You may be wondering, what is a capsule wardrobe? Unless, of course, we’re friends IRL, in which case you’ve definitely heard me talking about this, one of my new favorite things.
I first heard of the capsule wardrobe in the book Lessons From Madame Chic (interesting but not amazing). The author studied abroad in France and learned many lessons about life and style from her very chic French host family, including the benefits of a minimalist wardrobe. This family valued quality over quantity, owning just a few tops, bottoms, dresses of a simple and luxurious nature. I read this and thought, that’s nice but not for me. However, the idea of having fewer, better things in my wardrobe did stick, and sparked The Great Discard of December 31, 2014.
Later, in sewing class, my friend Kelly brought up the idea of having a capsule wardrobe. I went home and scoured the internet for ideas and finally found the Un-Fancy blog, written by Caroline Joy Rector. There are many other bloggers who are trying out a capsule or who have been committed to the lifestyle for years (Project 333 is one of the first and best), but I really liked Caroline’s style. She’s one of those bloggers I’m convinced I’d be friends with in real life, and I am inspired by her fashion, too. After reading her blog and it’s comprehensive posts about creating a capsule wardrobe including not just how but why to do this, I decided to give it a whirl.
I started this past Spring, debuting my carefully curated selection on March 21st. I LOVED it. Having a limited amount of choices made it so much easier to get dressed, and because I had shopped and curated with intention, I felt good in everything I put on. I had more than 37 items (I found it really hard to limit my shoes and accessories to fit that number, although I did curate them) but I felt that sticking to someone else’s number would have impeded my own process. I think I had around 35 pieces of clothing and 9 pairs of shoes. Everything was coordinated, and I felt that I was discovering a new personal style that fit my lifestyle better than ever before. (Incidentally, my only issue with Un-Fancy is that we have different lifestyles–I work in an office which, although relaxed, does require me to have more separation between casual and work clothes than Caroline has–and I want to know what she’d wear to my office!)
But then, summer struck. Technically it was late Spring, but still. My capsule was really meant for a 3-month Spring, and here in North Carolina we get about 6 weeks of what feels like Spring before transitioning into Summer. Around the middle of May, my wardrobe no longer worked. I dug through my bin of Summer clothes from years past and pulled out a few dresses to help get me through. I certainly don’t feel like I failed, but I learned something that I can apply for next year. However, the wardobe zen I felt in April is gone. I’m frustrated. I miss the calm confidence that I felt each morning as I reached for my clothes and throughout the day as I lived in them.
Since then, I’ve been struggling a bit with what to do for Summer. Planning the wardrobe I want was easy, but finding pieces has been difficult. I also haven’t had time to go to the stores so I’ve been ordering things online and returning almost all of them. I need a day to go through what I have, find some outfits, figure out what I want to add and then go shopping. Maybe 2 days. Oof. I’ll let you know how it goes.