Fall Capsule Wardrobe

How to Create a Fall Capsule Wardrobe - & Lessons Learned from my first capsule experience :: maximizingdaysblog.com

I created a capsule wardrobe this past summer and haven’t looked back.  I learned a lot about myself; about what I thought was important and how my actions were a more accurate representation of what was actually important to me.  There was a lull in my excitement around week 11, but other than that, I drank the kool-aid, jumped on the band wagon and declared myself a capsule wardrobe-er for life.

Then came September, and I just couldn’t make myself do it.  Originally, I had intended for my fall capsule to be for the months of September, October & November.  When September came, it seemed daunting to try to find a wardrobe that worked for temperatures in September in Minnesota and November in Minnesota.  And, this year, September was unseasonably warm.

So, I just kept putting it off.  I’d pulled out my fall and winter clothes and shoved some of them in drawers with my other summer clothes.  As September went on, I found myself wanting to have the capsule there for me, but not wanting to put the work into making the decisions to create it.

By the end of the month, my desire for the outcome outweighed my indecision.  I thought through some of the reasons that I was procrastinating this and remembered why I liked this lifestyle choice and what I had learned the first time.

Lesson Learned #1: Give yourself an adjustment period between seasonal capsules.

I needed a few weeks to have my fall and winter clothes out of storage and in my drawers to choose from while getting dressed to figure out if I wanted to include them or not.  And, frankly, the weather was bi-polar for the month of September, so I needed to wear shorts and a t-shirt on Wednesday and jeans and a hoodie on Thursday.  Narrowing myself to one season of clothes during that month wouldn’t be helpful or the best use of what I have.

Lesson Learned #2: Just because you don’t include it in this season’s capsule doesn’t mean you will never wear it.

When I dug all of my cold-weather gear out of storage, I wanted to include it all.  Over 90% of what I had landed in my ‘LOVE’ pile.  I loved the way I looked and felt in almost all of my clothes, so it felt wasteful to not wear them.  But there were a lot of clothing items that I dug out.

As I’ve mentioned before, there is no hard and fast rule for how many items are included in a capsule wardrobe, but I was looking at upwards of 60 items, and that seemed like it defeated the purpose of the minimalism that I was trying to achieve by creating a capsule wardrobe.    As I was trying to decide what to weed out, I had a lightbulb moment when I remembered that I wasn’t choosing clothes to wear until next June; I was choosing clothes for the next 2-3 months.

I don’t have the same need for wool sweaters in October as I do in February.  There will still be chilly days in October when a fall sweater will be necessary, but there will also be days when cotton t’s and even 3/4 length sweaters are appropriate as well.  My frozen tundra apparel got packed back in the off-season storage and will come out in December or January and be exchanged with the lighter weight sweaters.

Lesson Learned #3: There might not be a wide variety between two seasons of capsule wardrobes.

This is largely dependent on the climate in which you live, and the temperature differences for which you need to account.  My fall and winter capsule wardrobes will look very similar.  I’d guess that over half of the items in my fall wardrobe will be included and winter, and even more so, my spring capsule may very well be a carbon copy of my fall wardrobe because fall and spring temperatures in Minnesota are so similar.

And that’s okay.

When I realized that this was bothering me, I had to remind myself of why I became a capsule-er in the first place; to be intentional about only buying clothing that I love to wear and not accumulating more than I need.

Lesson Learned #4:  Be realistic about what you wear.

I struggled trying to decide what pieces to weed out of my fall capsule because I genuinely loved everything I had.  Then, about two weeks into September, I realized that I was wearing 20% of my wardrobe 80% of the time.

I loved everything hanging in my closet, but a lot of what was in my closet wasn’t realistic for what my day-to-day looked like.  This wasn’t a lesson that was new to me.  I learned it my first go-round, but I had to re-remember it this time.

If I’m honest with myself, I think it’s because I miss the lifestyle that warrants that style of wardrobe and I want to wear some of those pieces more.

