Spring ‘Capsule’ Wardrobe

It’s been a while since I’ve shared an overall look at my wardrobe (more detail below). Although I’m not 100% following all of the capsule ‘rules’ I wanted to share my version of this spring’s ‘capsule’ wardrobe. These are the pieces I think will be my go-to items this season. I do have a few things I haven’t included here that are hanging around in my wardrobe, that are on the chopping block (either to be packed up once it gets a bit warmer or to be purged if I go through the season without wanting to wear them), but these are the clothes I cannot wait to wear this spring.

Last summer I decided it was time to ‘graduate’ from capsule wardrobe life. I felt I had achieved my goals of shopping less (primarily avoiding the impulse clearance rack purchases), learning new ways to style the same items, and building a wardrobe that reflected my personal style more closely. I was officially hooked on my small wardrobe and felt I could loosen up on the rules a bit.

So, I kept more than the 35-40 items on clothing (the number I had typically allowed myself for each capsule) in my closet. The idea was to have all of my wardrobe accessible so that I could really get use out of the clothes I loved by having access to them year round. I didn’t limit my shopping to specific windows, which gave me more freedom to purchase items as needed/wanted even if it was in the middle of a season.

A couple of months ago my wardrobe started to feel too big again. Not because I had bought too much, but because I had more items in there than I really needed at any time. So, I purged. One benefit of keeping all of my clothing in my closet for that time is that it made it much easier to see which things I passed over time and time again when choosing outfits and these were the items that it was easy to let go.

Even with only 50-60 articles of clothing hanging in my closet (which is significantly less than I had two years ago when I started capsuling), it started to feel overwhelming. I felt like it was messy, and there were things hanging in there that I never wore and felt guilty about, and it wasn’t as much fun to get dressed anymore. Shortly after the New Year, I did the Winter Remix (10×10 challenge) and it sealed the deal…I needed (and truly wanted) even less.

So, I purged again. And again. Until my closet felt better.

And now that it’s spring (and although we’ll still have some cold,snowy days), I have packed up most of my super wintery clothes.

And I LOVE IT!

So, am I back to capsuling?

Kind of….I have realized that packing away some of my clothes in the off-season gives me (and them) a break. I really prefer a smaller wardrobe where I can easily mix-and-match to make new outfits and don’t feel like there is anything I have to wear out of guilt. But, I like the option to go into my drawer of off-season clothes and wear whatever the heck I want without feeling I’m breaking some rule. And I like the option of shopping in the ‘off-season’ because sometimes that’s the best time to score a deal or great thrift find.

So, there are bits and pieces of my lessons and ‘rules’ from my capsules that I have missed and will reinstate, but with some flexibility (I like how Caroline at Unfancy put it when she talked about her Capsule-ish Wardrobe).

Here’s a closer look at the items I’ll be wearing on the regular.

Tops
Everyday tops (top row)
  • Striped Long Sleeve (H&M spring 2016, ethical option, love this one too): I haven’t worn this as much as I thought I would, so I’m hoping to learn to make it work for me this spring. It is slightly cropped, so maybe I will like it with my new higher-waisted bottoms?
  • Striped Ponte Top (Gap): This is thicker and feels nicer than a t-shirt, and has a cute back zipper detail. It’s a great spring option for work and weekend outings without feeling too casual.
Work tops (middle row)
  • White top (fall 2016, Everlane): This top is so cool and comfortable and hangs so nicely, which makes it perfect for spring.
  • Chambray shirt (fall 2015, Madewell via Thredup, cute alternative, wonder if I’d wear something like this more often): This is an item that I always keep, but never seem to love wearing. I just can’t seem to part with it though.
  • Dressy tee (few months old, Madewell via Poshmark): This is one of my ‘colorful’ tops this spring. It’s a heavyweight fabric that drapes nicely, so another easy work option on warm days.
  • T top (new addition, Jamie + the Jones): My big spring addition. I have learned that I don’t like typical ‘blouses’ or button-downs, which left me with a big hole in the long-ish sleeve top category. I love my T sweater, so took the plunge and invested in this T top. I decided on the black to be able to get the most use out of this shirt. I will do a style session and share more in an upcoming post once I’ve broken it in.
Sweaters (bottom row)
  • T sweater (few months old, Jamie + the Jones): I got this sweater on Christmas Eve and have worn it once a week since. And I still wasn’t ready to part with it.
  • Cropped cashmere sweater (newish, Everlane found secondhand via Instagram shop, current version and a lot of other great cashmere styles here): This was an impulse buy from an online secondhand shop (my first cashmere sweater!). I loved the unique shape and gorgeous cashmere color with great details. The price was right and items always sell quickly, so I went for it. I look forward to experimenting with styling this over the spring.
  • Longline cardigan (fall 2015, similar): Longer cardigans are a great way to layer and look ‘up-styled’ in my opinion. This one is a light color and light knit, so it’s easy to wear in warmer weather.
  • Cropped sweater (winter 2017, Brass Clothing): I am going to keep this sweater out for a bit longer for those cold spring days.
  • Slim turtleneck (winter 2017, Brass Clothing): Same as above, this is an easy item to keep out and be able to throw on when we have cooler days througout this spring.

