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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This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.

52 Comments

  • CocoLion replied 5 years ago

    Lessons learned -- 8 days into capsule test.

    1.  I put too many duplicate items in my capsule.  I don't need as many white tees as in my capsule.  I enjoy wearing color in the Summer, it makes me happy.  I haven't taken out the white tees yet, as I'm still working through the colored tops first.  But I will allow myself to substitute color tops with unworn white tops as the month progresses.  Likewise I planned too many denim bottoms, so substituted a pair of white jeans after Angie's reminder this week about the fab qualities of white jeans.

    2.  The 2 Wal*Mart shorts I had planned were a bust.  Last year, I got a pair of not tight, not baggy cargo shorts from Wal*Mart that became workhorses.  I was excited to see them again this year, so got another two pairs ($12.94 each).  I got them in the same size as last year, but they are both too big and stretch out.  They do come with a belt this year.  But the fabric has been dumbed down.  So out they go.  If I had not put these to the test for 5 days this week, they would have languished in my closet for at least a year.  Now I can easily purge them.  Score one for the capsule test.  (I substituted them for last years, good quality Wal*Mart cargo shorts and a pair of 3 year-old Rock & Republic fringe shorts, as shown in picture 1.)

    3.  8 days in, not one opportunity to wear anything from the smart casual capsule!  As I continue with this experiment this month, and next month, I wonder what my real needs will be for the trendy smart casual clothes I love?

    4.  I think next month I will compile a separate work capsule.  I already pulled an extra pair of bottoms from the non-capsule section, due to laundry bottlenecks.  I really don't see any need to fret a lot about my work uniform.  If 10 bottoms and 10 tops works from a laundry standpoint (rather than 5 each), why not?  California is water parched after all. 

  • suzyq replied 5 years ago

    Interesting.  Thanks for sharing.  

    I really want to pare down my wardrobe too.  Smaller and smarter.  My main problem is that I am always drawn to prints....then I have a bunch of stuff that doesn't go together.  Putting myself on a print hiatus :)
     
    Looking forward to you next capsule and lessons.  

  • annagybe replied 5 years ago

    I'm really interested in your exercise and seeing where it goes. You definitely put a lot of thought into given the reality of your life.

  • Mo replied 5 years ago

    I'm afraid casual/comfortable is a much higher percentage of my time needs than my wardrobe reflects.  I do like to have some nicer things for when I do 'go out' but I know my life is a lot like yours, as far as dressiness level day to day.  Luckily, I think I've narrowed mine down to amounts that don't overwhelm me but make me excited to wear my things when the chance arises.

  • replied 5 years ago

    I am really impressed with your process. I think this could be a good exercise for my closet. Especially for balancing my wardrobe by my actual needs per season. I have way too much cold weather clothes for my climate, whereas, I scrape by in mild to hot weather. The focus or balance of my clothes is probably the opposite of what should be.

  • E replied 5 years ago

    Wow! I'm impressed with how much you sorted out when you said it didn't take much time! :) Thanks for sharing too: it's really helpful.

    I spend most of my time in my house, so I just wear my smart casual clothes for everyday life. Otherwise they'd never get worn, and I love them too much for that. Not sure if that's a potential solution for you though!

  • abc replied 5 years ago

    I'm on the road and not home for a few more weeks but I really want to do the same exercise. I guess I kind of am as I'm living out of a suitcase for 30+ days ...

    Anyway - thanks for taking the time to do these write ups. It is immensely helpful.

  • Caro in Oz replied 5 years ago

    Your " I wonder what my real needs will be for the trendy smart casual clothes I love?" Really stood out for me. These are the clothes I love too but my life is mainly casual. So interested to see where you go with this :)

  • Vix replied 5 years ago

    Hi CocoLion --

    Hmmmm, very very interesting exercise. I'm waiting impatiently for Part 2!

    This seemed like a tough exercise given that I know you like variety in your down time to counteract your work uniform. But you really pulled it off. And I love the color-colors you chose; you know how I feel about you and orange-y corals!

