My Capsule Wardrobes

My Capsule Wardrobe / Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing

So I did a quick count before beginning to write this post and would you believe it?

This season’s capsule will be the EIGHTH capsule wardrobe that I’ve created + shared here on the blog.

EIGHT. As in I’ve been doing this capsule wardrobe thing for TWO years now. There have been plenty of ups and downs along the way, but wow if that doesn’t get me a little revved up just thinking about it! Haha!

Before I dive on into the specifics of this season’s capsule, won’t you please join me in a little happy dance? :)

A summer capsule wardrobe + 7 steps for meaningful wardrobe editing

PUTTING TOGETHER MY SUMMER CAPSULE

After putting together my spring capsule wardrobe this year, I was determined to shorten the shopping timeframe for this season’s by getting a little jump start on it (that and I knew I’d be going on vacation at the very start of the season so I wanted to have everything ready to go).  I began the planning/purchasing phase for this capsule at the start of May and from start (organizing + planning) to finish (final edit) it was 2.5 weeks long.  Not bad! Especially considering all additions made were via online purchases.

I feel much better about the time involved with this phase this time around.  I was able to invest less time + energy and still put together what I feel is one of my best capsules yet. To me, this is ideal and one of the main reasons I continue to utilize a capsule wardrobe.

My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing

HOW I CHOSE MY PIECES : TOOLS  +  7 STEPS FOR MEANINGFUL WARDROBE EDITING

As I did with my spring capsule edit I, again, used the Stylebook app (for Android users check out Stylicious) to visually edit and curate this season’s capsule.

1. THE INITIAL EDIT

I have my wardrobe/etc. organized into the following folders within the app: Current Capsule, Accessories, Special Occasions, Swimwear, In Storage and Farm + Camp.

To begin creating a new capsule I start by viewing my ‘Current Capsule’ folder. I begin to move all obviously off season pieces out of the ‘Current Capsule’ folder into the ‘In Storage’ folder. For example, when transitioning from winter to spring, I removed nearly all of my sweaters but kept long sleeves and layering pieces like button downs and jackets.  In transitioning from Spring to Summer I removed all long sleeves and most of my pants, keeping just a couple pair to edit further into the curating process.

I like editing my overall closet this way because you can see everything at once and it allows you to assess the overall aesthetic of your wardrobe. It provides the opportunity to be able to answer questions like: Is it cohesive? Are there any glaring gaps? Redundancies? Does the vibe fit your core style?

Note* I have found the Stylebook app to work best for me when managing my wardrobe, but to complete this step you honestly don’t need a special wardrobe tool/app. You could easily curate images of pieces in your wardrobe and complete this step in Google Drive, on Pinterest or by using Canva

My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing

2. IDENTIFY GAPS + ADD PIECES FROM STORAGE

After I’ve assessed the base of my new capsule (roll overs from the previous season) I take some time to identify any major gaps I might have: Do I need/want shorts? Do I lack/want texture variation? Do I want to add color? Does the t-shirt dress I added last year (2 months postpartum) still fit? Do I have pieces that work for the ump-teen weddings I will be attending this season? Do I have items that will double as cover ups for our beach vacation in 3 weeks?

I like to begin shopping by ‘shopping’ my own closet. I have one dresser drawer where I keep all my off season pieces (all of my shoes just stay at the foot of my closet) — so I just start by pulling things out that meet this season’s needs and putting some of my now off season pieces back in.

If something no longer fits I first consider the alteration route. If it’s not a good candidate (i.e. material isn’t conducive to lifestyle, etc.) then I attempt to sell the piece on Ebay or at a brick and mortar secondhand shop.  I might also consider simply giving it to family member or friend if it’s something they are currently in pursuit of. If the item is perhaps not nice enough to still pass on via donation or in need of repair I might ‘demote’ it to my small collection of Farm + Camp pieces . (When you live on a farm and interact with rust, oil, grease, chicken poop, and copious amount of mud, gravel + dirt on the daily you have these kinds of pieces.) Finally, should it be in total disrepair and can be torn or cut up into rags, well then my friend, that is what they become.

