Monday, November 24, 2014

Tips For Creating A Capsule Wardrobe


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You may remember back in early 2010 that I decided to do a Lucky Dozen challenge.  The challenge was to wear only 10 items of clothing with a different outfit each day for an entire month.  Upon completion of the challenge I looked at my closet and wardrobe with a new perspective.  Why did I have so many items of clothing?  When was the last time I actually wore some of the pieces?  Did I look good or feel comfortable in each piece?  Have I ever worn that piece or will I ever wear it again?

It was with this new vigor that I transformed, paired down, and organized my wardrobe and I have never looked back.  I stopped buying impulse pieces of clothing because "It is on sale!".  I only own pieces of clothing that fit well, are untattered, and I can mix and match and know my outfit looks tailored.

I have spoken with a lot of people regarding this transformative wardrobe.  In fact, I was limited on time in the morning and aimlessly through some clothes on to meet a friend for breakfast.  When I told her as much you said, "You rolled out of bed and look great and are wearing pearls!" (Oh what a difference a little accessorizing can make.) I knew I looked presentable because I do not own schleppy pieces of clothing and everything I own can be worn with every other piece and looks presentable.

When you have a wardrobe that you know looks tailored and fits you correctly it is hard not to look anything but presentable.

I have been talking about helping my friend do a wardrobe overhaul and have been offering advice to start.  I figured this was the best forum to write down some tricks of the the trade.
Source {here}

1. Does it fit?
You may have pieces of clothing that range from size 2 to size 12.  It does not matter the size on the label, the question is does the piece fit you?  If the answer is no, get rid of it.  "But my 7 jeans are so cute and I might fit them again some day!"  Well if that is the case, when you are a smaller size, and congrats to that, you can then reward yourself with buying new pieces to replace your now too big jeans in your closet.  If you are actively trying to lose weight, then I say keep one inspiration item that you want to fit into.  All else that does not fit on this exact day needs to go.  Once you start letting items go you will see that it becomes easier to let go and accept what you have.  Donate, sell, or trash items that do not fit.

2. What condition is it in? 
Congrats, you have successfully gotten rid of items of clothing that do not fit.  Now, if you have shirts with pit stains, pants with tattered hemlines that are beyond repair, or sweaters that are barely hanging on, it is time to let them go.  Even if you think no one can see that missing button on your shirt, trust me, they can.  Not only will people notice the small blemishes, but if you know they are there you will project that wherever you are.  "Look at me, I have on a shirt that I am hoping you do not notice has a small spaghetti sauce stain from a dinner two years ago!" Have you ever seen someone who keep tugging and adjusting their clothing?  It is noticeable.  When clothes fit and are well taken care, they will just fall on your shoulders and be an extension of you.  You want to present the best version of yourself at all times.  If you have pants that are too long and have roughed up hems, if you can have them tailored and repaired, by all means do so.  If there are beyond repair, it is time to replace them.  Donate or trash those pieces of clothing.

3. Have I worn this piece in the last year? 
Now you see that gold sequined dress you bought for that possible event but you have never worn it? Is this piece even in style anymore? Does it represent the style you want to project and feel comfortable in?  I once bought this beautiful red bohemian dress in my travels and it hung in my closet for years.  It hurt me to finally let it go, but I will say there has not been one day that I thought, "I wish I had that red dress." Nothing else in my wardrobe is bohemian.  If fact, I dress quite the opposite.  Yes, it was a souvenir of a great trip, but guess what, that is what stories and pictures are for.  I will always have the memory of the time I spent there.  Once you cut out the pieces you never wear, never will wear, or are just plain out of date, you will find that you true clothing style will present itself.  Those items are taking up precious space in your closet that was mean for something greater.

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4. What is my style? 
Hopefully now that you have discarded the hindrances in your closet you will begin to truly see your style.  Are you a free spirit and feel most comfortable in bohemian type clothing?  Do you enjoy the ironic hipster style?  Do you tend towards things that are classics and timeless?  Whatever your style, stick with that.  Be your true self and upon being yourself you will exude confidence. It is with this renewed sense of self that you will be guided to buy/keep styles of clothing that true say "Me!"
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5. What colors look best on you? 
There are thousands of resources to determine what colors look best with your skin, hair, and eyes. Once you have found what colors look best on you, narrow it down to about 4  in your color spectrum and buy pieces in those colors.  I highly suggest making sure you have neutrals in there.  If you find that you love red but it does nothing for your skin tone, just know that you can always have small pops of color displayed trough accessories.  I look awful in yellow and yet love that bright canary color.  I chose to have a yellow belt and yellow ballet flats that I will sport with a soft navy blue sweater and tailored jeans.  The navy blue goes well with my skin and hair and yet I can still wear a bit of the canary yellow.  Just know that your foundation pieces should be in your color spectrum.
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6. Do I own the basics? 
There are so many resources out that that state the basics you need for a wardrobe.  For simplicity sake I have listed them below.  If you hate wearing skirts, then substitute for different color or fabric pants than ones you already have. The basics include:
  • Three different color/texture/style blouses.  I highly suggest having a button-up shirt as this is a classic and can be worn in so many different genres.
  • Two skirts
  • One dress
  • Two pair of pants/trousers (Whenever I hear the word "trousers" I think of English people.  Just me?)
  • A pair of jeans that fit well (I have two, one for with heels and one to be worn with flats.)
  • Two cardigans
  • A blazer
  • An outerwear coat
If you want more of a perspective on what I mean, check out my posts about the Lucky Dozen HERE and HERE.

7. Accessories. 
I am known for wearing pearls.  In fact I have a go-to pearl necklace I am wearing right now.  They are classic and go with everything I own.  I also have a go-to ring and pair of earrings.  What you chose to accessorize with sets the tone for your outfit.  Wear a plain black dress with a string of pearls and studded earrings and you are ready for a client meeting.  Pair that same black dress with a long draped,edgy-spiked necklace, zebra print heels, and a black leather jacket and you are ready for a rock concert.  Combing different accessories is where you can go wild, but I suggest limiting the number of pieces you own to a single jewelry box.  Like I mentioned previously, my clothes are classic colors and cuts and I add my pops of color through my accessories.  Feel free to do the same.

* A neighbor of mine has a clothing swap party every year.  You may think of doing the same.  You never know, you might trade a piece of clothing for a new fabulous piece that will be perfect for your new capsule wardrobe.  Just remember, if it does not fit, is tattered, is not in your color, is not your style, then it is not for you.  I have gone to this party several times and brought 10 pieces and left with one.  I just new that my old clothes were finding a new home. The last party I attended I happen to snag a great blue purse that is perfect for going out.

I hope these tips and tricks help you to consolidate and organize you wardrobe and style. Enjoy!

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