Capsule Wardrobe pt 1….Where do I even start?

I’ve been considering starting a capsule wardrobe for quite some time now. There are a few things that have stopped me:

  1. I love to shop just a little too much
  2. I “love” too many things
  3. My style is all over the place
  4. I live in MN where one day it can be 60 degrees out and the next day there will be a blizzard. Temperatures swing from -25 to 100 over the course of the year.

I’m going to try and finally jump on the bandwagon this spring with a modified capsule. This will be a challenge for me in a lot of ways but I think it will ultimately result in me looking more polished and put together, save me some money, and will make me feel like I’m being a good world citizen by helping to reduce clothing waste.

So now that I’ve made the decision to get on board, where do I even start?

Right now, my style is a weird mix of preppy/classic, edgy and boho. My closet is packed with flowy dresses, kimonos, vintage, leather, flannel and lots of sweaters. Finding a cohesive set of clothes is going to be like an episode of Chopped and making a meal out of the most random set of ingredients you can hand someone. For that reason, I’m going to allow myself 40 items instead of the traditional 30 and exclude shoes from that total. (I have a ton of shoes but seriously live in like 3 pairs throughout the year so it’s not cheating that much)

I also have to think about how things will work for my lifestyle. I’m a work from home mom of 2 in my early 30’s so most of my morning prep time is spent getting the kids dressed, their lunches made, and making sure they get out of the house on time. Then I have to make sure the dog is let out and fed, maybe make myself a quick cup of coffee and use the bathroom before I have to log into work. Evenings are spent picking up the kids and depending on the season making sure my step-son gets to his sporting event, chasing my daughter around, making dinner, and generally making sure the kids are alive. My current reality is that I end up wearing sweats all day and then quickly change into jeans and a concert tee so I can run and pick the kids up. That means I need pieces that work well for chasing children (and the dog) around, hide stains, and don’t look like they’ve been crumpled up in a ball on my closet floor even if that’s really the case.

Minnesota weather is weird. Not only do we have all the seasons, but some weeks decide that all the seasons will be present during the week. We had a weird December that was warm and rainy and then suddenly bitterly cold and blizzarding.¬† This probably goes without saying but winters are cold. Spring is very similar to late fall¬†with the warm weather and then odd snowstorm. Summers start off comfortable and then turn into days where the temperatures hit 100 with like 90% humidity. I’m going to have to cycle through capsules every couple of months rather than having a Spring/Summer wardrobe and a Fall/Winter wardrobe or even a year long capsule like I’ve seen some people do. I think having an expanded number of items in my capsules will help me ensure that I will be dressed appropriately during our weather swings.

A few other “rules” I am playing by:

  1. Work wear- I will have a separate small capsule for work wear. I work from home but at least once a month do need to go into my office for meetings and also have the occasional face to face meeting with clients so I need to have professional clothes for those situations.
  2. Vintage- I have a lot of vintage clothes, most of which would be considered special occasion wear. I will try and incorporate vintage into my capsules as much as possible but I will not be cleaning these items out of my closet unless they just don’t fit or I don’t think that I’d be able or willing to alter them to fit.
  3. Basics/layering pieces- I have a lot of t-shirts and tank tops. Most of them are used for base layers under sweaters and things (see MN weather is weird) so that I can add/remove layers as needed. I do not plan on counting these items toward my 40 pieces since I wear them under pretty much everything.

If you’ve made it this far, you may be saying “that’s great Jenny but I thought this was supposed to be a sewing/craft blog”. That is my goal- but as I found myself sewing all the things and buying fabric like it was going to be the new currency in our post Trumpocolispe world, I decided I needed to focus on sewing with a purpose rather than just making things for the sake of making them. I plan on trying to sew or make a portion of my capsule each season.

So what’s next? Time to work on cleaning out the closet. I do regular purges of my closet- the last was this fall- but I plan to focus this purge on spring/summer items to get down to key pieces and figure out what I need to fill in the gaps.

I have several sewing patterns printed and assembled already with the intention of sewing them up as part of the spring capsule but before I start cutting fabric and sewing up items, I want to make sure that they’ll fit in with my ready to wear (aka store bought) pieces before I go too crazy and end up with a mishmash of clothes that don’t actually make outfits.