Bottoms

  • Wide leg crops (newish,Everlane, reviewed here): I wanted to add some variety in my pants wardrobe, so when these wide leg crops came out and got great reviews I decided they would be a great addition. So far, so good.
  • Straight leg jeans (old from Target, similar): These were hand-me-downs from my sister that I wore most of the winter. I love the style, but they do tend to need to be pulled up a lot, so they aren’t my favorites to wear.
  • High waist jeans (newish, Levi’s, more colors here): Sick of pulling up my jeans (see above), I wanted to find some medium wash, slender fit, high waisted jeans and these fit the bill. Here’s a quick overview I posted last week.
  • Ponte pants (winter 2017, Brass Clothing, reviewed here): These are dream pants. They are high-waisted (notice a theme here), super flattering, and don’t fall down or bag out. They were great for winter, and I look forward to creating warmer weather looks with them.
  • Midi pencil skirt (few years old from Old Navy, ethical option, would love to upgrade to this version): I loved this skirt all last year, but didn’t wear it as much this fall and winter. I hope to change than, but it’s hard when a dress is easier.

Dresses

  • Straight maxi dress (spring 2016, c/o Cole Hands): I have kept this dress in my wardrobe all winter, it is so comfortable and easy to layer. I also like the muted green color for spring.
  • Linen shift dress (new, c/o Sotela): I am so excited to style this new dress from Sotela’s warm weather collection. I have been a huge fan of Sotela and their mission since it was a kickstarter company and this dress does not disappoint. Stay tuned for more in an upcoming post.
  • Silk dress (spring 2016, c/o The White Label Project, this dress is sold out, but I highly recommend the shop): Another throw on and go dress that always layers easily. A closet must.
  • Maxi dress (spring 2016, Brass Clothing): One of my favorite dresses to wear, it always draws compliments.
  • Wide leg jumpsuit (fall 2016, LOFT via Thred Up, similar): I have only worn this with a jacket or sweater over, so this is another quick spring outfit.
Footwear

  • Clogs (Lotta From Stockholm): These were a late winter addition to prepare for spring. I loved my open-toed version in the fall and knew I wanted something I could wear when it was slightly cooler.
  • d’Orsay oxfords (Nisolo, reviewed here) My husband and I invested in the Nisolo 5 for 5 program (sorry, it’s no longer available), so we’ll each get a pair of Nisolos every year for the next 5 years. This was my first addition and they are so, so good.
  • Birkenstocksoldie, but goodie. I have had Birks back in my life for 3 summers now and they’re my every day go-to.

What I’m excited about

  • Dresses. I am so happy to be able to include dresses back into my spring and summer wardrobe now that I am not breastfeeding and pumping.
  • My new additions. I filled some pretty major gaps this spring with some new pieces (the T top, the high-waist jeans, the linen shift dress) and I can’t wait to break them in and figure out how to style them. I am contemplating a 7 Days of Styling challenge like Andrea did to break in those new pieces (go check out her post – it’s awesome!).
  • My style. Boy it’s been a long time coming, but I feel like I can say I’m more comfortable and confident in my style choices than ever (this past winter’s outfits were my favorite ever) and I’m excited to see how that carries forward into a new season. Though, spring and summer are admittedly my least favorite and least stylish seasons, so here’s hoping some magic happens.

What I’m keeping an eye on

  • Striped shirts. I just haven’t been wearing my stripes as much as I used to, yet I included two different striped tops in this wardrobe (and I have one more black and white striped tee on the chopping block). I am going to pay close attention to if I actually wear them (and feel good styling them) or if I only included them because I felt a shortage of tops.
  • Color. Do I need it? This is a very neutral palette which worked well for me over the winter. I wonder if the warmer temps will make me crave more color?
  • Finding ways to get creative. One major reason I dislike spring and summer dressing is that it gets harder and harder to layer when the temps go up and that’s my go to strategy for mixing up my looks. I am going to do some heavy Pinterest and fave-blogger research to find ways to get creative with my clothes, but still be practical for warmer weather.

