The summer is coming to a close and that means it’s time to move on from this season’s capsule wardrobe. I started the season with 23 clothing items, 4 pairs of shoes, and 11 accessories. I ended up only wearing about 22 of those 38 pieces on a regular basis. Everything else was either traded out (3 items), worn once (9 items), or not worn at all (4 items). I spent a lot of time looking over these pieces and here’s what I learned from a full three months with a capsule:
Document Everything. My memory is not perfect, and I would have more exact numbers about which items were more popular if I had documented daily outfits. This would include not only taking photos, but also taking a couple minutes to journal about the success (or lack there of) I experienced with that outfit. Were the shorts too loose? Did I spend a lot of time adjusting a shirt? Did a piece of jewelry get in the way of a daily activity? It would be easier to come to helpful conclusions if I had more data. I plan on taking more OOTDs so follow me on Instagram to see how I style my daily capsule outfits.
Dress for Your Real Life. I firmly believe in the saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”. But when your job is stay-at-home-mom, and you want your job to be stay-at-home-with-a-lifestyle-blog, there’s not much of a need for low cut silk blouses, high heels, and dangly jewelry. Especially with two babies. Some of the clothing in my capsule was aspirational. Which is okay, but maybe limit it to one item in each category. One dress, one accessory, one pair of shoes. Done. This lesson is going to be the biggest challenge for me. I love dressing up, but everytime I put on something nice, I immediately take it off or change into something else within an hour or two because it wasn’t comfortable for my daily activities.
Consider the Entire Season. Summer is going to be hot. We know this. But fall creeps up on you, and all of a sudden it’s 55 degrees outside in the morning and shorts and a tank just doesn’t fit the bill. With three weeks left in my capsule I traded out a shirt that saw limited wear for my favorite pair of jeans. The jeans were worn pretty much nonstop during our rainy week, took a week off, and then were back in business for the cold mornings we’ve had this week. This advice works equally well for winter. If it’s suddenly 75 degrees and sunny, and all you have are sweaters, you’re not going to be comfortable. Have at least one light piece that will work for the upcoming season. A nice shirt or tank layers well under a cardigan all winter and can easily work by itself if you get a spring preview.
If It Doesn’t Fit, You Won’t Wear It. This is literally a lesson from Starting a Capsule Wardrobe, yet I didn’t follow it. A lot of my blouses are too baggy in the chest (thanks, babies!) causing a gap underneath the armpit and exposed side bra. My shorts fit decent in the waist, but the leg openings are a little big. While I continued to wear these items. they made me feel agitated and my confidence took a hit. The best way to avoid this issue is to spend more time in the dressing room. Sit down, bend over, jump around, leave the dressing room and take some laps around the store. Make sure you feel confident with every step before purchasing the item. And when you get home, don’t wear it immediately. Wait, like a day or two, try it one (with the tags still on) and make sure you’re still happy with the fit and how the item makes you feel. If you don’t feel 100% confident in that moment, return it.
If You Love a Piece, Buy It In Multiple Colors. This is pretty sound advice that is heard regularly. I bought a swing tank, and I absolutely loved the fit. When I finally decided to buy the two other colors, they were sold out in my size. Duh, because it was a month later, and we live in a world of fast fashion. I luckily followed this advice with a pair of flats last winter. I have them in 2 other colors split between fall, winter, and spring seasons. All three pairs were worn constantly during their season and made getting dressed so much easier. If you are not someone who needs a ton of variety, this is a great way to fill up your capsule and/or create a personal uniform. Self-imposed work uniforms are becoming more popular, for good reason. You may find you love the freedom of wearing the same top, bottoms, and shoes, spiced up with a different pair of earrings or necklace each day.
Love It or Lose It. When the end of the season comes, if you didn’t absolutely love a piece, don’t keep it for the next year. In my mind, I imagine if a shirt were stained beyond repair or lost while traveling; if I would feel excited about replacing it with something else, it’s gone. I am only going to keep 7 of my 22 clothing items for the next summer capsule. Technically I’m going to hold on to them to sell at the beginning of next summer, but they won’t make it back into my closet.
When you’re on a mission to create the perfect wardrobe, you have to be merciless and you can’t settle. The lessons from my summer capsule have been immensely beneficial as I prepare for my fall capsule. I definitely plan on sharing with you my next capsule, so stay tuned for that post in the near future!
My fall capsule wardrobe isn’t finalized yet so I would love to get some advice on lessons y’all have learned from your capsules. Comment with your experiences or share sources that were beneficial to you. And thanks for reading!