I have a few silk blouses that I love.  They look great, and I feel great when I wear them.  But I’m not wearing them on Monday when it’s my day home with the kids and there’s a high likelihood paints and markers will be used.  My lifestyle dictated that I have more cotton long-sleeve t’s and sweatshirts than blouses, but it was hard to admit that.   I didn’t get rid of those items entirely, but I included less of them so that I could include more casual items.

I spend 20% of my days in an office, so approximately 20% of my wardrobe is office-wear.

Lesson Learned #5: Start with shoes, bottoms & layering pieces and go from there:

I found this to be the easiest way to get the ball rolling.  I chose shoes, bottoms and layering pieces and those totaled 25 items.  I had 45 items in my summer capsule and I decided that I could have a few more items in my fall capsule wardrobe (the need for layers in the fall justified this decision for me), but didn’t want to exceed 50 items total.  So, with 25 shoes, bottoms and layering pieces, that meant I could choose 20-25 tops.  That sounded like a lot to me.  Turns out that it was really hard to stay within those parameters.

Again, I didn’t include accessories in my capsule.  This was a non-issue in the summer because I don’t really have summer accessories, but I did consider it for the fall because I own and frequently wear scarves.  I decided not to include scarves because, frankly, there was no way I could include all of the tops and scarves I wanted and still call it a capsule wardrobe.

Maybe that’s cheating, I don’t know.  If you don’t hear from me for a couple weeks, check to make sure that the capsule police haven’t come to arrest me.

Now, after a month of pondering and days of decisions, here is the final product.

My Fall Capsule wardrobe.  A total of 48 pieces.

11 pairs of shoes (23%), 9 bottoms (19%), 5 layering pieces (10%) and 23 tops (48%).

Fall Capsule Wardrobe: Mix t's and 3/4 length shirts with button downs and vests and include lots of layering pieces :: maximizingdaysblog.com

To see photos of daily outfits created from this capsule, follow me on Instagram.

 

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Capsule Wardrobe Update

Tomorrow marks the eleven week anniversary of starting my summer capsule wardrobe.  Today is the 66th outfit comprised of the 45 pieces that I chose in early June.  I post my daily outfits on Instagram where you can see, in detail, what living the capsule life has looked like these last eleven weeks.

For the first 6 weeks, it was a honeymoon.  It was new and exciting and I really did love it.  There was no going back.  I was already thinking about my fall capsule.

Did it achieve what you wanted it wanted it to?

My goals in creating a capsule wardrobe were simple: I wanted to be excited about wearing any of my options, I wanted to feel good in everything that I wore and I wanted it to be minimalistic.  Once I decided to commit to the capsule lifestyle, I also decided that I wanted to use this as a tool to try to encourage myself to wear clothes that I wouldn’t normally, such as dresses.

I achieved all three goals – for the first six weeks.  By week seven, I was no longer excited by what I saw in my closet.  I was bored.  Now, it’s mid-August and I am really bored.  But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I think that would be true of my summer wardrobe whether I had done a capsule or not.  And I don’t believe that boredom is a good reason to accumulate more stuff.  This whole experience has been a great lesson for me in contentment.

I was more intentional about trying to switch things up so that I wasn’t wearing the same outfit repeatedly.  Which led to making combinations that I wouldn’t have done without my capsule.  That felt like a win to me because even though I was wearing the same items, it didn’t feel as repetitive.

What I've learned from my summer capsule wardrobe - maximizingdaysblog.comWhat have you learned?

I don’t wear dresses.  Even when I only have 45 items in my closet from which to choose, and a quarter of those items are shoes, I still don’t choose a dress to wear.  I really like both of them that I have, but not enough to pull them off the hanger and wear them.  I don’t know why.  I can’t explain it.  I just know that when I’m standing in front of my closet trying to decide what to wear, and I see those dresses, my first thought is always “Nahhhh……”

What I've learned from my summer capsule wardrobe - maximizingdaysblog.com

What would you do differently?