Have you been capsuling for a while? Or did you try it and ‘graduate’? Or is it something you’ve be considering giving a go? I haven’t discussed capsules in a while…I’d love to hear where everyone is at in that regard.

More about Paige

11 Comments

      1. Thanks, Lo! I have been trying to make more of an effort to include some updated shapes and styles so I don’t end up with 15 versions of the exact same thing – thanks for noticing!
        Total side note, I love the name Lo – what (if anything) is it short for. I tried so hard to come up with a name for our 4th baby so that we could call her Lo, but we never came up with something we agreed on.
        xo,
        Paige

    1. Exciting stuff! I too feel that putting everything back in my closet has added to some visual clutter when getting dressed in the morning. I like having the ability to attempt to style a “summer dress” in the middle of winter (because no rules), but practically, it doesn’t make sense to physically pass over it ever other day that I don’t choose to challenge myself in that way. BUT, I don’t like the idea of “packing stuff up” either, it makes items feel too inaccessible — and sounds like a lot of work! Haha! I’m thinking that I’m going to make some closet organization upgrades in the near future so that I can still home everything in my closet, but make the visual experience different. i.e., hang in season “featured” items on well spaced hangers for a more boutique type feel (which I find I really like) and fold off season items in drawers, luxurious boxes, etc.

      1. Yes, yes, and yes! I did love having everything at my disposal so that I didn’t feel I was ‘wasting’ some of my favorite clothes in the off-season. But I did also find that it felt too cluttered and to me that outweighed the benefit of the once-per-season that I was wearing some of the items. For now, I am keeping my off season in our dresser since I have purged enough to have emptied most of the drawers. That was, it’s out of sight, but not impossible or a hassle to get to if I feel like switching things up.

        I, too, am hoping to upgrade my closet system. Right now I have two half length racks (top and bottom), which means nowhere to hang maxi dresses or my jumpsuit, which I find very annoying. I think an upgrade would totally change my closet experience in a great way!

    1. I love this! I’ve been purging lately, and this super streamlined capsule inspires me to purge a little more. I love the idea of only having items that I can’t wait to wear in my wardrobe.

      1. Jaime,
        Yay for purging and yay for pushing that little bit further to narrow down even more. That’s the stage I am at…and even putting together this post helped a ton…if I didn’t care enough to photograph it, that probably meant I didn’t really love it enough to keep it. I have really loved fewer items and putting in a little more effort to wear them different ways lately. It has been a recent shift and I can’t wait to carry it into a new season.
        Keep me posted!
        Paige

    1. Thanks! My real name is Lauren, and people have always called me “Lo” or “Lo Jo” (last name is Johnson) or “Lowey.” I actually have a friend whose real name is Loie, though!

    1. Love it! You inspired me to stick my clogs in my spring capsule!

      I’m likin’ a super small wardrobe in front of me (under 30 items, including shoes) and the idea of a capsule has really helped me put together wardrobes that work as a UNIT). But I’m very flexible…if I realize I’ve made a bad choice, I just swap out something that’ll work better from a different season. If an item doesn’t fit into any season…I guess I’ll reassess it!

      I’m also toying with doing some micro-capsules…20-25 pieces…for 2 months at a time (since 3 months, especially in fall and winter…wind up having to accommodate some serious temperature swings…and that ain’t workin’!) So, I’ll swap my clogs out for sandals once the weather turns…

      And I’ve NEVER quit thrifting!! 😉 It’s too much fun!! Keep up the great work!

      1. Holly,
        I LOVE the micro-capsule idea! That would be a great way to avoid the crazy weather swings. I’m trying to keep this capsule smaller to see how that feels, though I do have more than this hanging in my closet. Tomorrow I think I’m going to section off my closet into my ‘capsule’ and my ‘chopping block’ items so I can see how that feels. I was so strict with the capsule rules when I first started, which now that I look back is silly. But, I felt if I wasn’t strict I wasn’t being true to the process. I’m sure there were some benefits to that, but as long as I’m staying true to building a wardrobe that I have put thought and planning into and that I love, I’d say that’s all that matters!
        Thanks, as always, for your great insight.
        xo,
        Paige

    1. No I haven’t tried capsuling yet but I’m getting there. I’m a summer outfit person- I love a dress or skirt and tank top/short sleeved top. I add a hoodie jacket, perhaps some leggings, and boots to wear the summer pieces all year long. Scarves and/or jewelry can jazz up an outfit.

      1. Monica,
        I should definitely try playing with more accessories or sleeveless/short-sleeve layers to change up my summer looks. I think that’s where I get in a rut! Thanks!

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