On Hold: Capsule Wardrobe

I have been seriously stressing myself out about clothes lately.

Stressing myself out because I’ve constrained myself into a corner.

In terms of clothing, my major goal this year was doing 4 capsule wardrobes, one for each season. I’m over a month into my third capsule wardrobe. And here’s the truth: I’ve stuck to about 36 items, but I’ve also had to do a lot of switching and trading and bartering.

You see, bringing an end to my dieting mindset has become the number one goal of my life these last few months. And that means a big scary thing: I’m gaining weight.

When I started my capsule wardrobe back in January I was actually already concerned about this. I haven’t held a stable weight for around 8 years. That makes it really hard to swear off shopping and to commit to a handful of clothes for three months at a time. And at that point I didn’t even plan on just completely letting go of dieting and letting my body do it’s thang for a while.

Now, I realized this was a self-imposed thing and I could unimpose it just as easily as I imposed it. But for a while here I’ve been feeling a lot of shame around making this decision so it was scary to publicly (kind of?) announce it to my readers.

I hate setting myself goals and not reaching them.

I worry that you guys will read this and just write me off as someone who has no dedication and will-power.

But my reasons for writing this blog, other than just a place to write and share my weird ideas with the world, is to be authentic and sincere. I hope that by writing about my life I can help at least one reader feel less alone in their struggles.

So yeah. I have decided to put the capsule wardrobe idea aside for the foreseeable future. I have no intention of going on a huge shopping spree every week now, or suddenly buying clothes all the time. But I am going to go shopping in the near future to buy clothes that fit me, and maybe will grow with me (hey elastic waist-bands), as my body figures itself out.

A lot of my capsule rules will still apply: I’m not going to buy clothes that aren’t exactly what I’m looking for. I’m going to avoid buying things I already have. I’m going to try to continue applying a lot of the same principles, but I’m also going to stop hiding the fact that I need new clothes.

I’m sad to say this means I also have to loosen the ties of another goal: to always shop ethically. With a changing body I honestly don’t know what fits me any more. Ethical shopping while incredibly rewarding, has not found a strong foothold off the internet. I cannot guess what’s going to fit me online any more. I have to go back to shopping in stores, to find clothes that not only fit me, but look as awesome on me as I know they can.

I hope to pick up both of these goals once my body has found the stable weight and size it’s happiest at. Until then, some things just have to be put on hold.

Last night my lovely partner told me he loved me for my boobs and my style. I laughed and told him that couldn’t be true because both of those have changed so much in the almost year we’ve known each other. He said “…your style has always been cool.” I’ll try my best to remember that when I next go shopping.


Clothes Clothes Clothes

This week I suddenly realized that my second capsule season is almost over. Considering how painful my first capsule felt, I’m in awe of how smoothly this one went. I’ll be honest, I didn’t stick to my capsule 100% these three months because I spent 10 days at the end of May in New Orleans, and the weather there was a tad different from the Portland weather that I had planned the capsule around (although after we returned Portland decided to brace us with a heat wave so those clothes I pulled out of storage came in mighty handy).

For my trip to New Orleans I did buy two new pairs of shorts mostly because a lot of my old shorts don’t fit me well (physically and stylistically) right now. Other than those, I stuck entirely to things I already owned. But those two purchases made me realize something: I shouldn’t feel guilty about buying new pieces for my capsules.

While it’s true that a big reason that I’m doing my capsules is for minimalistic purposes, I’m also doing them to gain a sense of my own style and I know that’s changed a lot over the years (about as much as my size has change over the years…). Both sizing and styling are perfectly good reasons to buy new pieces. You want pieces that make you feel awesome, and that’s not gonna happen if something is tight, loose, or makes you feel like you’re in high school again!

What the capsule mentality has helped prevent is my going and buying a bunch of pieces out of boredom, without any thought put into them. For example, when I went shopping for New Orleans I knew I was looking for a specific style of shorts. I didn’t need any new tops. I wasn’t looking for new pants. I wasn’t bored and just shopping to pass the time. I went in with a purpose and came out with three pairs of shorts (two of which were promptly returned).

