The Capsule Wardrobe Experiment: The Debrief

The Capsule Wardrobe Experiment: The Debrief

At the end of January I embarked on a little capsule wardrobe experiment.  The rules I set myself were quite simple: 30 items for 30 days.  This would include coats, jackets, shoes, bags, scarfs and tops, skirts, dresses and bags.   It does not include underwear or gym wear – that would just be skanky … and smelly!

For those who know me, this was no easy task and, at the start of the challenge I was completely daunted by the prospect.   I spent a long time reading up on capsule wardrobes and watching blogs on how to curate a collection of clothes that works for me.

Before choosing my items, I spent several weeks monitoring what I wear, taking note of the items that I’m drawn to regularly in my wardrobe.

One thing that stood out is that I wear a lot more colour than I realised. I’m drawn to vibrant reds and bright blues. This was something that I hadn’t seen in other peoples capsule wardrobes of grey, black and white. Of course, these neutral toned items feature regularly in my own daily style but a splash of colour is definitely something that I really couldn’t be without.

This meant that my final selected items contain the vibrancy and life that I love in my personal style whilst maintaining the minimalist aesthetic that I admire so much in others’ wardrobes.

Winter Capsule Wardrobe Collection: The Debrief. Looking back on a plus size capsule wardrobe for winter including vibrant colours and patterns

The Process: Tips & Tricks for choosing your Capsule Wardrobe

 1.  Spend several weeks monitoring what you wear regularly and place them in a different section of your wardrobe.

I was amazed at how quickly it became apparent that I migrate to the same items of clothing again and again.  Of course, some of the neglected items were simply not weather appropriate and so I have packed these away to reevaluate come spring/summer and warmer weather.

2.  What do you consider your core items that you can’t live without?

For me, my core items consist of my my faux leather-coated trousers, my patterned mini skirt, a statement blazer, and a colour-pop jumper.   No matter what I wear or how I style it, the chances are that one of these items will feature in my daily outfit choice.

3.  What are the colours that you are drawn to regularly?  And what colours do you pair these with?

Blue and red definitely reign supreme when it comes to my colour palette.   I tend to avoid full on colour and pair the more vibrant items with neutral colours:

  • black trousers or a grey jacket with a bright jumper
  • a white or black poloneck with a patterned mini skirt
  • a white blouse with a coloured coat.
4. What are your basics?  The items that get thrown on with everything but don’t stand out alone?
For me, my basics are the white shirt, the array of polo necks, the black skinny jeans, and my black sneakers.  These items are worn again and again with my core pieces – they’re washed to death (literally) and, although they don’t register in my “oh-look-how-awesome-this-item-is” moments, they are really essential to my wardrobe.

Winter Capsule Wardrobe Collection: The Debrief. Looking back on a plus size capsule wardrobe for winter including vibrant colours and patterns

The Process: What to do once you’ve chosen your items

1.   DON’T throw your items away

Once you’ve got that beautiful reduced, minimalistic wardrobe it is so tempting to just trash the rest.   I’m not saying don’t do this eventually, but take some time wearing your capsule wardrobe to see if it really works.  I have vacuum packed the items that I’m unsure of, storing them away to see if I really do miss them and, as an extension, if I really do need them.

2. Don’t over think getting dressed in the morning

Just go with your gut – throw on those items that you’ve loved wearing the most and don’t over complicate it with thoughts such as, “oh, I haven’t worn that yet” or “oh, I must wear that dress cause its day 22 and I haven’t worn it yet“.  The idea is to learn what you gravitate towards naturally, not to feel pressured into wearing anything you don’t want to.

3. Keep a style journal

Note down what makes you feel great! And the items that make you feel less great.    All record the items that you miss – those pieces of clothing that you look for only to remember that you’ve packed.   Or those items that you crave but don’t yet own.   This is a really useful task for refining your wardrobe and working out what you really want to wear.

Winter Capsule Wardrobe Collection: The Debrief. Looking back on a plus size capsule wardrobe for winter including vibrant colours and patterns

The Results

If you haven’t been able to tell already, I have really enjoyed the Capsule Wardrobe experiment.  I have spoken a lot lately about wanting to create a more minimalistic life and this has really helped with that process.    Getting dressed in the morning has been simplified; I simply go with my instinct, throwing on what I want to wear rather than being lost in a maze of choices.

I have also realised that I really don’t need half of the clothes I own.   My endless array of dresses are frivolous to my needs – I mean how often do I really go out anyway?

I have also become a little more experimental with my dressing; mixing textures and patterns more, playing with lengths and different colour combinations.

And some things that I have learnt?
  • I spill coffee a lot – meaning that my dry cleaning bill has gone up with only a select few items for me to throw coffee over
  • I love wearing a silk shirt – I should probably buy some more of these
  • Denim and a blazer is my real go-to look – both items could be expanded upon
  • I really don’t need many dresses – I scarcely wear them
  • I do need one  or two items for more formal occasions – a tailored pair or trousers that can be dressed up or down and a fancier dress or skirt/top combination for nights out.

