Thursday, April 14, 2016

How To Do This: Capsule Wardrobe - Part 2!

So, after How To Do This: Capsule Wardrobe with Coordinated Colors - Part 1 you have your color palette but are you unsure of what to do next? Do you have 27 white tank tops and you aren't sure how many you really need?

Well, while one method won't work for everyone, I can share what worked for me. Take what you can and use what fits with your life.

Step one - Ask yourself some questions!

Why do you wear clothes? Really, besides protecting your body from the elements - what do you see as the purpose of clothing?

Do you have a uniform, are jeans and steel toe boots a requirement, or do you have to manage a professional office?

Do you need to look a "certain way" to fit in? Do you need to look a "certain way" to express yourself and stand out?

Are you outdoorsy, a soccer mom, a busy blogger, a crafter, a student? How would you describe yourself? How, and be as objective as possible, are your clothes describing you?

As a fun side-experiment - go to a place with lots of people and watch them for a while. Check out what they are wearing - do you get an idea of their gender, status, wealth, mood, attention to detail, self-respect just by looking at their clothes? Can someone tell that information about you?

Is there a certain style that appeals to you? Are you retro? Corp-goth? Steampunk? Sporty? Princess?

One way to determine your personal style is to do the same thing as Part 1 but, instead of focusing on colors,  look for outfits you like! Are you currently wearing something you feel smashing in? Add that picture to your collection! Build a page of outfit images that you'd like to wear.

Be wary of body image issues. When searching the internet for images of clothes look for body types similar to your own. You should feel excited and good when you see the outfit, not sad or envious of the body in the clothes. A good place to start may be looking at bounding outfits as they often will not include bodies. Google "bounding outfit" or "Disneybound outfit" and you'll see what I'm talking about.

My sample board - Things I learned: I love pinup, pencil skirts, and peplum tops.
I'm a wedges over pumps person and all my sweater sleeves are 3/4 length or shorter. I prefer bold color-blocking and simple patterns over intricate designs, and my skinny jeans should be dark wash or black.

Once you have an image-board of outfits you like, your style should be obvious. You may have more than one style, perhaps in your 9-5 you are refined corporate casual, but on the weekends you're a sporty soccer player. But once you know your style, you can determine how much space and how many items of clothing you need to pull off both styles.

Step two - Shop your closet!

Now that you have an idea how you want to look - find the things you already own that fit your new requirements. Make sure the items fit both the style/s you are going for and the color range from Capsule Wardrobe - Part 1.

Pull everything out - keep things folded if you like, but get everything out and take a look at what you really have.

There is a saying that the things you own - own you.

You either spend time or money (sometimes both) to buy and maintain your clothes, so make sure the ones you have are worth that investment.

A few questions for sorting clothes -
  • Do I adore this?
  • Does this fit my body and is it in good repair?
  • Does this fit my style choices?
  • Does this fit my color scheme?

Pay attention to the fabric - most linen requires ironing, cotton can wrinkle too and is easy to stain. Synthetic blends may save you time but you don't want to be the polyester queen. Keep a mix of natural and blended fabrics and just be mindful of the extra care some items may require. 100% cotton T-shirt = great basic, 100% cotton pleated skirt with a wide band and pockets = mandatory line dry and 10 minutes of ironing to get the pleats perfect - is it worth it?

If you aren't sure about something, set it aside in a 'maybe' pile. You can pull from it to fill in any gaps in your new wardrobe, but give it a month or two and then reconsider. If you haven't missed it, chances are aren't going to miss it.

Be wary of sentiment. If you are holding onto a pair of jeans from 30 lbs ago - ask yourself, do these inspire you to drop that weight? If they were tucked into the bottom drawer in the back, chances are they are serving more to shame you like a dark secret rather than inspire and uplift your heart.

Keep your wedding dress if you love it, but if it would be better donated - wish it many happy memories and send it off.

If you are scared of letting go - keep a small part of that thing and reuse it. Take a pearl from your wedding dress and make it into a necklace you wear on special nights out, or cut out the patch from your favorite T-shirt from your youth and frame it.

Have something you want to give to your kids? Make a box, and put those things into that box. Stick with your box - fill it, but when you run out of room that's it. Your kid may love that one pair of passed down bell bottoms, but they don't need to inherit your entire personal style.

If you have seasonal items - a beautiful vintage woolen hat, a winter jacket, or snowpants - set them aside. Just like a work uniform, those clothes are for specific activities / seasons and should be stored accordingly. Now, if you have 7 winter jackets and live in Florida it might be time to reconsider, but if you have one classic winter jacket that fits, is in good repair, and suits your style - stash it away for the colder weather.

Step three - Put it all together!

So - you have a pile of clothes you absolutely adore and that fit your body, your style, your color palette, and make you super happy to wear. You are almost done!

Check for duplicates - how many white tank-tops can you wear in a week? Two weeks? If you do the laundry once a week, wear a fresh white tank-top every day, and allow for a couple of replacements due to stains / wear, then 10 should get you through a year. If you only wear a white tank once a week but you wear at least one every week, then allowing for stains / wear, 3 would get you through a year easily.

Try pulling together some outfits. See how long it takes you to pull out something to wear. Since all your clothes now fit, blend, and make you happy it shouldn't take more than a minute or two. Can you make up outfits for tomorrow and the day after? Could you spend 10-15 minutes now and know what you are going to wear for the entire week and have it all grouped together?

Put things away properly - folding and hanging items correctly takes up less space and helps you later when you need to find them. Hopefully you now have a lot more room to work with as well.

Try working with what you have for a few weeks. Take note of the items you could really use and anything you haven't touched since putting it away, maybe those items can find a new home? When you go clothes shopping have your style guide and color guide in your mind (or in your purse) and reference it in the dressing room.

Turns out I don't buy nearly as much as I used to - I still love to shop, but the items I buy have to match my style, color choices, and be worth their storage space in my dresser.

Ready to give it a try?

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