This is not a style blog. I don’t keep up much with trends or fashion. So why share such a detailed post about my wardrobe?
What do leather booties and chambrays have to do with living intentionally, building a strong marriage, or anything else I regularly write about here?
More than you’d think.
**If you just want to see the pictures of my capsule, scroll down. All photography by @jensane.
When I read about the concept of a capsule wardrobe on the un-fancy website, I knew immediately that I would do it. The capsule wardrobe is about feeling good in what you wear, and it aligns perfectly with how I’m trying to live my life: using my resources well, paring down the unnecessary things in life that weigh me down and distract me from the real priorities.
I know that making fewer choices makes me happy, and that planning spending is key to getting out of debt and being wise with money. The capsule wardrobe is a the perfect application of these principles in my closet, where I’d been left frustrated and discouraged in the past.
The capsule wardrobe takes many of the ideas I wrote about in my intention ebook and extends them to your closet!
Here’s what the un-fancy website says about the why behind a capsule wardrobe:
To me, a capsule wardrobe represents more time and energy for what really matters (less time spent deciding what to wear / less time spent shopping / less time doing laundry or caring for clothes) more money for our dreams + helping others (less money spent on clothes that never get worn) and more contentment and happiness.
Does that resonate with you like it did with me? I’m someone who works best within boundaries of my choosing. While feeling put together and comfortable in my clothes is important to me, I often feel overwhelmed by the clothes I have and even more overwhelmed when I shop for new things.
The capsule wardrobe wasn’t easy to compose, but it gave me the structure I needed. I love that I now have these versatile pieces that I can wear throughout the fall without getting bored, and that I’ll have the challenge (and blessing) of not spending any more money on clothes until the next season! Contentment has been a huge byproduct of our debt free journey, and the capsule is another place to continue learning that lesson.
What exactly is a capsule wardrobe?
From the website I used for my process: it’s a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear.
Un-fancy breaks it into 37 pieces: tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear and shoes.
(It doesn’t include accessories, jewelry, workout gear, pajamas, underwear, socks.) She came to 37 by breaking it down into 9 pairs of shoes, 9 bottoms, and 15 tops, then the remaining 4 for 2 dresses and 2 jackets/coats.
Keep in mind that a capsule is just for a season, so summer sandals aren’t included in a fall wardrobe, for example.
The key differences between a capsule wardrobe and what most of us have already:
you carefully curate the capsule so that you LOVE everything in it
it’s versatile so you can make a bunch of outfits from a limited number of things
it’s budget friendly because once the capsule is built, you don’t shop until the next season
Step one: pare down
I live in an old apartment building with really small closets, so I was shocked at how many items I had when I counted. I immediately filled a ThredUp bag to the brim with items in good shape that I no longer like or wear. (Read more about ThredUP here.)
Bonus: if you send your stuff to ThredUp, they’ll pay you or give you credit for the items they accept. And it’s super convenient – they send you a postage-paid clean out bag and you simply fill it up and hand it to your mail carrier. Cleaning out my closet with ThredUp helped offset the cost of anything new I bought.
Lifestyle – half casual, one quarter business casual, and one quarter going out or to an event. (I took into account holidays. conferences and special events this fall.)
Words associated with my ideal style – classic, elegant, comfortable, polished, effortless, neutral, pops of color
Brands - J. Crew outlet, Nordstrom sale, Stitch Fix
Colors – major: navy and blues, maroon, denim, grey, black // minor: red, mustard, floral, camel // accents: pinks, greens
Go to pieces – skinny jeans, cozy sweaters, ankle boots, leather boots, cardigans, midi skirt, plaid button down, denim chambray, navy vest
Shopping list – Before I started shopping, I made a Pinterest board and spent a lot of time online deciding what types of items I wanted to buy.I bought more new things for this season than I have for any one season in several years. A decent number of my fall clothes were wearing out or several years old, so they didn’t make it past the purge.
We will also make our last DEBT payment this month, so there was a little extra in the budget for me to put towards clothes. My ThredUp payout, Stitch Fix credit, and shopping sales during two different months helped me offset some of my new clothing costs.
