It’s no secret that keeping your wardrobe organised and updated, is a huge money saver. Especially for women. We are ( generally, I’m speaking for myself ) more sensitive to clothing, looks, and are easily tricked by marketing, addressing insecurities we might have.
And organised clothing system means that in this field, you can easily separate wants from needs. I’m not saying it is easy haha. But it’s nice to have an overview and at least recognise what you really need, and what you really want.
Last week, I finally pulled my capsule wardrobe for summer together. I started capsule wardrobing almost five years ago. I wasn’t doing it to manage my money better at that time. I was selling vintage on a weekly basis at markets as a side hustle, and I desperately was in need of a good system to keep my own clothes organised and not want to keep every other dress I was going to sell, for myself. At the time, I was trying to make only one capsule that was going to last me the whole year ( by mostly layering techniques). But I gave up on that. The weather in Belgium changes so frequently that it’s hard not to make 4 seasonal capsules. I think the most reasonable solution is one capsule or one wardrobe, and a rack with clothes to add or pull out for instance really heavy and really light clothes , or 2 capsules. One for spring and summer and one for fall and winter. I currently have chosen the last option.
If you manage to have one compact closet with items that work for many occasions and many temperatures, I would love to find out how that works! In the mean time. Culling my wardrobe last week and keeping only essentials and great pieces ( will blog about this at a later time to show you how it looks like – if I manage to refresh my photoshop skills haha) made me think about the first capsule wardrobe I made 5 years ago. So I managed to find the post that was on one of my previous blogs.
First of all, it really baffles me, how much my style has changed and how little of these pieces I still own out of that capsule . And this was only five years ago! Mission NOT completed! Because a capsule wardrobe is supposed to be a bit more sustainable. Speaking of sustainable. As I said, I was very much in to vintage. I’ve always been. I’ve been sourcing vintage since I was 19 years old while studying in Ghent. People that knew me then, and are all reading this. I see you nodding ( like, yeah, you where the weird one…with the crazy clothes) . Vintage was not in trend at that time ( 20 years ago!). So I don’t know how many times I regretted not starting a shop then.
I had heaps of vintage clothes, but I think the fact that, when I bought vintage, that I might one day sell my item, kinda held me back from only using vintage. It sounds insane, but back then when I was selling vintage on a regular basis, I knew when I bought new, I wouldn’t have to think about it going to the shop or feeling guilty to keep it to myself when I should have been selling it really. Selling things you secretly really love so much, gave me so much headache. I think it’s better to sell something you aren’t too attached to. Vintage is different, because it’s one of a kind, so if you sell it, the chances of ever getting or finding it back, are close to zero. Only for that reason, I find that a lot of vintage sellers underprice their items.
Unfortunately, we can’t go back in time. But If I had the chance, I’d definitely buy more sustainable brands. These days it’s “easy “to find sustainable alternatives. Although you’ve still gotta do some research and putt some effort in it. But five years ago, sustainable brands were a bit more upcoming. I don’t recall bloggers wearing sustainable that much, or adds on Facebook or instagram by sustainable clothing brands.
While I review this old blogpost I will highlight my current thoughts on this process in pink.
I will also mention the sustainable brands that I would buy now instead ( no affiliate links ). And mostly these brands, because ethically made and made out of quality materials, do charge you a bit more for their product. So this also forces you to be thoughtful of what your really need, or want …I mean, playing with different styles is nice, if it’s in your budget. Either way, it forces you to put more thought into what you wear.
The environmental impact of the clothing industry is huge, there is no question, but it’s also about finding a balance in your life, to put thought into what you buy, but not to the extreme that you’d get headaches about that.
Overall, I think buying second hand, thrifting, vintage buying and buying sustainable is a very good and doable combo. Whereas a decade back, it was very hard to find ethically made jeans. I think Nudie jeans was the first at that time. Businesses have made a lot easier for the consumer to find ethically made and to have a choice range within that section since then.
