Since I have reached the halfway point in my first fashion capsule, I thought it would be a great time to check in with you and share what I have learned so far in my journey with my capsule wardrobe. If you haven’t been following along, you can view my Fall 2014 Fashion Capsule Wardrobe and read more about the approach I decided to use on my first capsule. Honestly, I was so nervous even saying out loud what I had planned to do and planning my fashion capsule wardrobe consumed my every thought for a good month before I decided to take that plunge. Add in the hurdle of three seasons in a single capsule in the Midwest, ranging in temperatures from the thirties to almost one hundred. I had no idea if I could even pull this off.
Here is what I want to tell you and I hope you will listen closely.
This project has changed my life and my habits.
The first couple of weeks I sat firmly in an identity crisis. What was I going to do with all this free time now that I wasn’t shopping? There were no impulse purchases to be made, no special date night outfits to purchase to surprise my husband, no picking up a few things for myself before a business trip. I went to places with glorious shops and beautiful clothes and almost wanted to wear a blindfold through stores. I probably pouted. It seemed like I was being subjected to people just waving their pretty outfits in my face and I couldn’t buy them.
It brought a level of awareness of my need to consume for no reason other than consumption.
Feel free to read that line again. From the author of THE GOOD LIFE FOR LESS.
I have a habit of spending money unnecessarily and this is helping me be aware of that. I had a closet overflowing and I will still buy. I have 37 of the most well-thought pieces and I still want to buy. This challenge has been eye-opening.
My next capsule begins on November 22nd and I would love to have you join in with me on this next one! Since I feel like I have learned a lot in this one already, here is my advice to you if you are considering creating a fashion capsule of your own.
Invest in Foundation Garments
One thing I have had trouble spending money on in the past is good foundation garments. What I have discovered in creating this capsule is that my most used pieces are the foundation pieces that I invested in to layer under my wardrobe pieces. I always relied upon inexpensive camisoles and cheap tank tops to set the foundation for my outfits which lead to constant tugging and pulling on straps, shifting straps to make things look nice, bulk from added thickness from foundation pieces that didn’t fit properly under my clothing, and the pieces never covered my behind making it impossible to wear leggings confidently. Three of my most used pieces were my Seamless Perfection Long Sleeve Tunic Dress in Black (purchased- Flourish Boutique and shown above), a Long Sleeve Seamless Layering Piece in Gray (owned- Flourish Boutique), and a Seamless Tank in Burgundy (owned- Flourish Boutique). I swear this isn’t just a plug for the boutique, these were really the pieces that I relied upon the most to add warmth to summer items and to keep things modest.
It doesn’t matter where you get them, but really consider snagging seamless tanks, long sleeve tops, and even a layering piece like a seamless tunic dress to help you feel confident in your outfits and appearance. It has made me feel so much more confident to have these pieces in my capsule wardrobe.
Don’t Base Your Fashion Capsule Around Someone Else’s Style
The inspiration for this challenge came from Unfancy and I give her full credit for inspiring me to take the plunge into creating a fashion capsule. I adore her style and her outfits so much. I got a lot of inspiration for smart basics to put in my capsule wardrobe from her. That said, I am not her (isn’t that sad?!?!) I am a mom in her thirties of two kids, living in Indiana, who has a style that leans more towards retro than modern. If I based my capsule around her style, I would have felt a little like I was playing dress-up and probably a whole lot NOT like me. You thought I had an identity crisis before.
My style is probably not your style and that is okay. Your capsule can look nothing like my capsule. Your body shape could be different from mine and none of these cuts of clothing or ideas will work for you. When creating your capsule, create it around what you feel most confident in. I suggest peeking in your closet and selecting what makes you feel beautiful and start your planning around those pieces. That’s the best place to start.
It’s Okay to Add Color & Pattern To Your Capsule
When I told my friends & family that I was embarking on this crazy fashion capsule journey, they told me that they just couldn’t picture me in all black and without pattern. What the what? No way! I love color and I love patterns and textures. I would never shy away from the things that make me… well, ME. There are certainly those black & white basics weaved in, but I would never be happy in only black and white. Even when wearing these black and white items, I find ways to weave in color in scarves, necklaces, shoes, belts, and purses. You can’t hide this loudness. It is impossible.
