Learning From My Capsule Wardrobe

BeFunky Design

I started 2016 with a mission to clean out my closet and live on a very limited wardrobe for three months at a time. Like most projects and I, they all start with good intentions and then fall into remiss. I do get the question, “so are you still living with a capsule wardrobe” every so often, so I figure I’d update.

Short answer: not really.

Long answer.

I went back and looked at my original posts last year to remind myself why I wanted to limit my clothing resources. At the core, I was frustrated by having a closet full of clothes and “nothing to wear/pack for trips/etc.” The sheer amount of stuff I had hanging in my closet overwhelmed me and I just went to the same 5 pieces during the work week anyway. Then I kept adding clothes to the mix. (Dumb idea.)

After I cleaned everything out and put together my outfits for the quarter, I felt accomplished! Packing for my business trips was easy. I even downgraded to a simple carry-on for most trips.

But things happened mid-capsule. The weather would change dramatically. My office would transition to a different dress code for a week, quarter, or busy time. I’d be traveling even more. I had fancier events at the dance studio. And the killer – I got bored with my closet toward the end of each capsule. I found myself changing out items mid-capsule a lot, simply because something called for it.

Needless to say, a capsule wardrobe life doesn’t fit my lifestyle at all. No matter how many articles of clothing or shoes I tried to pare down to, I always ended up with other items in the closet.

However, it wasn’t all for naught. I did learn several things and still keep those in the back my mind when looking at my closet.

I liked saving money during the capsule, so I aim to purchase new items for my closet from secondhand sources. My favorite is still ThredUp for convenience sake, but I’ll trade or buy items on Ebay, Facebook groups, or Craigslist. If I have a chance, I also check out thrift stores and consignment shops in the area. (But, shopping in person? Who has time for that?)

My aimless searching through aisles in Target or Ross for new clothes doesn’t really happen anymore. This has cut the Target bill down a bit per month. (Or goes toward Bean’s wardrobe budget.)

I attempt to shop smarter. Brand new items ideally come from ethically produced or conscious sources. I try to shop local shops, Etsy stores, or “made in USA” items. I try to cater my subscription box profiles to ask for Made in USA items so I can still enjoy the surprise aspect of personal shopping. I would love to one day have a “greener” closet, but this is a financial undertaking on its own.

I have become incredibly picky about what I buy. I try to avoid items that “just fit okay” or “are cute pants but don’t have pockets.”

I alter or repair clothes, rather than donating them to someone else who might fix them. (Unlikely.)

I now pack up and store my “dead of winter” clothes, rather than leave them out during the summer months. (I never did this and I’m not sure why.)

I adhere to a color scheme and avoid adding new pieces to my closet that don’t fit within those parameters. There is currently no red, orange, chocolate brown, or yellow in my closet, for example. No plans to add them either.

I don’t throw clothes in the wash after one wear. (Unless it’s gross.) Clothes are washed as closely as possible to the care instructions on the label. Lots of things get hung dry.


I’m not trying to discourage anyone from trying to clean out their closet and make their remaining items work. Pinterest makes it look so damn simple as well. But since I have so many different facets to my life, it was difficult to limit myself to a set number of months and items. And I spent more time during each “season” fixing my closet to cater to outside events and weather – which defeats the purpose of having a capsule!

Disclosure: there are affiliate links here.

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March Box Review(s)

SeeJenDance - March Subscription Box Reviews

I’m trying something a bit different for this month since I received THREE boxes from a subscription-like shopping service this month. (YAY spring capsule shopping.) But rather than writing three separate posts about them, I’ve combined them into one review – for my own sanity.

This month, I got a Stitch Fix box with Sophie O. as my stylist again; another tote from KB at Golden Tote, and I tried Trunk Club with Carey Lee. My goal was to secure some items for the next three months. I threw in Trunk Club this month because I liked that I could call or message my stylist directly and tell her exactly what I wanted. In this instance, I needed some wardrobe basics – something that was sorely missing from the last season’s capsule. Since Trunk Club is essentially a personal shopper at Nordstrom’s, I knew I’d get some high quality items that I could use year round. And the other two shopping services would be great for seasonal, trendy pieces. (Affiliate links at the end of blog.)


Stitch Fix Mini Review

Let’s start with the Stitch Fix Box. As mentioned, my stylist was Sophie O. again from February’s Fix. I liked what she did and requested her again in my March note. Her note to me was longer, and a bit more personalized, mentioning that she tried to find as much as she could based on my requests and couldn’t wait to get items set for my capsule. I had asked for some jeans, a trench coat, and some other fun spring items.

SeeJenDance - March Box Review - StitchFix

Here is what I kept:

I haven’t kept a pair of jeans since my first postpartum fix last spring. Now that I’m chasing a very active toddler, the jeans aren’t holding up like they once were. (Unless I have an industrial strength belt.) Sophie sent me two pairs of Kut from the Kloth Jeans – one Dayna Skinny ($88) and one Catherine Boyfriend cut ($78).