Thus, back to the capsule I made years ago…
There are definitely some things in here, and a lot of high street brands, I wouldn’t ever buy again. Like really trendy pieces, for instance the pants with the embroidered flowers. Although, this item is still alive. I know where it is. It’s in France, my universal dump place for all my unworn, lesser loved stuff. I gave it to my mum, hoping she will wear it. I keep it there hoping I will wear it there when I’m on vacation, which I don’t, and years later we donate it to a neighbour there ( that probably also donates it…). Not a good solution. It’s better to buy second hand, vintage and ecological clothes you actually will wear for a long long time.
This process requires a lot of thought and insight in one self. Hence all these posts on capsule wardrobing that will probably help you out a lot. Even if you are not capsule wardrobing, this process does help you understand you better, who you are, what you stand for, what you’d like to wear, how’d you like to be seen by the world. And thus helps you to make the right sustainable choices. They who say that dressing is not important and a vain activity, I have to say, you are wrong. Dressing is a cultural thing, an economical thing, an historical thing a political thing and the first thing people judge you by when you walk into a room. So no matter what you try to achieve or what you would like to stand for, dressing will always play a huge part in life and in society. If you are interested in capsule wardrobing… I have written many posts on how to capsule wardrobe and the different stages on how to achieve a great capsule. It’s a lot of work- It’s not just culling your wardrobe, because dressing is entangled with, your function in society, how you spend your time, emotions , sentiment… It has many many layers. If you are willing to do the work and are interested. I will post them soon on the blog.
Yatayatayata… Lett’s get on with it, shall we?
Lett’s flashback like we’re MartyMc Fly!
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I’ve made my first real capsule, here’s how it went…
Whoa guys, this first capsule was so much harder than I thought, and so much work. ( Especially all this photoshopping and picture taking for one blogpost!( haha) Although and this is a tip, It really pays off to have an inventory of pics in you in different outfits on your phone or laptop in case you have to rush to get dressed or don’t know what to wear. So it was worth it! I’d do it again in a heartbeat! )I’ll explain myself further later. So, let’s break this capsule down first…
So these are my tops
As you can see, below the item I’ve written the first two letters of the season that the item is appropriate for. I’ve ended up with 21 tops. This is mainly because I wasn’t strict enough about the capsule thing. Yes, and I also pulled out a few items a clown only would wear, like the striped long sleeve with the bright red dots, and that Minnie shirt by Eleven Paris, is something I still have, but also don’t wear. I wouldn’t buy this again( especially because it’s Topshop. I can’t believe I wasted money on Topshop). So I would definitely go for a bit toned down items. Although my summer capsule now is very me and is not plain, boring or monochrome at all!…. I know it’s not a numbers game. I’m mainly using capsule wardrobing to put more thought into my closet and to free myself from items I don’t wear. I also don’t feel like the above is me, neither is this a cohesive set of clothes.
But the problem is this, Belgium has some shifting weather ( Nothing changed here, oh yeah, It got a bit warmer over all – aka not positive for all climate change and issues )you guys. We go from mornings when it’s 3 degrees to 20 degrees at noon. It’s tricky, come spring and we all thinks things are going to be just superb and hot for the rest of the month, then surprisingly temperatures drop close to zero and there’s the rain and storm and cold winds.This spring top section has cashmere sweaters in it as well as light weight t-shirts which I find kind of insane. Yes it is. This is like Belgium the whole way through. The politics and the temperature of this country is definitely reflected in your wardrobe. But I can’t figure out a good solution to this problem. I still can’t. If you live in a country where the weather shifts and you have found a solution, please share your thoughts on this in the comments.
Maybe I should keep the items that aren’t for spring out of my capsule but close by on a rack? Not a bad idea, I think I ended up doing that at that time.
How do you guys deal with the temperature shift? Actually the only sane thing is… make 2 capules, one for fall and winter and one for spring and summer. It’s the only solution.
Then there is always the problem of layering. By layering, most items can pretty much cover all seasons. What about those items? Layering is great but you can’t layer over everything. Some fabrics are for summer or winter only. layering can be great when using summer items for spring or fall items for winter …
And what about items that are actually for winter and fall but are trendy and can also cover all seasons, like my two checkered flanel shirts that I’ve put away because I was a bit tired of wearing them all fall and winter? Yeah, keep your checkered flannels in storage in summer, only Kardashians wear them over a tank top in the Californian sun …You’ll get tired of your winter stuff although if you really are set out to keep a very small minimal closet that works for all seasons, this will work. But I am curious if people with only one small wardrobe don’t ever get tired of wearing the same thing. If this speaks to you, please comment below.
