Building a Capsule Wardrobe for 2016

In with the old and out with the new.

2015 was extremely busy for my family and me. (Hence why this blog was essentially abandoned for a year.) I was tending to Bean’s growth and development, adjusting to the new sleep regiment (or lackthereof), introducing solids, switching daycares, switching CITIES, buying a house, selling a house… oh and dancing in between in my “spare time.”

When I was nursing Bean full time, I bought a whole “nursing” wardrobe, separate from my maternity and regular wardrobe. Clothes that were designed for easy access for emergency roadside feedings and stretched in various directions. When summer rolled around, I stopped using the winter nursing clothes and just started using my existing clothes. These items weren’t meant to be stretched, pulled, and Lord knows what else I did to them. My clothes needed a redux, but I didn’t want to replace the zillions of items I had overstuffing my closet with more of the same. And I didn’t want to use the clothes I had because they all screamed “I have an infant at home… but I’m also a ballroom dancer so here is some glitter.”

That’s when I decided to look into Capsule Wardrobes; or a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear. Off to Pinterest I fled, researching a variety of ideas, color palates, and motivation to only have 33(ish) articles of clothing and shoes in my closet at one time over a three month period.

My challenges and potential hang ups:

  1. The premise of a capsule wardrobe is to change it out every season/three months. This assumes that seasonal weather is three months long where I live. It’s more like 5 months of Winter and Summer, then 1 month each of Spring and Fall.
  2. I generally maintain the same lifestyle for a majority of the year. I go to work; I social dance; I go out to eat here and there. It is the small wrenches – like a surprise theme dance or impromptu formal event that I really wouldn’t have something specific in my closet for at that moment.
  3. Honestly, a super versatile  wardrobe is made up of a lot of black and white basics, so I had a hard time finding ones with colors I liked to wear.

Nevertheless, the closet needed to be cleaned out.

This is probably the lengthiest step – getting rid of (almost) everything.

I mostly followed the ground rules I read about:

  1. Take everything out of your closet and chest of drawers (still working on this) and begin to divide up your existing wardrobe.
  2. Separate into piles or bins: a) things you LOVE and would change into that second; b) things that needed to be donated; c) things that you could sell/consign; d) things that needed to be trashed; e) the maybe/Seasonal pile, which will be sorted after some thought.
  3. Loungewear, PJs, workout clothes, clothes you paint in are all exempt. I also added my ballroom costumes (duh), some dance practice clothing, dance shoes, and special occasion dresses for events at the studio to this list of exemptions.
  4. Some blogs include accessories and handbags in their capsule limit. I chose not to, but I will be culling the stock pile I have.

Once this is done, you narrow down your remaining items to 33 articles of clothing and shoes. If you don’t have 33-36 items of clothing by the end of this, you set a budget and go shopping for some basics. (Tip: after Christmas is a KILLER time to shop sales for capsule basics.)

The Purge was enlightening. I often clean out my closet, but very rarely do I actually try items during those mini purges. They were superficial and I only donated items I simply didn’t wear. Since pregnancy definitely changed how clothes and shoes fit me, I had to try on everything I hadn’t worn in several months.

I discovered the following:

  1. I had multiples of tank tops and camisoles in all colors. Seriously. There really wasn’t a reason for me to have 8 black tank tops in my closet, but I did. (Sad fact: only two of them actually fit me properly and could be worn by themselves.)
  2. I have a bad habit of finding a cheap shirt somewhere and buying the same shirt in three different colors without actually trying it on before buying.
  3. The camisoles from #1 made me feel like a sausage. (Thanks pregnancy!)
  4. The sentimental and souvenir t-shirts were the hardest to let go. Especially since the Disney ones were so expensive.
  5. My feet have grown since having a baby. At one point before pregnancy, they shrunk. A lot of shoes I hadn’t worn yet no longer fit me.
  6. I found one tank top hanging in my closet inside out and I don’t remember the last time I wore it. So it had to have been laundered and then hung like that for quite some time.

EIGHT! Eight black tank tops!


Sell box on the left and Seasonal/Maybe pile on the right.  

Trash pile on the left and donate pile on the right (which got bigger after I took this.)


So many hangers. Current state of my closet. Still more work to do.

I still have some more work to do over the holiday and then figure out what was going into my Capsule for the next three months. But even if I don’t keep it to 36 pieces, at least all the items that do not fit or aren’t in good condition are out of my closet.

Where I am shopping for my basics and filler items:


#Dblog Day 5: Life Hacks for the Fashionistas

Share the (non-medical) tips and tricks that help you in the day-to-day management of diabetes.  Tell us everything from clothing modifications, serving size/carb counting tricks to the tried and true Dexcom-in-a-glass trick or the “secret” to turning on a Medtronic pump’s backlight when not on the home-screen (scroll to the bottom of this post). Please remember to give non-medical advice only!

I actually only have a few, and of course, with no photo proof.

It’s hard to be a fashion icon person with a pager-like device at your side 24/7. Those slim fitting shirts, pants, dresses, whatever… forget it. As a pump wearer, I’m a very picky shopper. Pants don’t have pockets? You aren’t getting my money.

But, there are a few instances where the event calls for a skirt or dress. Oh – fine. I’ll make due.

Here are things I’ve done to make those events more tolerable:

1) Taken the arm band from an old iPod Sport holder and wrapped it around my thigh. Clipped pump to said “arm band.” (I still do this.)

