Capsule Wardrobe – What & Why

I’ve mentioned in a recent post about my considering implementing a capsule wardrobe.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I made the plunge.  Two weeks into living the capsule life, and I am a big fan.  I’ve had a few people ask questions about what a capsule wardrobe is and how I did it, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to share my experience here.

What is a capsule wardrobe?

According to Wikipedia, a capsule wardrobe is “a minimal wardrobe composed of 30 to 40 high-quality, versatile items that will meet your needs for a given time amount of time.”  I’d say that the 30-40 number is flexible and that the level of quality of pieces isn’t a make or break deal.  The jist is a capsule wardrobe is a limited number of clothing items that you choose for a season, and in that season, every outfit that you wear is made up of the items in your capsule.

How many items can you have in a capsule wardrobe?

There’s no hard and fast rule on this.  The 30-40 item rule seems to be generally accepted.  It’s a good number that allows you to have everything you need, but also keep things minimal, which is the goal of the capsule wardrobe.

What items are and are not included in the capsule?

Again, this is a spirit of the law kind of thing.  To achieve your capsule wardrobe goals, you should, at the very least include tops, bottoms & shoes.  It does not include undergarments (underwear, bras, camisoles), pajamas, swimwear or work out clothes.

The jury is out on whether it includes accessories such as hats, scarves and jewelry and seasonal gear (i.e. winter coats & boots).  Use your discretion on whether or not you need to include yours.  I didn’t include accessories, mostly because I don’t wear very many of them and, therefore, don’t own a lot of them.  I didn’t have to think about seasonal gear because it’s summer.  I’m not sure what I’ll do in the winter.

For how long does this last?

Your capsule is for one season.  The idea being that you make your wardrobe work for the weather in which you live.  For Minnesota, I broke it up as follows: Winter is December, January & February; Spring is March, April & May; Summer is June; July & August; Autumn is September, October & November.

Does doing a capsule wardrobe mean giving up clothes shopping completely?

Once your capsule is set up, there is no shopping.  Some things I read suggested giving yourself the first week to find gaps in that timeframe and shop to fill them.  This may or may not be necessary.  I had done a little bit of shopping for summer clothes  shortly before I did my capsule, so this was an unnecessary step for me.

I will say this.  I won’t shop for summer clothes because I know that I don’t need them.  After establishing my summer capsule, I know that I have everything that I need for a summer wardrobe, so accumulating more clothes and spending more money are necessary at this time.

Do all of the pieces in your capsule wardrobe have to coordinate?

Mine don’t.  The reason that this is suggested by many capsule-ers is that it makes pieces more versatile.  You can mix and match a lot more when everything in your closet is of the same color palette.  When I went through my closet to decide what would go in my capsule and what wouldn’t, there was a rainbow of colors.  However, there were also enough neutral pieces that I had multiple options with each item.  It seemed silly to me to try to stick with a palette, which would require buying more clothes when I had enough clothes for the summer.

I can see where two months into a capsule, having coordinating pieces could be beneficial because the mixing and matching that it allows wouldn’t make you feel like you wear the same outfit all of the time.  I’ll let you know where I’m at with that in August.

What’s the appeal?

That’s a lot of don’t’s, can’t’s and no’s.  Why would anyone want to do this?

This is different for everyone.  For me, I was drawn to the idea because of it’s simplicity.  I don’t have a ton of clothes.  I don’t buy a lot of clothes and I purge my closet frequently, so my closet isn’t busting at the seams with clothes that I don’t like or don’t wear.  That being said, I was in a weird wardrobe spot this summer.

Last summer, my son was 8-10 months old and nursing.  As a result of nursing him, I had lost a significant amount of weight and had to buy an all-new wardrobe because barely any of my previous summer clothes fit.  (If you’re rolling your eyes and annoyed at me, just wait.  Keep reading.) I donated most of my old clothes because 1) I don’t keep things I don’t wear and 2) I thought there was no way that I would need those clothes again. After losing 25 pounds, i thought that I would never let myself gain the weight back. …Can you see where this story is going?… I stopped nursing in November of 2016 and some of the weight has come back.  Enough of it that the new clothes I bought last summer don’t really fit.  The idea of sifting through the drawers of clothes to try to find something that I didn’t feel like failure in was daunting.  I found myself showering in the morning and dreading having to go into my room and try to find an outfit.

