Thinking About a Capsule Wardrobe (Wardrobe Planning Post #6)

Ok, so in light of recent events, thinking about clothing and planning a wardrobe has an almost trivial feel.  On the other hand, the mundane act of sorting my email made me feel so much more in control of my own life that I can only imagine the boost I could get from interacting with the colors and fabrics and patterns I so enjoy.  My process of self-reflection really isn’t going to help much in terms of the challenges I see coming.  But maybe it will help me feel more confident, and maybe that will help me be a stronger person in the future.  Or maybe it is all an exercise in trivial futility.  Either way I suppose life marches on, and we should all try to derive joy where we can.  So I will continue to think and post about sewing here, because it gives me some small sense of joy, and right now I’ll take whatever boosts to the morale that I can.

So on to the actual wardrobe planning post:

I’ve known that I have been wanting to update my wardrobe for a while now.  Partly because I feel like I never stopped dressing like a college kid, partly because I know most of my clothes have gotten to the point where the fabric is ready to give way.  And, well, to be honest I feel like I’ve amassed this large collection of clothes that really have nothing to do with each other over the many years of my existence.  There are pieces I like, but there aren’t a lot of pieces I like together.  So I’m thinking that maybe this whole capsule wardrobe idea might not be the worst.  I found this really great flowchart on Into Mind that seems to indicate that, yes, I’d benefit from a capsule wardrobe, but that I’m going to have to build up some of the key pieces I want since I don’t really have a lot of them yet:


Additionally, going through the exercises has been really fun this past month or so, and it has been a great exercise in really getting me to think about creating outfits as a whole, as opposed to thinking about individual sewing patterns that would look cool.  So the idea of taking it one step further and thinking about pieces that interact well seems like fun too.

Putting this into a sewing perspective, I tend to get most excited about the ooh, shiny!  But, if I can see how I’d wear something immediately after making it, that might help me get a bit more excited about slightly more mundane pieces too.  And, to be honest, I’d really like to make a lot of the pieces I’m thinking about.  All my me-mades fit so much better than 90% of my store bought stuff (at least, at the time of making they do).  Plus, I’ve got a huge stash to work from.  The limiting factor for me is time.  So I sort of need to be realistic about how much time I’ve got to make things vs. how soon I need to replenish things in the current wardrobe.  Which is sort of why I’m thinking I should take the rest of this year to plan, with the hopes of actually starting construction around the end of January.  If I start sewing for a spring/summer wardrobe, then I should have something capsule-ish built up around the time the weather turns.  I’m also in need of new athletic wear, so I’m thinking to do a split of one wardrobe piece/one specialty piece per month, with possibly a few additional wardrobe items if I do something fast, like tops.  I’m not really at the actual planning of sewing yet, but it is something to keep in mind as I progress through the more finalized stages of this process.

According to the Week 9 Sewing Architect, I should focus on silhouettes for the capsule wardrobe.  I think my silhouettes were pretty obvious from my polyvore-happy post – it’s all about the wide legged or flared trousers, skinny jeans, knit tops, cardigans, tailored jackets, and occasional maxi dress and pencil skirt.  Even among the “different” exploratory looks, it is pretty narrowed down as is.  I’ve realized I’d like to add one additional silhouette to the summer collections though:


I always tend to like the way dresses with fuller skirts look on me, and I’m thinking that it would be pretty versatile if I made it in a more casual fabric – it could look great under a blazer or a denim jacket, or even on its own.

So for spring/summer my top silhouette styles are:

  • Dresses: maxi, circle/pleated skirt, sheath
  • Pants: skinny jeans, flare jeans, wide-legged trouser
  • Tops: t-shirts, tank tops
  • Jackets: denim, blazer, (bomber?)

And for fall/winter:

  • Dresses: sheath
  • Skirts: pencil
  • Pants: flare jeans, skinny jeans, wide-legged trouser
  • Tops: fitted long-sleeve t-shirt, v-necks, turtlenecks
  • Jackets: cardigans, loose sweaters, moto, winter coat (duffle, trench, fitted)

So I’m going to consider that phase of the challenge accomplished.

In Week 10, I’m supposed to narrow down the color palette I came up with previously.  Let’s just say I’ve spent a fair bit of time on this.  Like, way too much time.  I tried doing it multiple ways – picking neutrals and figuring out what goes best with them.  Then picking out the statement colors and working backwards.  Oddly, while I enjoying looking at the color palettes I made featuring all the colors from the previous exercise, I’m having a hard time narrowing them down to a mixed palette that I like.  Perhaps its the colors I used – they are, in hindsight, a bit drab.  Although accurate to the sorts of colors I tend to wear, they just don’t look as vibrant as I’d like on the computer screen.  Maybe its proportion – colors I’d consider as a pop or accent take over the palette when viewed in equal sizes.  Or maybe its that I need more colors in a palette?  Perhaps I should use Into Mind’s formula of 3 main colors + 4 accent colors + 2 neutrals instead of the Wardrobe Architect formula of 3 neutrals + 2 near-neutrals + 2 statement colors?

Here’s what I came up with using the WA formula:


And here’s what I got using the Into Mind formula:


Maybe it’s just the proportions.  Or maybe it is the less strict segregation of colors, but for some reason I’m really digging the Into Mind palette combos I’ve come up with, while I’m very blasé about the WA combos.  Of the Into Mind palatte combos, I’m thinking #1, 4, 6, and 7 would be good for spring/summer, whereas #2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 8 would be great for a fall wardrobe.

I’m not sure I’ve really settled on a palette yet (feel free to offer me advice in the comments!), but I’m thinking that, since I need to do a major closet clean out, I’ll make a more definitive choice about colors after I see what I’ve already got to work with.  The next stage in the Wardrobe Architect is to “shop your closet.”  I think it going to be more of a grand culling session, but, sure, “shop.”  My sister and I have planned a grand closet clean out day, to be celebrated by doing this anti-shopping over the Black Friday weekend, though this may be complicated if Thanksgiving wears us out excessively much.  But, as it stands, there is a day scheduled for a grand closet purge, to be followed by the annual viewing of Love Actually. Gotta love holiday traditions, right?

Anyway, rambling aside, I’m likely going to be away from the blog for at least a week (I’ve got a birthday, an anniversary, and Thanksgiving all in the next week – likely with fun photo updates via my Instagram), but I hopefully shall return with an update from the great closet purge by the end of the month.  Wish me luck, feel free to give me color advice, and Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

8 thoughts on “Thinking About a Capsule Wardrobe (Wardrobe Planning Post #6)

  1. My selection from the choices available:
    For spring / summer : Orchid, mint, blue, white, light grey, and pastel orange
    For fall: Light grey, black, blood red, navy, olive, and chocolate brown
    You should go with the shades that suit you.
    all the best for the new wardrobe!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You clearly have a knack for putting together polypore outfits that make me want to own everything! I find it impossible to stick to any kind of colour scheme, but I am drawn to the ones that allow you to have more colours!!

    Liked by 1 person

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