A transitional wardrobe. That’s what is needed come March because the weather in the Northeast is indecisive, throwing its weight between 65 and 20 degrees. Snow one day, sleeveless the next. And plaids are out of the question. Any hint of holiday clothing won’t work. All the magazines are pushing Spring, and you want your wardrobe to reflect the moment.
I’m always up for a new experiment, especially when it involves clothes. I’ve tried the Marie Kondo method, but I don’t have many drawers. She’s all about folding and placing things in drawers vertically. I have a closet with a top shelf, and even after discarding all the items that didn’t bring me joy, said closet became overcrowded with things I should wear (but wasn’t).
- CAPSULE WARDROBE 101
Enter my new pet project: the capsule wardrobe. I’ve emptied my closet and now it’s stocked with 37 items, yes, 37 and that number includes shoes. This does not include pajamas, workout clothes, or accessories like belts, jewelry, or scarves. You could create a capsule for everything. A makeup capsule, jewelry, scarves, belts. Capsule is just another way of saying minimized, adored, and efficient. With less to see, you use more. I swear it’s true.
YOU ALREADY DO IT
Every time you pack a suitcase, you’re creating a capsule. A jewelry and makeup wardrobe, complete with your must-have skincare and toiletries. Usually it’s only for a week, and if you’re anything like me, you pack an empty duffel inside your case to accommodate all the new vacation purchases. Now it’s time for that kind of clarity in your entire wardrobe.
- SAY WHAT NOW?
It’s not forever. It’s a 3-month capsule, designed to be changed as the seasons do. But it’s absurdly freeing to take summer favorites, say, and box them away, something to which I can look forward to unearthing as the wine turns from Sangiovese to Sauvignon.
This entire process is a giddy maker for me. It’s fun now to create new combinations. It’s surprising how much of what makes up my outfits is in the accessories. Also, as a redhead, I’ve never been drawn to red, but lately I’m embracing it in big and small ways. Featured below, you’ll see a red clutch, red shoes, and red pants!
MAKE A LIST
Once you whittle your wardrobe down, make a list of things you think you “need.”
RECENTLY WORN OUTFITS:
Above: Friday Night Birthday Party of a dear friend in NYC.
LAST WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY + FRIDAY NIGHT’S OUTFITS:
WHY YOU NEED TO TRY A CAPSULE WARDROBE
BREAK THE FORMULA
Like so many of us, I was wearing basically the same outfit all the time. Sure the clothes changed somewhat, but the overall “look” was basically the same formula: jeans, colorful top, blazer, scarf. I’m not gonna lie; it’s still my favorite formula. Only now I’m mixing it up in a way I hadn’t previously. Before the capsule, I wasn’t jazzed about getting dressed. I wasn’t being creative. I wasn’t wearing most of what was there. The solution was seeing far less at once, knowing that in three months, I will mix things up again, swapping out winter sweaters for new seasonal items, while keeping my tried and true favorites.
HI HO, HI HO
Half your closet can be devoted for an appropriate work wardrobe. You know what’s called for. Just create a work capsule if you need one. It might differ vastly from your after work look. Only you know what you need. Try as much as possible to find overlap. If it helps, draw a quick pie chart illustrating how you spend your week. What percentage is work, walking the dog, grocery shopping, volunteering, nights out, date nights, soccer field, etc. Your wardrobe should reflect the life you presently lead, not the life you want to be living (but aren’t).
HOW TO CREATE A CAPSULE WARDROBE
LET THE PILES BEGIN
Remove everything from your closet and sort it into piles: OBSESSED, EH, OVER IT.
OBSESSED: I don’t care how old it is. If it loves your body, if you wear it constantly, if it brings you joy, keep.
EH: I’m not obsessed, but it’s a good enough piece. It goes with a lot. This is your maybe pile. Don’t worry. You’re not tossing anything.
OVER IT: I thought I’d wear this, but I just don’t. Or, I shouldn’t. It’s brand new, but it already has a hole. It’s stained. I don’t like the fit or the fabric. This shit hurts when I wear it. Either save for later, or donate.
I have brand new sweaters still with tags attached. The colors don’t coordinate with most of what’s in my obsessed pile. I wouldn’t get enough wear out of them. But, I’m still obsessed. So they’ll make my summer capsule, when I’m tired of my current color scheme. I came up with color scheme simply by looking at my OBSESSED pile. I mainly wear navy and whites with denim and royal blue. Lately, as evidenced above, I’m loving pops of red. A red bag. A red shoe. A red lip. I even love red with pink. The other day, I wore red pants with a mint green top and navy cardigan–an option I never would’ve considered before the capsule. Pale pink with camel, with navy, with cream, with red. Endless combinations that feel fresh and new to me.
SAY MY NAME, SAY MY NAME
Give a name to the look you want. Make a list of adjectives. Then narrow the list to a handful of descriptions that best represent the style you want. Here are mine:
Here are adjectives that didn’t make the cut: boho, boxy, androgynous, sporty, minimalistic, trendy, sexy, preppy, edgy, relaxed, rocker.
Name it because your style adjective exercise helps you define your style, making the decisions to keep or toss all the easier. Given my adjectives, I compiled a list of identifying details that help tell my style story. Naming your style helps to identify the elements that represent it. Click To TweetWHAT ARE THE DETAILS THAT REPRESENT YOUR ADJECTIVES?
For me, I created a list of details that represent "Ladylike, Bold, Touchable, Polished, and Playful," my style:
Assess the situation. See what’s missing. Make a list of things you might want to add in the future to really knock it out of the park (I’m obsessed with these shoes). Sometimes we think we need things, but we don’t. So, keep it limited to a list, and see if you can’t wait on that black top with the ruffled sleeve.
2017 MARCH – MAY CAPSULE WARDROBE
Here’s my current capsule (coming soon). In the meanwhile, get started with your piles!
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