the capsule wardrobe, part 1


I mentioned last week that I had done a major overhaul of my closet, an overhaul that was completely inspired by Caroline and her lovely blog. you should read about the idea of a capsule wardrobe on her blog here, but the main idea is to limit yourself to a concise edit of clothes for every season. I’m tweaking her system a little bit and changing it to my own, partly because of weather differences (she lives in Texas and I live in Chicago) and partly because we’re two different people. I love that Caroline encourages each of her readers to make the system his or her own and advocates the capsule wardrobe idea as one thing to try if your current system isn’t working for you. this is what sold me on giving it a try, since she wasn’t proscribing that it was going to be the solution, just something worth giving a shot if the status quo wasn’t something you were satisfied with. that’s where I was at. I had plenty of clothes, but I always felt like I had nothing to wear. I was overwhelmed by all the choices hanging in my closet and 95% of the time, I ended up wearing the same things over and over. after reading Caroline’s blog, I realized that the 5% I reached for constantly were either the things I loved or the things that worked best for my life, or both. they were literally where form and function met in my closet. was it any wonder that they were the ones kept in heavy rotation and everything else was neglected? then I thought about how I didn’t like having things I neglected, how I didn’t want to be someone who had more than she used. so…

…I did a major edit of my entire wardrobe. since I’m an overthinker and partial to sentimentality, I went with my gut when selecting what to keep or not keep. when considering an item, if I immediately remembered that I loved it or used it frequently, it stayed. if I hesitated a little, it went into the maybe pile. if I hesitated a lot or flat out hated it, it went into the gone pile. the majority of the items that didn’t make the cut were either donated to goodwill/savers/the salvation army or packed to be sent to my family in the Philippines. a handful of things I ended up consigning or selling on the spot. I revisited the maybe pile and edited it further down, with most things being added to the give away pile. the 8 things I was still undecided on got put into storage. if I come looking for something in that box during the fall/winter, then it stays. if come spring, I haven’t given any of these pieces a thought, they’ll go. although I didn’t do an accounting of how much exactly I had before the edit, judging by how clothes look in our new (smaller) closet and comparing it to how they looked hanging in our old apartment, I’d say I cut at least 50% of my wardrobe, if not close to 2/3.

from here, I tweaked Caroline’s 37-item, season by season capsule wardrobe to my own 56-item, somewhat seasonal capsule wardrobe. I chose to do a combined fall/winter capsule wardrobe, because in Chicago, fall lasts for about a month before things get really cold for the next 5 months. I chose 56 items because it seemed like a happy medium between 37 and 74 (37 x 2). like Caroline, I chose not to count such essentials like underwear, socks, hosiery, pajamas and workout clothes in my 56-item count, but like her, I did go through these categories and edited them down as well to amounts that felt generously limited. unlike Caroline, I chose to not count coats/jackets as part of my 56 items since by my logic, coats and jackets are not primarily fashion choices (though they can certainly be fashionable) when one lives in a place that gets cold for over half the year – they’re essentials. how many items do they amount to? 10. I have a puffer coat, a parka, a jean jacket, an army green utility jacket, a khaki utility jacket, a light fleece, a black topper, a rain jacket, and a classic trench. if you’re keeping count, that’s 9, but I am planning on adding a peacoat/car coat to my fall/winter wardrobe, so including that that comes to 10. 10 seems like a lot, and it is, but all of these are of different weights to account for all weather between -30 degrees to 60 degrees and some are multi-seasonal, so I find 10 to be a good number for me.

the last of my tweaks comes to shoes. I’ve decided to keep the total number to 40 and under, which if spread throughout the year, is about 10 pairs a season. my current total is at 36, including flip flops.  if I do add a pair or two that I’m considering, they will most likely replace a couple of pairs from the 36.

whew. that took awhile. but enough about the prep work and onto how I put my capsule wardrobe together. below is a collage of what I’ve been tossing around in my head for the upcoming season. some of the items aren’t actually items I’m considering purchasing but represent a color or a shape or a texture that I’m intrigued about and thinking of incorporating in my wardrobe for the next 6 months. some things aren’t even things at all – pencils, hot chocolate, scenes – but things I’d like to be doing in the next season. a little bit of the things that speak to my style, a little bit of things that speak to my life and who I am and who I want to be – that mix is what I’d like my closet to reflect (again, Caroline inspired me with this post when I was creating the collage). this is my inspiration board of sorts and the springboard from which I picked my color palette, which I’ll talk about in an upcoming post.

fw inspiration

what are you wearing this fall?

images via one | two | three | four | five | six | seven

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