My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing

3. CREATE A SHOPPING LIST + A BUDGET

If I am unable to fulfill my ‘gaps’ list with items from storage this is when I begin to craft a shopping list.  I just recently added the tab Where to Shop in the main site navigation here on the blog that is a copy cat of a bookmark list I have saved in my browser. In my attempt to take baby steps toward more sustainable style I have created this list to help narrow the vast sea of shopping and help guide me to make better choices when seeking out new additions to my closet.

After identifying the type of pieces I think I want add to my closet (i.e., jean shorts, pull on shorts, summery dress, grey tank top, tan sandals) I add them into a Google Drive spreadsheet I use to track wardrobe additions and spending. (In addition to this I also keep a master list of all pieces in a Google Doc, but I find I’m using this less and less and relying more and more on the Stylebook app to house everything).  I define a budget for the new or new-to-me additions and then begin to browse notes I’ve made over the last season… a.k.a. pins from my window shopping board on Pinterest. Haha!

I’ve been using this method for awhile now and it really seems to work for me. I no longer seek out retailer’s website to scan their new arrivals sections, but I do come across different pieces during my seasonal shopping break that I sometimes feel smitten with (via Pinterest, Instagram or another blogger’s site).  I “put a pin in it” (albeit figuratively) and forget about it until a later date.  Bookmarking these pieces, etc. 1.) alleviates any anxiety that might result in me just trying to actually forget about it and  2.) I find I am more successful in freeing up my mind space by taking this route — which is the main goal of the shopping break for me.

My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing

5. TEST SHOPPING LIST ITEMS WITH THE ‘THREE RULES OF THREE’ (OR OTHER TARGETED CHARACTERISTICS)

Way back Caroline shared a rule of three that I thought really worked to help diversify pieces across clothing type and add a tremendous amount of versatility to one’s closet. Over time I began to identify a couple other ‘rules of three’ that seemed to keep emerging every time I crafted a new capsule — and I now use them all as a checklist of sorts when adding pieces to my closet.

You can read more in detail in this post, but my ‘three rules of three’ are:

The piece works in at least three of the spheres you dress for (I have four spheres, mine are: mom, office, social, and farm)

You can create three different looks with the new addition when paired with three other pieces you already have in your closet

Include three of each kind (the UnFancy rule of three): 1 plain + 1 statement + 1 in-between

My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing
6. ACQUIRE + TRY EVERYTHING ON AT HOME

I’m not gonna lie. This step is just annoying. (Ha!)

Why? Because it takes time (A LOT of time if it was an online purchase). And it can be really frustrating when everything you’ve already bought isn’t fitting and you realize that you now have to return it before you can try something else.

Don’t get me wrong, I still try stuff on in store (if I’m by chance shopping in one vs. online) but there is something different about trying something on in a fitting room versus the full length mirror in your bedroom.  I haven’t been able to put it into words, but there is.

It’s worth it to not skip this step.  Plus, with this route you can test out the new piece with other pieces in your closet to make sure it really is worth the buy.

My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing

7. FINAL EDIT

After I’ve completed all of the above steps and added any new pieces into my Stylebook app, I again view the ‘Current Capsule’ folder in its entirety to assess the overall aesthetic.

It’s usually at this point that I begin to make much more calculated edits:

Do you need three pairs of jeans? Heck no it’s summer! I’ll keep one super dark wash for dressier occasions. 

Do you really need four grey t-shirts? Four words: two boys under three. 

I want variety for work wear. I know I won’t wear the trousers all summer long because it will be too hot, so I’ll just keep two skirts in rotation.

Should I really keep my chambray button down in the mix? Probably won’t wear it full out button down style, but it’s a perfect piece for layering should the temperatures dip and to add interest on days when I get bored with just a t-shirt and jeans.

What about jackets? Early on I could probably use a trench for cooler mornings to work, etc. but I can easily manage with a jean jacket and utility jacket as layering options.

Of course these are all examples specific to my own summer wardrobe edits, but I hope they’ll give you some insight as to what sorts of questions I ask myself and therefore you could ask as well. :)

My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing

PIECES THAT WERE ADDED (WHERE THEY CAME FROM AND WHY I ADDED THEM)

This season I added four new pieces to my closet: this grey tank from Everlane, these black pull on shorts from Madewell, these tan sandals and this red floral dress both from Piper and Scoot.

