creating an all seasons capsule wardrobe: the plan
Fair warning: this is a lengthy read. Best accompanied by coffee, tea and/or chocolate ;)
A couple of weeks ago I shared with you a few things about my current capsule wardrobe process that don’t work so well for me along with my main wardrobe goal for 2015.
I had intended on sharing this blog post with you last week, however decided to let things simmer a little longer before pulling the trigger — so to speak — and I’m happy to report that I now feel more confident than ever in moving forward with my endeavor of creating what I have been calling an “all seasons capsule wardrobe”. #woot
So far I have successfully created executed enjoyed three seasonal capsule wardrobes. My summer, fall and winter capsules all went over virtually without a hitch — modifying things a few times here and there to truly make the idea work for me. It wasn’t until I began looking forward to creating my fourth (and final, for lack of a better term) Spring capsule that I really began to reflect on whether or not this process, as I’d laid it out thus far, was working.
After considering some of the aspects that didn’t totally jive with me I began to desire a year round wardrobe that incorporated many of the parameters originally adapted from the Unfancy idea of a capsule wardrobe, but that also allowed me to continue doing things that I was good at before the thought of a capsule wardrobe ever permeated my brain: like my ability to thrift good quality clothes from Goodwill Ebay — year round.
But enough with all the deep thought right? On to sharing and answering the question: what the heck does an “all seasons capsule wardrobe” look like?
1. Design what your ideal 75 piece wardrobe looks like, aka the “master list”.
Haha. Yeeeeaaahh. Totally on that one Laura… that’s not intimidating at all. I hear ya! I just sat and stared at that sentence for probably a good five minutes trying to figure out a better way of explaining it myself. If I’m being perfectly honest, this step requires: clarity of your sense of style commitment to a more minimal mindset prior experimentation/”soul searching”. I believe that the only reason I was successfully able to create my “master list”, as I’m calling it, was because of my previous almost 9 months experimentation with seasonal capsule wardrobes and the amazing sense of clarity insight that experimentation brought to my style. I’ll gladly point you to a few of the tools that also helped me get there…
I don’t know that I ever filled one out in it’s entirety, but the free wardrobe planner via Unfancy is a great tool to help you begin to get your style simply out of your head and down on paper — making it a more tangible thing to work with. Also, because I’m an extremely visual person, Pinterest has been a great tool to help me a long my way. I use my style/capsule wardrobe Pinterest board to bookmark see all at once wardrobes that embody, completely or in part, my style. I use my style/ fall winter and style/ spring summer not only for outfit inspiration for my current wardrobe, but also as ideas for key missing pieces in the year round wardrobe I now long to create.
My stuff/windowshopping board will probably be my most utilized board as I move forward with this all seasons capsule wardrobe “building” process. Currently I pin things to it when I think that I might want to include them in my “master list” or they are already an item on my master list, but one that has been identified as a ‘to get’ or ‘to replace’ piece. Then I wait. And wait. And wait some more. The waiting is a key part of the plan. I generally wait longer, but have found that in order to best asses whether or not a purchase is warranted one I won’t regret, I have to wait a least one week. Again, this time length has been established by simply getting to know myself — you might find something that works better for you. In any case I would highly suggest creating the types of Pinterest boards that I have shared with you to help you better organize break down that statement in bold up there I left you with ;)
Speaking of numbers, 75 is a totally arbitrary number that I have come up with that I simply think works for me. I may find that I will drastically reduce this number or need to increase it as my life situations change evolve. Currently I operate in 4 different realms: office, farm, social mom. I like to see as much overlap as possible, but you could argue that I’ve chosen 25 items per realm. Of course 75 is just a number — one I find extremely generous but minimal in the sense there is max. Choose a number that works for you!
And finally. Below you will find my current all seasons capsule wardrobe master list. (If you click on it will open the full res PDF version). I’m sure this list itself will change evolve over the course of the year in some minor, an maybe even major, ways — but right now, it feels really good to have my big picture. Like, really good.
Note* I have identified items to be replaced or to get with an asterisk. All other items have been a part of my past seasonal capsules.
2. Set a budget for the year.
Mine is $520 (I explain why below). One of the reasons I adopted a seasonal capsule wardrobe in the first place was the desire to get a hold of my spending. I did not like the fact that I knew I was spending too much on clothes, but not able to actually put a number to it. Only buying clothes 4 times a year forces you to create and stick to a budget for sure — but for me it was still too easy to justify a budget for the particular season that sounded reasonable, but when viewed alongside the big picture — didn’t add up the way I wanted.
Apparently I’m a big fan of the ‘big picture’ these days, because I had an exact number in my head for my yearly clothes budget that I knew would not only make me feel good, but do an accurate job of aligning my financial resources with my priorities. For me, that number is $520. Ten dollars a week or forty bucks a month for me to spend on clothes (something I consider a creative outlet) sounds: minimal for sure challenging in line with where I want percentages of my money to go. Of course your budget is exactly that, yours. Figure out what aligns with your priorities.
3. “Edit” your wardrobe throughout the year.
This is where I lay down a few ‘rules’ or ‘parameters’ if you will to give this process the structure and simplicity that I think anyone who uses this kind of wardrobe model desires.
#1 Nothing goes into your closet without first making it on the master list. This means: 1.) that you make sure you stay within your max item limit. Want to add something totally new? Something else has go to go… And 2.) that there has also been a significant amount of thought that has occurred. My master list ‘confirmation’ time period is, again, one week. If the item hasn’t been on there a week, it means I need to wait a little longer.
#2 Buy things when they are on the low. As in on sale, out of season, etc.
#3 As much as possible, buy second hand items. Hand me downs, Goodwill, Ebay, other second hand clothing stores — these are your friends. Of course this not to say that I won’t be buying new items, but I know from past purchases that I can often get higher quality/higher end pieces that are gently or hardly used at all into my closet simply by thrifting them. Otherwise they might not make it in there in the first place.
4. And finally, at the end of the year take a step back and do a little happy dance because you your wardrobe rock.
This one is just for fun, but of course you know I will totally do it.
Whew. You guys. That was a lot. But that’s it! That’s the plan! My hope is that it still provides the structure I need to pursue a more minimalist approach to style but the flexibility to purchase thrifted new items year round.
What are your thoughts on an all seasons capsule wardrobe?