Capsule Wardrobe: Musings and Lessons


SeeJenDance - Capsule Wardrobe Musings and Lessons

As this capsule season comes to a close, and I prep my closet for the next season, I wanted to reflect on several things I discovered while living with a much smaller closet.

Okay, why did I do this again? My need for simplicity actually came to a head back in November. I remember I needed to pack for a three day trip to Disneyland and the fits of rage I had while packing. There were so many evens I could not. My problem was finding items that were casual enough, layer friendly, nursing friendly, and actually fit. Eventually, I found things that worked, but also realized I hated that nothing in my closet worked with each other. But I had so much! That was why I started cleaning out everything. Living out of a suitcase was going to be a near-monthly occurrence in 2016. Why make it more stressful?

I have to force myself to try things on. Sure, I love my online thrift shopping, subscription boxes and shopping services. They’ve replaced the hours I used to spend pouring through racks at Marshall’s and Ross. And usually, in the stores, I’d pick things off the rack that I thought were my size and just check out. “Oh, this looks cute and it’s a great deal. I won’t find this again.” From there, it’ll sit in my closet unworn because it didn’t quite fit as I thought. Or – it’s sparkly, so I’ll find a place for it. Since I do review my Boxes and share them with you all, it forces me to try items I receive on, make sure they fit, style it to make sure it works with my closet. If it doesn’t, I return it. M has now called it Jen-Shopping: I buy five items and return three. Every time.

I don’t really need that much stuff. And there was a lot of stuff. Throughout the season, I cleaned out my jewelry and either donated it to charity or to my dance team’s silent auction. I also further cleaned out my “maybe” pile of items and sold them online. I hadn’t worn some of those items in three months and didn’t miss them at all. I plan to clean out my diabetes supplies from long ago (really, I don’t need THAT many lancets) and Bean’s toys this season.

I shop when I’m bored and/or exhausted. For some, impulse shopping is their vice. For me, it’s something mindless to do. Aimlessly scrolling through good deals or garage sale sites for things that might work for you. It’s real easy to just say, “interested” or “add to cart.” Or after arguing with a toddler about dinner, sometimes it’s nice to just find something agreeable. (See: retail therapy.) My goal for next season is to find other light, enjoyable hobbies that don’t involve my wallet or moving too far from the couch.

I totally broke the “no shopping during a season” rule. But, the core of the capsule remained the same. If I found that an item was only there to be a number and I wasn’t enjoying wearing it, I removed it and replaced it with something else. This usually happened with ill fitted items I kept just so I could keep some clothing in my closet. I am going into the spring season with a better “base” wardrobe, so it should be easier to not shop for three months.

Laundry day was a day I didn’t mind, but also dreaded. When you work with a limited amount of clothes and have a toddler, laundry day becomes a necessity. There were several times I looked into my closet and wondered how EVERYTHING was dirty at the same time. Plus, everything needs to be hand-washed/line-dried, so I could be without a pair or jeans for several days. This is why I had an “at home” collection of clothes, which featured my ratty mom-jeans and several pairs of yoga pants. You really can’t get rid of that stuff when you have a kid.

I missed color. If you have ever looked on Pinterest, you’ll notice that capsule wardrobes tend to be, well, monochromatic. That’s because neutrals go with everything. The majority of Pins feature lots of neat, black and chambray wardrobes. (*yawn*) But guys – I like colbalt and purple and red and other fun jewel tones. Sure, an accessory is fun, but man, I love making a statement with color. All the time. Color mixing was definitely an interesting capsule concept I tried and look forward to trying again next season.

I’ll definitely be doing a capsule of some sort again. I’m still trying to figure out the logistics. This season involved a lot of “threes.” I had three pairs of jeans, three work pants, three cardigans… etc. I may do something similar for spring. Hell, these are my own rules to play with, right?


Capsule Wardrobe: Winter 2016 (Finally)


Happy Superbowl Sunday… I guess?

I was tempted not to write a follow up since this “season” is about half way over. But after replacing, and further cleaning out my stash of clothes, I think I finally have a winter capsule worth writing something about.

