I feel like Janice was blogging from inside my head last week. She published this post on editing a seasonal capsule wardrobe right after I wrapped up the first half of my winter capsule challenge.
I thought I would apply her process of analysis to my capsule and see what emerged. Spoiler alert: It was VERY helpful!
The biggest surprise for me was realizing that the core group of clothes that I am wearing heavily is actually quite a bit smaller than my overall capsule. The analysis also shows that the color scheme in practice is different from the color scheme in theory. I had already suspected this latter point, and in some ways this exercise confirms a lot of what I had previously figured out. But I do think it was helpful. I feel a lot more clarity about how to evolve the capsule from here.
I was committed to going through the whole process step by step, but I will say that I am not sure it is necessary to take pictures of your clothes in these different arrangements. I had already gleaned most of my conclusions just from listing out the items in various categories, so I may skip the photos in the future (they are time consuming). However you DO need to be willing to track your wears.
I am mostly posting this for my own accountability/edification (I know it is long!) but if you have observations or comments I would love to hear them!
For reference, photos 1 and 2 are photos of clothing items in my capsule that I posted at the beginning of the challenge. So that’s our starting point. These photos contain 33 items of clothing.
Step 1 of the analysis is to sort items in the capsule by how often they have been worn.
photo 3: unworn items. black knit skirt, black/cream lace print cardi, gray tunic sweater, black layering sweater, tan jacket-y cardi, rose cardi, orchid-pink cardi, robin’s egg cardi
photo 4: worn once or twice.
1x: black knit dress, light blue layering sweater, light pink knit (returned - not shown), purple layering sweater, black long cardi, ivory Aran cardi, rose fair-isle pullover (removed for fit - not shown),
2x: black popover, white tuxedo buttonup, lavender crochet vest, black jacket-y cardi, medium blue cardi, charcoal gray long cardi, gray jacket-y cardi,
photo 5: worn 3-4 times.
3x: mid-wash straight jeans, gray/white stripe popover, white pin tuck popover
4x: gray skinnies, white tuxedo popover,
photo 6: worn 5x or more.
5x: black ponte leggings, black long sleeve tee, blue-gray cardi
6x: black skirt leggings, burgundy long cardi
7x: mid-wash skinnies, navy skirt leggings, gray floral sweatshirt
Overall, I have worn 29 items of clothing over the first 5 weeks of my challenge (7 bottoms, 10 tops, 12 toppers).
Step 2 is to edit the capsule based on the above information.
Let’s figure out what to do with the unworn items.
- Black knit skirt and tan cardi have been worn in week 6, so they can stay.
- Black layering sweater is enough of a basic that it can stay too.
- Gray tunic sweater needs alterations. I have been holding off on wearing the robin’s-egg cardi because I want to change the buttons. So, I need to actually DO IT! But I need to realize that these items really aren’t available in my wardrobe until I take care of those tasks.
- Black/cream lace print cardi was crucial to my holiday season capsule. It fits the color scheme here but I haven’t been drawn to wear it. Maybe it feels too delicate for the vibe of this capsule? Mentally putting a pin in it. I think I’m fine if this piece only gets worn during the holiday season, but will be alert for opportunities to work it in during other seasons as well. Not in deep winter though, apparently.
- Rose cardi and orchid pink cardi. I think these are not quite the right colors for this capsule. Also, I’m noticing that in deep winter I gravitate most to *textured* knitwear. I wear these two sweaters a ton in transitional seasons/cool summer so they definitely have a place in my wardrobe. Just not right this minute.
In addition to the above unworn items:
- Mid-wash straight jeans: I’ve worn them several times, but have never been happy with the result. I think I’ll remove from my capsule and place in a holding zone — do I need them or can I manage without this item until I find a better version?
- Lavender crochet vest. Going to try one more idea for styling this but I think it is not warm enough and I will likely pass it along.
- Black dress and black knit skirt can stay, but should keep in mind that I will probably only wear a dress/skirt once every couple of weeks.
After excluding the above items now I have: 5 bottoms, 9 tops,10 toppers
=24 core items + 2-3 that will be worn rarely
Step 3 is to organize the remaining items in a couple of different ways in order to identify wardrobe holes.
Photo 7, organized by item type:
- woven blouses: black popover, white blouse x3, gray/white stripe popover
- knit tops: black long-sleeve tee; black, purple, and light blue layering sweaters
- long cardigans: black, charcoal, burgundy
- short cardigans: black, light gray, tan, ivory, medium blue, light blue-gray
- casual bottoms: black and navy skirt leggings, black ponte pants, gray skinnies, medium-wash skinnies
- other: black dress, black skirt, gray floral sweatshirt, lavender crochet vest
Wardrobe holes: Non-neutral woven blouses (patterns would be great in fact), maybe one or two more lightweight knit tops. Obviously non-neutral bottoms could be added too but that feels less urgent.
Photo 8, organized by color (core items only):
- Black: woven popover, long-sleeve tee, layering sweater, long cardi, short cardi, skirt leggings, ponte pants
- Gray: striped popover, long cardi, short cardi, floral sweatshirt, skinny jeans
- White/ivory: blouses x3, Aran cardi
- Tan: Cardi
- Burgundy/purple: layering sweater, long cardi
- Blue: layering sweater, medium blue cardi, light blue-gray cardi, skinny jeans, navy skirt leggings
Wardrobe holes: I’ve said elsewhere that burgundy + medium/light blue has emerged as the signature color combination of this wardrobe but I do not have a lot of clothing items in these colors. That long burgundy cardi is doing a LOT of work! And the icy pastels that I imagined being part of this capsule are basically absent from my wardrobe.
Step 4 is to develop a shopping list based on the above analysis.
First, there are opportunities to add to my capsule without shopping:
- Change buttons on robin’s egg cardi. (This is totally FREE as I have already even bought the buttons!)
- Get gray tunic sweater shortened.
Second, what to buy? I’m presented with a bit of a dilemma here: beef up the burgundy and blue since that is the key color combination currently? Or add those icy pastels that were part of my palette in theory but that I currently lack? Of course, which direction I go depends on what I actually find available (always the difficulty in wardrobe planning...you can plan the heck out of your wardrobe but there's no guarantee you'll find what you've planned in the stores). For now I think I will leave open both possibilities, and see what emerges over time.
- A burgundy and a medium blue top. Possibly woven, possibly silk?
- A couple of lightweight knit tops. Maybe metallic pewter and …?
- A couple of patterned tops. Something that brings together burgundy + blue, and/or brings in a pastel shade.
- Consider branching out in terms of bottoms — burgundy or cream cords? A patterned skirt? However, upgrading to better fitting jeans is a higher priority.
If you made it this far you get a gold star!
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