If you want to make the most out of your clothes, isn’t it easier to just keep them in your closet? Yes! definitely! Keep them in your closet, or a second closet stored, ironed and on a hanger, save yourself all this work from pulling them out of boxes or from under your bed or vacuum storage. I don’t know this” idiot “that started doing this on YouTube or saying this in blogpost. It’s clear that over the years, I have done way too much ironing and folding and arranging, haha. I just want things to be easily organised now.
Then there’s the items that aren’t for the appropriate season per se, but they make a cute top on a jeans on a skirt when you have a party or an evening date ? Yeah – Also a good idea is to have your main capsule but have also a special occasions, and homeward- sport wear capsule … Or, what I’ve been thinking of doing: creating a capsule with year round pieces but having a rack where I keep my super warm clothes ( like heavy knits, but the last winters were too hot so I just layered , so… and my extreme light clothes ( like a little romper for summer for instance ) and my home / sport wear and occasions. Something like that seems also very manageable.
And is there ever a LBD that covers summer & winter? Because yes ,it’s black but the material can be thicker or lighter which makes it appropriate for that season. I’m thinking only a black lace dress can go from spring to fall and anything in between. Or a silk one . But it’s actually not a bad idea, as said, to make an occasional capsule collection. Especially if you have regular date nights or have to go on business meetings regularly.
What about those longsleeves? I needed to invest in them. Every year I buy black cheap ones from h &m and they are washed out and grey, and by the end of winter ( since I’ve worn them since fall ) no longer fun to wear. So I’ve invested in longsleeves from the French brand American Vintage. Not necessarily cheap, but so worth it quality wise and they a have a great outlet shop online. I’m not convinced by their quality anymore, since I don’t own them anymore and have invested in long sleeve body’s for winter. They stay in place, especially if you’e sporting or riding a bike, you don’t have a crack of skin that is uncovered suddenly somewhere. Now I would definitely choose the brand WORON OR ORGANIC BASICS for long sleeves or soft underwear.
From left to right.
Michael Kors cashmere short sleeve turtleneck . old.
Polkadot and khaki button down from H en M. old.
H en M see through long sleeve. NEW.
Vila black knitted tee. Old
Striped polkadot sweater TOPSHOP. NEW.
See Through Flower blouse TOPSHOP. NEW.
Ruffled sweater TOPSHOP. NEW.
Cut out black top TOPSHOP. NEW.
Then the next section : Everything from American Vintage ( NEW) except the striped Minnie Mouse T-shirt : Eleven Paris. old.
Cashmere striped turtleneck. Old
Embroidered blouse ZARA. NEW.
Grey turtleneck COS. Old.
Lace top H&M. NEW.
Right now, I for sure would not buy TOPSHOP or ZARA or I don’t know. I would definitely keep it simple and buy an all-time favourite of mine which is EVERLANE. They sell very simple styles that last a lifetime and the quality is great.
Which brings us to the outer layers
Here we have an American Vintage cardigan in coffee. That’s the official name of the color, which is partly the reason why I bought it online, It doesn’t take that much sometimes apparently. The only problem is, I bought it online and although I like it and it said that it was for spring, it’s thicker than I thought. The material is more itchy too. I decided to keep it for the first month of spring keeping in mind that it will go perfectly in my next winter capsule since I was lacking cardigans there.
The grey cardigan is also new, I have to confess there was a lack of cardigans throughout my whole wardrobe. And it still is. I think cardigans are great layering pieces that can be used in all seasons. So the trick is to get the right style in a great material ( for instance cashmere if you can afford this …) and in a thickness that can be used for all seasons, when layering up or down.