Let me start by saying that I ended up with about 2.5 capsules. One is for work or leaving the house for social engagements. The other is “toddler safe” or clothes I can safely wear around the house and don’t care if I get slobbered on, food thrown at, snotted all over, or drenched. My 1/2 capsule are my collection of ballroom dance shoes and things I wear to the studio and special occasion wear which has been fitted for ballroom dance.

Here is what is included:

1 jean jacket, 2 blazers (grey, black), 1 navy dress, 1 gray pencil skirt, 5 blouses (2 plain, 3 pattern), 3 cardigans (2 work friendly, 1 casual), 3 sweaters, 6-7 pairs of shoes, 4 t-shirts/tanks, 3 misc shirts for work/play…

3 work friendly pants, and 3 pairs of jeans or jean like pants. (The toddler capsule of yoga pants and t shirts are on the right.)

If you include the 2 jackets I’ve been swapping out, that gives me about 36-37 pieces to work with. This has been surprisingly easy, unless of course, toddler messes occur while wearing said work capsule.

Scarves and Tide Sticks have been my saving grace. They hide everything.

What I like about it so far:

  • The business trip I took last week involved one carry on bag and about 10 minutes of packing time. Usually, I needed one large bag and packed WAY too much/never wore half of it.
  • Everything mostly works with each other so I very rarely feel like I’m wearing the same thing over and over again. (Even though, I am.)
  • I’m getting use out of pieces (like the magenta pants) that I only wore once in a while.
  • I was able to find a lot of pieces I was missing via second hand. (Either for this capsule or the next.)
  • Laundry isn’t insane and it’s impossible for clothes to pile up when you don’t have that many to begin with.
  • I’m shopping smarter. If I don’t like something, or it doesn’t fit right, it gets re-sold or returned.

My challenges:

  • As mentioned, the mess. While I can avoid my toddler most of the time, one coffee spill, and I can take out one of my key pairs of pants faster than you can say “skinny vanilla latte.” And I hate doing laundry mid-week.
  • Strange seasonal weather. Two weeks ago, it rained a ton… this week, the average temp is 70 degrees. When I was planning this capsule, the average temp was 45 degrees. Layers, layers, layers.
  • I didn’t really plan all that well for competing in west coast swing next week with the items I had. It’s not my preference to compete in long sleeves – but I guess that’s what I’m doing.
  • I hate hand-washing stuff.

I am planning to continue the capsule project April-June. I think this is going to need another 3 months before I decide if I want to keep up with it. M says I’ve been spending a lot of time in my closet cleaning and re-cleaning, so he thinks all the effort is stressing me out. (I don’t know – I kind of like this kind of organizational stress.) I’ve donated a lot of clothes and sent a lot to be consigned/upcycled at ThredUp(Affiliate link – I do get a wee bit of credit if you click that and sign up.) And I’ve been trying to use these same techniques with other areas of the house – like Bean’s toys, or my diabetes supplies. (Well, I’ve been so focused on the closet, I haven’t gotten to these projects yet. But, in due time.)

Capsule Wardrobe 2016: The Process

I’m nearly a week into this whole capsule wardrobe thing. My capsule still isn’t done yet, but I’ve still limited myself to just 36 items of clothing and shoes for day to day wear. So why isn’t it done?

Between getting some sort of nasty virus at the beginning of the year and the slowest shipping departments ever, my Winter capsule is well, not completely workable. I think it’s possible to make this doable and be satisfied with it, but I have five or six pieces that really can only be worn one way, so that defeats the purpose of having it in the closet.

I made the decision to do a Capsule Wardrobe maybe two weeks before the end of the year. I decided to do all of my shopping for new basics the last week of the year when everything was extremely cheap. Turns out when you ask for free shipping, the stores can take their dear ol’ sweet time shipping it to you. I won’t have all of my items until January 15th, and that’s assuming everything fits correctly and plays well with my other pieces.

January will definitely be a transition month. I know for next Capsule that I need to figure out the shopping sooner. But hopefully I won’t need much.