I would include less “off-season” items, and by that I mean the items that I included for what I consider to be cold summer days.  I included a jean jacket, cardigan, 2 – 3/4 sleeve tops and 3 long-sleeve tops.  I get very warm very easily, so it takes serious temperature drops for me to wear anything more than a t-shirt on my arms in the summer.  I have worn each of those “warmer” items a handful of times, but I know that if I would have 3 of those items instead of all 7 that I would have been just fine.  And I would have enjoyed having 4 more t-shirts or tank tops that would have been worn more than those long-sleeved options have been.

Through 52 days I’ve worn each of the 7 cooler weather items once.

What I've learned from my summer capsule wardrobe - maximizingdaysblog.com

Will you do a fall capsule?

If you would have asked me eleven weeks ago, I would have excitedly said “YESSS!”  While I don’t have that same level of enthusiasm now, I am going to try this again in the fall.  I’m wary of trying to choose a wardrobe that works as well on Labor Day as it does on Thanksgiving.  Theoretically, my fall capsule wardrobe would be for September, October & November, but the weather change from the beginning of September to the end of November in Minnesota is drastic.  I’m not sure how to make it so that I have what I need for that weather range, but also don’t feel like I’m including items that will only be worn a few times.

For instance, I like to wear shorts until the first or even second week in September.  For all of you who don’t live in the frozen tundra, that may seem obvious, but it’s a little bit of a stretch here.  I am stubborn, however, and insist that shorts season should go into September.  So, the question becomes, do I include one or two pair of shorts in a fall capsule that will, realistically, only be worn  handful of times?  I’ve thought that I could just not include them and break the rules and bust them out for the 4 or 5 times in the short window of time where my wanting to wear shorts overlaps with the starting of my fall capsule.

Which lead me to start thinking about whether I really need a definitive capsule wardrobe to achieve my goals.  Couldn’t I achieve the same thing by just super-minimalizing what I have in my closet and drawers?

I believe that the answer is yes.  But, for me, and I would presume a lot of other people,the self-imposed constraints of the capsule wardrobe give me parameters in which to work to give a framework to that desired minimalism.  Creating the capsule wardrobe is the means by which I draw the line for what I want my minimalism to look like.  It’s a way to hold myself accountable.  Not everyone needs that framework, but I’m discovering that I do.

If I had it to do all over again, this is what my summer capsule would look like:

What I've learned from my summer capsule wardrobe - maximizingdaysblog.com

Who’s with me on the fall capsule?  Let’s do this together!

 

What I've learned from my summer capsule wardrobe - maximizingdaysblog.com

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Capsule Wardrobe – How to Start?

Time to pull the trigger.  Let’s get the capsule party started.

BUT HOW?

Like I said before, there are no hard and fast rules for creating a capsule wardrobe.  It’s more of a spirit of the law kind of thing – which might be why I’m loving it so much.  The point is to simplify and minimize, and that’s going to look different for each person.  The generally accepted standards are that your capsule should be 30-40 items (spoiler alert: Mine is 45), and include tops, bottoms & shoes.  It does not include undergarments (underwear, bras, camisoles, etc.), socks, pajamas, work out wear or swimwear.  Some people include accessories (hats, scarves, etc.), jewelry and outerwear.

I decided before I started that I wanted my capsule to contain all of the clothes that I would wear if I got dressed for the day, which I do almost every day.  The exceptions being if I’m working on a project (mowing the lawn, cleaning something really dirty, painting or house projects).  On the days that I workout after my kids are awake, then I put my workout clothes on in the morning (which are not included in my capsule), and pack clothes from capsule to wear after I’ve finished my workout and showered.

In the spirit of simplicity, creating your capsule isn’t a lot of work.  Depending on how many clothes you currently have, it may take a while, but if you have the right attitude (and corresponding favorite beverage!), it can be quite fun.

How to Create a Capsule Wardrobe:

1 – Decide on a theme that fits your lifestyle

Such as casual, trendy, sophisticated, classic or business casual.  This is not an exhaustive list.  If this is something that is hard for you to pinpoint, think about what you want out of your wardrobe.  Is your priority to look polished?  Do you want to be a trend-setter?  Do you just want clothes that are comfortable and don’t restrict you from being active?  Whatever your answer is, you want the majority of the few clothing items that you choose to fit in this category.  Have this theme in mind as you move on to the next steps.