But then I’ve included this blazer that I couldn’t part with. Everyone and anyone told me ” Really? Are you donating this? It’s such a staple piece and it’s in such great shape. I have had it for years, since I was in college. It wasn’t expensive, but there was nothing wrong with it. Then after trying to wear it again this weekend I finally figured out why it wasn’t working. It was too classic. It wasn’t oversized, there was nothing special a bit off about it, and I didn’t like the material. I sold that blazer eventually. I think, if a piece is not working, if for some reason you are not wearing it. If you still aren’t wearing it after consciously trying to integrate it with your day to day wardrobe, you have to sell or donate. You’re never going to get your money back. It’s just sitting there doing nothing.
I realized I felt much happier in my grey vintage eighties oversized blazer. I do need to find other less cheap looking buttons for it though, but that’s it. At the end. I sold the grey one too. Because guess what. Altering clothes is only good if you are really honestly going to putt the time and effort in. I didn’t wear the grey because the cheap white buttons, and I didn’t take the time or invested the money ( beautiful buttons are not cheap) to get it altered. You should only buy things you are completely 100 pct happy with.
So I’m not going to stress about finding a black one. I’m sure I’m fine without it and the grey will be perfect to mix and match. And if a perfect oversized edgy blazer comes my way, who knows.
Then the handmade oversized cardigans. Does anyone wear these under their coat in winter? And if yes, how? Still a problem, I use these sort of cardigans mainly indoors when I feel chilly.... It’s also not right, and this is a mistake many make, to shift our outerwear to homeward because something doesn’t work. It’s leaves you with a huge pile of homeward you’re actually not content with. So it’s also better to donate or sell, in that case. Because I feel like I’m suffocating each time. So instead I’m wearing them as a coat early in the morning when going to work. I’ve noticed them being too warm though at noon and early evening. We’ll see. I’m not sure if they don’t itch, I’m fussy about this. This means they are only early spring and late fall appropriate, but then on the upside, I will never have to wash them. Itchy clothes, also a big mistake. I didn’t wear it even with something layered under.
The adidas vest is an odd one, but not really. I like funky and colorful things ,but how do you integrate them in a capsule that has items that are supposed to go with everything? Currently I’m also thinking of selling these, I feel like I outgrew them.
First, the two cardigans
*Coffee: American Vintage
Pink and white oversized cardigan: Handmade
Black blazer: Vila
Grey blazer: Vintage
Jacket: adidas supergirl jacket
Leather jacket : Not sure if it’s really my style, the sleeves are to long. It’s a bomber style and it hits at a weird place at my waste. But it was expensive, we’ll see. I think I’d get more wear out of a biker style leather jacket. I got the sleeves tailored, because I wear and like the jacket and it’s leather. It’s wasn’t expensive though, I got it at the time at an outlet.
Jean jacket : It’s too small. Can’t close it. I just kept it there so that I could find a replacement and work with it in the meanwhile. I sold it in the end
Does anyone do this? Wait until we find something beter? I mean our budget’s aren’t unlimited right? Yes. It’s better to move slowly and make small changes that last. Or, sell things and with that budget buy a few new items. Or do a no buy year until you know what you’d like to change in your wardrobe.
Then we have a blushed beige pink mid lenght trenchcoat ( bought that for a themed twenties party and re sold it.( Don’t buy occasional things, it’s not worth it…) and a long blue one. Notting to add there. I also have a vintage Burberry ( sold it ) that I love but still feel weird wearing to work because it instantly dresses you up. I should get over that.
Then the army jacket. Such a trendy piece. Need to customise this with some cool but cute patches. Oh yeah, a trend piece, I have another vintage one now… I’m still not sure about it 🙂 Might sell it. It’s not a classic style, essential piece.
Leather vest: Maison Scotch ( super old)
Jean jacket: Circle of Trust ( super old)
Blush trench : Mango ( old)
Blue trench: H en M ( old)
Army jacket: Vintage
There is work to do in this department.
From left to right.
A designer dress from Kaat Tilley ( super old) that I haven’t worn but it’s in my closet for 5 years. Oh my god, still haven’t worn this one. If I don’t wear this in the summer of 2020, I will sell it. I need to try to style this. It’s not hard, but I kinda always forgot about this and then the season was over. So I decided to give it a last go this season.