I also liked the idea that if I limited my options, I would be more prone to wear the clothes that I wished I would wear, but rarely put on.  As I perused through capsule wardrobes on Pinterest (there are TONS), I was inspired by how many of them included a few dresses, tailored pants & jackets. I own all of those things, but consider them “special” and don’t wear them often.  I knew that if they were part of a much more limited wardrobe, I would wear them more out of necessity.

That being said, I am a stay at home mom.  Most of the capsule examples that I found on Pinterest were way too fancy for my day-to-day.  I made sure to include athleisure pieces because they are staples of my wardrobe.  However, I also included 3 cotton dresses that could easily be worn for my days running around with my kids, but that I don’t normally gravitate toward when given more options.  I’d like to start wearing those things that I like more, and my hope is that the capsule wardrobe helps me to do that.

What do you think so far?

I love it.  I no longer dread getting dressed in the morning.  I’ll go into more detail later about how I created my capsule and what’s included in it, but one of the best parts for me is that I truly love everything in my closet.  The only items that I have to choose from each day are the pieces that I love the most.  I open my closet doors in the morning and feel like I have so much good stuff from which to choose.

Will you do this forever?

I don’t know.  Right now, I’m just focused on sticking to my summer capsule.  The way things are going now, I’d imagine that I will do it again in the fall.  I think I will just take it season by season and as long it’s beneficial, I will keep doing it.

To see pictures of daily outfits, follow me on Instagram.  Stay tuned for details on the items that I included in my capsule and why.

Capsule Wardrobe - What is it? What are the rules? How do I do it? Is it worth it? - maximizingdaysblog.com

Spring “Momiform”

It may be the first official day of summer, but here in Minnesota, it’s still quite chilly.  I caved and pulled my slippers out of hiding yesterday.  Warmer temps are promised by the end of the week, but for at least a few more days, I’m sporting my spring #momiform.  (I swore I made up the word momiform, and was really proud of my creativity.  I’m devastated to learn that this is not the case.)  As I’ve mentioned before, my stay-at-home mom wardrobe falls under these three categories 1) Practical, 2) Comfortable & 3) Simple.  I’d like to think that the fourth adjective isn’t frumpy or boring, but if I’m honest, I’m probably approaching that area.

I am seriously considering doing a capsule wardrobe.  Have you tried this?  What are your thoughts?

My spring momiform fits all three of my criteria and is my go-to outfit for my days when I’m leaving the house.  The splash of color from the scarf makes me feel like I’m not boring in a t-shirt and jeans.  I may be kidding myself.  I can go for walks with my kids, play at the park, run errands, and do kid yoga (this is a new favorite activity in our home) very comfortably in this outfit.

But there’s something about pants with a waistband, leather ballet flats and a scarf that make me feel better and more put together than if I were wearing leggings, a hoodie and tennis shoes.

Do you feel like you wear the same thing everyday?  Do you like the simplicity or do you wish you had some more variety?  I go back and forth.

one, two, three, four

 

Day 1 in my Tieks

My husband went above and beyond with my Mother’s Day gift this year.

He asked for a list of ideas a few weeks before and I and included Tieks ballet flats on there, not really thinking that he’d actually get them.  I was quite surprised when I opened the package to find that iconic blue box.

I had heard of Tieks a few years ago and had the same thought that I think every person does when they see them – “Are they really worth it?!”  At $175 a pop (!!!!$$$$$), they better fit like a glove and not have a single flaw.

First, let me say this.  They are expensive.  Let’s just get that out there.  That is A LOT of money to spend on a pair of shoes.  And more than I would normally spend on a pair of shoes.  Or both of my children’s entire summer wardrobes. Combined.

That being said, I believe in investing in a few high-quality items that you love versus many lower-quality items that you don’t like as much.  And, if they’re as great as everyone says they are, then I’d argue that they’re worth their prime price tag.