2 – Empty your closet & dresser.

Yup.  I said empty it.

If that makes you want to bail before starting, I’d suggest that that’s all the more reason you should dig in and do this.  It will be worth it.

3 – Try on every piece of clothing.

Every.single.one.

This is integral to the success of  your capsule wardrobe because it’s the only way to know what pieces will be the best choices for capsule.

4 – Sort your clothes into four piles: LOVE, MAYBE, SEASONAL & DONATE

  1. LOVE pile:  You love the way you look and feel when you wear it, It fits your body perfectly and it fits the season
  2. MAYBE pile: You like the way you look and feel when you wear it, It fits your body perfectly and it fits the season
  3. SEASONAL pile: You love the way you look and feel when you wear it, It fits your body perfectly but should be worn in a different season
  4. DONATE pile: You don’t love the way you look or feel when you wear it, It doesn’t fit your body perfectly or you haven’t worn it in over a year

5 – Sort items in your LOVE pile into categories

i.e. jeans, pants, shorts, t-shirts, tank tops, long-sleeves, dresses, tunics, jackets, shoes, etc.

There are all kinds of resources out there (checklists, books, worksheets, etc.) that tell you how many of what to include in your capsule.  I’d argue that that piece is highly individualized, and that you should make that decision based on what you do and what you feel most comfortable in.  I found this graphic on Pinterest, and it seemed to be the most similar to what I would want, so I used her numbers as a guide.  This was solely a starting off point, and when my capsule was finished, it didn’t look anything like hers.  However, her numbers were a great framework in which for me to get started.

Be realistic about the things that you wear most and have more of those.  For instance, most capsules suggest skirts.  I don’t wear skirts.  I had one and I wanted to include it in my capsule because it’s white and summery and cute, but the reality is that I look like a marshmallow in it.  I could have kept it in there, but I didn’t love the way I looked or felt with it on, so I have zero skirts in my capsule.  And I don’t miss them.

I also included three dresses in my capsule, which is high for me.  I don’t wear dresses often, but I was intentional about putting them in there in hopes that I would wear them more.  Part of me is regretting that.  I wish I would have gone with just two dresses and given myself another shirt option.

6 – Count the total number of items you have.

If your total number is 25-35, you can add items from your MAYBE pile.  If you total number is over 40, weed out some of your pieces.  Unless you’re a rebel like me who decides that 45 is the magic number that you need in order to achieve the purpose of the capsule wardrobe without getting frustrated by limited options.

7 – Count the number of items in each category and adjust accordingly.

If you only have 4 bottoms, but you have 15 shoes, it would be wise to trade some shoes for some bottoms.  It might be painful to tuck those shoes away for three months, but you will be thankful when you’re not doing laundry every three days to have your few pair of pants clean.

8 – Pack away any items that didn’t make the capsule cut.

As a result of slimming down my wardrobe, I had two empty drawers, so the items that I kept, but weren’t capsule-worthy are in there. I had a few summer items, mostly shorts and tank tops, that didn’t make it into my capsule that I didn’t put in the donate pile.  At the end of the summer, I will store those items with my other summer capsule items, and if they don’t make the cut next year either, they’ll go to the donate pile then.  There’s no need to keep clothes that I haven’t worn in two years.

So, that’s a lot of words.  What’s in my capsule?  I ended up with:

  • 1 jean jacket
  • 1 cardigan
  • 1 long sleeve blouse
  • 1 chambray shirt
  • 1 3/4 sleeve shirt
  • 1 tunic
  • 7 tank tops
  • 3 short-sleeve shirts
  • 1 long-sleeve t-shirt
  • 1 athleisure top
  • 2 graphic tees
  • 3 dresses
  • 5 jeans
  • 7 shorts
  • 1 athleisure capri
  • 1 capri legging
  • 1 running shorts
  • 1 ballet flats
  • 2 sneakers
  • 1 wedge
  • 2 sandals
  • 1 heels

That breaks down to 18 tops (40%), 15 bottoms (33%), 2 layering pieces (4%), 3 dresses (7%) and 7 pairs of shoes (16%).