Black Topshop knot blouse dress: Perfect! Perfect! I couldn’t be happier with this black spring dress. And I know I have a silk black one from Pepe jeans for summer too, so the fact alone that I have this LBD covered for the next two seasons makes me happy. The black one from Pepe jeans in silk is still in my closet but the topshop one I sold. Because it it was very short. I had splits on the side. My mum commented on that while I was visiting them in France, and she was right. I didn’t feel completely comfortable sitting down and that short dress with the splits riding up.
Vintage see through butterfly dress: I love it, but I haven’t worn it? Why? This one also makes perfect as a blouse on a jean of skirt. SO WHY THE HELL NOT? Maybe it’s too fancy to wear to work and I didn’t have the chance to wear it out. Still have it, still haven’t worn it although it looks super nice on me… so strange …Even as a blouse tucked in a long black skirt, it would be nice.
Vintage striped dress that I haven’t worn and don’t now how I feel about. I wore it heaps but it got ruined because I was nonchalant with bleach while cleaning.
I do have a wide range of vintage summer dresses. For some reason they are much easier to find. I like poppy colors & designs. But in between dresses and winter dresses, nah not much. I find the styles less appealing. So where there’s a lack here, there will be an overload in summer. But it still doen’t fix my dress problem for the other season.
I’m curious to see if and what I will actually wear.
I still find it too cold for bare legs but too hot for panties, thats an obstacle. How do you guys fix this? Still have no solution for that …
Ah yes. The jumpsuits. Also a big gamble and here’s why.
Exhibit A has been in my closet forever. It’s a very thick wrangler vintage jean jumpsuit. You can only wear this alone, and that’s the tricky part, wearing it before the moment is over aka you only have the month in spring where it’s not too cold but not too hot and the same goes for fall. I just have to be able to catch the month that’s the end of summer and the beginning of fall. And wear it!
Exhibit B is a new one from Topshop that I got because a black topshop one wasn’t flattering me although I’ve tried it in 2 different sizes and my boyfriend liked this one. I do too. But now I’m wondering how to style it because it’s definitely for spring and summer but meanwhile the fabric of this jumpsuit is so thick and I feel it’s more of a fall and winter color. So I wrote this down for all seasons. I think It could pass if I style it with a cute button up or a jacket.
Exhibit C The dungarees from ONLY that I wore way too little.So let’s give them a go again this season.
The thing with jumpsuits is that you can only wear them a very brief moment in spring or fall, when it’s not too hot and not too cold. They’re super cute and stylish but you have to seize the moment and wear them when it’s time. I only own the long sleeve vintage jumpsuit and I do wear it yearly, so it can stay.
My lord. My closet was low aka non existent on skirts, shorts, black leggings, black leather pants/ leggings. I don’t know why I hadn’t figured this out before.
I survived on low quality jeans that hit at the wrong spot at my waist for the longest time, but now it’s over. Hallelujah! No, then it wasn’t over. Now it’s over. I have 3 straight pairs of Kings of Indigo that I love love love, and wear and have worn the whole time.
I’m happy with all of these and I think I will take these with me from spring to summer to fall to winter. I’m only doubting if I will be able to style the vintage skirt in winter.
I’ve survived without black high waisted jeans, leggings, faux leather all these years. I know. But 5 years later. I find that I hardly wear the skirts. The beige daim one is sold, jeans.. I have 3 good kings of indigo jeans – one maison scotch jeans and one very old topshop boyfriend jeans that I love to wear, and that’s it. These jeans I wear the most, no matter how many skirts you’ll find in my closet. This is mostly due to the weather shifts and the fact that I’m cold easily and that you’ll see me wearing skirts and dresses the most in summer, without legging/ panties and winter, with panties. In spring and fall, I just don’t know how to deal with this. If you have some tips, please enlighten me 🙂
Leather black mini : Topshop
Suede mini: Vintage
Long skirt: Vintage
Cropped pants: Topshop
Jamie moto jeans: Topshop
Cropped torn pants: Zara
Baby blue jeans: H en M
Leather pants : Topshop
From left to right: Kiomi, Vans, Adidas, Zign, Zign, Zign, Zign, Clarks, Clarks.