A word about Kut from the Kloth – these things stretch and run slightly larger. They don’t always hold their size so some will advise you to size down. The skinnies were actually bit on the tight side, however, I kept them knowing they’d probably stretch out. The boyfriend jeans were actually the first pair of this cut where they didn’t feel like “mom jeans.” My only concern is that while they fit great now, they won’t after a few wears. I guess we’ll see.

I styled these with an old Skies are Blue blouse I received last fall, a pair of TOMS I received from my Trunk Club stylist, and a white button down from TC which was returned due to sizing issues.

What I didn’t keep:

I had Pinned the Collective Concepts Katelynn Dress ($78) because the print was super fun and wedding season appropriate. However, it ran larger in the torso and sleeve area. It looked cute belted and with a cardigan, but I know I would not take the time to alter it. I did “keep” it, but I ended up selling it to someone on a BST group.

The 41Hawthorn Crue Belted Trench Jacket ($98) I received was more like a peacoat. Much heavier than I was expecting and not at all waterproof. This would have been great in winter, but not in spring. Shame – it actually fit really nicely, but I had no use for it.

The last item was a Daniel Rainn Bilson Silk Tabsleeve Blouse ($88) that is very similar to every other tab sleeve blouse I own already. Except this was silk and made me look pregnant. Nope, nope, nope.


Golden Tote Mini Review

SeeJenDance - March Tote - Golden Tote

For instructions on how Golden Tote works, check out my review of the February tote here. I’ll admit that the one of the reasons I tried Golden Tote again in March was because of this month’s tote style. I love bunnies! Truth be told, I found no interest in any of the items you could choose from this month’s boutique. Everything was a bit too BoHo/southwestern for my tastes. But, they did have a pair of jeans and a few other “classic” items available. I also had one of the stylists on the BST group help update my profile comments and I used a photo collage rather than a single image in my profile. These two add-ons actually helped a LOT with my surprise items.

What Worked:

I ordered a large Tote with two chosen items for $149. I received 6 items total, but decided to “keep” 4. One of my chosen items was a pair of black Ellison cropped trousers (Rise to the Crop Trousers in the boutique). They aren’t all that cropped on me, so I’ll have to get them hemmed or just wear them as regular pants, but they were trousers with pockets! A rare find, I feel.

Three of my surprise items were home runs, KB. I received a purple (!) pleated blouse by Naked Zebra, a light blue colorblock sweater from Skies are Blue, and a Paper Crane Geometric Print sun dress. The sundress will need some creative styling since the arm holes are huge, but it should be great for the warmer weather.

What I Didn’t Keep

SeeJenDance - Jolie Striped Top with Distressed Jeans - Golden ToteI ended up selling/trading two items from my Tote, but would have been pleased with them if the sizing was correct. For example, I really liked the Jolie Striped top, but I swam in it. And the Distressed Boyfriend Jeans were the perfect length and comfort, but I definitely needed to size down on them.


A Little Bit About Trunk Club

Trunk Club styles both men and women and is based out of Chicago. As mentioned above, I wanted some very specific items I had a hard time finding online on ThredUp or Target or wherever I could managed to sneak away shopping. Trunk Club is not really a subscription service at all – more like walking into Macy’s and Nordstrom and heading to the Personal Shopping department. There are no subscription or styling fees. But the prices are Nordstrom prices, so be prepared if you decide to try it.

After signing up, my original stylist called me and found out all of my likes, dislikes, goals, styling preferences and so forth. I signed up based on the recommendation of a friend, so I was transferred to her stylist, Carey, so we could both get some sort of referral credit. (Cool.) Carey prepared a “trunk” of about 15 items for me based on my notes, and sent them to me to preview. At that point, I was allowed to remove items I knew were too expensive, not my style, or something I already owned. The remaining items were shipped to me to try on and return after 10 days.

I ended up keeping a pair of TOMS and a black blazer. Carey indicated that the first Trunk can be a little rough while the stylist tries to figure out a person’s style and size. So I look forward to my follow up Trunk. Carey has also been very good about keeping my items affordable and low maintenance (which is a plus when you have a toddler.) She will throw in a few pricey items here and there, but the majority of the items I see are within Stitch Fix pricing guidelines. They have a much larger petite inventory to choose from. (Something I’m struggling with in Stitch Fix and Golden Tote.)


If you would like to try any of these services, you can use one or all of these (affiliate) links: Stitch Fix, Golden Tote, or Trunk Club. Golden Tote’s April Tote is going to be released on April 4th, so get that profile ready for the craziness. Previews for the April chosens are being leaked on Instagram and will probably be on their Tumblr page here soon.

As far as Stitch Fix goes, I have decided to keep Sophie O. as my stylist (because she’s been doing awesome), but switch my box subscription to every quarter, rather than monthly. My wallet should love that. (Plus that whole, don’t shop during a capsule season rule thing…)