Happy second week of the new year, friends! Last week I shared 5 ways I’m planning to simplify my life in 2018, and one of those ways is by creating a capsule wardrobe. I was really excited to jump straight into this project, and the cozy snow day we had here in NC last week seemed like the perfect time to start. I spent about 3-4 hours last Thursday going through everything in my current wardrobe, excluding home/lounge wear and spring/summer pieces, which are put away for the season.
I used to be a total maximalist when it came to clothes – my philosophy was the more, the better! – but over the years, I like to think I’ve gotten much better at paring down things I don’t wear frequently and not accumulating pieces I don’t really love or need. Still, as I followed Putting Me Together’s guidelines for building a wardrobe from scratch (while “shopping” my own closet rather than trying to buy everything new), I was surprised to see how many things I had that weren’t really that functional or flattering for me.
The whole idea of a capsule wardrobe is that you focus on curating a few key versatile pieces that mix and match well together, yielding lots of different outfits that flatter you and fit your style. As I tried on each item, I realized that some of the pieces I thought would end up being staples actually weren’t really serving me at all. For example, earlier this season I bought a neutral beige and white cardigan, thinking, “This will go with everything!” – but when I looked at how it fit in with all my pieces collectively, I realized that I literally had ONE top I liked to wear it with. And on top of that, the cardigan wasn’t flattering for my shape or my skin tone. I ended up putting it into the Poshmark pile to hopefully find a happy home somewhere else.
As I continued to try on different pieces in different combos, I noticed the stark contrast between pieces that fit really well and flattered me versus pieces that were just kind of “meh.” Lack of a comfortable, flattering fit ended up being the key deciding factor in nearly every case where I decided to let go of something.
As I was sifting through my growing “let go” pile, I remembered seeing a reference in one of Audrey of PMT’s posts on shopping mistakes. I was curious to find it and see if I could pinpoint what my own missteps were in buying these pieces that didn’t fit me or my wardrobe well. In this post, she makes the excellent point that sometimes even when we have a specific piece of clothing in mind we’re looking for, we’re not specific enough in detailing how we want it to fit, what kinds of pieces we want it to match, and and how we want it to fit into our wardrobe overall. She gives some great examples of how to take your vague shopping list up a notch to help you find pieces that you’ll really love instead of just sort of like. So helpful! Here’s the full post if you’re curious: Putting Me Together: Shopping Mistakes I’ve Made
I realized another one of my personal big shopping mistakes has been getting too excited about trends when I see them on others and trying to make them work for myself, even when they are clearly a no-go for me. Lots of creamy oatmeal neutrals ended up in my Poshmark pile because I love that muted, understated look on lots of people (not to mention how it pairs well with rose gold, another trend I adore but can only pull off in small doses), but it’s very hit or miss with my pale, rosy skin tone and often makes me look washed out – plus, again, I wasn’t selective enough on the fit of these pieces, and they just didn’t fit me well.
By the end of the day, I had a total of 10 pieces I was ready to part with, and 7 I decided to put into storage because I wasn’t positive I wanted to let them go, but did want to see if my wardrobe felt less cluttered and more cohesive without them. I followed the Starter Kit Shopping List from PMT below as my guideline for what to keep and what to be on the lookout to add in the future.
In my current arsenal, I have a grand total of 8 tops, 2 completer pieces, 4 pairs of jeans and 2 skirts. To accessorize, I have 8 scarves, (with a new one on the way that I’m really excited about!) and assorted jewelry pieces that I didn’t sort through. I also have 2 solid neutral dresses I ordered, since my previous dresses from my old job don’t translate for my current lifestyle. And I have a small wishlist of things I’m going to be on the lookout for to enhance my capsule wardrobe- which I will be very specific about!
Obviously, it’s only been a few days since this little overhaul, so I’m not sure how this experiment will go in the long term. I’m planning to post updates every now and then to check in – my inner minimalist is excited about my smaller closet, but my inner skeptic is also wondering if I’ll feel confined by too few pieces or not be able to create as many varied outfits as I think. Maybe I’ll do some outfit recaps here and there, too. One positive sign that has me hopeful: I had about 5 minutes to get dressed for a date night with Hubby on Friday and was immediately able to pull together something cute that I loved with ease. That was a great feeling!
Thanks for reading all about my little experiment – now it’s your turn to share your thoughts! Let me know in the comments:
- Have you ever considered or tried a capsule wardrobe approach?
- What is your absolute favorite piece of clothing, if you had to pick just one?
- Do you have a particular “shopping mistake” that stands out in your mind? I’d love to hear about it! (I have some funny ones myself!)