2) Sewn in mesh craft bags into pants without pockets. They are the perfect size for Medtronic pumps.

3) Used a garter to hold up my pump on my leg. (Worked for under my wedding dress.)

4) Gone back on MDI for a short time. (Works especially well on performance weeks. But may not work well for everyone. Consult your doc.)

5) Used an elastic strap on my ballroom dress to clip my pump to. (Most of my costumes had at least one.)

So there you go. Happy fashion planning.

Fashion Break

A non-D post! (Both non-diabetes and non-dance… well sort of.)

I made a decision at the beginning of the year to divert the funds I had been using on my monthly dance membership to updating my sad wardrobe. Don’t get me wrong – I have a lot of clothes. Far too many, some may say. But, when you shop on the cheap, you get cheap quality stuff. And what I do spend money on isn’t work appropriate (well, not office appropriate – they work in the ballroom world, however). I have a huge Pinterest board dedicated to cute outfits I see, but have no time to seek them out. Since the holes in my sweaters were no longer acceptable, I sought out Stitch Fix.

A few of my sorority sisters posted success stories with this personal shopping service – so I decided to share mine.

Stitch Fix is a newer company, based out of the San Francisco area (I think… it’s where I shipped my returns). You sign up, fill out a rather extensive profile of your perceived fashion sense, supply a credit card number, and schedule a delivery date. You are then assigned to a personal stylist who will take your profile and general size into consideration and then send you five items to stuff your closet with. You pay a styling fee of $20, which will go toward any item(s) you decide to keep. If you keep nothing, you lose your $20. Shipping is free and any returned items need to come back after three days of consideration.

On my profile, I indicated that I was a dancer who also works in a professional office and wear an insulin pump. I wanted my items to be on the lower end of the pricing scale, but was willing to spend on things like pants and special occasion stuff. Oh – and I love the color purple. Here is what they sent:


Purple Chevron Henley ($54) – This was the first outfit I tried on. I don’t own a lot of things with patterns, other than flowers. So I liked that this was different than anything else I owned. The fabric was really soft too. The price tag was a bit much for what it was, however, I liked the fit and feel of the shirt too much to pass up. Verdict: Keep

Black Ultra Skinny Pants ($79) – I was a bit worried about skinny anything. I’m small, but only own one pair of skinny’s and don’t wear them that often. These were even SMALLER. But – I wasn’t going to write them off completely – after all, they had pockets. Color me surprised. They kinda felt like leggings. And if I keep that in mind, these actually could be pretty useful. I like wearing leggings under dresses and long sweaters, but I run into the problem of pump storage. These would fix that. Or hopefully, they will. Verdict: Keep


Purple Cowl Neck Sleeveless Blouse ($48) – It’s purple! And has a cool neckline and asymmetrical hem. It seemed like a good match… until I tried it on. The fabric seemed too heavy to drape well and the torso of the blouse was pretty shapeless. I really wanted to like this one, especially since it was purple. Verdict: Return


Gray Sweater ($48) – Now, when you pair the purple shirt on with the sweater, it doesn’t look bad. However, let’s just look at the sweater for a second. I love this type of stuff, really. My office is always cold. In fact, I love this style so much that I already have this type of sweater in this exact color, and in a number of other colors. I am happy my stylist has me down pretty well, but I didn’t need a duplicate piece. Verdict: Return


Vintage Floral Cap Sleeved Blouse ($28) – I had to think about this one for a bit. I liked the print a lot. But there wasn’t any give or stretch in the fabric, nor a zipper to help get the thing on. So – it was a little challenging. The sleeves need to be ironed, as they stood straight up. And the photo I was given made the blouse appear more fitted than it actually was. However, once it was on, it fit fine. The price was right and I could already picture wearing this with a pair of jeans on Casual Friday. Verdict: Keep

Stitch Fix can do monthly, automatic shipments or you can schedule a fix whenever you want. (My next one is coming in March because I need something for St. Patrick’s Day and a Conference.)

My only gripe with the service is that I specifically asked for a February 3rd delivery date because I was going to be out of the office at the end of January. But they shipped early, while I was away. Since the 3-day count down begins when you receive the Fix, I was afraid I’d lose a day if I couldn’t get to the office in time to get my box. I emailed their help line, received a response within 24 hours, and had a note placed on my account that my returns might be late.

If you would like to try the service, you can sign up here. They have a pretty decent FAQ and blog for questions too.

Wireless Vacation

Today’s thought – from Kate Spade NY’s Tumblr


Ladies and gents… big news. I wore a dress today. With leggings. In 35 degree weather. To work. Yes. No clips, bands, square bulks on my side… just me in a dress I haven’t worn in 2 years because I hate dealing with pump fashion sense.

I’ve been riding the Lantus high for about 2 days now. But thankfully, that’s not where my blood sugars have been residing. In fact, they’ve been kind of on the low side, so I’m probably way over-doing the Lantus.

But – have a morning snack and not give any insulin for but still have an amazing blood sugar by lunch? Don’t mind if I do.

Wear PJ pants without pockets? Of course!

An infusion set free shower? Yes please!

Seriously, why did I give this up?

Oh, wait… yeah. The whole awkward, whipping out syringes at random and sticking yourself multiple times for grazing the pantry before dinner thing. And the fact that my post prandials are probably shit right now. (But hey, I eventually come down because of all the Lantus.)

Okay – my pump should be here tomorrow. I hope it’s not pink. Maybe I should have specified.