Grey tank – Last year I made it by with one sleeveless top (this muscle tee from Everlane) and… well… I was freaking hot all summer long. Haha! Southwest Ohio gets pretty scorching this time of year and the humidity? Well, it’ll smother you something fierce. We’ll see if two sleeveless tops does this trick this time around. ;)

Black pull on shorts – I decided to add a pair of black pull on shorts this summer with the hopes that they would be durable enough to “mom around in” during the day but (just maybe) had the potential to be dressed up for a dinner date, etc. I’ve been wearing these babies non-stop for about the last week and they totally deliver. On the pricier end for sure, but they are of great quality — so in my opinion worth it (I’ve had great experiences with Madewell owning up to their statements of quality product).  The fabric feels wonderfully breezy but they are still holding up fantastically to concrete sitting + chalk parties, the occasional toddler bite/tug/snot and the washing machine. And they have POCKETSa mommy wardrobe must have!

Tan slide sandals – I received my beloved Birks last year as a gift from my mom  and I can see loving them until the end of time — but I wanted a casual sandal of the nude/tan variety as well.  I found these at Piper and Scoot (one of my favorite smaller online shops) and was excited to add them to the mix. I’ve only had them for about a month but they’ve been in heavy rotation. I particularly like that the uppers are made of leather and are sewn (potential to simply replace the sole in the future?).  And I think the rose gold sheen on the one strap adds that awesome texture variety I strive for in my overall wardrobe.

Patterned coral wrap dress – Finally, I added this coral floral dress as a go-to summery dress, fit for: weddings, church and dinner dates — but still easy enough for a play date at the playground or even grocery shopping.  It’s a faux wrap, but the top has plenty of give to be 100% nursing friendly, and even though little man is only nursing two times a day, I consider this a big win for wardrobe versatility.

I’ve written a lot about how neutrals are my jam and just how content I am with an entirely neutral wardrobe, but as I’ve taken the time to slowly evaluate my personal style over the last two years, red has emerged as a signature color for me.  I began the process of adding signature color pieces like this to my wardrobe this past fall + winter (in true hue and deep reds), and I’m loving the pop of personality this orange-y red adds to my warmer weather closet.

My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing

THOUGHTS ON REPLACEMENT PIECES

At the very end of spring my beloved thrifted chambray ripped a large whole in the shoulder. I mended it best I could and demoted it to a farm/camping piece.  I wasn’t sure I would replace it right away (with warmer weather upon us) but I ended up finding another great thrifted piece. I also replaced my denim shorts that no longer fit with some from a local secondhand store. (It was a total unicorn thrifting day!) I plan to do a more in depth post on my thoughts about replacing damaged pieces of clothing later this Summer. ;)

 My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe EditingMy Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing

GENERAL REFLECTIONS

I continue to hover wearing right at 40 pieces per season  — so crazy because I’ve tried to make it a point not to stick to a set number. (Also, just as an FYI, I have 68 pieces in my closet overall.)

Editing seems to be getting easier — i.e. leaving a piece out/putting it away for the season, choosing new additions, omitting others all just seems less overwhelming.  I largely attribute this to the fact that if I leave a piece tucked away in storage that I one day have the need (hello cold front!) or desire (just read 5 ways to wear that winter piece come summer time) I’ve begun to allow myself the freedom to occasionally pull those off season pieces to wear.  Because my “storage” is simply one dedicated dresser drawer in my bedroom there’s no digging, hauling or any other cumbersome task to simply pull it out and throw on. This used to be my biggest beef with the new age capsule framework and the reason I set out to create a year round wardrobe last year.  Even though I only do this a handful of times through out a season (if that!), removing this obstacle allowed me to embrace the inherent spirit of a capsule wardrobe all the more. (Perhaps this is a step away from creating capsules and toward my goal of creating a year round wardrobe…?)

Buying is a slippery slope. A couple other of my bloggers friends (Paige and Andrea) have discussed this already, but I find it to be the case as well.  I think it is easier to go a longer period of time without shopping at all than it is to draw the line on “enough is enough” once you’ve opening the gates of ‘buying’.  Bowing to my yearly clothing budget is how I find myself most often drawing that line, but it’s a strange thing how shopping/spending seems to just lead to more shopping/spending.