Winter Capsule Wardrobe Collection: The Debrief. Looking back on a plus size capsule wardrobe for winter including vibrant colours and patterns

And will I be continuing with the capsule wardrobe?

Yes, I think I will!

Although 30 items might be a bit limited, I am going to carry on with this model of outfit building as it makes me really consider what I want to buy and wear.

The notes I’ve kept through the challenge means that, come the change in seasons, I have a clear idea of what I want to buy and wear for the transition.   And, although my dry cleaning bill has gone up, I think this is the first month in a very long time that I haven’t wasted money on impulse purchases that will simply just sit in my wardrobe gathering dust.

Would you try a capsule wardrobe?  

 

 

 

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Charli

Charli is a simple country bumpkin with a passion for long country walks, wooly jumpers, velvet blazers, and luxurious lingerie.

Charli also loves gin!

20 Comments

  1. February 23, 2018 / 2:19 pm

    Part of me likes the idea of a capsule wardrobe and it’s great when travelling. The thing is I do tend to get bored of my clothes, but I do think I could get rid of quite a lot and I am overdue a sort out.

  2. February 23, 2018 / 4:55 pm

    I could never live without skinny jeans or leggings my wardrobe is full of clothes that I haven’t worn for months I might try this challenge though

  3. February 23, 2018 / 7:11 pm

    I really love your style and outfit combination. You seem to find the right clothes that suits you really well. The 30 day challenge seems quite tough but you pulled it off and learnt so much from it, I am sure I would clear my wardrobe if I did the same.

  4. February 23, 2018 / 7:38 pm

    I really need to think about making myself up a capsule wardrobe and going through my wardrobe and getting rid of things I just don’t wear anymore as I hang onto things just in case.

    I would definitely like the idea of keeping a style journal I’ll have to give that a whirl.

  5. SusanG
    February 24, 2018 / 12:04 am

    My colours exactly: black, white, grey with accents of cobalt blue and red! I’ve been building on these colours for the past few years. (I don’t count denim as a colour — maybe I should? — as I’m trying to wear my neutrals more often.) Thanks for a thoughtful, informative post!

  6. February 24, 2018 / 7:51 pm

    I need to go through my entire wardrobe as I have clothes that I haven’t wore in years. The idea of having a capsule wardrobe is very interesting, maybe I will try this when I finally start sorting my clothes out.

  7. February 25, 2018 / 8:14 pm

    This is such a cool experiment! I’d love to try something like that, I already wear the same clothes over and over again anyway!

  8. February 25, 2018 / 8:25 pm

    I love the idea of a capsule wardrobe, and I definitely need to go through and sort my clothes out! The style journal is cool, and I love the tips – I definitely overthink getting dressed in the moment!
    Hels xx
    http://www.thehelsproject.com

  9. February 25, 2018 / 8:30 pm

    I love how your capsule wardrobe included color! I always see the same neutrals in everyone else’s capsule wardrobes. I would definitely try a capsule wardrobe someday!

  10. February 25, 2018 / 8:39 pm

    I am playing with the idea to do a Capsule Wardrobe experiment too. I really love the idea of capsule wardrobes!
    Your capsule wardrobe looks lovely! ~ Love the tips

  11. February 25, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    Wow! what a nice little challenge. Might have to give this a go.
    You looked amazing everytime!

  12. February 25, 2018 / 11:36 pm

    I always admire people who do this and still manage to have good variety. My wardrobe is huge, and pretty much all black and white. The thought of trying to cut it down honestly petrifies me! x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

  13. February 26, 2018 / 12:52 am

    I have to totally admire you for even undertaking this! I have so many pretty things that I love to wear, I think I would find it impossible to build up a capsule wardrobe. I guess the more planning you put in, in the beginning makes it easier when it comes to choosing and building the collection?

  14. February 26, 2018 / 12:03 pm

    Oh I love this idea! I’ve never done a capsule wardrobe but I really should! I have way too many clothes I don’t wear!

  15. February 26, 2018 / 3:57 pm

    This is something that I really want to do more of. I tend to flit from one trend to the next without having a good base in my wardrobe to see me through season to season, great tips x

  16. February 26, 2018 / 8:30 pm

    Love this challenge, I really need to get my wardrobe in order

  17. February 27, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    I love the idea of this experiment! Though with the weather changing as quickly and drastically as it does, I’m not sure whether I could master it myself! x

  18. March 6, 2018 / 4:26 pm

    I’d love to do a capsule wardrobe but I’d find it to be a massive challenge as I’m definitely a bit of a hoarder, even after a recent clear out I still have way more than I need. I really like your capsule wardrobe though, and I especially love that there is a healthy splash of colour in there – you know I love that colour blue on you! x

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