    Glad you're upping the count for the work clothes for the next installment. I couldn't believe you had so few given your job -- too little time to get that laundry in and out for me, ha.

    I do think it's smart to look at your choices. I don't mind having some "regular" (vs special occasion) stuff that doesn't get worn very often, but I don't like too much stuff to languish. Given your love of trends, you seem like you might do consigning a big chunk and then planning to buy small seasonal capsules -- so if that appeals, maybe this exercise can make you feel more comfortable having fewer "backups" while you look for new.

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    This is a GREAT exercise Denise, and I'm very curious to read more of what you learned along the way. You are doing well, and truly coming to grips with  your lifestyle reality. Brilliant. xo

  • Firecracker replied 5 years ago

    Your capsule test is really interesting, Denise. Thanks for sharing it. I will have to follow along and see where it takes you.

  • MsMary replied 5 years ago

    Wow, interesting exercise!

    It's so funny because I am so analytical in every other part of my life, but these fashion numbers things make my head spin!  LOL 

    Can't wait to hear Part 2!

    And your smart casual outfit?  It makes me want to weep for joy!!!

  • Deborah replied 5 years ago

    Denise, I will be reading and following this process with great interest.  I feel I have got my wardrobe down to a size that works for me now, but I still think my greatest challenge is dressing for my lifestyle, so I am fascinated by your exploration here.

    I assessed recently that I need to dress for the following:

    1. Work (3 days a week)
    2. Church (Sundays)
    3. Casual (weekends & days off)
    4. Volunteer Work (Wednesdays)
    5. Random speaking events & presentations (church & work related)
    6. Random Social Events

    In reality all the above with the exception of  5 and 6 are pretty casual.  At work we can dress as smartly or as casually as we want.  I could have a jeans based wardrobe for work!  But I choose not too.  Church has no real dress code, but I use it as a reason/excuse to 'dress up'.  And if I am going to be honest many social events here are also very casuaI.  But, I  tend to skew dressy and am always more 'dressed up' than most SO the challenge is really creating a blend of what's appropriate but still allows me to express myself.  I am sensing that they may also be one of your challenges?

    Looking forward to your next set of observations.

  • DonnaF replied 5 years ago

    Denise: This probably not what you want to read, but I'm wondering how your tootsies are doing wearing that single pair of clogs day in and day out?  I learned here that in addition to being good for shoes, it is good for foot comfort to rotate footwear.  Since you are on your feet so much, I'm wondering if a second pair of Sanitas might be in order?

    Also, are any of the wildfires near you?  And/or are they affecting your business?

  • karymk replied 5 years ago

    How do I love thine hair back let me count the ways:

    1. Your face is beautiful.
    2. Your shoulders and neck show, giving you a whole new silhouette to play with.
    3. It looks great with your clothing style, esp as in look #3 with that shirt.
    4. Your ears show, offering a new opportunity for bedazzlement.
    5. You look neat and tidy for work.
    6. You look elegant for night.
    7. Your body temperature looks lower.
    8. You are showing versatility.

  • replied 5 years ago

    Wow Denise, this is really good! You've planned carefully and you're already able to make a few assessments. This is like budgeting (ugh). We might have an idea of what we're spending, but until we actually keep track there is no telling what is being spent. I think it's a good idea to allow yourself to switch things out as need be, as long as you make a note of the reason, so that you can learn from your experiment.  Working with a small collection of items is sure to shed light--very quickly-- on the things that really don't fit (like the Walmart shorts). Heh, almost like I know from experience! ;)

  • Joyce B replied 5 years ago

    Oh wow! I'll be following your posts.

  • Adelfa replied 5 years ago

    Hi Denise, ever since you mentioned un-fancy in one of your posts or comments, DD2 and I have been going to town with our capsules and clearing out our closets! It is super fun to read about your process.

  • frannieb replied 5 years ago

    Great post, look forward to following. I probably need to do a lifestyle assessment. This would help refine my shopping and wardrobe editing even more.

  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    This is great Denise. Yes, how often do you need the smart casual clothes you love (and the second outfit above is fantastic) and is there a way to bring them into your life more often? Will be following with great interest.

