Summer capsule – key pieces

Thanks to those of you who said pictures of some of my summer capsule may be helpful.   I have enclosed some of the key pieces that I find myself reaching for again and again.

Why these pieces:

  • Neutral colours
  • Lightweight materials
  • Classic shapes
  • Easy to style

However, I feel this capsule, as a whole, has not quite gelled for me.  I think I have too many pieces or maybe some are not versatile enough or I am not being creative enough!   Rather than angsting too much over this, I am treating it as an experiment and an opportunity to learn.

There was a time when a filled wardrobe would have led me to believe that I always had the ‘right clothes’ even though I used to stand in front of it, in despair at not finding something to wear.  Now, a half-filled wardrobe seems too full.  I believe I may have veered too much towards loving some pretty summer pieces, because they are a novelty in our climate, and not enough towards choosing versatile pieces, which earn their place.

I looked in my wardrobe today and thought ‘can I really call myself a minimalist?!’.  The answer is yes because all the ups and downs are simply another step towards a less cluttered, more meaningful life.  This is the beauty of minimalism.  It is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

When I feel overwhelmed, I often turn to other blogs which inspire and re-vitalize me.   Be More with Less and A Small Wardrobe never fail me!

A review of this capsule when summer is over should prove an interesting learning experience!

Is it just me?  Does anyone else feel they get setbacks when they thought they had cracked something?  I’d really love to hear from you.  In the meantime, have a great week 🙂

What’s in my summer capsule wardrobe

After all the planning and reviewing, my summer capsule is up and running.  I’ve taken stock of what I already have, bought a couple of new pieces, carried forward some from other capsules and dug some out of storage.  So, what have I included this year?

 

A few stats:

  • 8 bottoms (3 trousers, 3 skirts and 2 pairs of jeans)
  • 4 toppers (2 jackets and 2 cardigans)
  • 14 tops (of various sleeve lengths)
  • 2 dresses
  • 4 pairs of shoes (3 pairs of sandals and 1 pair of shoes)
  • 1 jacket (as outerwear)
  • 2 accessories (1 bag and 1 pair of sunglasses)

 

So 35 pieces in total – although 14 tops – hmmmm……. It’s only when I’ve written that down that it seems excessive.  When I was sorting out through my tops, they all seemed essential.  I’ll have to keep an eye on that and see the number of wears I get from each one.

Tips for a summer capsule:

  • I live in the UK and a range of clothes is preferable, due to the varying weather – it was cold and windy last week, it’s warm and sunny this week.
  • I’m a fan of Project 333 and it’s a brilliant framework, but it is a framework. A strict number of items is great when getting started but I’m a bit more relaxed about the numbers now.  I’m not going to worry about having 35, instead of 33 items (although those 14 tops …..)
  • Mixing and matching is what gives a capsule longevity and prevents boredom, so pick your neutrals with care. For years, I wouldn’t wear black in the summer, reserving it for the colder months.  But so many of my tops look great against a canvas of a black trousers or jeans.
  • Be realistic about how you’ll be spending your time. Dress for your real life – work, walking the dog, running errands, sitting outside – not a fantasy lifestyle.
  • If an item doesn’t work, swap it for one that does – it’s an experiment, not rules set in stone.

 

If anyone is interested in seeing pictures of the actual pieces, let me know in the comments below and I’ll include them in my next post.  In the meantime, enjoy your week 🙂

Summer 2017 Capsule Wardrobe

I’m creating a summer capsule wardrobe – anyone like to join me?

The days are getting warmer and my clothes need to be more summer appropriate.  Time to ditch the dark colours and woollen jumpers!

So, using the framework of Project 333, I’ve decided to create a small, carefully curated wardrobe of summer clothes.  I’ll include only clothes that fit me well, that I love and that suit my lifestyle.  I think I’ll end up with about 35 pieces – slipping in a cheeky 2 extra pieces – and see how I get on with that.  These 35 pieces will include all my tops, bottoms, dresses, shoes and accessories.

Why do a capsule?

  • I can choose clothes that I love and that suit me.
  • An edited wardrobe with a limited number of pieces is easy to choose from when getting dressed and that will make …..
  • Getting dressed in the morning simpler and quicker.
  • I already have a lot of clothes from last summer – re-using them will mean spending less money.
  • My wardrobe will not be crammed and over-flowing.
  • My ‘floordrobe’ will be a dim and distant memory.
  • Fewer clothes mean I will appreciate those I have more.
  • The clothes that make the cut are usually higher quality, as they will need to withstand greater wear and tear.
  • I’ll choose only my favourite items, so I’ll be wearing my favourite clothes every day – that’s a good start to a morning!
  • Less time spent fussing over my clothes means more time for friends, family and my own interests.

Some concerns:

  • I’m worried I may get bored with so few clothes – so it’s good to have it time-bound i.e. only one season, which is really only 12 weeks.
  • I don’t want people to think I’m wearing the same clothes all the time – so I’ll have to be creative.
  • I hope the extra washing and wearing doesn’t wear out my clothes too quickly.