Again, this is all about making your capsule work best for YOU not anyone else. You don’t have to have a colorless wardrobe unless you want to.
Alterations Are a Worthy Investment
I am very petite and my clothing never really fits me right. Shoulders need to be moved up, waists taken in, buttons shifted, and hemlines raised. Alterations can be pricy, but I promise that you will enjoy your capsule wardrobe so much more if they fit you well. If clothes right off the hanger fit you perfectly, I really envy you. If they don’t, consider investing once a week into having one item altered and wearing your wardrobe that does fit until it can come out of alterations. Almost all of my wardrobe is carrying over to my next capsule because it fits me well and because I invested in alterations to help me look my best. It is one investment worth making and will pay off for future capsules.
Invest Wisely By Buying Consignment Clothing
I am a bit of a brand snob, but didn’t want to spend a ton of money on my fashion capsule. I admit, that first one (unless you are a wise investor in basics), can be a little draining on the budget. After buying my basics, I couldn’t necessarily run over to J. Crew to pick up a few things or grab a beautiful sweater or dress from Anthropologie. I was already over budget. I can, however, seek those items out second hand whether it is a local thrift store or through my favorite second hand online retailer Twice. The items I selected were practically brand new and I am still getting the longevity out of them that I had hoped for.
Read Those Care Tags & Exercise Caution When Caring For Them
The hardest lesson I have learned is to be more aware of care labels. Since I am living in these key pieces for three months, I should have bought only things that could be washed or would require a little line drying.
The first week of beginning my capsule, I went to a bridal shower, hopped in the car with my sister-in-law, jetted to Starbucks, spilled Starbucks all over my skirt (a signature piece, I might add!), tried to spot clean it, ended up washing it on delicate, took the skirt out and it was…
Yup, dry clean only. I spent all day fluffing and separating the fabric and shaping it back into its former glory. I wore it to church the next day and felt like a slip was dragging behind me. I looked and sure enough the whole underlayer was hanging out an inch. I called my mother-in-law and declared a fashion emergency and she GRACIOUSLY let me bring my tiny skirt over to her house and hemmed it for me.
First lesson learned: check care label information before making minimalist wardrobe purchases.
The second lesson learned is that taking time to REALLY take care of your pieces will help with the longevity of those items. I have been line-drying almost everything and it still looks like new, whether it was from Target or from Anthropologie. If you REALLY take care of your stuff, you can help keep it looking good for future capsules!!
Curb the Boredom With Styling
I get bored easily and perhaps it is this boredom that creates that desire in me to buy, buy, buy. I started my Fashion Capsule Pinterest board to help me rethink the items I already have and new ways that I can wear them. If you see a big surge in posts, I am hitting a boredom phase and need to try something new. I have learned new ways to roll my sleeves, new ideas for styling some of my basic key pieces, and discovered new ways to twist scarves.
As soon as that boredom hits, chase it away with a new style.
The cushion I had in my capsule is that I am allowed one steal from my existing wardrobe. Since I apparently am a shopaholic, I look forward to my steal so much each month. I have been saving it for the end of the month so that I have something to really look forward to. It’s nice to know that just when I am feeling a little tired of my pieces, I can raid my closet!
Your Wardrobe Will Get Considerably Lighter
Did I mention I have rid myself of 37 items of clothing in honor of this new challenge? AND IT WAS EASY TO DO. When you buy things that make sense together, that fit well, that make you feel confident…you realize the heavy load of crap that is in your closet that just don’t do those things for you. I filled a bag this week of 37 pieces I do not need and I know there will be more. Since doing this, I feel more confident than ever. Things make sense and this wardrobe works for me. Goodbye stuff that does not make me look and feel good. I don’t need you anymore.
I Still Haven’t Wore Everything
I am halfway into my capsule and I still have not wore everything in it. That is the truth. You still will fall into routines and habits with the comfy pieces and the things you love the most. I still have three items I have not worn and many that have only been worn once or twice. Like I said, who needs to shop with so much already at my disposal?