There are a lot of big changes happening in my life right now (quitting my long-term job, moving across the country, !!!) so in order to distract myself and feel some measure of control over my life I’m obsessing over the idea of creating a CAPSULE WARDROBE. I first started thinking about it when I came across the blog Un-Fancy, a super cute, unpretentious fashion blog all about creating and wearing your very own capsule wardrobe.
What is a capsule wardrobe, you might ask? Caroline from Un-Fancy defines it as “a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear.” Basically, you cull all of the crap you don’t use out of your life, and stick with less stuff, but stuff that you actually need. I’ve been especially mulling over the idea of making more with less now that I have to sift through all of the junk I’ve accumulated over the past 3.5 years of my life in NYC and figure out what I actually want to bring back with me to LA. Maybe it’s the commitment-phobe in me, but I like the idea of being able to pack up at a moments notice and take off to wherever I need to go.
There are a few things that particularly appeal to me about the capsule wardrobe:
1) It’s anti-consumerist, and fights the idea of quantity over quality. In the era of (buzzword-alert!) FAST FASHION we’ve grown so accustomed to buying cheap crap we don’t need just because we can, because we feel like there’s some void within us that we can fill with piles and piles of STUFF. Committing to a capsule wardrobe forces you to carefully consider your shopping choices, and reduces the probability of buying something you don’t have any use for.
2) It’s been scientifically proven (somewhere, don’t ask me to look it up) that having too many choices can make you less happy, and this has definitely proven true for me in terms of my wardrobe. For a long time I’ve bought things that stick out to me in the moment, but don’t actually integrate into my wardrobe very well. Every morning I open my closet and am faced with so many PATTERNS and COLORS and different designs and aesthetics and it honestly stresses me out. I’ve noticed that I’m much happier when I travel and am forced to bring a smaller amount of versatile clothing from which I can create multiple outfits.
3) Because my closet is so schizophrenic, I feel like it doesn’t really represent who I am as a person. As a creative (ugh) I like to think of my clothes as another way to express myself, so it actually feels like cognitive dissonance when I wear an outfit that doesn’t feel like ME. (First world problems much?)
So, being super obsessive and whatnot, I’ve been agonizing over how to create a capsule wardrobe for myself. Through Un-Fancy I found a link to an amazingly detailed and organized instructional website called Into Mind which is basically a wet dream for OCD detail-oriented people like me. This beautifully designed site lays out the roadmap to the perfect capsule wardrobe through Six Pillars of Wardrobe Building:
1) Define your personal style
2) Develop a signature look
3) Wardrobe structure
4) Creating outfits
5) Wardrobe organization
6) Streamline your beauty routine
I’ve decided to use these pillars as a rough guide to my own personal journey through the world of capsule wardrobes. However, I’m also determined NOT to go crazy (so hard!) and get too caught up in the details and nitty gritty of everything (SERIOUSLY SO HARD!!!). I’ve noticed that one of the cardinal rules many capsuling peeps follow is to have a specific number of pieces in their wardrobe. For Un-Fancy it’s 37, for Into Mind it’s somewhere between 30-40. Knowing myself, this restriction will literally drive me insane and I will get all caught up in this one specific thing and neglect the larger idea of the capsule wardrobe, which is to ONLY HAVE CLOTHES THAT YOU ACTUALLY WEAR. So yes. I’m electing to ignore that.
BACK TO THE PILLARS, I’m devoting one blog post per pillar (or more, like I said, I’m keepin’ this loose) so I’m starting with PERSONAL STYLE! This step is the easiest and most fun for me, because I’m addicted to Pinterest and already have a good sense of what my aesthetic is. As recommended by both Into Mind and Un-Fancy, I started with a mood board of outfits I can personally see wearing, then broke it down to find patterns. Being an analytical person, this was both fun and terrifying because I take things wayyy too seriously and gleaned way too many patterns and such from my mood boards, which I have collected here as a handy reference for both you and me!
NUMBER ONE: SIMPLE RETRO MINI SILHOUETTE
It’s no secret that the sixties are my favorite era for pretty much everything, but mostly for fashion. I love the short hems, the A-line mini-skirts, the color-blocking, the bold shapes, the tights down to the mid-high heel…I also know that these silhouettes work well for me, being a Twiggy-sized person. I think this moodboard represents the basic silhouette I’m going for: clean lines, short hem with long legs.
NUMBER TWO: MONOCHROME PATTERN MIXING
A twist on my basic silhouette. Another thing I love about the sixties are the bold patterns, especially in black and white. I love stripes, checks, houndstooth… Also, when the patterns are monochrome, you can mix them together without it looking too crazy, and god knows I love me some pattern-mixing.
NUMBER THREE: PUNK SCHOOLGIRL
Another variation on the basic silhouette: schoolgirl style and/or punk style. I’ve always loved the idea of a uniform, so school uniforms have always appealed to me. I also love the patterns involved — plaid, argyle — as well as the fun accessories — satchels, berets, knee-high socks. I also love punk-inspired looks, adding some edge to what could be cloying sweetness with the schoolgirl look. Hosiery and make-up are key here — rip up some fishnet stockings, smudge some black eyeliner around your eyes, and you’re good to go.
NUMBER FOUR: MENSWEAR & TROUSERS
The previous boards are all based around skirts; this is my trouser board. With trousers I favor a good menswear look, especially in layering a white collared shirt with a crewneck sweater (also very schoolgirl) with a very masculine coat and menswear shoes (oxfords, Chelsea boots, monk shoes). This can go either with skinny jeans (a perennial favorite) or looser trousers. For a more casual look, pair a baggy sweater or sweatshirt with skinny jeans, or do a casual plain shirt with some oversized Levi’s. None of these looks are particularly feminine — I do favor androgyny.
NUMBER FIVE: LONG MINIMAL LINES
I think of this as my post-punk board; very dark and minimalist and looooong. I’ve found myself drawn to midi-skirts yet somehow I DON’T OWN ONE. I clearly like pairing them with long, loose sweaters, creating one long continuous line down the body. I also like the long, clean minimal look with trousers — keep everyone one color to, again, create the long line from your head to toe. Make sure everything is dark in order to maximize goth-ness.
NUMBER SIX: GIRLY STUFF
But it isn’t all so dark and gloomy! I do enjoy a feminine edge, mostly through mixing light-colored textures. It’s not over the top girly, it just adds a bit of softness.
To sum up my six insanely detailed boards: I like juxtaposition, not making anything too hard or too soft. I like an androgynous edge, but mixed with some feminine details. I don’t want to go too twee with the sixties-inspired looks, which is where the punk and post-punk details come in. I also like juxtaposition in my proportions: short skirts with long legs and color-blocking, baggy shirts with skinny pants, long but slim, etc. So while this all may seem a bit wide-ranging, I can see the connecting throughlines and patterns through all six moodboards.
Up next is the signature look–I can already see it coming together just from this first little exercise. Stay tuned for more in THE ADVENTURES OF THE CAPSULE WARDROBE!