Monday, May 4, 2015

Building My Capsule Wardrobe: My First Month and What I Have Learned.

Building a capsule wardrobe... I am not a fashionista. I have no idea about women's fashion and barely get dressed every morning. I would probably go to the store in my pjs if I could. Not like the people out here really care what you wear at the local Wal-Mart anyway...

But, for fear of looking like one of those scary, dreaded, 'only at Wal-Mart' people I actually put on jeans and a t-shirt before I head out the door. Unfortunately I usually grab the first thing I can get to which is a discarded ill-fitting article of clothing. It probably doesn't help keep me off that list.


So, in an attempt to dress easier every morning and actually look decent in the process, I joined in on the Capsule Wardrobe bandwagon. There are a few resources out there that I used to help start the process.

Un-Fancy: A Minimalist Fashion Blog: She has this incredible worksheet, printable planner you can use to create your own capsule wardrobe. Seriously, it was pretty helpful. I am still using it. She uses a 37 item wardrobe.

Project 333: I learned about this website when I read the book "Clutterfree With Kids" by Joshua Becker. I have gone through my clothing twice since then and gotten rid of a bunch of stuff each time (yeah, I have a ton of clothes).  She uses a 33 item wardrobe.

A website I have just discovered...
Coletterie: Wardrobe Architect: a 14 week process with suggestions, worksheets and advice for building your own wardrobe. I have barely just started going through this.

Free Notion started a Sew-Along toward the end of April, using the un-fancy model, and offering her suggestions and advice for fitting clothing to your body style and sewing your own clothes. She really is amazing and I admire her in the sewing world. If you aren't following along you can still check it out!

I really had no idea what I was doing when I started, and I still haven't much of the slightest idea what I am doing now. But I have learned a few things in the last month, and that is always positive! Isn't it?

What I have learned so far:

1. I don't like button-up shirts. I don't like the way they fit or the way they hang. Really, I don't like woven materials for tops... If it restricts my movement, it's not going to see a lot of wear. It's hard enough to chase, pick up after, parent the kids when my movement is restricted.

2. I love layering tanks. I used to do it all the time when I was in my early 20's. Then I stopped when I started working in the teaching profession and started wearing these camisoles under shirts and button ups...

3. If I can't machine wash it, it isn't getting clean. I've already ruined 1 long sleeve top, 1 cardigan, and a skirt that were from my non-married, working days. They were nice Banana Republic clothes too. I tried to keep them nice. None of the second hand shops took them and I still wanted to wear them. But, into the washer and dryer (totally on accident too! so upsetting) and out looking like... they were just ruined...

4. I still don't understand what a silhouette is... I really should read Coletterie Week 4 Proportions and Silhouettes

5. I am still at a loss on the magic number of items. Most of the examples I have found are of women not living in the desert. Having a jacket and 2 cardigans aren't really all that handy out here in the middle of the 110 degree heat! Of course maybe 1 cardigan for those trips in and out of the heavily air conditioned buildings, but not much more than that seems necessary! But, like I said. I am still learning.

6. In lieu of #5, what works for some does not work for all. You need to find what works for you and the only way to discover that is to jump in and do it. In light of the Nike slogan? Just Do It...

7. Putting laundry away takes way less time than it used to.

What is in my Summer Capsule Wardrobe:

So far... I mean... It's still a work in progress... and nothing is new...

2 camisoles
4 tanks
4-7 shirts (2 are for MOPS but oh so soft! 1 is when I go shooting)
2 blouses (1 sleeveless, 1 with)
1 capri
2 pants
1 khaki slacks
2 skirts
2 dresses (neither of which I really wear)
4 shoes
4 necklaces
28 - 31 Total items

The beautiful thing about it? It's fluid. One in, one out. Take out something that doesn't work and replace it with something you think will. If that doesn't work, then try again. Keep notes on what does and doesn't work so you don't repeat the mistake. Just cause you make it one way doesn't mean it's the only way it's gonna be. Stick with it for 3 months and see what you can learn from it. You'd be surprised about how enlightening it can become!

The thing about Budgeting:

Do you really buy clothes all the time? I don't. The last time I bought a pair of jeans was after baby girl was born and that's only because I lost so much weight nothing (and I mean nothing) fit afterwards. A blessing and a curse at the same time.

It only saves the budget if you have one. Or, rather, went on shopping sprees all the time. In my case? I bought fabric that I probably otherwise might not have bought. I don't buy clothes. I haven't bought clothes and this made me want to. I had to build my wardrobe from items I already had. But it also made me look at the state of disrepair of the things I did own.

It's not fun wearing clothes you don't look good in, or what you don't feel good in.
But at the same time. This is not supposed to be something to make you want to keep up with the Jones', or at least the fashionista next door. Do what you can within your own limits.

What do you think? Do you already do something like this, or is it something you would like to try?

Want some inspiration? Check out my pinterest boards; Capsule Wardrobe, PDF Sewing Patterns: Women, Outfit Inspiration: Women

Check out my other Capsule Wardrobe Posts:
Capsule Wardrobe: What I am Thankful for
Boys Printable Wardrobe Planner
Girls Printable Wardrobe Planner


  1. Thanks for the insight, fun reading! Just like most, I try to minimise my wardrobe (and all other stuff for that matters) as well. It's now down to just my favourite colours - black, black, black, and some grey, blue, white and red - and I love that! All worn pieces are thrown out, so I'm slowly on the right track. My large pitfall is sewing for me though. I love doing that, and I love all available fabrics and patterns, however, mostly I don't need the stuff I sew, I just like it. Not sure how to tackle that issue yet ;-)

    1. Thanks for sharing! Most of my colors used to be brown and blue and I tried to start fitting in colors about a decade ago and ended up with almost no neutrals! Ha!
      It's so fun self-care sewing! I think with this in place it has caused me to look more towards fabrics that I can use in my wardrobe rather than the pretty ones that I would just get. Sad, but more effective... efficient... The word is there, just doesn't want to come out... LOL
      Thanks for the comment! :)

  2. Great update! It sounds like you've learned a LOT about your own style and your own wardrobe needs already! My favorite math teacher used to tell us about solving super complex equations... "How do you eat an elephant?? One bite at a time." I, too, have a ton of stuff I need to just replace already, because it's been so worn over so many years they've more than earned their retirement. Budget and time are seriously limiting factors - so I'll be chipping away at a capsule wardrobe for seasons to come, replacing those well-loved pieces "one bite at a time" Can't wait to keep up with your progress! Less laundry time says its paying off already ;)

    1. Ha! I love that elephant saying! And it is so applicable to building a capsule wardrobe! Our styles, likes and dislikes change over time, and I think that is why I love the fluidity of a capsule wardrobe!
      I'll definitely be chipping away as well. I sure hope that I can sell some of my old clothes. That money will totally be used towards replacing some of my items and updating some others! :)
      Thanks for the comment love Rebecca!


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