What’s all the hullabaloo about?

Let’s start with why they were appealing to me.  As a stay-at-home mom, I spend a lot of time on my feet.  This has become increasingly apparent to me since owning a FitBit.  According to it, I average 4-5 miles a day, and when I started to think about it that way, I felt like it was time adult-up and get some real shoes that take care of my feet and my (aging) body.  Gone are the days of the $3 Old Navy flip flops.

I wanted a shoe that had good support, but I’m not quite ready to wear tennis shoes every day.  Or orthotics.  I wanted the feel of a Grandma shoe, but the look of a hip Mom shoe.  From the looks of the shoe and the sounds of the reviews I read and heard, Tieks fit the bill.  Some people describe them as “super stylish”.  Now, I’m no fashion editor, but I think that’s stretching it a bit.  They are classic and simple.  Which is exactly what was appealing to me.  I can wear them and feel put together, but they’re practical for running around my house and town all day.  No fuss.

My husband doesn’t do wrapping paper or gift bags, so he handed me the small white box in which they were mailed and said “Happy Mother’s Day”.  I opened the outer packaging to find a small blue box and a bright yellow flower on it.  The flower was a little much for me.  I’ve read that some people use them as headbands for their daughter.  I’m not going to do that.  But if that sounds appealing to you, let me know and the first person who asks can have it.

The Tieks were folded in half with one tucked into the other.  Josh was skeptical.  His exact sentiment was “how can something that can be folded like that have any support?!”  I didn’t have an answer, but I took them out and promptly put them on.

How do they fit?

Obviously, everyone’s feet are different, so how they fit is going to be dependent on each person’s foot.  I have extremely high arches, which makes any kind of flat hard for my feet.  I bought some Cole Haan flats (similar) on clearance 2 1/2 years ago, and they were better for my arches than any of the other $10 flats I had previously owned.  The Tieks put those Cole Haan flats to shame.  The best way that I can describe the comfort as far as support goes is that it feels like a tennis shoe, but doesn’t look like one.  #win

What about socks?

Josh and I sat on the couch and watched Netflix for almost half an hour and I didn’t take the shoes off.  I just didn’t think to.  As we were shutting off the TV, I realized that I still had them on, which is notable because I have never, in my life, worn a pair of shoes for more than three minutes without socks.  I can’t do it.  I have the sweatiest, clammiest feet, and no socks is just not an option for me.  I don’t know what it is about Tieks, but my feet could breathe in them.  And not just enough that I could tolerate going sock-commando, but so much so that I didn’t even realize that I was wearing shoes with no socks.

I cannot overstate what  game changer this is for me.  I wore my Tieks the entire next day (11,000 steps and 4.5 miles, according to FitBit) with no socks, and at no point were my feet clammy.  That, in and of itself, is reason enough to only wear these shoes for all of my days.

So…….are they worth it?

Day 1 in my Tieks was a typical Thursday around these parts.  At home in the morning with the kids, cleaning and playing.  I ran errands Thursday afternoon, and then the kids and I went on a short walk to my in-laws’ house for my mother-in-law’s birthday.  These flats were so comfortable that I forgot I was wearing them.  I’d catch a glance of them throughout the day and think “Oh, yeah!  I forgot I got new shoes!”.

VERDICT:  Tieks are the quintessential Mom-shoe.  And I mean that in the best way.  They have all the practicality that a mom on-the-go needs, but they’re not frumpy.  After one day, I give them a resounding Thumbs Up!  I may review them six months down the road to see how they hold up.

What do you think?  What’s appealing about Tieks to you?  Is the price the biggest drawback?

 

A note about sizing: Tieks don’t come in half sizes, and they suggest that you size down.  I normally wear an 8 1/2, so Josh ordered and 8 per their suggestion.  My toes go right to the edge with little room to spare, which makes me nervous, but after wearing them all day, they didn’t feel too small.  I’m guessing that they also stretch slightly because of the leather, so that’s probably why they suggest to order a size smaller if you’re a 1/2.  And a ballet flat that’s too big wouldn’t work.

