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.  The simple steps are:

  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
    LOVE pile:  You love the way you look and feel when you wear it, It fits your body perfectly and it fits the season
    MAYBE pile: You like the way you look and feel when you wear it, It fits your body perfectly and it fits the season
    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
    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 (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.

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

Currently……

The Never-Ending Winter :: maximizingdaysblog.comThis photo is titled ‘Never-Ending Winter’.
Is this not the most depressing picture?  It’s our backyard.
April 12th and not a sign of green ANYWHERE.
But don’t worry, because it will all be white again this weekend. (I’m not kidding….)

Full Disclosure: I am completely aware of my inability to stop complaining about the weather.  In the words of Squints Paladoris,  “I can’t take this any more!”

I Am Currently…..

Wearing

I started my Spring Capsule Wardrobe last week, so this should be filled with all of the fun, warm weather items that have been stored under my bed for the last six months.  But, alas, winter just won’t leave us alone.

So I will dream of actually wearing spring clothes sometime before July.  Until then…..

I bought these pants and sweatshirt during Athleta’s sale this past week, and am anxiously awaiting their arrival.  It’s still pants and long sleeves, but they’re more lightweight, so I’m hoping that will make it feel more spring-y.

Reading

Obama An Intimate Portrait.

I found this last week on a return cart at our public library and grabbed it as fast as my nerd hands could.  It is a collection of photos taken by Pete Souza, the official White House photographer for Barack Obama during his entire eight years in office.

It.is.fascinating.

With each photo is a short caption giving some context to what you see.  Beautiful photography aside (there’s a reason this guy was hired by The White House), flipping through the pages of this book gives an insight into what the job entails, the human side of the office, and behind the scenes parts of the job and cause us political science majors heart palpitations.

We don’t have a coffee table, but if we did, this book would be on it.

Eating

Dried apricots.

During Holy Week, our church does a Maundy Thursday ‘Experience’.  We eat a meal together inspired by the passover meal, sing hymns, read scripture and take communion.  It’s one of my favorite events of the year.

One of the items served for supper was an assortment of dried fruit, including dried apricots.  One of my children didn’t eat hers, so I helped her out.  Oh.my.goodness.  Where have these been my whole life?

That was two weeks ago today.  I’ve since purchased four bags of dried apricots.  I cannot get enough of them.

Watching

If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that I am an Aaron Sorkin nerd.  Before I knew what a screenwriter did, let alone any of their names, A Few Good Men & The American President were my two favorite movies (they were both written by Aaron Sorkin).  I started watching The West Wing when the pilot aired the fall of my senior year in high school, and faithfully watched every single episode of it’s seven year run.

Molly’s Game was Sorkin’s directorial debut, and my husband and I saw it in the theater.  It came out on Tuesday, and I created a Redbox account to rent it that day and watch it for a second time.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about the movie, but I, obviously, thought it was fantastic.  It’s a LOT of words, and they come pretty quickly.  But it’s a riveting story of a woman who tried to do what’s right while breaking the law.  Rent it.

And then google ‘Aaron Sorkin’ and watch anything else he’s ever written.

Loving

As I mentioned earlier, I did some online shopping this week at Athleta.  My husband bought me a swimsuit from there that I’ve been drooling over for the last six months, and since that purchase, I’m addicted.

I want everything they sell.  It’s a problem.

This conversation actually occurred in our kitchen this morning:
Me: The next time we go to the Cities (Minneapolis), I need to go into Athleta and ignore the price tags and just try on everything.
Husband: Whyyyyyyy?
Me: So I can learn what styles fit well so that when they go on sale online, I know what to buy without having to worry about it not fitting.
Husband: This sounds like a plan that can’t go wrong.

Thinking

That I’m going to buy this Simplified planner.  I’ve seen it around the blogosphere world and heard people talk about it, but I have my trusty Daily To Do List printable, so didn’t think much about it.

But now, I’m starting to change my tune.  They are currently sold out of planners, but are releasing new versions on May 2nd, and I’m leaning toward making the switch.  I will keep you posted.

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Currently……

Currently :: maximizingdaysblog.com

Wearing

These boots.  If you follow my winter capsule wardrobe on Instagram, you’ve seen these on my feet every.single.day.  They’re super cliche, but there’s a reason Hunter boots are an institution.

It is finally starting to warm up a little bit in the tundra, and I don’t want to think about where I’m stepping and whether or not I’m ruining my shoes or going to get wet socks, so my Hunters are my go-to footwear right now.

Reading

Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker.  I’m actually re-reading it.  I received it as a gift from my Aunt for my birthday, and it’s such a fun, easy read, that I got through it in a couple days.

But, afterward, I realized that there were parts that were meaty that I wanted to dig my teeth into a little more, so I’m re-reading it.  This time, with a pen and highlighter in hand.  I’m enjoying the light-hearted humor and recipes, but I’m also taking the time to really think about deep issues that matter to me about which she writes.

Eating

This Whole Foods “copycat” Tropical Green Smoothie from Rabbit Food for my Bunny Teeth.  I wanted a green smoothie that tasted like one I would order from Panera or Starbucks, and this seemed like it might be that.  And it is!  Add to that the benefit of it being “normal” ingredients that I already had.

Watching

I’m re-watching Hawaii Five-O on Netflix.  I’ve watched the series twice, but it’s been a while.  It’s a little cheesy, and it’s a stereotypical cop show, but for me it’s so much more.  The show takes place and is filmed in Hawaii, which was my Grandpa’s favorite place on earth.  He went there frequently and I grew up hearing stories about this magical place.  I’ve only been there once, but I feel like I have a connection to that place, and watching Hawaii Five-O is one of my sentimental guilty pleasures.

Loving

Up First.  I’m a huge NPR News & Podcast nerd.  This has been established.  Up First is a podcast that is a daily news round-up.  It is 3-4 of the top stories of the day and it lasts about 12-15 minutes.

I subscribe to the podcast, so it’s on my phone when I leave the house at 5:15 to go to the gym.  I listen to the first half on the drive there and second half on the drive back.  Even if I don’t get a chance to read another news article for the rest of the day, I feel informed and in touch with the goings on in the world.

Thinking

That I’ve gained ten pounds since the beginning of the year and that I really need to do something about it, but I don’t want to make the changes that it requires.  I love ice cream and bread and donuts and cookies too much.  And with all of the aforementioned vices, there is no such thing as moderation for me.  I want the benefits of healthy living and none of the work or sacrifices.  I’m sure that you can’t identify with this life conundrum.

TGIF.

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