Spring 2017 Capsule Wardrobe Update

About two months into this experiment, I think it’s probably time to provide an update. You can see the inception of my capsule wardrobe in this post.

First, I must admit that I got a bit lazy with my tracking. Once I’d written down 20 different outfit combinations, I felt I’d hit on all of my favorite ways of wearing the clothes in the capsule and just kept cycling through them. I can report that I didn’t tire of any of them, and 20 assembled outfits was varied enough that no one seemed to notice I was repeatedly wearing the same handful of items.

Outfit Closeup 1

What’s more, I found myself regularly wearing far less than the 30 items that I started with. Even on that short list, I quickly found my favorites and ended up recycling those outfits more often than others I’d come up with.

Here’s what else I’ve learned:

1) Ohio is a hard state to do a capsule wardrobe for in spring. And I imagine fall will be difficult as well. When I started this experiment, our high temperatures were just brushing 50’F and lows were still in the 20s. Mid-way through, low temperatures were in the 50s and highs were around 80’F. Now we’re back down to freezing at night and highs of around 60’F. As you might imagine, I’m struggling to find ways to adapt my clothing choices to stay comfortable through these fluctuations, and half the time end up throwing a chunky cardigan over everything anyway.

2) Being forced to wear and re-wear items makes it impossible to say to myself, “I didn’t really like how this fit today,” and shove it in the back of the closet or bottom of the drawer to be dealt with another time. If I haven’t cared for the way something fit, I’ve had to wear it again and again in different ways. The benefit has been that I figure out pretty quickly if the problem is just how I am wearing something, or if the issue is with the fit. The down side of course is that if I’ve committed the item to the capsule, I’m stuck with it for now. So far, two pairs of pants that I chose have fallen into this category.

Outfit Closeup 2

3) The flip side of number (2) is that being forced to get creative with my outfits has breathed life into pieces that I forgot I loved, and even helped me fall in love with items that I felt just mediocre about before. The pair of light-wash skinny jeans that I chose was a pair that I found at the bottom of a stack of jeans when I began sorting my closet for this experiment. I tried them on and found them very flattering, which I didn’t remember them being. I remembered them being uncomfortable and only good for parties where I didn’t have to sit down. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to wear them several times and fashion them with different tops and shoes, I’m absolutely in love with them.

4) I’ve gotten a much better idea which cuts of clothing suit me and which don’t. For example, the pair of jeans I talked about in number (3) are low-rise, whereas one pair from number (2) that I’ve decided just don’t suit me are mid-rise. I’m not sure what it is, maybe something about the shortness of my torso, but I don’t care for where the waist of mid-rise pants hit me. Likewise, I’ve learned that tailored tops suit me best. Again I think this has something to do with creating the illusion of a torso so I’m not entirely legs and arms. I do still like slightly relaxed tops, but generally the oversized “untailored” look is difficult for me to pull off.

5) This is more of the same from number (2), but particularly as it relates to shoes. Typically if a pair of shoes that I like doesn’t fit well or is uncomfortable, I just won’t wear them again until an occasion absolutely demands it. This is how I ended up with 50+ pairs of shoes when I started this experiment. (Many have been donated.)

I started this experiment with three pairs:  a pair of canvas Skechers loafers; sparkly black ballet flats by Sofft; and gold leather loafers by Halogen. I’ve shocked myself by sticking to this limited footwear selection for the past two months, but I’ve run into some issues.

Gold Shoes

The Halogen loafers have been something of a disappointment. In my experience, shoes with leather uppers and linings (rather than synthetic) break in very nicely, are breathable, and comfortable. I’m not sure if it’s the way the leather was treated to achieve the gold color, but these have not broken in nearly as well as I would have liked, and after half a day in them my feet ache, so I’m disinclined to wear them.

As the Halogen loafers were meant to be the dressy shoes that could add a bit of flair to an outfit, being left to the Skechers and Sofft flats have limited the diversity of outfits. I had intentionally chosen a neutral, black, and “pop” pair to keep rotations fresh, and that’s proven almost impossible.

Bracelets

As you may remember, I didn’t include accessory items in my capsule. But I found myself gravitating toward a few staple pieces anyway so thought I’d share them here. First, I fell in love with my Pandora bracelets again, especially the leather cable. It was comfortable and unobtrusive, and went nicely side by side with a stretch faux pearl bracelet.

I also regularly wore this watch by Michael Kors, which was a generous gift from a friend. The rose gold was unexpectedly versatile.

MK Watch

I’ve also found that I favor the way a white pearl pops at my earlobes. Studs in shades of gold add a nice twinkle, but day to day get lost against my hair. This pair belonged to my grandma and is large enough to flatter without being too attention-grabbing.

Pearl Earrings

And last, but certainly not least, my engagement ring. :o) I sometimes still can’t believe it when I look down at my left hand. (For a fun way to commemorate a celebratory event like an engagement, check this out.)

Ring

All in all, I’m very pleased with the concept of a capsule wardrobe and really don’t miss or think about the clothes that I haven’t been wearing. It will be very interesting to look at what’s been sitting untouched in my drawers and closet for the past two months and see what I would like to keep for future seasons or donate. Now that I’m better educated in mixing and matching, I may give this another go during a season with slightly more consistent temperatures!

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