This past year I have been so inspired following influencers on instagram that are promoting a more conscious way of building a wardrobe. One influencer, @whatkatefinds did a year of 5 finds in 2019 in which she only purchased 5 items per month. For Kate, that meant being more thoughtful and conscientious about what items she was bringing in to her closet. Now, for some people, 5 items a month may seem like a serious challenge while for others, it may be unheard of to purchase 60 pieces of clothing in a year. I think overall watching Kate helped inspire me to simply think before I bought. I often find myself shopping out of boredom or as a way to "feel better" when I'm in need of a pick me up. I found myself thinking through my purchases a bit more. Some of the things I asked myself include, "Is this something I'm only buying because it's on sale?" or "Is it really truly something I have wanted and will love.?"
Another influencer that spiked my interest a lot this year was @thismomsgonnasnap. Jaana has great style and has really opened up about shopping addiction and scaling back her purchases in a very thought provoking way.
I follow a lot of fashion bloggers on instagram for inspiration and while I love seeing all the looks, all the deals and styles, at times it felt so heavy. As if the amount of clothing in my closet could never be enough, as if owning that one more sweater or pair of cool shoes would make my wardrobe complete - but it never would be enough. I started following other bloggers that focused on capsule wardrobes and 10x10 challenges and my curiosity grew. Could I limit my closet? Could I shop a more minimal selection and feel fulfilled? I truly like getting dressed most days. Picking out outfits is fun to me and I wondered if having a smaller selection would be boring.
At the start of the new year I challenged myself to follow along with Kate and many others in the #JAN20X20 in which I selected 20 pieces of clothing to rotate, mix and match for the next 20 days. I chose to not include outerwear, accessories, shoes and athleisure pieces, but I know some do include those items as well. As this is my first real clothing challenge I didn't want to restrict myself too much and feel too limited. The process of choosing my 20 items in and of itself was eye-opening. The first 10 pieces were grabbed quickly - they were pieces I knew I loved. The love was about the fit, the versatility, the style and the way I felt in those pieces. The rest of my pieces were more challenging. I grabbed a bunch of contenders and then had to narrow down. Did I need a black blazer and a black cardigan? Which one would I get more use out of (spoiler- the cardi won, as I felt I could wear it as a top and open and I really don't like the fit of my blazer). I debated between black jeans, washed black jeans, black leggings, black cropped pants agh! Which to choose! I had my husband take a quick look at my pieces and he said,"Where's the color? It's so boring!" I reminded him my normal color pallete is pretty minimal, mostly black, gray, white, cream with some camel and cognac mixed in! I did add a pair of camo pants and a rusty colored blouse in after his comment.
The first ten days were easy, I pulled my favorites off the rack and felt good. By the second half of the challenge, I was bored with the rack of pieces. I kept looking at my closet and wanting to "shop" from it, rather than the garment rack I had been using for my pieces. In order to satisfy that itch, I took the pieces I was wanting to wear and missing, and moved them to the front of my closet so I knew they would be the pieces I could wear when I finished the challenge.
I think the key to choosing pieces for a capsule is versatility. You want to be able to mix and match pieces to create the maximum number of looks. I suggest starting with a color pallet. For me, I had camel, black, white and gray with a few pops added in. These are the colors that are most "me" and that I feel represent my style best. I considered my lifestyle for the 20 days I was going to be doing this challenge. Did I have any events, activities etc. I knew that I would be going to work and driving my kids around,but had no real "dress-up" events scheduled. That helped me in planning. I also used a separate garment rack to help pull the pieces and keep them separate from my closet. This helped with decision making and organization.
This is the garment rack I have and absolutely love!
In the end, I think this exercise really helped me narrow down my personal style essentials. which pieces I gravitated towards, which pieces I passed by and which pieces I could wear over and over and still be happy. I would say the winner of my 20x20 was my sweater blazer from J Crew. I adore this piece. It is versatile and can be dressed up or down. It is so comfortable but also really chic and sophisticated. If you don't own one of these yet - you should hop on over and order one!
Why you should try to create a capsule wardrobe:
Eliminates decision fatigue
helps you to recognize gaps in your wardrobe
helps you pick your favorite pieces and essentially define your style
can help you to eliminate pieces from your wardrobe with greater ease
can increase contentment with the pieces you have
Some Apps I'd recommend if you are looking to digitally plan and curate your closet:
Some books I'd recommend if you are interested in the capsule closet concept: