Tag Archives: Cleaning

Capsule Wardrobe: Narrowing Down The Options

What is a Capsule Wardrobe. Caroline from Un-Fancy defines the Capsule Wardrobe as “A mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally LOVE to wear.”

I would like to expand on this definition by adding that a Capsule Wardrobe is a new way to refresh and minimize your daily outfit options in an attempt to better portray your style and restore energy. By committing to the use of a Capsule Wardrobe you are eliminating the amount of time and energy (both physical and mental) that you put into deciding what to wear day in and day out. I found that the process of creating a Capsule Wardrobe was very freeing and fun. Once I started to identify which items would belong in my spring capsule I noticed a true direction that my personal style was headed and this made me feel really happy and secure.  Of course, as with any new challenge there were some obstacles. This post will focus on the hurdles I came across while creating my Spring Capsule, including the tools I used, and will tee up the next post where I’ll share my completed Spring Capsule. 

To begin, I printed out Caroline’s Spring Capsule Wardrobe. Caroline is a master at Capsule wardrobes, fashion and photography. I wanted to use her spring 2015 capsule as a template for me to use. For each item that I decided to keep in my spring capsule, I’d find the item from her capsule wardrobe that is most similar and write a description of my item beneath.  The idea here is that it’ll help make a well-balanced capsule; arguably the most difficult part of building a capsule wardrobe.Capsule Planning 1

Caroline has GREAT style, but she also works from home. I work in corporate America and therefore have different needs in my capsule. I ended up substituting a lot of the t-shirt styles on Caroline’s spring capsule wardrobe with blouses. Caroline had one dress in her capsule, but I ended up with 5 because I love wearing dresses. Capsule Planning 2

The point is: Make your capsule YOURS. 

My friend Theresa pointed out that Caroline uses a very neutral palette. This would never work for Theresa because she loves wearing colors and patterns. I found that my capsule ended up being a mixture of neutrals for my work clothes and colorful patters for my weekend clothes. I don’t think that choosing a neutral palette is a requisite for living a capsule wardrobe life.

Caroline sticks to 37 items for her Capsules which includes 10 pairs of shoes. After two days of working on my spring capsule I’ve narrowed it down to 44 items, not including shoes. I decided to allow myself 5 extra pieces to account for the professional work wardrobe (mostly slacks and pencil skirts). I also will limit my shoes to 5 or 6 pairs so that I can have more dresses and skirts.

Another personal choice that I made is keeping only 6 tank tops. For my personal comfort and style I MUST wear a tank as an undershirt with almost every outfit. This is something I started in high school and find that it’s most flattering for my figure. Here’s the issue, how do I narrow a drawer full of 30+ tank tops down to just 6 that I will wear for the next 3 months?!

Narrow down your staples to minimize your closet.
Narrow down your staples to minimize your closet.

The solution was simple. I picked the ones that are most comfortable, pair well with the sweaters, jackets, and blouses that I wanted in my spring capsule, and I tried to pick the ones with minimal wear and tear.

Maybe for you tank tops aren’t that important, but you must have 10 pairs of flip-flops. The same general idea would apply.

So similar but which to choose?
So similar but which to choose?

Here’s another issue: “I have two shirts that are very similar but I can’t choose between the two!”

Both of these shirts are black, have silky accents at the neck, and are work appropriate. The difference is that the one on the left is lose and flowy (perfect for tucking into pencil skirts) and the one on the right is more fitted (better for wearing under jackets).

In a case like this where two things that you like are very similar, but you only have room for one in your capsule (remember capsule wardrobe don’t work if they have 100 pieces!) my suggestion is to wear both in the same week and pick the one that you enjoyed wearing more.

It’s that simple!

Ok, now go clean out your closet, whittle down what you will wear for the next 3 months, and begin living the simple and sophisticated Capsule Wardrobe life!

Capsule Wardrobe: The Purge

My journey to use a Capsule Wardrobe was inspired entirely by Un-Fancy and a hint from my friend Theresa 🙂

 Getting rid of things is scary. I have total and complete FOMO when it comes to clothing. “But what if I go to a party where we all need to wear this specific shade of chartreuse? I NEED this shirt!”.  Here’s the thing, you don’t need that shirt. And you don’t need that dress you wore to so-and-so’s wedding when you were 22. And you really don’t need the mini skirt you bought to go out dancing with your friends 3 years ago when you were single to show off how great your ass looks on the dance floor.

What we wear says something about who we are. Don’t get me wrong, during The Purge I held onto one mini skirt, but I let go of the other 8 I had (and opted to keep the least sexy of them all). Before we dive into the method behind the madness, let me show you what I was working with.

The Starting Point

This is my closet:

This is my double closet in my master bedroom, crammed full of clothing, shoes, and mess.
This is my double closet in my master bedroom, crammed full of clothing, shoes, and mess.

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It’s massive, and totally packed. Along with the closet I also have a 5 drawer dresser brimming full of sweaters, camisoles, tank tops, you name it.

Sometimes these drawers are so full I struggle to close them.  It even got to a point where I stopped trying to keep things neat inside the drawers.  You know you have a problem when you don’t even fold tank tops.

 The Process

You CAN NOT do this without removing EVERY PIECE of clothing from your closet.

Step 1: Take out every piece that you own

I mean it. Everything. I decided to go through my hanging items first one by one, not skipping over a single thing.

Step 2: Make piles 

I ended up with seven piles. Each piece of clothing removed during step one would make it into one of these seven piles. Remember: no shirt left behind.  You MUST categorize everything.

My piles were:

  • Spring Capsule (April-June)
  • Potential Summer Capsule (July-September)
  • Potential Fall Capsule (October – December)
  • Potential Winter Capsule (January – March)
  • Try to sell (clothes that are in good shape and recognizable brands)
  • Donate (clothes with some wear or minor stains or just way out of trend)
  • Costumes (a very tiny pile for clothes that will come in handy for your next 80’s party)

Sort clothes into piles

Step 3: Try it On

This is the worst step. It’s time consuming, exhausting, and potentially upsetting. But, I know that if I hadn’t tried on about 80% of these clothes last night my Purge would not have been nearly as successful. It’s ok if something doesn’t fit or you find a stain or is just bunches in a weird place. This just means that this piece of clothing is not for you and does not belong in one of your capsules. Sell it or donate it, but don’t let yourself keep it.

Step 4: Answer these 3 questions

For each piece of clothing that you decide to keep and place in one of the four capsule piles, ask yourself these three questions. It might sound silly, but I found that if I skipped this step I ended up keeping something that an hour later I’d realize really shouldn’t have stayed. By doing this step you’ll save yourself time I promise.

1) Does this piece of clothing still fit my style?

This question is important in making sure that you are wearing clothes that let people know who you are. By wearing clothes that fit our style back in college we might not be portraying the current version of ourselves which is confusing to the people around you and can also be confusing to yourself. Dress in a way that mirrors how you want to act and feel each day.

2) Does this piece of clothing flatter my body?

Certain styles fit certain body shapes in flattering ways. Why hold onto a piece of clothing that doesn’t fit right? If a skirt is too clingy for your body chances are wearing it to work will make you feel uncomfortable. There’s no need to put ourselves through that torture! Just get rid of it and find something that fits you better and gives you confidence instead of taking it away.

3) If I were in a store right now, would I buy this piece of clothing today?

This is my absolute favorite question. It is the easiest way to feel confident that you are making the right choice by keeping of discarding something.  I believe that this question can extend outside of the closet as well. Next time you’re not sure if you need something, just think about it using this perspective, and voila! The answer is clear.

 The Result

 Here’s a picture of my closet now. I zoomed in on just the pieces that I’ve determined might make it into my spring capsule. Everything for the summer-fall-winter capsules were stored in a different location. (The clothes on the bottom are my boyfriends so those don’t count!)

After the Purge
After the Purge

It’s still more than I will allow myself in my final Spring Capsule, but that’s a job for tomorrow. In the next post I’ll explain how I narrowed down what items will stay in my Spring Capsule and how I made the decision.

After the Purge I am getting rid of over 50 articles of clothing and 10 accessories! (Shoes still to come)

 Check back soon to find out how much cash I made on the items in my Sell pile and see what pieces make it into my Spring Capsule.

P.S. A special Thank You goes out to my boyfriend who sat and watched me try on clothes for nearly 3 hours and politely helped me notice when things didn’t fit as they should. We should all be so lucky to have someone around to help us in the way that he has helped me.

How to Fix Leather and Suede Boots After Winter Weather

Nothing is worse than buying an expensive pair of leather or suede shoes and seeing them ruined by snow, salt, and dirt.  The good news is there there’s an easy way to clean and refurbish them.  The better news is that it’s also cheap to do.

Leather Shoe Chapstick before and after

First let’s talk about leather.  There’s a secret product called Chelsea Leather Food that is made for extending the life of high end leather soccer cleats.  You can find it on Amazon for about $16, direct link is in the sidebar for either the clear or black variety.  One jar should last a few winters depending on frequency of use.

Using Leather Food on Shoes

To use, just wipe the shoe clean with a damp cloth and then use a dry cloth to rub in the leather food.  I like to describe it as “chapstick for your shoes” because it’s got a soft wax consistency and you can immediately see the difference.  The Chelsea Leather Food will moisturize the leather (just like chapstick on lips) and will extend the life of the shoe.  My shoes pictured here have made it through three winters and they still look brand new.

Cleaning Suede Shoes

Moving on to suede.  Everyone knows that it’s impossible to keep suede clean.  My first suggestion is to not buy suede shoes, but if you have to (because they’re adorable and comfy) do yourself a favor and buy a dark color.

To clean dirt and salt off of suede make a small bowl of equal parts warm water and vinegar. Use a clean cotton towel to wipe the shoe clean. It only takes a few minutes. Make sure the suede has time to dry before wearing, and if there are annoying particles stuck to the suede when it’s still damp, you can brush them off after the material has dried.

 

Suede Shoes Before and After

Hope this helps keep your feet sparkling through winter!