A Grand Getaway

Josh’s 31st birthday was last weekend and I decided a few months ago that I was going to do something special.  He is always going out of his way to plan special things for me, and I wanted to return the favor.

I read about Grand View Lodge in Minnesota Monthly a few years ago.  I don’t remember the ad specifically, but I remember that it was appealing enough for me to google it and find out more.  I was sold.  I’ve been telling Josh about it since then and trying to convince him to go.  He liked the idea, but on the rare occasion that we have a weekend away, we usually end up going to the Twin Cities, so this seemed unlikely.

As I was trying to decide what my grand gesture would be, I thought about how many times we’ve talked about going to Grand View Lodge.  I went to their website and found a great deal that included lodging, meals and recreation; specifically cross-country skiing and snow shoeing, two activities we’ve talked about doing for four years.  I booked it and counted down the days until his birthday.

I decided that this would be a surprise, but Mother Nature thwarted those plans.

We have had an unseasonably warm late winter/early spring, which is cause for celebration and happy dances.  But it is also cause for snow melting, which makes cross-country skiing and snow shoeing impossible.  I called Grand View the Monday before we arrived to find out if, by some miracle, they still had snow and the (very polite) lady laughed as she answered.

So, with my recreation options limited, I told Josh what we were doing the day before we left so that I could get his feedback on what he would like to do when we weren’t sleeping or eating (since I had already taken care of those details).

After we checked in, we walked back to our car.  Josh stopped in the parking lot, looked around and said “Hmmm.  I had no idea what you were talking about all these years when you kept saying that you wanted to go to Grand View Lodge.  I just thought it was a hotel. This is nice!”  I couldn’t believe it.  In his defense, it is called Grand View LODGE, but it is so much more than just a lodge.  The lodge is the center piece of the property, which includes 7,000 acres, 2,500 feet of lakeshore on Gull Lake, 3 golf courses, 7 restaurants and lodging for 1,000 people.  It is a premier resort in the Minnesota north woods.  So, his assessment of “nice” was an understatement.

Even without cross-country skiing and snow shoeing, we found plenty to do to fill our time.  We played Bingo, tennis, shuffleboard and checkers.  As I type this, I’m realizing that this weekend may have prepared us for retirement life…..

The weather was decent while we were there, so we did a fair amount of exploring.  The property is stunning.  From the moment we arrived, we talked about coming back.  So, in addition to soaking up the scenery, we were also scoping future lodging sites.

The ice was still on the lake, but it was easy to see how awesome that beach would be during the summer.

The food was beyond fantastic.  We had dinner at the Lodge Dining Room and Cru.  Their breakfast buffet made us consider arriving at 7AM when it opened and just hanging out with a newspaper until 11AM when it closed, but decided that the scores of people waiting for a table wouldn’t appreciate that.  We had lunch at Northwoods Pub, where Josh got a burger that tasted even better than it looked, which is saying something.

It was also March Madness, so we did spend time just hanging out in our room, watching basketball and eating leftovers because as un-glamorous as it sounds, it was absolutely luxury for us in this stage of life.

We couldn’t justify paying for the spa services that were offered, but I did take advantage of the jet tub in our room.  And I forgot about the jets in tubs agitating bubbles, so added a little too much soap.  Oops.

It was so good to get way.  Nearly 48 uninterrupted hours to relax, eat, play, sleep, eat, talk and walk was just what we needed.  We took more selfies in that 48 hours than in the entirety of our 5 1/2 year marriage, and we’re still pretty terrible at it.  But, we hope to be back again soon.  Maybe next time with a selfie stick.  (Probably not).

Blogs I Read

Like most things in life, I came to the blog-reading party late.  It all started with Pinterest; finding some pictures that intrigued me, clicking on them and finding more where that one intriguing image came from.  I thought I’d share with you the blogs that I subscribe to and read regularly.  They are a mix of things of which I know nothing about and read to learn (i.e. beauty blogs) and topics like organizing, which are more up my alley.

