Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My Year Round Capsule Wardrobe

I've posted about my wardrobe before, specifically about how few pieces I have, but I've never given an overview of exactly how many and how I wear them.  I figured I would show why it's so easy for me to get dressed in the morning now that I've limited my options so much.  As someone who wore a uniform to school most of her life, I've never enjoyed buying clothes or picking out outfits.  Since I can't have a personal stylist come dress me each day, creating a year round very condensed capsule wardrobe was definitely the way to go.

I had two sort of 'starting points' for this process.  First, that Chicago has seasons so I have distinctly spring/summer clothes versus fall/winter clothes, and I don't just mean heavy coats versus swimsuits.  And second was that I also have two different wardrobes based on work versus casual.  There's not a lot of overlap there.  

So let's start with the spring/summer side, since that was easier for me.  I broke it down by what I'm doing each day; 4 days a week I wear business casual clothes to the office.  My office does not require suits every day, though I leave one hanging behind my office door in case I have to go to court.  I don't really count the suit as part of my capsule wardrobe though.  From there, I head home and change into lounge wear/pajamas.  The other 3 days, the weekend, are casual for me (Fridays are casual in the office as well.)  Since I don't want a large wardrobe, I just made sure I had options for each day, which I then repeat the next week.  If I ever decide I want more options, I'd probably just add an additional day or two worth of clothes.

The warm weather side was easier because I just wear dresses.  I hate shorts, and for the most part I find skirts pointless because you might as well wear a dress and then not have to take the extra step of matching a shirt to a skirt.  So for work, I just need 4 work appropriate dresses.  Easy enough, right?!  For the early spring days when it's a little cooler, I have a pair of lightweight pants, and I keep 4 work appropriate warmer weather tops on hand, in case it's a full week of cooler temperatures.  I also keep 3 cardigans to wear over the dresses, in white, grey, and beige.  As far as shoes, I keep a pair of open toed flats under my desk (not pictured because they're, well, at work.  Under my desk.)  I walk to work in whatever sandals I have for the year, right now it's neutral slip ons.  I replace them every year, they wear out so quick.  For the casual days, I keep 3 casual dresses, a pair of dark wash jeans, and 3 tops.  I wear the same slip on sandals I mentioned with everything, and I have a pair of dressier wedges in case a situation warrants it.  As you can see in the photo, I don't have all the pieces I need.  I'm on the hunt for another casual dress and 2 more work tops.

Nothing is linked because most of the pieces are pretty old.  Like that teal tank top - it's from Express and I distinctly remember wearing it to a friend's 16th birthday.  For the record, I just turned 32 on Sunday.  I take really good care of my clothes so I don't replace things too often.  But when shopping, I start with the Loft, Venus, and AE, so that's mostly what's pictured.

Fall and winter, on the other hand, are strictly a mix of pants and long sleeved tops, because I don't like wearing long sleeved dresses or dresses with tights.  I might go try some on this winter and see if I've changed my mind, but I doubt it.  So I have 2 pairs of pants for work, in black and dark grey, and 5 long sleeved tops/sweaters to match.  I keep a pair of flats under my desk, and I walk to work either in my winter boots or my sneakers.  For the casual days, I have 2 pairs of jeans (either both dark wash, like now, or occasionally 1 black pair), and yes, it's the same jeans as the spring/summer side.  I also have 7(!) tops, though I only really need 3.  I can't part with any of the ones pictured, I love them.  If the weather doesn't call for winter boots, I wear everything with cowboy boots or riding boots.  Winter is my favorite season, I have way more clothes for this time! 

I have 2 items that I keep only for special occasions - a black dress for warm weather events and a thick, wool black skirt with sparkles, that I'll wear with a sweater and tights for winter events.

Other items not pictured are socks, underwear, bras, a swimsuit that I forgot at my parents' house, loungewear/pjs, and tank tops I wear under long sleeved tops.  Rest assured none of these things are large in number.

One part of the wardrobe I don't worry too much about is color.  A lot of capsules call for a cohesive color scheme, but as you can see, I don't mix and match a lot.  When it comes to dresses you don't need to, and I prefer wearing neutral colors on bottom so any top I buy is going to match any of my pants.  I gravitate towards pinks, blues, and teal greens currently, but I always look for cuts and fabrics I like before color.  The only color I don't love is red and pinks too close to red, because I feel like it brings out the redness in my cheeks.  Capsules admittedly take more thought and effort if you're into patterned skirts or mint green skinny jeans, so it makes it much easier that I am not.

I also want to note that literally no one cares or notices that I wear the same clothes each week.  One of the women in another office on my floor always tells me I have the best dresses and she loves them!  She's even complimented me on the same ones repeatedly, as has Betsy on my casual light blue dress you see in the photos.  People do not notice or care what you're wearing as much as you think they do, I promise.  Unless you work in fashion, I guess.

I like having it solidified this way because it curbs impulse shopping and also serves as a guide when I do want to shop or replace something.  I know exactly what I'm missing, or what's getting worn out.

That's it!  That's my wardrobe.  I've KonMari-ed the crap out of it and I'm very happy with where it is right now.

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