So as I have alluded to my reasons so far in my first two posts about my closet: the mess I started with, and how I went about changing it, but let me reiterate a crucial point: I am not fashionable. I guess I have a “style” since I wear clothes and have a certain aesthetic taste, life priorities that shape my decisions about what I wear and how I spend my time and money.
As you have seen in my last post, my style evolution, I explored how I spent my life, activities and percentage wise, what attire those called for, and what I liked and disliked about certain items I owned.
For example, I spend a lot of time outdoors, and I get hot easily – so silk and other delicate fabrics that show dirt and need a high level of care – a no from the judges. I work from home and the majority of my time with friends in casual settings – so no pencil skirts or blazers needed. I love flowy patterned pants and skirts, so more structured solid color tops were called for. I don’t like to have to think about what bra I have to wear or anything requiring a cami underneath, so clothing that required more work from me was out. Helping me through some of these questions that helped me narrow down my priorities was this workbook PDF from un-fancy.
Other helpful capsule wardrobe posts:
- capsule experiment from un-fancy
- CREATING MY CAPSULE WARDROBE from advice from a 20 something
- How To Build a Capsule Wardrobe | The Basics of Being of a Conscious Consumer from thr3efold
- HOW TO BUILD A CAPSULE WARDROBE – A BEGINNER’S GUIDE
- the blissful mind
- oh simple joys
There is even a company called Cladwell with an app to help you sort out your capsule needs – but it costs money, and I had already done the work myself – but maybe it’s right up your alley!
So when it got right down to choosing what was in and what was out, there were multiple factors to consider. I knew the amount I wanted to aim for, the number breakdown, what I liked and didn’t like, and what pieces to avoid – the tricky trap of “just-in-case”.
I actually started with deciding my base colors and then my highlight colors. A Pair and a Spare DIY actually created an amazing graphic to help with this:
You can see which colors I chose below ↓
So I set about to the numbers of it, what would be included in my capsule wardrobe. I wanted there to be a great deal of overlap, pretty much replacing shorts with pants and kimonos with jackets.
I wanted less than 50 items in my closet at a time, less than 65 total items I own for clothing.
As my shoes had already been determined with my big picture capsule list (above), I started with four categories and assigned numbers: 15 tops, 9 bottoms, 2 dresses, 2 jackets (or layers).
I adjusted those numbers a bit as I fleshed out what it would look like.
I also realized I needed to decide my colors. I had inadvertently chosen my base colors and grey/blue tops, black/ grey bottoms, and black / tan shoes.
I then chose two highlights: burgundy/ maroon/ coral family, and turquoise/ teal family!
Pieces I wanted to add back in from the clothes I had put away during project 333: jeans and a maxi skirt!
Things I needed to fix I also documented, as level of wear goes way up when you go capsule, and I want these clothes to last. To keep them in good condition, I have to care for them, so repairing and stain treating is crucial!
I made made a list of the gaps in the wardrobe I had created, and how I wanted to fill those gaps with ethically made clothing.
My friend Erin asked me how I defined ethical here, since many minimalists and individuals undertaking this lifestyle have different criteria. My “ethical” criteria are as follows:
- company-wide practice of honoring every employee and treating them as valuable
- paying them a living wage
- ensuring safe and healthy work environment
- not essential but preferably: women owned or majority women-run businesses, contributing to the creation of marketplace solutions where there would otherwise be none, and aiding the lives of women in additional ways like helping them escape the cycle of poverty, releasing from the shackles of human trafficking, or cultivating a brighter future: funding education, micro-finance loans, skill development, family nutrition, literacy lessons.
Other criteria were that the items purchased had to be contemplated for a month before purchasing to ensure that is what I wanted. I wanted to research the companies further and see their interactions and customer reviews.
I have filled some of those gaps, as I had been planning to and in February/ March, started researching ethical brands and finding my style. A list of companies I have found will reside here and certainly be edited to grow as my research expands in the future.
(Not listed below: bras are still a work in progress, undies are from meundies and I am not a big fan of socks but if you are looking to get some new ones, check out Bombas: “BEFORE LAUNCHING BOMBAS, WE LEARNED THAT SOCKS WERE THE NUMBER ONE MOST REQUESTED CLOTHING ITEM AT HOMELESS SHELTERS. So we started a company with the goal of solving that problem. For every pair of socks we sell, we donate a pair to someone in need. The more socks we sell, the more we can donate. And to sell a lot of socks, we knew we had to design the best sock on the market.”)
CURRENT CAPSULE WARDROBE – Spring Summer 2017
- 5 tanks: chambray, coral, seafoam, maroon, grey
- 4 tops: black and white striped flowy top, maroon flowy top, blue cuffed top, blue and white striped top
- 5 t-shirts – let the tigers tiger, cross, take heart, victory, walk in love (rust color)
- 2 long-sleeved shirts: chambray, white patterned blouse
- Sweaters: beige, dark teal
- Kimonos: blue with pink and white floral pattern, long black and white patterned from lotus and luna
- yellow and white striped fit and flare – spaghetti straps
- blue cotton short sleeve dress (think Sound of Music hilltop)
- maroon and white patterned shift dress
- black encircled multiway chrysalis cardi
- olive fringe
- coral light white patterned cuffed
- blue and white patterned
- black patterned fringe
- skirts: blue patterned maxi, Francis + Benedict classic maxi
- pants: jeans, black and white structured pants, flowy black and white patterned pants, flowy burgundy pants
- tan bangs
- sseko wrap sandals
- root collective booties
- merrel sandals (I call them India sandals because I never took them off the whole 11 days I was in India and had a crazy tan)
- hats: burgundy felt hat, tan felt hat, 3 caps
- scarves: teal, pink, blue patterned
- volunteer shirt and sweatshirt
COUNTED ITEMS TOTAL: 48 ITEMS
- assorted gym clothes + sneakers
- assorted lounge wear
- undies, bras, socks, swimsuits
- hiking boots
- will be counted and updated blog post in Fall 2017 – winter clothes
- robe from Sudhara
- crossbody small purse from Fossil
- crossbody big purse and backpack from Humble Hilo
So here is the final reveal, updated look of my closet!
I am really pleased with how this turned out, and I am excited to continue finding new outfit combos, mending and caring for existing clothes, upgrading or replacing where necessary with ethically made brands, and lavishing in the simplicity of not only decision making but relishing the lifestyle I am encouraging myself to embrace with every choice I make – including what I choose to wear each day.
A bonus: I wanted to remember who my purchases benefited, how it made a difference in their lives, and where they were, so I could pray for them! I created this part of my wall!
You might be interested in more posts about my simplified capsule wardrobe: