My Wardrobe History

For almost three years I’ve been keeping a pretty small wardrobe…at least in comparison to my former ways. And while being selective about what I buy and letting go of items that no longer work for me is much easier now, it wasn’t always that way. Recently, it occurred to me that I haven’t written a full post about my ‘journey’ in a long time and a lot of my posts are now buried pages and pages back. I thought it would be nice if I ‘introduced’ myself and gave more of my wardrobe history.


My love of style

I subscribed to all the teen magazines and saved every issue to comb through over and over again. Eventually I graduated to magazines like Marie Claire, In Style, and Glamour. I also graduated from college and had to pack up everything I owned to move across the country. I realized lugging years worth of fashion magazines wasn’t an option, so I tore out the pages of my favorite outfits and created a binder for style inspiration. I still have that binder and I still love most of the outfits.

Fast forward to 2011 and I joined Pinterest, which was a magazine-hoarders dream. I pinned hundreds and hundreds of images to my Style Inspiration board and discovered many bloggers who made those magazine looks I loved more accessible for every day. Each year, I had intentions of creating great outfits every day, but life (and early morning indecision) often got in the way. I had a lot of cute clothes, but I rarely put in the time to create great outfits from them.


Enter Instagram

In Fall 2013, my daughter was one, I was back to my pre-pregnancy size and I decided this was the year I was going to get my style game together. I created my Instagram account in secret and decided I would share daily outfits as a ‘journal’ of my efforts to look good. Instagram was amazing back then. There was a small community of women doing exactly what I was doing and we bonded together. It was casual, not staged, fun, and inspirational.

Little by little the community grew, but so did the temptation to shop. Even before liketoknow.it started, everyone shared their ‘hauls’ and the cute outfits and I got totally sucked in. I shopped clearance racks, I thrifted most weekends, I scored great deals and my closet was stuffed! I honestly could go most of the school year without wearing the same outfit twice.


Time for a change

Fast forward to Fall 2014 when I found out I was pregnant again (surprise!!). Suddenly everything in life seemed overwhelming and a little out of control. I decided I had to take charge of something and the easiest thing was my wardrobe. I had to build a maternity wardrobe from scratch (remember, the surprise), so I decided to approach my pregnancy wardrobe shopping with a plan and created a maternity capsule. I never thought in a million years I’d be able to ‘do’ the capsule wardrobe thing, but my maternity wardrobe seemed like harmless time to try.

Eventually, my maternity capsule turned into a postpartum capsule and I’ve never turned back. I fell in love with my small wardrobe. It looked better, it felt better, and it was easier.

Part of my change required doing a major closet cleanout. Oh my gosh, I just cringe looking at that closet! How did I live like that?!

I am not in a constant state of purging my wardrobe and letting go of things that are no longer serving me well. And while I don’t keep a strict count on items and set windows of time when I allow shopping, those strict rules were so helpful in the start. I have around 40-50 items in my wardrobe at the moment and about 15 of those are rarely worn.


Starting a capsule wardrobe has changed so much in my life
1) I started this blog.

Once I committed to the maternity capsule wardrobe I knew I wanted to document the experience. I also figured the accountability would help me slow down my impulse shopping and stick to the capsule ‘rules’. Writing and taking photos are not my strengths, but it has been fun to share my ups and downs through this process. It has also allowed me an avenue to take an in-depth look at my outfits and what I like to wear and really hone in on my personal style.

2) I became a more ethical shopper.

Along the way, I learned more about the harmful impact of fast fashion. I struggled with the decision to commit to ethical fashion, but created a plan that I felt comfortable with. It’s not something I’m 100% perfect with, but I feel great about being a mindful consumer and changing the way I view clothes and shopping. Browsing the Target clearance racks used to be a regular Saturday activity and these days I’m not even tempted to stroll through the clothing department.

3) I am simplifying and purging other areas of my life.

Reducing my wardrobe showed me how much I desire that simplicity in life. In the past couple of year I have completely purged our home (more here). My kids’ wardrobes are smaller, we have less furniture and home decor, the kitchen cabinets only hold what we actually use, the toys are thinned out regularly, and I only have one of each type of makeup/skincare product in my bathroom cabinet. I am so much more aware of buying or bringing things into our home and always consider if they will add any value.

I’ve also started to be more aware of our family schedule and commitments. At work, I have started saying ‘no’ to the extra committees and meetings. While life with four kids will inevitably be busy, identifying the things we want to be doing and prioritizing those has become our norm.

I am currently working on simplifying my online life by taking a social media break.  My goal is to be more present in my real life and detach a bit from my online connection. I hope to be less distracted and more able to just be rather than always scrolling to the next pretty picture.


If you’re still reading along, thanks for sticking with the Cliffs’ Notes version of my capsule wardrobe journey. I often skip these topics when I write blog posts. I’d love to hear if you have any interest in my continuing to elaborate on my journey. And if so, what would be most interesting (if you can call it that) to read about?

More about Paige

20 Comments

    1. Paige, I LOVE when you reference and explain your capsule journey! 🙂 Seeing how you keep coming up with so many chic and great-looking outfits using a wardrobe of fewer, higher-quality pieces, continues to inspire me a lot and is what keeps me looking forward to every time you post. My biggest problem is letting go of things. Do you have any tips (i.e. questions you ask yourself, or how you keep a firm attitude against buying things just because they’re a great deal) that would help me to let go of more? I still have pieces that I just can’t part with, and yet, they’re still hanging unworn in my closet. Also, how many duplicates do you allow yourself? For instance, I have four or five long sleeved black t-shirts and I can’t bring myself to jettison even ONE of them. What up with THAT? My drawers are quite full of many different kinds of t-shirts in different patterns and styles, each one of which makes e think I’ll “need it someday”. I guess what I’m really asking is how have you been able to be SO disciplined about keeping the number of items you have in your wardrobe to such a healthy minimum? I must have 200 pieces of clothing and I’d LOVE to be able to get it down to 50 or 60. xoxox
      P.S. I’m also really interested when you post what items that you’re considering adding to your wardrobe and why. You have such great taste and style!! xoxox

      1. Holly,
        Thank you so much first for you kind words. As always, your thoughtful comments really mean more than you know. Second, for the great questions! I think moving forward I will do monthly ‘wardrobe update’ posts where I share anything I purged and added during that month with more explanation behind it. I think that will also help me stay accountable but also identify what my best purchases are.

        In terms of duplicates, I really don’t keep many. It took a while, because I had a drawer for my ‘extras’ – tshirts, sweatshirts, lounge-type clothes, but eventually I realized I could keep just one and be totally fine! It was one of the last areas I purged. When I let items go I often think about the ‘what if’ scenario I’m keeping them for and then think about what other item I have and love wearing that could also work in that scenario. I have found that helps me realize that the ‘what if’ scenario probably will never happen because I have plenty of other stuff I’d want to wear!

        Thanks for following along and always taking the time to comment. I appreciate that!

        Have a great end of the week,
        Paige

        1. Paige, you’re the best! Thank you for taking the time to give me such helpful advice – I’m going to give your thought process a try in an effort to purge more effectively. And I LOVE that you’re going to be doing monthly wardrobe update posts with explanations. Like so many who love your taste and style, I really appreciate everything you share with us. 🙂
          xoxo

    1. I have yet to comment on any of your blog posts, but I have been reading along since the beginning. I was so excited when you started a blog, and I still get excited when I see an email that there is a new post. I feel like I have had much of the same wardrobe journey with you. Just when I was getting way to overwhelmed with too much fashion (if there is such a thing 😉 you introduced me to the capsule wardrobe. I had never even heard of it, but when you explained it, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for. I just love following your journey and evolving with you. You really hit the nail on the head when you said you used to shop the Target clearance racks regularly, and now you aren’t even tempted to stroll through the clothing department. (I just figured out, over the Thanksgiving break, that Target doesn’t carry Merona any more) How crazy is that?! I never thought I wouldn’t know something like this about Target clothing. Here’s the kicker…I don’t even care. I know my clothes are better made and timeless. So, thank you for allowing us to come with you on your clothing journey. You have taught me a lot, and inspire me daily!

      1. Lacy,
        I am so happy you said “hi”! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. It is so fun to read how aligned our journeys are. It’s so interesting that all of the sudden I just felt I couldn’t handle my wardrobe anymore. I’m just happy that aligned with pregnancy – it gave me more courage to try the capsule with maternity clothes.

        I swear I used to have the entire Target clothing section memorized and I would just stalk items until they got that orange clearance tag. It feels good to have broken that habit and to realize that spending more on items I’m excited to wear over and over is much easier!

        Thanks again for your kind and thoughtful comment!
        Have a great week,
        Paige

    1. Great timing, Paige! I’ve been reading older posts–just trying to get inspiration for sticking with ethical, slow shopping in what seems like this holiday season of materialism and constant style turnover.

      How do you define “slow” fashion? How many new items do you bring in each season? Have you really slowed the turnover of fashion in your closet? Are there a lot of the same items still in your wardrobe from when you started the blog?

      Keep up the great work!

      1. Ophelia,
        Thank you so much. It’s interesting…I tend to find this season so overwhelming and a little ‘much’, which almost makes it easier to resist buying.

        I love your questions and will definitely answer those in a future post – thanks for the ideas! I definitely had a couple of years with more turnover due to pregnancy and postpartum body changes. One part that has been a struggle is that it can be hard to turn down collaboration opportunities with brands I am so excited to share and represent. Not only is it flattering, but I like being able to do thorough reviews and introducing smaller brands to my readers. That definitely increases the new items I add each season, but I try to do so mindfully and be sure I only add things I plan to wear over and over again, not just for one blog post.

        I got a little off on a tangent there! 🙂

        Have a great week,
        Paige

    1. I follow a few fashion bloggers but your style is my favorite! It’s the most realistic in terms of what I’d actually wear. I love that it’s simple, effortless, current, not too trendy or styled, and comfortable. Thank you for sharing your wardrobe! It’s my go-to inspiration. 🙂

      1. Christy,
        That is so kind, I really appreciate it! I have always enjoyed what I’m actually wearing – it’s good motivation for me to keep putting in that effort (which always makes me feel good), but I’m happy to know that it’s something other women can relate to.

        Have a great week,
        Paige

    1. I only started reading your blog five or six months or so ago, so I really appreciated your links back to older content! I’ve purged a lot of my beauty products through donations and consignment but I still feel so overwhelmed by the bins of product I’ve amassed through cheap Amazon deals, gifts, and impulse buys. It gives me anxiety when I open my hallway closet to see all of those bottles staring back at me. I look forward to the day I’ve used them up, and can just buy as needed! My goal is to always have one of an item that I’m currently using, and then a backup for when it runs out. If you don’t mind me asking, how do you manage toiletries in your home?

      1. Krystal,
        I was lucky because I wasn’t a huge cosmetics/toiletries person to start with, but I did have a lot of samples from IPSY bags I used to get. Some of it I just straight up purged, others I gave to family/friends, and the rest I slowly just finished off one bottle at a time. It was always such a thrill to finish something and know I wasn’t putting something back in it’s place. Now that I’m cleaned out and caught up, I only buy once something runs out. Again, I consider myself lucky because I am not tempted to buy new makeup or other products, so this is one of the easier areas for me to manage.

        xo,
        Paige

    1. I’ve been following you on Instagram for quite some time now. I was missing your photos but it’s awesome that you are taking a break. I’d love to know about your workout clothes. How many sets do you have and how often do you do laundry for that? I can’t seem to part with my banillion leggings and workout tanks!

      1. Lizzie,
        Thank you! The break has been much less ‘painful’ that I thought. I just needed to cut the cord for a bit 🙂 I plan to be back in the next few days.

        I do laundry once per week, so I have 6 of each items (in case I work out 6 days). So 6 leggings, 6 bras, 6 tanks. Because I workout at home I don’t have to deal with varying weather. I also don’t worry if they look good, so some of it is crazy old!! 🙂 I do have 2 or 3 other pair of leggings that I wear as loungewear, but not for workouts. They are definitely a hard thing to purge. I am just trying not to add new and wear my old ones until they’re totally out of shape.

        Have a great end-of-the-week!
        Paige

    1. Love reading about your journey. Also the great reminder that it is a journey and shift in mindset over time. It can’t always be a quick process. That’s what I struggle with. I need to remind myself that it is okay to purge over time and slowly move towards more items I love instead of just stuff. I have also curbed so much of my beauty spending as well this year. Trying to stick with what I love in all areas. Great post, as always.

      1. Heather,
        It is definitely a journey! I have purged and purged and purged. Sometimes I have big rounds and other times I can only bring myself to part with a few things. Not to mention all of the ‘maybe’s that I had boxed up in the basement. I still have a handful of things down there that I haven’t worn, but still can’t let go. My first step was just to slow down my mindless shopping and get rid of the easiest things to let go. As time has passed, I’ve become more and more confident that not having as much will still be enough, so it’s gotten easier.

        My advice is to just keep plugging away – it’s so worth it!

        Thanks for taking the time to comment,
        Paige

    1. I relate to so much of this! I worked downtown for most of my career and the temptation to shop after work just to see if there were any deals was so strong. I really love this insight into your journey and how you ended up where you are now, and it’s a great reminder for all of us that are on this path too, these things take time and that’s ok!

    1. It sounds like this post was very timely for a lot of your readers! I’d love to hear more about your transition post-partum. I have a 4 month old and a 3 year old and am struggling to dress my changing body without buying all the things. Your Instagram workout posts have been pretty motivating, but how do you invest in ethical clothing when shifting sizes?

      1. Tori,
        To be perfectly honest, I didn’t worry about shopping ethically during postpartum. I also knew I had some time before I ‘settled’ into my figure, so it was a perfect extension of my maternity capsule experiment. I bought a lot of items secondhand (on Thred Up because they accept returns) and focused on finding basics that I could repeat a lot so I wouldn’t have to buy a lot as my body changed. If you click on the My Capsules menu at the top of the blog page, at the bottom of the menu the Fall and Winter Capsules are from when I was postpartum. I carried over a lot of my maternity items and then found items that worked for me at that time and wore the heck out of them.

        I hope that helps!
        Paige

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