Keep in mind, the idea ISN’T to buy 37 new things for every capsule. Most of my items are things I already had and loved.
My shopping list: white Converse // camel blazer // striped flare dress // Halogen top // midi skirt // vest // Oxford booties // red leather flats // black skinnies // grey crochet top // polka dot Artist tee // plaid pullover // stripe skirt
Step three: assemble the capsule
Here’s where it gets fun! I’ll share these by category:
long sleeves from left: artist tee (J. Crew outlet) // plaid pullover (Brickyard Buffalo flash sale) // floral sweatshirt (Target last year) // Harlowe plaid button up (Stitch Fix last year) // denim Chambray (Nordstrom Juniors sale) // Halogen shirt (Nordstrom sale) // blue polyester shirt (Nordstrom BP from two years ago) // green plaid (Nordstrom BP two years ago)
short sleeves clockwise from top left: White House Black Market top (consignment store two years ago) // Madewell tee (J. Crew outlet last year) // coral cuff striped shirt (Brickyard Buffalo flash sale) // cotton long sleeve tee (Nordstrom rack last year) // lace bottom henley (Nordstrom BP last year) // Lucky geometric tee (Nordstrom rack last year) // Cosette Crochet Detail Knit Shirt (most recent Stitch Fix) // red cap sleeve tee (Nordstrom BP from college)
necklaces: not included in 37 items, but both are from Stella and Dot.
outerwear from left: J. Crew cardigan (consignment store two years ago) // navy vest (J. Crew outlet) // Banana Republic elbow patch cardigan (consignment store two years ago) // camel blazer (Nordstrom juniors sale)
scarves: not included in 37 items, but both scarves are from J. Crew outlet – left is from last year, right is new.
We aren’t the most up to speed on pop culture, and tend to rely on Knox and Jamie’s podcast, the Popcast to keep us up to date – but this episode, we’re talking about what we’ve read and watched lately!
Did you know the creator of Mad Men, Matthew Weiner, was a writer on the Sopranos and got his job there with his pilot Mad Men script, seven years before it was picked up by AMC? Do you care, or is that just Jacey?
Our second segment was all about hospitality, community, and what “around the table” means to us. What we believe about life around the table is reflected beautifully in Bread and Wine:
“What people are craving isn’t perfection. People aren’t longing to be impressed; they’re longing to feel like they’re home. If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they’ll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd.” Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine
Maggie is on a long flight today. Say a prayer for her! She’s reading all the magazines.
Fun fact: Jacey brainstormed the name and tagline for this podcast on an airplane!
Is Benedict Cumberbatch good looking? Jon Hamm with or without beard? Do you feel pressure to make things pretty and perfect when you have people over? What significant experiences have you had around the table?
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It’s been months since I joined in with Anne of Modern Mrs. Darcy to share what I’ve been reading. I started some great books over the summer and would love to share them with you!
(I say started because I’ve only finished one in this list <insert grimacing emoji> for various reasons: we hit the ground running when we got back from vacation, and two of these books were due back at the library so I had to get back on the wait list!)
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes: After reading Me Before You, I’m a Jojo Moyes fan for life. This new book delivers the touching, human moments I loved from Me Before You but without the heartbreak. Highly recommend!
11/22/63 by Stephen King: I’ve never read Stephen King, other than On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft because I’m not a fan of horror. 11/22/63 is more of mystery page turner. I haven’t finished yet but it’s entertaining storytelling.
Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg: This is the true story of a couple’s pizza restaurant opening in Seattle. As with any venture, opening their business is intertwined with their marriage, their friendships and life. I like Wizenberg’s writing style and enjoyed the glimpse into the harrowing world that is the restaurant industry.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown: This may be the most important book I read all year (when I get to the top of the hold list again so I can finish it)! In a culture that glorifies busy, doing less to make your maximum contribution requires discipline. This is a message I need to soak in.
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I had a blast putting together this #capsulewardrobe blog post with @jensane.
What do leather booties and chambrays have to do with loving intentionally, building a strong marriage, or the other meaty topics I usually write about? More than you'd think. #linkinprofile