So finally, shoes! Luckily I’ve invested in these pairs last year and the year before. I love Clarks they are still the most comfortable and quality shoes I’ve worn so far. This year though I found they carried less trendy styles in their range so searched online for brands that had size 42 and were in the same price range. I found Zign and Kiomi. So far I’m happy to have found quality shoes that weren’t too expensive.
I still own shoes I hardly wear. I think I’m going to give them to my mum, if I think it’s her style. Also I would say to my younger self to buy fair trade shoes, like Veja, or shoes from Everlane, or handmade by small businesses. And less sneakers, which is still on trend and was then too. But off course , here again, it’s better to wear what you already own than to just buy new just because it’s fairly made. Out of the above I only wear 3 pairs. 2 are worn out by wearing them a lot. 1 I gave to my mum. 2 I never wear, so should give to my mum. And actually the 3 I still wear out of this bunch don’t fit my style that much anymore. Okay, In case you think this is just another justification for new purchases. It’s not. But I really have to put some thought into my shoes and really just donate what I haven’t been wearing for the past six or seven years guys…
I have a really active job so I need flat shoes but I don’t always want to wear sneakers. I’m actually not such a fan of the sporty look although I find they look real cool under skirts. It’s true, I had a very active job, and that changed completely last year. Which explains me buying and running around in sneakers and not using my heels or nice shoes. That’s where all the brainwork comes in. A capsule should be about what you will wear at your job, in your free time etc etc, so how you spend your time and acknowledging that, is super important. What would you do, as a frugal person, store the good nice office shoes until you get an opportunity to wear them, or donate?
I don’t think there will be a problem in this department. The only thing that’s weird is that I’ve kept the white boots and the brown ones mainly for spring and summer the whole time & now I want too look in to taking them the whole year through. To be continued.
This wasn’t easy at all but the process does pay off even if you end up with a capsule that’s not perfect. You get to learn a lot about yourself, your wardrobe and style. Yes, and then again, these are all factors that can change. You can get into a new line of work, you can get more sporty than you where, which means your wardrobe will change. No matter how much effort you’ve put in to this. So take it lightly. Also who you were 5 years ago is not the same person who you are now. Besides fashion changing, the truth is that you change too. This is a natural process and clothes are a reflection of who we are or how we want to be perceived, so don’t take everything too serious.
I realise, you best only invest in items that are real classics. Because your style will change and your life.
Looking back at this post, that I can really give away more or sell more than I thought. Because, honestly, if I’m not even wearing certain items I’ve had for over 5 years, I’m not going to now. I guess if this is the case for me, then the chances are that you’ve also had items in your capsule that you never wore. What did you do with them? Did you try to wear them and make it work after all?
By the end of this post I came to realize it’s better to stock my longsleeves and itchy coffee winter cardigan for winter just aswel.
I must put more thought to adding vintage and colorful clothes since I love them so much. This being said, the overall vibe is that when I have gotten my four seasons down I will try to add more statement pieces to my 4 seasons. I’m trying to skip the color coding in my closet, we’ll see what we end up with.
There must be a capsule with items that can be worn on date and girlfriends night outs. I can keep these in my closet at all times even if they are not season appropriate. Yes, make a occasion wear capsule.
It’s handy to have a LBD in case of need so I will make sure all my seasons have one and I’ll try to search for one that can be worn all year through and add them to my going out capsule.
Maybe I have to eliminate the items that I’m not completely happy with, are too small etc. Maybe I have to try to make it without them instead of making them work until I find something to replace them with…. I’m not sure. In some cases it’s better to have something than nothing. Because if you have nothing, it means that you might buy something new before having the budget.
Layering pieces is a tricky one……
We aren’t there just yet but I had so much fun in the process…still so much to learn. I do think I’m going to be happy getting a closet down where I wear almost every item and that I appropriate for a multitude of activities and climate changes..
I feel like I’ve learned a thing or two over the years because my capsule is more to where I want it to be, but still I could be doing better.
Like I said, maybe it’s not bad to to a no spend year, make lists – thoughts on what I want & need, cull my wardrobe after the no spend year and replace. I feel like, since I’m turning 40 next year and I’ve grown as a human in lots of ways, that my closet should be a reflection of that.
I’d love to hear your opinion/ stories on capsule wardrobing.