Summer Capsule Wardrobe for the Stay at Home Mom. Emphasis on shorts, t-shirts and a few athleisure pieces with less emphasis on dresses, skirts and blazers - maximizingdaysblog.com

If you look on Pinterest or do a Google image search for “capsule wardrobes”,  almost every one of them that you find will be much more formal than mine.  And more fashionable.  The point of my capsule wardrobe is not to be super well-dressed or an example of someone who always wears great outfits.

Because I don’t.

The point of my capsule wardrobe is to have a wardrobe that I love and feel great in and that is minimalistic.  I don’t want to waste time or money on choosing what to wear or buying more than what I need.  My capsule isn’t perfect, but a few weeks in, I think that I can safely say, that I have achieved my capsule goals.

One lesson I learned in curating my capsule was the concept of excess multiples.  What I mean by that is that as I was choosing clothes that I would wear this summer, I was careful to include items for summer days that aren’t as warm or those chilly summer evenings, which is why the jean jacket, cardigan, long-sleeve blouse, long-sleeve t-shirt & chambray shirt made it in.

However, I have multiple cardigans and long-sleeve t-shirts, but only one of each were chosen because I don’t need more than one of those items in the summer.  Any time that the weather requires a long-sleeve t-shirt, I have one.  It might be the same one I wore last week, but that’s okay.  This was a huge epiphany for me.  I realized what a high value I’d placed on variety, that I now realize wasn’t necessary.  For the 8-10 times that I will wear a long-sleeve t-shirt this summer, what does it matter if 5 of those times it was black and the other 5 it was white.  I can almost guarantee that I am the only person who knew or noticed.  Processing all of this made me realize how much more focused I was on what other people thought than I would have ever guessed.

For some people, curating a capsule wardrobe is about finding the best way to be the most fashionable with the least amount of clothes, and if that’s you, that’s fantastic!  Props for doing something that I never could.  But for others, it’s about taking one more step toward a more simple and minimalistic life.  And it may reveal to you something about yourself that you didn’t know before; something that helps you realize what’s really important and where our priorities should be.

I’ve heard from a few of you that this is something that you are intrigued by or have been inspired to do.  If that’s you, let me know!  I’d love to see pictures or hear stories of what the process looked like for you and how you’re feeling about it.  As with most things that I write about, I’m not an expert, but I am more than willing to help think things through with you as you work to simplify.  Keep me posted!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to see my daily outfits.

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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

A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: Simplified Style

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

If I had to pick one word to describe my style, it would be Boring.  I don’t really consider myself to be someone that has a lot of style.  And I’m totally okay with that.  Maybe it’s my stage of life (mostly stay-at-home Mom to an almost five and three year-olds), but my style is all about function.  Sure, it would be nice to not look like a hot mess while I’m wrangling children, but if I do, that’s just the reality of my life right now.

Chapter 2, A Simplified Style, made me think about this a little differently.

When I think about the word ‘style, it’s synonym is ‘trendy’.  Which isn’t correct at all.  The way Emily Ley describes it in this chapter is that Style is defined by what you love to wear and make you feel good.

When it comes to our wardrobes (or anything, really) “Fewer Choices lead to simpler decisions, which lead to a greater likelihood of being thrilled with your selections.” (Pg. 28)

And that’s when Style becomes more about simplifying and decluttering than it does about trying to look like you just walked out of a magazine.

Steps to Simplifying Your Wardrobe: (Pg. 31)

1 – Empty Everything

You’ve heard me say it a million times.  And Emily Ley too.  You get a comprehensive idea of what you have if you touch each piece and pull EVERYTHING out of the caverns of your closet/dresser.  Just do it.

2 – Review Each Piece

In order to keep the piece, it must:

  1. Fit
  2. Be of good quality (no stains, holes, pilling, etc.)
  3. Be your favorite

Any piece that doesn’t meet all three of those requirements gets thrown away (if it’s not #2) or donated.  If it fits all three criteria, but isn’t in season, store out of sight so as not to create visual clutter in your closet and dresser.