The Small Things Kate is a hair stylist by trade and stumbled upon blogging when she started putting styling tutorials on YouTube to help her clients.  I’ve linked to her blog a number of times before and eagerly await each of her posts.  They are almost always helpful.  I am not one to go out and buy something because I read about it on the internet.  That is, unless I read about it on The Small Things.  If she recommends it, I most likely have tried it.  I can be found many a day with the messy bun hairdo and have mastered the Fresh in Fifteen because of this woman.

Iowa Girl Eats I am absolutely convinced that Kristin is my soul mate.  Let’s start with her name is Kristin.  Spelled correctly.  And she lives in Iowa.  She lived in Minneapolis for a while and now resides in Des Moines.  And she can often be found donning Iowa Hawkeye apparel.  She is a food blogger whose recipes are gluten free.  She started when she found out she was gluten free and was frustrated with the lack of recipe options.  No one in our family is gluten intolerant, but there are a number of her recipes that are on a regular rotation in our household, including Thai Sticky Chicken Fingers and Baked Blueberry Almond Oatmeal Bars.

Twin Cities Mom Blog Truthfully, I don’t read every post on this blog.  Authors are a group of women from around the Twin Cities who write on a wide range of topics.  There is no lack of content on this blog, and there is, literally, something for everyone.  Well, everyone who is a Twin Cities (or greater Minnesota) Mom.  Reading this blog is especially enjoyable because of the different authors, which means there’s something new and different with each read.

I Heart Organizing Jen has an incredible gift to see a space and make it work.  She and her husband have done an entire kitchen remodel of which they have documented every step on the blog.  It’s been really fun to watch and her pantry can be credited with my inspiration to put our microwave somewhere other than above the stove or on a countertop.  She always has TONS of amazing photos of her projects, so you get a really good idea of the space and how it works.  Her blog is where I first learned about these containers which I adore and now use for just about everything.  She also does lots of DIY projects and is all about her organization being pretty (translation: lots of flowery drawer liners & scripty labels), which is so not my jam, but the way she uses spaces is incredibly helpful.

A Bowl Full of Lemons Toni is a legit blogger.  She has turned her blog into a full-fledged business, which includes a book entitled The Complete Book of Home Organization.  I have not read the book.  Even though I am ABFOL subscriber, I haven’t read much of her recent stuff.  Her archives, however, are a goldmine.  This woman has organized every.single.inch of her home and documented it on her blog.  There are any number of solutions in our home that have been inspired by an idea I read on this blog.

Those Pretty Pieces Laura is a fashion blogger who I’ve known since she was in high school.  She has an eye for clothes and what works.  I find her perspective helpful because she takes what I would call “normal” clothes (the stuff that fills 60% of our closets that we wear 90% of the time) and ups the ante with one slightly more trendy piece or accessory.  She is a stitch-fixer and documents her boxes.  They are always a fun read.

The Middle Girl Lauren and I have never met, but have many mutual friends.  In addition to her own blog, she is a contributor to the Twin Cities Mom Blog as well.  She recently left her corporate job to be a stay at home mom and is living my urban mom dream.  She mostly writes about fashion and is WAY more fashion forward than I could ever dream of being, but it’s fun to see how this “regular” girl pulls off outfits that I would laugh at on a mannequin in a store window.

 

 

One thing I will say about blogs is that they can easily become one more thing that make us feel insufficient.  We see these glimpses of people’s seemingly perfect whatever and want that.  Whenever that lie is sneaking into my head, I remind myself that it is just that.  A lie.  One blogger may make amazing meals for her family every night because that’s what she’s loves and she’s good at, but she’d be the first person to admit that she wears yoga pants every day and pulls her hair back in a pony tail.  And envies the beauty bloggers life and wants to be more like her.  And even if there is a blogger out there who seems to have every piece of their life together, we need to remember that what we see online is a well-curated slice of their life.  No one is perfect.  Accessible information on how to improve in areas of our life where we are lacking is a fantastic asset, but don’t let it become one more thing that weighs you down or makes you feel inferior.

Moral of the story:  Read blogs for encouragement and help.  And stop when they aren’t being either.