  • Marley replied 5 years ago

    Hey Denise - I've been working the same process and am learning so much! Its really helpful to read about what your experiences and observations have been so far, as well as your reasoning behind choosing the items that you did, and if/why you changed things out as you got into actually living the capsule.  Thank you soooo much for sharing this - and I can't wait for your next update!

  • Alana in Canada replied 5 years ago

    What an interesting exercise, cocolion! I will be following with interest.

  • AJ replied 5 years ago

    I have recently started reading un-fancy and into-mind. Those two sites and all the forum talk here about wardrobe numbers got me to pair down my shoes. I have yet to tackle the clothes.

    I like that you are testing the capsule wardrobe a month at a time. It seems like it would be easier to break down your lifestyle and activities in small, one month chunks. I'm very intrigued and look forward to your capsule updates!

  • catgirl replied 5 years ago

    How fascinating.  I feel like I repeat incessantly - I just realized how many black tops and jackets I have and need to pare down.  It's really silly because although I know the difference, to everyone else I'm probably wearing the same boring formula of black, black, black.  Sigh.  Keep us posted!

  • CocoLion replied 5 years ago

    Sorry for posting an running.  I know I do it a lot!  We had a cooler day today, below 90, with a beautiful sunset, and I was in a good mood.

    I am shocked that so many of you found this interesting!  I was afraid it would be like watching someone else's paint dry (watching your own being far more interesting).

    Suzq -- Prints -- I get you!  I have a very limited print collection because so many of them did become orphans!  I stick with stripes mostly, which make me happy.

    Anna -- I know you too face realities, with a uniform to wear.  You inspire me however because you actually have the lifestyle to demand a more complex wardrobe.  My lifestyle is er…. quite uneventful.  Maybe I need to do something about that.  Also, I feel that when one lives in a city, just going to Starbucks merits a smart casual dressing opportunity.  It's just not the same on a ranch.

    Mo -- you are my inspiration in the "getting real" department.  I have over-shopped not for my imaginary lifestyle, but my extremely occasional lifestyle.Starting in September I have 4-5 weeks scheduled in either SF or LA, so that is something, but still it is 1/12 of the year not 7/12 which is the size of my smart casual wardrobe.

    Marin -- I think an honest wardrobe assessment is where it all starts.  I did something like this 2 years ago, but basically ignored my "findings." 

    (OMG!  I just re-read this 2 year-old thread - it says 1 year ago but I remember doing this August 2012 -- I have a memory for dates LOL.  I am embarrassed because I am exactly in the same place I was 2 years ago only with a bigger wardrobe!  I certainly hope by capsulizing, WEARING, then editing my wardrobe I will have an easier time solving this 1st world crisis!)

    E -- What a great idea!  To wear my smart casual clothes in my home.  Doesn't another forum member do this?  And my grandmother, who grew up on the family ranch, wore a dress and heels every single day.  I have to think about this.  Maybe I could try it a few times, as an experiment, to see how it feels?

    ABC -- Living out of a suitcase is the ultimate in capsule dressing.  In my past life, I travelled a lot.  Maybe that's why I didn't find it difficult making a 34-day capsule; it was like packing for a long trip.  I think a 3 month seasonal capsule feels much more daunting.  But baby steps, right?

    Caro in Oz -- I am going to quote you from 2 years ago:
    My suggestions - work out a minimum number of clothes/outfits you need to keep you happy in the dressy category & do the one in one out on this section. This will force you to be really picky when you buy something new. The other thing is to try to buy items that can bridge more than one category e.g. washable silk tees rather than cotton ones or funky flat shoes rather than heels. Good luck!!!

    I sense I may (finally) be going there:  determining exactly how many smart casual or dressy occasions I have each season and come up with a wardrobe I love.  This will allow me to get exactly what I want and love, and to project the image I really want.  Rather than diluting my efforts with a much bigger wardrobe.

    Vix -- Thanks for the nod to the color scheme!  You know I am still very intimidated by color… more baby steps.  I'm like you I think:  I dislike things to languish unworn.  One of the reasons I had to stop buying F/W clothes from NAS.  If something, even if it's good, hangs unworn for a few months, it becomes a pariah and I either return or consign.  Still, this has not been enough to stop my wardrobe from multiplying. Your suggestion to consign a good section of my smart casual wardrobe and then develop a small seasonal capsule -- basically refreshed frequently -- has given me a lot to think about.  Smart strategy I say!

  • CocoLion replied 5 years ago

    Angie -- I keep thinking about your experience with sleeveless tops in Seattle, when you say "coming to grips with lifestyle reality."  You got real about how you always feel the cold, and how these tops would hang unworn.  I always think about this when I think about "what's my reality?"  

    Sharan -- Thanks and glad this has some meaning for you!

    MsMary -- Normally I don't like to be analytical about fashion either!  But my "wardrobe life was becoming unmanageable" so I knew I had to do something about it.  (A little odd reference in there to friends of Bill W…)

    Deborah -- To me you have MUCH greater need for smart pieces in your wardrobe than I do.  But I do understand how when everyone around you is casual, you need to be somewhat adaptive.  I've been thinking that footwear really casualizes an outfit (as well as can dress it up).  Since you don't do denim that much (my way to look like I fit in my environment), have you thought of doing some of your looks with sneakers?  Or is that not "you."  Ultimately, being true to yourself is more important than conforming, as long as you're comfortable.

    DonnaF -- I have thought before of having a second pair of Sanitas to rotate.  So you're saying it's not only good for the shoes to have a break, it's also good for your feet to have a change?  Even if it's the exact same style of shoe?

    Karymk -- You are hilarious and you make me blush!  I'm not the pretty one in the family, it's my sister, or was my sister.  But I got the better figure.  I have never thought of having much in the face department, but thank you!  And yes, putting up my hair gives me a neck and a bit more in the shoulder area, I never thought of that but you are so right!

    Claire -- I am thrilled that you have responded.  You are the master of the capsule.  I did try this as a capsule "test."  Just so it would be ok to learn and switch out.  I'm going to try it for 2, maybe three months.  A capsule test each month.  I hope I stick with it, ha ha.

    JoyceB -- I'm thrilled that you'll be following!

    Adelfa -- Please share your process.  What are you learning?  If you start a thread, please PM me as I miss a lot of forum content!

    frannieb -- I used un-fancy's free wardrobe planner to help me do a lifestyle assessment.  I thought her example helped me a lot.

    Shevia -- Great question (is there a way to bring your smart casual clothes more into your lifestyle).  I do think August is the worst month for any smart casual dressing.  It's the last crazy busy month of the year at our seasonally-driven restaurant.  So I'm all about work-rest-work-rest.    In September, I have approx. 10 smart casual requirements, as well as some downright fancy dressing occasion planned.  So that is a full month.  October is not as full.  Maybe I need to plan more interesting activities?  What a concept.

    Marley -- I didn't know you were going through a similar process.  Have you shared your musings anywhere?  Hint-hint.

    Alana -- You have asked so many great questions in your threads.  It was your thread about "what is the 10 item wardrobe" that got me thinking about this in the first place.

    AJ -- Another reader of un-fancy!  I think she's a smart young woman, and admire her process and thinking.  Oddly I have less shoe purging to do than clothing.  Even though I feel like I'm always shopping for footwear, I return a lot due to my hard-to-fit feet.  I'm way easier to fit in clothing, could be part of my problem!

    Una -- Only in doing this capsule exercise am I coming to appreciate my level of duplication.  And I am so good at parsing!  Not words, but jeans.  As in, these skinny jeans have a low rise … these have thigh fading … these have a  higher rise… these have flap back pockets … these are full length … these are ankle length, etc.  To me they are all different, but to the observer, they all read "dark slim jean."

  • jenanded replied 5 years ago

    Wow Denise - I love the way you honed right in on lifestyle/uniforms etc etc... Your outfits look great and I look forward to hearing your reflections on how it is going... BTW, did you pack your other things away or are they in another closet so you can cherry pick as needed?

  • CocoLion replied 5 years ago

    Thanks Jenanded!  Good question.  I don't have a closet, rather 3 metal racks in a room.  I put some things in a plastic bin.  The rest is hanging on a section of one of the metal racks.  I am allowing myself substitutions, as long as I stick with 34 items in what's amounting to a 37 day period.  Does that make sense?  So for example, I may choose to substitute an unworn capsule item with something else, if I learn my initial choice was not useful.  This teaches me about which items have more or less value in my closet, making it easier to edit the closet.

    Everything else is in view, but pushed to another corner.  I suppose I could hang a sheet over the rest of the stuff to reduce visual stimuli?  So far I am ok with seeing it all, as I just turn to that section of the rack that is designated for this capsule test/self-challenge.

  • Caro in Oz replied 5 years ago

    Did I really write that? :) :) Well something must have sunk in since I joined YLF because my dressy capsule is the smallest it has ever been & I have casual clothes I love. The impulse to buy dressier clothes in fragile fabric will never leave me, I blame my boho side.

  • Alexandra replied 5 years ago

    Very interesting exercise! I am impressed with how much thought you're putting into it. I struggle with casual clothing so I am hoping to learn from your analysis and insights.

  • Sterling replied 5 years ago

    CocoLion -- I adore your capsule.  It makes so much sense.  I will look forward to follow on posts.  

    Readings the posts, there are a couple of things to which I relate.  First, my cloths are somewhat off balance based on (1) weekly activities, and (2) climate.  I tend to buy almost exclusively for work when work only makes up 35 - 40 percent of my week. I am working hard to overcome this and was marginally successful these past few months.  I also tend to buy for Fall/Winter because I love those types of clothes.  Yet, Spring/Summer dominate in my climate.  

    I seriously need to revamp my buying habits. Thank so much for posting.  

  • unfrumped replied 5 years ago

    I live your plan. Learning along with you.
    I think this happens a lot. The fun occasions allow more creativity and trends so I tend to overstock that area.
    You may find you can overlap more between smart and smartest casual, keep it leaner but update more often. Im learning that if i have just a few go- to outfits for going out , I'm
    happy to repeat, since my " events" aren't even weekly( maybe should do something about that!). Probably aren't going to wear heels on the ranch, but maybe can use Sporty Luxe style to your advantage. I also learned that I'll mentally plan a dressier outfit for church or for going out and then tend to reach for something more casual at the final minute. So either it's still too imaginary or it's too fussy somehow, or something.

  • Janet replied 5 years ago

    Denise, this is great, and I'm enjoying following your process too. I've been editing, but also added a bunch of F/W from NAS. As I evaluate whether an item is still useful to me (hello, velvet blazers and bodycon dresses), I need to do a better job of taking into account my lifestyle and activities and how much (or how little) I actually dress "up" for what I do. I definitely make more of an effort to wear my smart casual now than I did four years ago when I stayed home to work every day. I could wear sweats and tees to the studio every day and no one would care, but I feel better wearing my fab clothes.

    I spent a little time looking at un-fancy last night and the exercises intrigue me, even though I doubt I'll do a capsule exercise restricting myself to 30-something pieces for 30-something days (although you never know). I do extremely casual capsule dressing when I go to the TX ranch or when I take photo trips, so I actually would rather use as much of my closet as I can when I'm at home!

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I look forward to reading more!

  • ironkurtin replied 5 years ago

    Rock on, sister! I'll be reading!  (And chewing my nails wondering what it means for me...)

  • texstyle replied 5 years ago

    I've been spending a lot more time editing  too so I really appreciate this post and your thoughts and observations cocolion - and everyone else too. I think I've been trying to do more of what E said and wear my smart casual items at home too. I do go out to the post office and bank and grocery store after all so why not look decent when I do that?  Of course I try not to buy too many high end smart casual items to begin with. But silk/cotton shirts are now everyday type items for me where as a year or so ago I wouldn't have worn those to work at home.