Food for thought. The term “capsule wardrobe” has arguably given way to a new framework (as opposed to its originally outlined characteristics) and it’s rise in popularity (as with anything) opens it up to critique, but also provides for opportunities for it’s essence to be misconstrued. I keep seeing this post over and over again and while it contains plenty of truth + sites some excellent resources, I have to wonder if it too is simply expressing resistance against the newly framed capsule wardrobe because it’s become too trendy. Ya know, once something becomes too cool then it’s like, not cool to like it anymore kind of thing?

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THE BREAKDOWN

Below you will find an itemized break down of all the pieces I have included in my summer capsule.  I’ve linked to exact pieces when available (although most items at this point are older and from previous capsules) and similar pieces when an exact piece is not. When linking to similar pieces I keep in mind whether or not the original item was bought new vs. secondhand, the original retailer and/or price point.

In an effort to promote more responsible shopping habits I may link to something “better” if I can’t find a piece that is equivalent to the previously mentioned criteria. I like to think the links I provide are to items I  would otherwise buy myself if forced to replace that particular piece right now.

This section is meant to serve as a shopping guide of sorts if you are currently in pursuit of a similar piece — and not as a space to invite un-intended shopping. I hope you’ll find it of use! Of course if you have any questions, let me know in the comments!

My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Easy Wardrobe Editing
TOPS

white tee, chambray (thrifted, similar), blue cotton button down  c/o thredUP (similar), grey sleeveless tank, white muscle tee, striped tee (better), grey ribbed tee, black tee (similar), dark grey marled tee, gingham button down (thrifted, similar), cream blouse (thrifted, better),  ivory lace top (similar), grey v neck tee, grid blouse (similar and similar), buffalo check top (similar and similar), graphic tee, grey pocket tee

JACKETS 

jean jacket (thrifted, similar), tencel utility jacket (similar in a different color)

BOTTOMS + DRESSES 

chambray shirt dress (better), dark denim short (thrifted Old Navy), light wash denim short (thrifted J Crew), black pull on shorts, red floral hi-low dress, cut off boy shorts (thrifted Ann Taylor), cream floral maxi dress, black flowy skirt (similar in a longer silhoutte and almost exact), light grey pencil skirt (thrifted, similar), white jean leggings (similar), grey t-shirt dress (similardark wash denim

My Capsule Wardrobe | Summer 2016 + 7 Steps for Meaningful Wardrobe Editing
SHOES

gladiator tassel sandal (similar), tan slide sandal, patterned flat (similar), peep toe bootie, black/tan block heel (similar), gladiator heel (similar), white sneaker, black footbed sandal, black sneaker (similar)

On a somewhat related note: I’ve been wanting to do more video on my blog and am considering doing a capsule Q&A vlog starting early next month. Is that something you would be interested in? Perhaps another topic all together? What sorts of questions do you have? Share away in the comments!

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This is not a sponsored post. This post does contain affiliate links.

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16 Comments

  • Reply
    Lauren @ Lauren, Etc.
    June 8, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    As always, Laura, your wardrobe posts are just so amazing. And thorough! Omg the thoroughness. I am seriously in awe of how many gold nuggets are in this one post. No questions right now, although I would totally watch a Q&A vlog. I am hoping for many upcoming outfit posts though. I can’t wait to see how you put all these items together!

    • Reply
      Laura Blanton
      June 8, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      Thank you for this comment Lauren. Totally made my day! These posts always require a tremendous amount of time + thought. My main goal of these posts are always that I want readers to actually gain something useful from reading wardrobe posts and not simply to just get a closet tour. It’s helpful to visualize a cohesive closet by seeing one, but to reveal the thoughts and processes behind putting it all together is (I think) where the true value lies. Thank you for the affirmation!

      And I just did a 4 outfit photoshoot with a local photographer so there will at least be that many coming your way in the upcoming weeks! ;)

  • Reply
    Anne
    June 8, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Laura –

    I love the capsule! I was wondering how you care for your Ryan tank from Everlane. I bought and loved two of their Ryan tees a few years ago, but was unwilling to hand wash. I ended up ruining both in the laundry. I’d love to try them again (knowing not to toss them in the dryer) – but was wondering what your experience has been.

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      Laura Blanton
      June 8, 2016 at 3:57 pm

      Hi Anne! Thanks so much for this question, I’ve been meaning to share how I care for all of my ‘hand wash’ items. (I am unwilling to hand wash either!) If an item that I have in my wardrobe dictates to ‘hand wash’ on the care label instructions I do the following: before wash turn garment inside out, place inside out garment in a laundry garment bag (I purchased mine on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1ta8HKE), wash garment bag items with like colors on a delicate + cold setting, then hang/lay flat to dry (I purchased my drying rack on Amazon as well: http://amzn.to/1U7NKJs).