3 – Define Your Style

Examine what you have left.  What’s a common theme?  This is your style.

Now that you’ve cleaned out your current wardrobe, remember these tips for the next time you go shopping: (Pg. 31)

  1. You don’t need one in every color
  2. You don’t need the latest or trendiest
  3. You don’t need to own pieces just because they are on sale
  4. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

Basically, just chant to yourself Emily Ley’s mantra while you clothes shop:

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

For the last year, I have done seasonal capsule wardrobes (Summer, Fall, Winter & Spring), which has been a game-changer for me.  Far and away, my biggest piece of advice for curating a Capsule Wardrobe is not get caught up in the “Capsule Wardrobe Rules”.  What I mean by that is don’t be governed by the number of pieces or the duration that the wardrobe should last.  Rather, think about it the way that Emily Ley  defines a Capsule Wardrobe: To serve as everything you need, and nothing you don’t.

Find your best, favorite and necessary wardrobe pieces and only keep those.  Nothing else.  Ta-da.  You just created your Capsule Wardrobe.

BEAUTY

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Every woman needs a simple and consistent (KEY!) day to day beauty routine.  What that means or looks like is up to each person, but having a routine that fits your style goes a long way toward simplifying mornings.

First things first, go through all of your cosmetics and pitch anything that’s expired OR that sabotages a simplified routine.

5 Steps to a Simplified Beauty Routine (Pg. 40-41)

1 – Create a Minimal Make Up Bag

This should consist of items you wear every day (or at least most days).  Get rid of anything that you have “in case you want to wear it one day”.  You won’t.  And if you do, it will most likely be expired by then.

2 – Master Techniques

This is tricky for me because I am so not good at make up stuff.  But, at the ripe old age of 37, I finally feel like I’m starting to get the hang of this.  I’m still not great at it, but I’ve watched enough tutorials on The Small Things Blog that I have figured out how to make my make up look the way I want it to.

3 – Choose High Quality Products That Match Your Skin

This doesn’t mean that you have to break the bank.  There are a lot of good drug store options, but finding the right one requires doing a little research and taking the time (and not just picking the cheapest foundation BECAUSE it’s the cheapest) to find what works best for you.

4 – Keep Your Day to Day Look the Same

Decide what makes the biggest impact with the least amount of time and effort and make that your daily routine.  Add a little to spice it up for an event, but generally speaking, stick with what you know and what you know works.

6 out of 7 days a week, I use these five products in less than five minutes.

5 – Find an Updo That Really Works for your Hair

Again, what this is doesn’t matter as much as choosing it and mastering the technique.  I’ve been working on the messy bun for the last two years and I’m thisclose to perfecting it.  It is the perfect Day 3 hair style for when I’ll be spending all of my time running after kids and don’t want my hair in my face.  Bonus:  I can pull a couple pieces down around my face to “dress it up” a little if I need to.

Even if I’m wearing running shorts, a workout tank top, sneakers and have my hair pulled back, if my clothes fit well and my hair doesn’t look like I just rolled out of bed, I feel more prepared for the day.  I don’t know what it is about it, but there’s something.  Add that to the fact that getting dressed and ready are morning tasks, and the way the morning goes sets the pace for the rest of the day, and simplifying these areas of my life make a huge difference in how a day goes.

Read more on Emily Ley’s Blog about Investing in Your Wardrobe, Wardrobe Essentials and Go-To Beauty Products.

Simplicity Challenge

At the end of each chapter, Emily Ley has a ‘Simplicity Challenge’, which are 5 steps that you can do right now that make big strides toward achieving your goal.

Comment on each blog post with the number of simplicity challenges you completed that week.  I will track each person’s progress (this is a total honor system thing) and the person with the most challenges completed at the end of the book will get some swag.  Like good, helpful swag.   No clutter-y stuff.

Don’t forget to take photos of the process AND the progress and use #simplifiedsummer so we can all celebrate together!

#simplifiedsummer challenge - A Simplified Life by Emily Ley :: maximizingdaysblog.com

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