Hi, friends! It is officially summer in San Francisco which means the temperature is rising a hair above 65, there is a street fair every other weekend and Karl the Fog has taken a holiday. My favorite part about welcoming a new season is updating my capsule wardrobe to reflect the change in temperature as well as the events and adventures I have planned for the coming months. Since my first capsule wardrobe in January, I have more time, more money and more creativity that I can’t imagine my wardrobe without it.
WHAT IS A CAPSULE WARDROBE?
Around November of 2015, I was absolutely fed up with my over stuffed, uninspiring closet. The daily struggle of spending too much time figuring out an outfit and the multiple outfit changes was draining my creativity. I thought purchasing new, inexpensive pieces regularly will keep my closet interesting but all it did was strain my credit. When it got to the point that I was ready to get rid of all my clothes and start over, I stumbled upon Un-Fancy.com which saved my sanity and bank account.
Un-Fancy.com follows a Texas based minimalist named Caroline as she uses a capsule wardrobe to develop her personal style while kicking her shopping habit and “I have nothing to wear” outlook. We can all relate to that, am I right?!
On her blog, she describes a capsule wardrobe to be a curated collection of 37 items made up of tops, bottoms, dresses, outwear and shoes that you rotate out each season. I know what you’re thinking: only 37 items?! Where it isn’t a law that it has to be 37 items (my capsule totaled to 38 this season), it is suggested number to start with. It’s all about quality over quantity; you should invest in quality versions of the clothes you find yourself wearing repeatedly. The smaller number also means less time doing laundry if you still needed convincing. Accessories like bags, jewelry, hats and scarves as well as workout gear do not count as part of the total number of items.
Still with me? Great! One last thing I forgot to mention, and it might be a deal breaker for some people but please hear me out, is that during the three-month period of a season you cannot purchase any new article of clothing or footwear. That rule was the toughest one to follow because I was a serious online shopping addict. This rule encourages you to be more strategic and creative when planning your capsule by only picking pieces that work for you and your lifestyle. Imagine how much money you’re going to save by not online shopping out of boredom during your lunch break. Your bank account is going to like the way you look, I guarantee it.
When I first started, I used the capsule wardrobe planner Caroline provides. I’ve since began curating my wardrobe freehand while using the principles in Caroline’s guide as a reference point.
About two weeks before the arrival of a new season, I start prepping for my upcoming capsule by researching the trends, colors and textures popular for that season. Browse through stacks of magazines. Jot down the must have pieces your favorite Instagram star has been rocking. Create a vision board. I also make a list of any special events happening within that season as well as research the type of weather I’d be experiencing. Lastly, make a pie chart of your most common activities, and be realistic. For the summer season, I plan on spending 55% of my time at work, 20% enjoying the weekend, 15% at special events and 10% traveling. Seeing these percentages help me see what aspects of my life I should be curating my capsule around.
Next, I start making a list of my go to outfit ideas. This list should not be super detailed, but rather general outfits. For example, you’ll most likely find me wearing jeans, a flowy blouse and strappy sandals at work during the summer. On the weekend, I’m most likely wearing a lounge pants and striped tee with slip ons. By writing these outfit ideas down, it helps me see how I can fit my trend research into realistic outfits. I’m all for wearing on-trend clothes if they are practical for my lifestyle. I learned the hard way that just because it is trendy doesn’t mean it belongs in your closet.
Now it is time to make a proposed list of items that will make up your wardrobe. I say proposed because once you go shopping, this list might, and most likely will, change. This list should be a bit more detailed than the outfit ideas one. My list this season went a little something like this: Linen lounge pants, orange top, graphic tee, white blouse, lace details, something with ruffles.
You are now ready to shop, young grasshopper. Shop your closet that is! I store clothes I’m not wearing in boxes in my closet and they are the first place I look when creating my new wardrobe. It is always fun going through those boxes because I tend to find something that I forgot I owned, inspires me again, or makes me question why I ever bought it in the first place. It seriously fuels your creative juices. Because I’ve accumulated so much clothes over the years, a majority of my shopping is done there but if there is anything I feel is missing, I usually dedicate a day to go downtown with my favorite shopping buddy, my momma!
Once I’ve gathered my clothes and shoes for the upcoming season, I wash and prep each item of my previous wardrobe for storage. I then assemble my new wardrobe and marvel at the product of all my hard work. It is important to make sure your clothes are displayed in a way that is pleasing to you. It’ll keep your romance with them alive and honestly, who doesn’t love looking at a beautifully assembled wardrobe?
For my Summer 2016 wardrobe, I looked for clothing that travel well, can be easily layered on colder days, works for days in the office and can be effortlessly dressed up for special events. I summer-fied my closet staples, like denim, stripes and lace, while introducing trends like ruffles, fringe and marled knit. Here’s a breakdown of what made it into Summer Sixteen.
- White lace blouse (Express)
- Blush lace tank top (H&M)
- Orange tank top (Old Navy)
- Black tank top (old from Macy’s, similar here)
- White lace tee (old from New York and Co, similar here or here)
- Graphic tee (H&M)
- Black and white striped top (Old Navy)
- Grey jersey tee (H&M)
- Orange cotton tee (Banana Republic)
- Striped navy top (old from Old Navy similar here or here )
- Black lace top (old from Express, similar here or here )
- Geometric blouse (old from Bershka, similar here)
- Blue striped long sleeve top (H&M)
- Pink and cream color block sweater (old from Old Navy, similar here or here )
- Denim chambray (Old Navy)
- Red flannel (American Eagle)
- White skinny jeans (old from Uniqlo, similar here)
- Blue relaxed jeans (old from AE, similar here)
- Distressed high rise jeans (Gap)
- Blue low rise jeans (old from AE, similar here)
- Dark high waisted jeans (Levis)
- Khaki lounge pants (Old Navy)
- Blue polka dot skirt (old form Old Navy, similar here or here)
- Black maxi skirt (old from Target, similar here)
- Espadrille wedge sandals (old from Aldo, similar here or here)
- Black wedge sandals (old from Payless similar here)
- Gold lace up sandals (Banana Republic)
- Black heeled sandals (old from Vince Camuto, similar here or here)
- Tan fringe booties (old from Payless, similar here or here)
- Red and white striped slip ons (old from Payless, similar here)
Now it is time to show the world the fruits of your labor and rock out all season long! I really enjoy mixing and matching items to create fun and fresh outfits that reflect my personal style. Sometimes, I even surprise myself with the formulas I mix up when I get ready in the morning. Throughout the season, I make notes of things that did or did not work as well as outfits that made me feel super confident or uncomfortable. This information will be helpful as you go to curate next season’s wardrobe.
Remember that creating and wearing your capsule wardrobe should be a fun and inspiring experience so don’t overthink it. Your capsule wardrobe will be different from everyone else’s as it is meant to be a true reflection of your style. It is there to inspire and excite you with pieces you feel are the best expression of who you are. Whether that is all black pieces in varying textures or brightly patterned clothing, there is no wrong way to do it.
I hope you have a good time going through your closet and falling in love with pieces you’ve long forgotten. I am excited to stretch my capsule wardrobe’s legs this summer. From celebrating my best friend’s engagment to attending my coworker’s wedding and a trip to Tahoe, I’m seriously looking forward to all the adventures this summer has to hold!
Until next time, my friends!