Update: 34-day capsule test, 20 days In (long)

In late July I decided to put myself on a 34-day / 34 item capsule test.  My goals were to "seek first to understand" -- know myself, my behaviors, and wardrobe needs.  And to use this knowledge to pare down my wardrobe to a more manageable level.  I also wanted to come up with a wardrobe count, and thereafter to practice one-in, one out.

Net capsule is up to 35 pieces.  
The work capsule grew, the smart casual capsule shrank.  The casual capsule would like to have permission to increase.  I miss all of my colorful Summer tops.


  • Similar to what I observed after 8 days, my smarter attire needs are minimal.  This is where my closet needs a lot of paring down.
  • By engaging in what's become for me a mindful process, I am better appreciating the clothes that work.  And, I'm having an easier time letting go of what doesn't work.  What's important here is the focus, the mindful observation (= tracking what I'm wearing and why, and observing what I'm not).  3 items from the capsule are on the purge list so far.
  • Unworn items -- smart casual capsule mostly.  Duplicate colors (too many white tees in the capsule) and items with fabric issues (fabric look or feel not stellar - some of my Zara things fall in this category).
  • I crave color variety.  When I created this capsule I had a more limited color palette.  But as each day wore on, I found myself substituting the whites and grays for more colors.  I know cool pale blues and greens aren't my best, but I like the way they make me feel.  Summer is my longest season.  I am going to enjoy all of my casual colorful Summer clothes, they don't take a lot of room, and make me happy.  Conclusion:  I don't need as much paring down from this section -- everything is getting worn.
  • For all of the non-Summer seasons, this color explosion will be unrealistic.  More layers means more clothing.  I must focus on a more limited color palette, because I like a coordinated look.
  • Failure at the shopping ban effort!  I got some sandals (love them!) and another Three Dots Hi-Low top (Missey I'm coming clean!).  I don't like feeling bad about myself.  Or comparing my will power to yours.  I must think twice before joining another shopping ban.  :-(

Some WIWs.
1/2 -- My one and only smart casual occasion was seeing a matinee showing of "100 Foot Journey."  Jean Paul Gaultier sheer pencil skirt, Zara tee. Gorjana necklace.  Here in my "runway" pose. ;-)  Do you think it's better with Birks (picture 2)?  What about length, would midi be better?  Do I need bike shorts due to sheerness (sheerness shows selectively, with flash photography and in certain light).
3 -- Worn today, the new Donald J Pliner slides, and my second Three Dots Hi-Low top.  Thanks again Sarah for the first top!  I have worn these sandals daily since I got them.  They are much better quality than my usual Summer footwear.  The jeans are Mother "The Groupie," my improved Mom jeans (bye-bye BDG Mom jeans, they were great starters but these are so much better).
4 -- A top that's getting the ax.  Love the color, but it's too low cut, the armholes are too big, and it's not my best length (ends where I'm widest).  Do you agree -- purge?
5 -- One of my several colorful striped tees.  Stripes = high happiness factor.  From last year, Madewell.  Worn with TR Camerons 2 + year old workhorse jeans.
6 -- Work look of the moment.  

Feedback appreciated on the italicized areas!  And anything else.


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My capsule test (long)

All of the forum talk of minimal dressing and capsules got me wanting to try it myself.  I decided to do a 34-day capsule as a test, herewith described.  

My goals:  to learn about my existing closet, my dressing habits, my true lifestyle needs, and importantly -- what I don't need.  After 3 years 7 months on YLF I have acquired a big wardrobe.  I like a lot of my pieces too.  But it's become too much, and the sheer choice overwhelms me now rather than makes me happy.  So the capsule test has become my technique to help me edit plus determine a wardrobe count, then to practice one in, one out so I don't end up with the 200-300 pieces I have now (an estimate).

34-day Capsule
I started with a lifestyle assessment of the next 34 days.  Why 34 days?  Because it's a manageable test amount for me, and also lets me build a new capsule for September, where I have different activities planned and the environment changes.  I used un-fancy.com's wardrobe planner, and it made the exercise quick.

Lifestyle Needs for August

-35% work outfits
-50% casual and comfortable
-10% smarter casual -  a degree more stylish than casual & comfortable; shopping outfits for example
-5% smartest casual  - similar to smarter casual but dressier, usually involving higher heeled shoes; dinner outfits for example.

Colors for August

Major -- white/cream + blues/indigo
Minor -- black
Accents -- Coral + Green + Gold

Go-to Pieces
White button down shirts
Fluid fit tees
Fitted denim bermuda shorts
Boyfriend jeans
Skinny jeans
Black fashion-forward bottoms (harem pants, long shorts etc)
Mini wedge sandals
Statement necklaces

My Go-to Outfits
Skinny jeans + white button down shirt + black clogs + black waist apron for work.
Boyfriend jeans + fluid tee + sandal
Knee shorts + tunic tee + sandal
Maxi skirt + white tee + sandal
Harem pants + knit top + sandal
Culottes + crop top + sandal

The Count-
Work (11 pieces):
5 work shirts (4 white button downs + 1 teal button down)
1 black clogs
5 work-appropriate jeans (2 skinny jeans + The Groupie jeans + Knee shorts + lightweight skinny jeans)

Smart Casual (7 pieces):
3 black bottoms (JF long shorts, harem pants, long skirt)
Silky Zara tee
Cropped white tee
Raquel Allegra tee
Strappy black mini wedge sandals

Casual (16 pieces):
5 shoes (Birks, Glads, Nude wedges, cognac ankle strap + one wild card)
9 tops (Mandarin white tee, scoop white tee, v white tee, green tee, green stripe tee, coral tank, cobalt tank, coral stripe tee, chambray shirt)
2 shorts (From Wal*Mart in 2 colors)

Pictures - to give you an idea
1 -- Typical casual, at home outfit for August.  Avg. temps are 95 F, the day I took this picture it was 102 F.  
2 -- Smart casual
3 -- Work outfit

Next -- lessons learned.


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K/R - The Mom Jeans

So, round two of my newest attempts to keep denim, well, new to me.  My first thread on this topic is here.

These are the Mom Jeans from UO.  

What do you think of the fit?  Are they too long in the rise on me?
And what do you think of the style?

Picture 1 -- with semi cropped top
2 -- with super cropped top
3 -- tucked top (these are so high rise!)
4 -- Untucked longer top
5 -- Untucked top that is a little shorter
6 -- Boxy untucked top

Thank you for looking and commenting, your honest feedback is truly appreciated!!


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K/R - The Rag & Bone "Miramar" Pajama Jean

For your comments, here are pictures of the Rag & Bone Miramar Pajama jean which I referred to in a recent thread. These are a size S, I think they look ok but you tell me if you think otherwise.

Caveat:  I know these are not conventionally flattering!  But they are so comfortable.  They truly are sweatpants.  I think I would have preferred a more tapered lower leg profile, but oh well, maybe this is more modern.

I found the biggest challenge was choosing the right footwear and at the same time, figuring out if it was better to wear them full length or rolled once or twice.  The other issue is tucking vs not tucking.  The waist is quite high, making tucking more challenging but you can also roll the waist down once for a lower rise look.

Yay = keep
Nay = return

Picture 1 -- Semi-tucked, with shorter vamp ankle boots.  
2 -- With different tops but the same foot and ankle strategy as #1.
3 -- With sandals and slouchy tie dye top
4 -- Back view
5 -- Untucked look, rolled way up above Newburys
6 -- Layered crop top and tucked inside Newburys
7 -- Pulled all the way down, full length

Thanks for looking and letting me know what you think.  Honest opinions wanted.


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My Style at 55 (Long)

Since I am turning 55 this April, the “age appropriate” question is once again turning over in my mind.  With the ease of Pinterest, I have been pinning looks that spark this age-old question:  is it appropriate, or not?  They’re mostly pinned to a board I’ve called “Yay or Nay.”  Now you might be one who says “who needs rules?”  and that appeals to me.  But to me, style is ALL about the details.  Herewith, my thoughts on this topic; please join with your thoughts/tell me I’m crazy/tell me I’m right, whatever your age.

Looks that I left behind a while ago.

Short skirts
Flirty skirts
Short shorts
Shorts with tights
Beachy, strapless tops and dresses when not at a beach
Body con mini dresses
Cute/frilly mini dresses
Sheer tops with visible bra
Uggs worn with skinnies
Bare midriff looks
Tops or dresses showing a lot of armpit, neck, and bust

Big question marks 
 -- things I love but may have to start leaving behind (on no!).  Up for discussion!  Can you figure out how to make them work for me?

Camo chic
Graphic tees
Skinny, skinny jeans especially in light colors (pastel, white, cream)
White moto vest -- unless I can find one I can afford in real leather
Backpacks (breaks my heart)
Graphic sweaters and sweatshirts that are “cute”
Very Boho looks
Very rock & roll looks
All-black outfits
Distressed tees and “neckstrap” tees
Open back tops
Statement necklaces that put too much focus on my (ehem) neck
Arm party

Current trends I feel comfortable with and happy to embrace
(this is still an incomplete list)

Bermuda shorts
Colorblock shoes
White with brights, white with black
Open knitwear
Panama hats

Current trends I can make work, if done right

High Style tees (if NOT worn with head-to-toe trendy)
Distressed denim (when worn with more structured, classic pieces)
Boyfriend jeans (if NOT worn with dramatic contrasts like stiletto heels)
Fashion sweatshirts (without cute factor)
Dramatic flares

Classics that work at any age (although may be a bit dressy for my lifestyle)

Sheath dress at knee length
Pencil skirts
Tailored trousers
White button downs
Structured blazers

Looks that I'm leaving behind because I don't like the way they look on me

Midi skirts worn with flats
Athletic shoes/Cons
Leggings with tunics

Keep in mind, this is for 55, not 40, 45 or 50.  There is a difference!  As much as a difference between 25 to 40, although the fashion world tends to lump together every thing after 40. 

It actually feels liberating to come to a place of acceptance about all of this. 


Need inspiration, attending brother's -- ETA PICTURES

Tonight inside Yosemite Valley. Any ideas of what to wear? There will be lots of gear I'm sure but generally the climbing crowd is very attractive. As the sister of a well-known climber, I have no idea what I even want to convey. Just a part of the audience? I prefer being a little more fashion-forward than that.

ETA -- pictures and event update.

It turns out his speech is tomorrow. And I have a conflict!! Tomorrow I have tickets to see Mary Chapin Carpenter, with whom I attended jr. high school. So I have to pick one. Oh No! Decisions! I have so few exciting events (that offer smart casual dressing opportunities), it really sucks that they fall on the same date when I also don't have to work.

1 -- Grey under Zara jacket with heels.
2/3 -- Navy oversized swing top (same as grey one above), and tux jeans, Zara jacket. Plus 1.5" chelsea boots, given uneven terrain in park, this might be wise.
4/5 -- Same as above except J Crew v neck tee. Not so leg shortening given shorter hemline.



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J Crew Popover Tunic Arrived -- K/R?

What do we think? There is a little pulling at the bust, you can see it in pic 3.

#1 -- Tucked into matching JCrew paisley skirt with black shoes/belt.
#2 -- same as above but with nude sandals and belt.
#3 -- Worn as tunic with skinny jeans.
#4 -- Gorgeous young model, probably photo shopped
#5 -- Worn with $20 Costco yellow shirt, cropped but not photo shopped
#6 -- Worn with $20 Costco white shirt.

I was hoping I could wear this paisley popover with more than the skirt. Even on sale it was $117 with tax, shipping. For that money I like things to be more than one-shot deals. (I was planning to wear this to the opera in June in SF.)

Yay = it's worth it
Nay = stick with your $20 Costco woven shirts.

Thank you for your advice!


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Are colored skinnies age inappropriate?

I saw this article on the internet about Khris Jenner (picture #1). The article criticizes Khris for dressing age inappropriately, trying to look like her daughters. It's pretty mean, but maybe Khris doesn't care, because to quote an old Hollywood publicist's adage, "no ink is bad ink."

I have been buying and wearing this trend since last spring because I wear jeans every day. I live on a ranch after all. And I like to embrace new denim trends. The way I style colored denim is more toned down than Khris's approach. Which is my approach to integrating trends at my age. Go minimal and/or add classic pieces. (Pictures #2 - 6)

But am I fooling myself? Maybe my efforts to make it somewhat age appropriate don't matter and people see colored denim and automatically think, young women only.

What do you think? Feel free to be frank.


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