    I've been "shopping" my holding zone recently and chose a button down for fall that is a nice pattern blend of deep russet reds and autumn tones. Not sure why I didn't think it worked last year but suddenly (maybe it's having a tan?) it seems right again. And fits wonderfully. I also chose a pair of flared jeans I thought I was done with, but realized maybe they'd work with my ankle boots this fall. Two "new" items for this fall with no $$ spent.

  • Beth Ann replied 5 years ago

    Well done, Denise!  One of the things I liked best was seeing your work outfits.  A little care to choice of necklace, the cool, but practical footwear, and the carefully rolled cuffs, makes it a cut above.  I think your on the right track to a wardrobe that gives the right amount of freedom and choice without overwhelming!

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    *applause*

    You are doing SO well, Denise. And forgoing stuff that is just not practical for your lifestyle is a good thing. I love to wear sleeveless tops - but I just don't have the climate for the style. 

  • Missey replied 5 years ago

    Denise-
    I love this post because I am at a point where I am really
    trying to streamline my wardrobe.  As an RN I am in scrubs half the
    week, the other half of the week I am usually doing "dailys", which
    around here amounts to yard work, dog walking, family time, etc.  My
    wardrobe, when looking at it, can be very fantasy based.  Apparently I
    think I am a classically dressed, well heeled business woman by day and a
    funky trendsetter who goes clubbing by night.  I am neither of those
    things; I'm just not as fancy as I think I am.   I live in a smallish town in central MN.  We are considering
    moving out of town to a lake property, which means my life will be even
    more casual.  I need to create a wardrobe that is more congruent with my life.

    To this end, I have been purchasing more funky casual pieces: cool jeans, booties, interesting and well made tees and tops, and tennies.  These pieces are more "me" an are seeing use.  What am I getting rid of?  Dress pants, fancy footwear, lots of dresses.  I very occasionally have to dress business casual so I did save a couple pairs of impeccable trousers and lovely tops. 

    Jeez- what a process!  So while watching your paint dry, I am painting my own closet too ;)  Thanks for the updates an analyses, it actually is interesting!

  • jackiec replied 5 years ago

    Fantastic exercise and I am also learning along with you. I also live a mainly casual lifestyle as a SAHM and have a tendency to buy for my imaginary lifestyle. Although I've done a lot of purging over the past year or two, I've also done some buying. This weekend I bought the Stylebook app and spent a couple of days taking pics of my wardrobe (still not done!). I don't know if I'll actually use the app, but the exercise alone of taking each piece out to photograph has been very useful and eye-opening. Same idea as writing it out (as you have) but more visual. I will be following your progress. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Carole replied 5 years ago

    I keep hoping to try a similar exercise soon...I'm thinking for fall and will be following you along in your experiment. Thanks for sharing your hard work with us!

  • Mia replied 5 years ago

    Following with interest. I tried something like this and found HUGE discrepancy in what I liked to buy and what I actually wore. I am impressed with your organization and love seeing the sample outfits.

  • Keturah replied 5 years ago

    Well score 10 for your fall capsule wardrobe challenge!!! This is illuminating. Count me as another girl who more often buys for her dream life. I do wear my dream clothes some, especially with fall/winter clothes. And the boho in me just loves gorgeous fabrics. It works. But I did find myself wearing far more casual styles (for me anyway) this summer than I have before.

    I like how simple but informative this exercise was. Yahoo! Did you post this thread's link to the fall capsule challenge thread? (I am headed over there. Have been sick all weekend and am just catching up .)
    massive insight and work here, Coco! Aaaaaand....love your example outfits! You are gorgeous.
    xo

  • E replied 5 years ago

    It can't hurt to try it & see if you feel comfortable or not. :) (I personally use aprons when I'm doing messier stuff, but I don't live in a ranch, so my messy stuff is in the kitchen.)

    I'm sure there are other forum members who wear their nice stuff at home, although no specific name is coming to mind now. Suz has an at-home capsule that's mainly jeans with smart casual tops, I think (in the cooler months).