      Turning the piece inside out helps any pilling that might form. With the garment bags I purchased you can add 2-3 light weight shirts in the large bag. (I’ve been using these to extend the life of my bras and undies as well!) The awesome thing about the garment bag is that you can’t accidentally throw something that’s supposed to be line dried into the dryer — you have a visual cue! I’ve been wearing my Ryan tees/doing this for a little over a year and I’m extremely happy with how they are wearing!

      Hope this helps answer your question!

  • Reply
    Andrea H
    June 9, 2016 at 12:51 am

    Wow Laura! I’m so impressed at your thoroughness here! You make a great case for capsules, and I see how well they work for you. Incidentally I am working on a series about life after capsules ;), too funny! But I am pretty sure we share a lot of the same mindset about clothing. :)

    • Reply
      Laura Blanton
      June 11, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      Thanks Andrea! Means a lot coming from you :) I think capsules suit the season of life I am in and I can still envision a minimal wardrobe post-capsule, so I am excited to hear some of your thoughts! And that doesn’t surprise me one bit! ;)

  • Reply
    Clara
    June 10, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Awesome info & tons of inspiration! I would also love to see more of how you remix these items together. That’s the hardest part for me to figure out while I try to develop a capsule.

    • Reply
      Laura Blanton
      June 11, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      Thank you so much Clara! :) Absolutely! I’ve been thinking on some fun and creative ways to share how I’m remixing these pieces for Summer — so tanks for confirming its importance. :)

  • Reply
    Tameeka
    June 11, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Thanks so much for this fantastic post Laura. I can tell you have put a huge amount of effort and time into it and I know as a fellow mummy of small people it’s no easy task. I really appreciate your perspective and thoughts. I currently am still flitting around the edges of a simplified approach to my wardrobe. I want to do it in the hopes of making the process of getting dressed that much easier (and let’s be honest laundry too! ) I am looking forward to putting many of your tips from your experiences into action!
    Thanks again :)

    • Reply
      Laura Blanton
      June 11, 2016 at 11:04 pm

      You’re so welcome Tameeka! And thank you for your kind words! They are so validating. :) And YES! Haha! Yes to less laundry! Or well… laundry more often, but less marathon laundry. ;)

  • Reply
    Danyon Satterlee
    June 13, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    This is awesome! I have never thought about shopping this way or organizing my clothes in such a manner. I’m getting ready to move/ be semi nomadic or about a month and a half. I think I might put this to the test to help keep down the clutter of what I’m carrying with! Thanks!

    Also, if you get a chance to check out my blog too, I would love it. Just getting started. Thanks so much! http://www.theladreamer.com

  • Reply
    Maria
    June 18, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I still love the capsule wardrobe idea- anything that helps us be more intentional and consume less is worth holding on to. And I love the idea of having a signature color!

  • Reply
    Katie
    August 4, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    What a wonderful post! I’ve been tossing around the capsule idea for some time, but have a large range of spheres I needed to fit (mom life, farm life, racing life, etc) and I also happen to be 6 months pregnant. This is by far the most helpful post I’ve read on bringing it all together! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Laura Blanton
      August 5, 2016 at 7:20 am

      Thank you Katie! That really means a lot! I hope you’ll stick around.:)

  • Reply
    Jennifer Laxmi
    September 1, 2016 at 11:35 am

    What a wonderful and deliberate way to edit down a wardrobe (AND LIFE). I can’t help but agree that doing this would limit the amount of time it took to get ready in the AM and honestly even my personal style which tends to be more dressed down than half the things I own. I think I’ll have to do this soon. I’m just getting started on showcasing a more simpler style that’s more my everyday (vs. dressing up for the sake of a blog). Check it out if you have the chance, would appreciate it!

  • Reply
    My Uniform Style / Fall 2016 – The Lovely Laura Life
    November 14, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    […] Last time I shared a wardrobe update with you I was thick-as-thieves with the whole *capsule wardrobe* process. The capsule wardrobe has provided me with the structure I needed to curate a well thought-out closet and served as an invaluable tool in helping me refine and own my sense of style. […]

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