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Building a Capsule Wardrobe: Part 2

By Sunday, April 05, 2015

Capsule wardrobes have become quite popular lately, so I decided to see how I could make the idea work for me...and ended up successfully redefining the concept!

Taking what I'd learned from my sister's experience and other advice, I managed to follow the basic guidelines of planning ahead and keeping my lifestyle in mind – and definitely kept it fun. 

New items (top to bottom, from left to right, linked in image): Lightweight sweatshirt; Ripped skinny jeans; Casual track pants; Faux fur vest; Silk tank; Cashmere v-neck sweater; Graphic tee; Mixed media tee; Printed scarf; Graphic sweatshirt; Bright sneakers; White button down
What worked for me:
My starting point was still an assessment of my existing wardrobe to get rid of anything that was worn out, didn't fit, or that I never wore. From there, I developed a list of items I'd like to get. Since I started this process around the holidays, I conveniently dropped a lot of hints about things I was admiring and as a result, received some perfect gifts. I also took advantage of some great sales right after Christmas to gather a few more items on my list.

Accessories were another area where I invested, as they can both complete and transform an outfit. I hosted a Stella & Dot party, where I earned some incredible hostess rewards, and was able to get some amazing things over the course of a few months.

For both clothes and accessories, it really did work to think through what I specifically wanted and plan/budget for those items so I wasn't (as!) tempted by other things I'd come across. Being honest with myself about my lifestyle was important. Since I live in the Bay Area and primarily work from home, my style and needs are overwhelmingly casual. So, while I lust after all the fabulous heels, dresses, and jackets I see on blogs and in magazines, I had to remind myself to be realistic about what I would really wear on a regular basis to determine what I needed to add to my closet.

Stella & Dot jewelry: Sutton necklace; Aria Pendant necklace; Isabelle wrap bracelet 

What I discovered and customized:
I found that it doesn't really work for me to buy all the pieces that I wanted at one time. Not only is that a big hit financially, it's much more fun for me to get new things every so often than it is to get them all at once. I like to be consistently looking for and buying items as I find them, versus having a "shopping ban" for 3-4 months.

Also because of the weather where I live, aside from a few pieces, I wear most of my closet year round. As a result, there's very little that gets stored away and lightweight layers are an essential, regardless of the occasion...so it was very important that I always considered if and how a new item would fit with my entire wardrobe. You can see examples of how I did that in the outfit pictures that I included here.

Left: Black burnout sweatshirt (similar); faux leather leggings; bright sneakers; earrings
Right: Mixed media tee (similar); necklace; black pants; flats; laptop bag

Leather blazer (similar); scarf; earrings; ripped skinny jeans; wedge ankle boots (similar)

Graphic tee; necklace; ripped skinny jeans; slip on sneakers

Overall takeaways:
This was a great experiment for me, as it transformed the way that I approached shopping for clothes. I don't think I can truly call my process a capsule wardrobe, but I am much more thoughtful about how and what I buy now, and that's made me happier with my purchases and my closet overall (and hearkens back to my New Year's post on spending money on what really matters).

This spring, I'll be testing out another approach to creating outfits from a selection of pieces with Alison of Get Your Pretty On's Spring 2015 Style Challenge. She provides a shopping list of items that you can source from your closet or purchase anywhere you like (ex: white jeans, striped casual dress, etc.) and then 21 days of mix and match spring outfits. I'll let you know how it goes! And if you want to do it along with me, sign up soon as registration is open now and the first outfit will be posted on April 12.

What do you think? Would a capsule wardrobe work for you...or have you found another way to build your wardrobe in a thoughtful way? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

* Please also let me know your thoughts on how my new clothing items are displayed and linked in the image above. I've been experimenting with Thinglink, but not sure I like it yet. Does it make it easier than just having the items linked in the text below each image? If you have feedback either way, please share!