  • Mo replied 5 years ago

    I wanted to add, that keeping this post in mind, I am going to really try and keep my focus on buying casual that's stylish. When my $80 tee arrived today I was starting to question it's value.  But I know its Cost Per Wear will be much better than any dressy tops I've bought this year.  Somehow mentally it's easier to spend on a soft button front.  It's easy to start letting the smart casual (or what I call dressy casual) capsule swell because it's more fun to buy.  Also, I aim to wear closer to smart casual out and about more often, and not just default to casual for grocery runs or whatnot.  

  • rachylou replied 5 years ago

    Ok, first off, Denise, the technical writer in me loves the presentation of your starting post. Very very *digestible.* Lol. But I think I could repeat your test and evaluate my own wardrobe.

    Second, so interesting your insights. Take the Walmart shorts. That strikes a chord for me. Foundation pieces, if you will, that cease to work as foundation pieces for any number of reasons - like the manufacturing changes, they get discontinued, etc. etc. I may be facing this with my long-sleeve tissue tees.

  • Gracie replied 5 years ago

    Very inspiring analysis, thanks Cocolion!  I'm also mulling my real lifestyle clothing percentage vs what is not getting worn. One thing I have taken action on is shifting "down" two sections:  I started to wear some of my "dressy/casual event" items to work (I'm lucky I can do that), like dresses, nice tops, high heel sandals and dressy slacks. Also started to shift some "casual/errands" items to home wear, so the look at home got upgraded. I now have to isolate the rarely-worn items and take them to consignment.

    I've also try to create events to wear my nicer clothes – outings with DH, or dinners out with friends... thing is... it can get expensive!  :)

    I'll be following your updates with interest.

  • replied 5 years ago

    This is really well thought out Denise. Nicely planned and easy (for me) to follow too :). I see you've already tweeked things slightly and are seeing areas that need  slight re-thinks. I look forward to more posts and thoughts on your capsule.

  • Vicki replied 5 years ago

    Eye-opener!  Denise, I loved your post and have never heard of un-fancy.com so I'm thrilled that you shared your long hard work, along with the link.  I'm fascinated by this, because you share a common theme that one can be overwhelmed with too many choices rather than truly appreciating those pieces that bring wearable pleasure, especially when you can trim the weeds or simply let other favorites rest in storage for a while.

    Thank you for sharing the essentials of how you pared down and with what items.  It's brilliant and doable and your smart casual outfit, in #2, is simply gorgeous.

    I spent a lot of time, this morning, looking at the website and it's inspiring, as is your thread here.

  • merwoman replied 5 years ago

    I am truly inspired by your analysis! Your post (from 2 yrs ago?) was the catalyst for me to analyse  my lifestyle, and determine my own lifestyle breakdown/ratios.  I'm sure you have saved me millions of dollars (don't get too excited - we are talking CDN dollars) okay maybe, not millions, but you have helped me be far more pragmatic when I shop.  A long overdue heartfelt thank you! I'm very keen to see the outcome of your current exercise.

  • amiable replied 5 years ago

    What a great exercise - I realize that I'm doing almost the same thing, just coming at it from a different angle perhaps.  I hope that what I end up with is a capsule like you describe, and a good understanding of my actual wardrobe uses and needs.  
    I'm following with great interest!

  • Aida replied 5 years ago

    Great exercise Denise, I'm sure that you'll gain further clarity about your wardrobe needs even if this is something you've done similarly in the past. Very interesting to read such profound insights, a mere 8 days in. And I'm glad you left yourself room to substitute, because you'll definitely gain far more valuable insight that way. If you have photos of them, I'd also be curious to see more of what you ended up wearing throughout the experiment. Your casual outfits, in particular, always manage to have just the right amount of interest even though they're ultra caz.

    (Hah Rachy I had the same thought about how well laid out those original posts are! Truly, very digestible.)

  • cheryl replied 5 years ago

    This is a fantastic post. I think it's wonderful that only eight days in and you have already learned some valuable lessons. I also love that you are being flexible with changing things out. Can't wait to read more about this experiment.

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