Back at the beginning of January, I set out to simplify my closet by creating a capsule wardrobe of 37 items, which included everything in my closet except workout clothes, pajamas, and accessories. Although I was originally committed to making it for a full three months on that amount of clothing, I am ready to re-evaluate after two months. Having never done this before, I made several mistakes which contributed to my early burn out. First, I was a little bit unsure of my sense of style. I knew that I loved Ann Taylor and Banana Republic, and many of the items that I chose came from those stores. They were on the dressier end of the spectrum, which I loved. Most of the tops could be worn with a skirt to church, or with jeans for an everyday outfit. Once again, loved that versatility. However, I found that there were many days that I did not feel like dressing up quite so much. My days are usually spent at home working on the computer or doing household chores, and I found that I often did not feel like putting on a nice outfit to do that. I wanted to look and feel more casual and comfortable instead, but my capsule wardrobe only included two t-shirts, two pairs of jeans, and one other pair of pants that fit my casual and comfortable ideal. I am not a leggings or yoga pants kind of girl. I needed something that was dressier than that, but not too dressy, and I found myself lacking in that area. Then, too, seven of my 37 items were sweaters, and Arizona has been unseasonably warm this winter. Three of my ten shirts were sleeveless, and I do not wear sleeveless shirts except under a sweater. The warm weather disqualified a good portion of my shirts on many days because it was too warm to wear the sweaters. You can see that my variety was dwindling quickly. Many days I found myself staring at my slim selection of clothing not wanting to get dressed, not because I disliked the clothing, but because the style of most everything there did not fit my mood.
I did find that two pencil skirts with several tops to pair them with offered plenty of variety for church, although a bright-colored skirt would have been a nice change of pace from the black and the gray ones that I had in my closet. Sometimes I just wanted to go bold.
After two months, I have gone back to the drawing board. Although I still love Ann Taylor and Banana Republic, some days I choose comfort over style, (especially in the summer when it is so blasted HOT here). I have fallen in love with Columbia clothing for those days when I just want to be comfortable. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these shorts. I bought three pairs last year and they are AWESOME! They are more comfortable than my yoga pants, long enough for my long legs (which is hard to come by), and cooler than most other shorts that I have worn. I also have a pair of pants similar to these, and I find myself wanting to wear them everyday because they are so comfortable. The Columbia outlet store has become one of my favorite places to shop for cool and comfortable attire. Although I have a couple of Columbia shirts from last year that I love, I have had a difficult time finding T-shirts this year that are long enough for my long torso. I just discovered these at a Talbot’s store near my house, and I think I am in love. Long enough…a little dressier than a plain T-shirt…great quality…and super cute elbow sleeves. They are a little pricey for a T-shirt, but I have tried on more T-shirts than I can count at a variety of different stores, and have not found anything that fits right, looks nice, and is not too sheer…until now…so it was worth the extra cost for me.
This whole capsule wardrobe experience has been good for me. It has forced me to define my style. I guess what I have discovered over the past two months is that my style varies depending on my mood or what I will be doing on a given day. I want to have several dressier outfits for when I feel like dressing up, but I also want to have several casual and comfortable outfits for when I am just going to be working at home. I have decided that I do not need to strictly limit my closet to 37 items. As long as I wear an item on a regular basis, I think it can stay accessible. Wearing the same seven outfits every week got a little boring for me, so I am excited to have a little more variety.
Have any of you been working with a capsule wardrobe? Any thoughts or experiences to share?