The truth is, I think capsule wardrobes are much easier when you already have a really well-defined style. But I think they are also a great tool for when you’re searching for that style as well. Since you can only play with so many pieces every capsule, you’re really forced to choose the trends you want to try, and that forces you to put more thought into your decisions. Instead of trying ALL the current trends (which would be expensive and exhausting) you choose to try one or two or three.

I’m slowly working on building my third capsule. I have a feeling it’ll be a few days late because I have lots of time off around the 4th this year. In my process I will be looking through all the summer things I already own. But I already know there are a couple of trends I’d like to try that aren’t in my storage boxes at the moment. I think summer will be my most fun wardrobe but also my most challenging since my summer wardrobe might not necessarily be the most work appropriate one. But another work on “appropriate” dress later. Til then, Happy Summer Solstice (fun fact! this is the first time since 1948 that the summer solstice corresponds with a full moon)!

Spring Capsule (Capsule #2)


Seriously, though, I was really just getting tired of those clothes from my first capsule. I think I made a few mistakes when putting that capsule together. So here are some lessons learned:

  • With 33 items in your closet, make sure you like every.single.one. I had three pieces in my last wardrobe that I didn’t particularly like. Why did I include them? Because I thought they would come in handy I think. Also, specifically with that red pair of pants, I really liked the idea of making them work. Ideas don’t really come in handy when you have 33 pieces of clothing to choose from.
  • It helps to LOVE every single piece of clothing. Not too long into my first capsule I was already over it. When I opened the closet every morning there were very few pieces I was excited to work with.
  • I need color in my life. I stuck with a pretty neutral palate last time because that’s what I’ve seen of most capsule wardrobes and the idea of it made sense. But man, color really helps brighten my mood. And in the grey rainy winters of Portland, color would have really come in handy. It really clicked when I opened my closet earlier this week and the boy said it looked like I worked in a funeral home. Also, I was SO excited for having color again in this second capsule.
  • I’m a lot more casual than I care to admit. Luckily I work in a place where jeans are appropriate. I tried to keep a few nicer tops in that capsule for work, but really I rarely reached for them. I just like t-shirts. And I think a good fitting t-shirt is totally appropriate.

I also made one of changes in the rules of this capsule:

  • Purses don’t count. Turns out I use the same three purses all the time. They’re not a part of my outfit. They are literally just to carry things from point a to point b. I don’t consider them a part of my outfit so I don’t consider them a part of my capsule.

So the capsule! I decided to just share two pictures for this capsule, my closet and my shoes :). But I will give you a breakdown. My 33 pieces are made up of 4 pairs of pants, 4 tank tops, 5 short sleeved tops, 4 long sleeved tops, 2 dresses, 4 cardigan-y things, 1 jacket, and 8 (count them 8) pairs of shoes. 7 of the items were new (and purchased with slow fashion in mind) everything else I already had from before. PS as with my first capsule, I have (in addition to this) one nice outfit for a special occasion – it consists of a dress and a pair of heels. And it’s something I already owned.

Lessons learned from prepping this capsule:

  • shop your own clothes before you actually go shopping. I don’t really want to admit how much shopping I did in preparation for this capsule. I think I was just so stunted by my first capsule and also so fascinated by slow fashion. At the end of the day I only ended up using 7 new pieces though. To be honesty a lot of my clothes were still at my parents house until a few days ago. But now they are with me. And I will always start with my stuff first.
  • It’s hard to know how something will fit when buying online. So know yourself. Know what brands you like. See if you can find a store cause it’s just so much easier to try things on that way.
  • FIT FIT FIT. Stop buying things that don’t look quite right. You won’t wear them. They will keep looking not quite right no matter how many times you try them on.
  • It’s nice to have a color scheme in mind, but I have a feeling I’m gonna just totally blow that out of the water this summer with my third capsule. So yeah.

Alright, lovelies, that’s what’s new in my closet. Here’s to hoping the next three months go much more smoothly than the previous three months!