When I set out to simplify my closet by creating a capsule wardrobe a few months ago, I did not anticipate that there would be such a steep learning curve. I thought it would be smooth sailing after picking out my small collection of clothing, but it has been surprisingly difficult.
I finally decided a few years ago, at age 33, that it was time to stop shopping in the Juniors section and adopt a more grown-up wardrobe. Ever since then, I have had a hard time nailing down my style. My capsule experience has forced me to figure that out, but it has been an expensive course of trial and error.
With my winter capsule, I learned that I really liked to dress in nice blouses and sweaters, but not all the time. I ended up with too much dressy attire, leaving me feeling frustrated on the days when I wanted to dress down and be comfortable.
With my spring capsule, I went back to the drawing board and bought several new things that were more casual. Nevertheless, I ended up not liking a few of the items that I purchased, even though I initially thought they would be perfect. After wearing them a couple of times, I noticed things that I had not noticed while trying them on; the pockets in some of the pants stuck out in a very unattractive way when I sat down. The sleeves of one shirt cut uncomfortably into my armpits when I raised my arms. Another shirt didn’t fit right, and the neckline on one of the tees looked rather sloppy on me.
I should have noticed these things before I bought them, but I was, perhaps, in too much of a hurry while shopping to spend a couple of extra minutes in the dressing room to see how the items held up to movement. Things look and fit differently while standing in front of a mirror than they do while bending, reaching, squatting, and sitting, which are things that you do nearly constantly when you have kids.
Let me just tell you that when you only have 33 articles of clothing in your closet, it makes a BIG difference when a few of them don’t really fit right.
Now I am back to the drawing board again, having made some very expensive mistakes. Some of the clothes that I just purchased a couple of months ago will be heading to the Goodwill because I simply don’t like them as much as I thought I would, which is admittedly a huge waste.
In hopes of moving beyond these blunders, I have been forced to ask myself some pretty serious questions. I would recommend that you ask yourself these very same questions before you transition to a capsule wardrobe, which will hopefully save you from repeating my mistakes.
1. Why do I want to use a capsule wardrobe?
I want my closet to be clean and streamlined. I want to wear my favorite things every day. I don’t want to accumulate excess clothing to clutter my closet and my life.
2. What are a few words that define my style?
Laid back – cool, casual, and colorful. Classic with a touch of modern. Practical, not trendy.
3. What are my favorite things to wear?
Things that allow me to move freely without playing tug-of-war with my clothes. Things that make me look “put together” without being uncomfortable. Colors that make me smile.
4. Why didn’t I like the items that have failed to work for me in the past?
Most of them did not fit properly when moving around. Some were not practical for daily wear, given my lifestyle as a busy mom.
5. How can I avoid making the same mistakes in the future?
Take more time shopping and have a plan before going into the store. If I am looking for solids, don’t buy patterns because they are on sale. Move around in the dressing room – raise arms, squat, bend, and sit to make sure the fit is good in all of those circumstances. Don’t settle for something that is just “OK,” even if it is inexpensive.
What do I feel great in? Stick closely to that ideal when shopping.
I have finished shopping for summer. Can I get a Hallelujah?!? (I hate shopping!) Let me tell you…I have never in my life bought clothes for every season before, except for maybe a couple new items at a time. I keep asking myself if this capsule wardrobe experience is even worth it because I can’t seem to get it right, causing me to spend way too much money on clothes. However, I do believe it will eventually be beneficial, and I do love my clutter free closet. I am convinced that once I figure out my style (which is my whole problem here, and which this experience is helping me to define), I will not be shopping nearly as much because I will love the items that I choose, and want to either keep wearing them or store them for future seasons.
In the meantime, I feel like my summer wardrobe is totally “me.” I did something a little unconventional this time, and it revolves around a “uniform” that I created for myself. I bought several colors of the same basic outfit, but it is one that I absolutely love. I threw in a little variety for good measure, but I did not go out on a limb with anything that I chose this time, opting instead for things that have already proven their awesomeness.
I will be the first to admit that I am no fashion expert. However, I will post my choices in a couple of weeks, just in time for summer. Stay tuned…