking for a theme. In other posts on Caroline’s blog she discusses the importance of having a style for each capsule wardrobe so that the items go together and it is easier to come up with outfits. At first I was thinking this wouldn’t work for me because I enjoy quite a few different styles. But as I put my absolute pieces back in the closet I did start to see a theme for August and used that to decide on my maybe pile. So even though you might think you don’t have a set style or want to have one, you might find that you too see a common theme. Also, my summer theme is COMPLETELY different than the theme I see for Fall and that’s part of the fun!
4. 37 pieces. Part of Caroline’s capsule wardrobe is to pare it down to only 37 pieces. That wasn’t going to work for me. First, I don’t work from home like she does and so I do need more than one “wardrobe.” Yes, a lot of my clothes overlap, I purposely look for things that do, but I am definitely not going to wear these jeans to work and I probably won’t wear this skirt casually. So I actually didn’t limit myself to a certain number for August. I’d like to come up with a good number for Fall and I’m using this month to try and determine that workable number for me.
After going through my own version of Caroline’s process I ended up with a pretty cohesive August capsule wardrobe. For August there is a definite loose, fun, colorful theme. Colors that stand out are pink, blue, and white. I stick with loose fitting tops in light fabrics and I tend to gravitate towards patterns.
Thoughts so Far
I’m glad I decided to try out the capsule wardrobe by starting in August. I have learned that less is definitely more when it comes to your closet. I know basically everything that’s in there now and I spend less time staring at my closet because there is less to choose from. Everything in my closet excites me right now and I think I’ll be even more excited when I switch over to the Fall wardrobe because everything will be “new” (as in, not every piece will be actually brand new just bought, but I won’t have seen it for a while!). I have learned that I really love sleeveless tops (actually, I already knew this but it was just reiterated). It’s what I currently have the most of in my closet and I’ll probably carry some of them over to future seasons because I like layering them.
I also learned that I lack when it comes to short sleeve tops. Most of mine are tshirts and while I do like tshirts, I don’t really love wearing them to work with jeans. It feels just a little too casual to me. So for a future summer capsule wardrobe I’d like to work on more work appropriate short sleeve tops.
This summer I am wearing shorts more than I usually do which is funny since it has been colder this summer. I think I’m just more comfortable with my body than I was previously. But I have learned that my favorite way to wear shorts is with a long sleeve shirt or a light sweater. I don’t really like wearing them with sleeveless or short sleeves and I wonder if it is because 1) I feel too exposed that way or 2) it’s too casual for me. I’m not a terribly casual dresser as Ken pointed out when he told me my mint ballet flats, pink shorts, and black and white light sweater outfit was pretty fancy for a backyard bbq.
I used to have a lot of variety when it came to my shoes and now I really don’t. I miss the variety. I think it was because I started to become really conscious of my spending habits so where I used to feel totally fine spending money on shoes and purses, I no longer do. It’s also because previously I hated buying new clothes for myself because I didn’t like my size but shoes and purses always fit. Anyway, I am not buying anymore “summer” shoes but I am looking for what I need for the fall. I’m a flats kind of girl so I am keeping an eye out for black shiny leather pointed toe, plain cognac, another color in shiny leather (these are my favorite kinds of shoes and I have mint, blue, red, and a mustard that needs updating), and navy pointed toe. I am also looking for nude wedges (I like to have shiny nude and shiny black wedges) and any boots I might like.
Although I don’t have a firm number for how many pieces I want in my fall capsule, I know 37 won’t work for me. By doing a mini capsule in August I have learned that I definitely don’t need as many clothes as I thought. I reach for the same few pieces over and over again, especially when it comes to tops. However, fall is the season of layers and that is one of my themes so I know I will want more pieces in the Fall than I did in August. Make sense?
Getting Ready for Fall
It’s been a few weeks since I did all of that but my piles of clothes are still sitting on my bedroom floor much to my Mother’s dismay. I need to get them put away but having them in plain sight on the floor actually keeps me mindful of my fall capsule. When I went crazy during Loft’s friends and family sale I really limited myself to items that fit the theme starting to emerge for fall. It actually really really helped with my shopping so I can definitely see why Caroline says to come up with a style. So far the style emerging for fall is navy, burgundy, white (always with the white), brown, plaid, layers. I don’t foresee as many different patterns in fall as I had in august. Layers will be huge in the fall so I’m really excited for that.
If you’re thinking about taking on a similar project or just want ideas on how to have a wardrobe that works better for you I definitely suggest looking over Caroline’s blog and working through her free wardrobe planner. I think the most important thing, and one you’ll see Caroline say, is to make this project work for you. I really don’t feel 37 pieces is going to work for me, so I will do more. I will also probably have two capsule wardrobes with some overlapping: work and play. Caroline’s fall wardrobe starts in October, which works for her where she lives, but here in the Northeast we need to start in September (and I’d like to admit here I’m already sad about saying buhbye to some of my summer clothes). One thing I suggest you absolutely not compromise on is emptying out your closet. Just do it. Don’t try to go through your closet with everything hanging up. Either empty the entire thing or do what I did and go through it section by section.
This week Anne and I are sharing some inspiration images that we’re using to help create our fall capsule. After that we want to see your capsules! This is a loose link up, we want you to share what you want to share! Whether that be a full-on strict capsule, a loose capsule, a multi-wardrobe capsule, a 30×30 remix, whatever! The point of the link up is to encourage one another as we work towards a more workable, financially responsible (at least for me) wardrobe.
Then each month we’ll check in and share how it’s going and show off some of our outfits. Don’t worry if you can’t get daily outfit shots! You can always do floor outfits or just talk about what you wore.
So here’s the link up schedule:
September 2 – your capsule
September 30 – show off some capsule outfits!
October 28 – capsule outfits round 2
November 25 – capsule outfits round 3