Some tips:

  • Pick out colours that are easy to mix and match.
  • Make sure to have a good mix of clothes for work and home, especially if you work in a corporate environment.
  • Enjoy it! It’s just an experiment – if it doesn’t turn out exactly as planned, it’s only clothes!

So, I’m going to create my summer capsule this weekend.  I’ll take the clothes out of storage, try them on, select and discard, wash and iron – you know, all the glamorous stuff!

I’ll try it for 3 months and then review to see how well (or otherwise!) it has worked.  If you’re thinking of doing something similar, I’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.

Next week, I’ll write about what clothes I’ve chosen and why.  Have a great week 🙂

Summer 2017 Capsule Wardrobe – Plan

I want to be cautious about how I phrase this because I feel I’m tempting fate but summer MAY have just started here in the UK.  We’ve had some very mixed weather and a couple of very warm days and, as I’ve had my spring capsule for three months, I’ve decided it’s time for my summer one 🙂

My routine is a well-oiled machine at this stage!  I’ve reviewed my spring capsule to see how well it’s worked (quite well, actually) and pulled my summer clothes out of storage.  I’ve decided how many pieces from my spring capsule are going back into storage and how many I’m letting go (only two).  My summer clothes are a different story.  For some bizarre reason, I seem to have a disproportionate amount of these – it’s a combination of them being more fun to buy and there’s less wear and tear on them as summer is so short!  I was tempted to be a bit lazy and decide by eye what was going to form part of the capsule but previous lessons learned compelled me to actually try things on.  Twelve months has made a difference in preference, style and especially size and many pieces will not make the cut.

I will decide over the next week what I am actually taking forward into the capsule.  Another lesson learned is not to only choose light, summery pieces as layers can be essential to counteract cooler days and open windows (for those of us without air-conditioned offices!).   I need to review the capsule in its entirety and then see if there are any gaps.  I’ve only spotted one so far (a layering piece!) but think I will be letting go of over ten pieces from last year’s wardrobe, the majority of which do not fit properly any more and one or two which are no longer my style.

Summer always seems the simplest capsule for which to plan but also the easiest one to fall into a ‘fantasy lifestyle’.  In my head, I could picture myself wearing long, floaty dresses for picnics and days out, but of course, work and life will go on as normal and my wardrobe needs to be quite similar to previous seasons, just not as focused on keeping me warm all the time!   I’ll still need a combination of work appropriate clothes, along with more casual ones and the one floaty dress will probably be fine for my upcoming social calendar!

Capsule for Weekend in Madrid – Review

So, I may finally be getting to grips with minimal packing for weekends away!  Madrid was fabulous and I was able to relax and take it all in, while thoroughly enjoying the company of my very dear friends.  I wasn’t worrying about what I had brought, whether it would be enough, what clothes would be suitable or whether I had brought the ‘right’ things.  The bit of forethought and planning paid off and I was confident I could get anything I had overlooked – it wasn’t as though Madrid didn’t have any shops!

I flew into the satellite terminal of Madrid-Barajas Airport, which meant taking a train to the main terminal, then boarding a shuttle to meet my friends, who had flown into a different terminal and finally a bus to the city centre.   Hand luggage made all of this so easy.  I didn’t have to wait impatiently for my bag or worry about it not ending up on the carousel (which has happened before).

I had a small cross-body bag and all my clothes, accessories and toiletries fitted beautifully into my weekend bag.   As mentioned previously, I am a fan of the packing cube and may even have converted my friends to them.  They were victims of packing cube envy as I unpacked later on, initially refusing to believe I had fitted anything of use into so small a bag.  An added bonus of the hand luggage was that while ample, it was snug, so I didn’t go on any shopping sprees.

Madrid was a bit cooler than I had expected, despite having checked the forecast.  However, the cardigan and jacket were used interchangeably and worked well.  I wore all of the clothes I had brought and felt they were enough.  I had different outfits to wear, everything could be mixed and matched and because I had planned it out in advance, I didn’t waste any precious time wondering what to wear!  Here’s an overview of what I brought 1 jacket; 1 scarf; 1 cardigan; 2 trousers; 2 pairs of shoes; 4 tops; 1 dress and my 2 bags …..

Personal Style & the Capsule Wardrobe

Curating a capsule wardrobe every season has certainly helped me discover my sense of personal style.  My capsule has to cover a formal work environment as well as a more casual style.  While I’ve noticed, over the past few capsules, that I can mix and match pieces quite well, the two styles are quite distinct.  This has the disadvantage of some pieces, but only a bare handful, being worn only at work and vice versa, so my capsule is not quite as hard working as it could be.  The advantage, however, is that it gives me a clear delineation of the day.  Changing from formal work attire to a relaxed outfit is symbolic of the change of role and is a key step in clearing my mind of work issues and stresses.

I’m Lorraine at work but Lol at home (no prizes for guessing why I’m using my nickname of Lol for the blog, then!).  At the risk of sounding like I have a dual personality, I do find it quite therapeutic to move between roles and my personal style reflects this.

After many expensive shopping mistakes, I think that a tailored, structured wardrobe, with pencil skirts, tailored trousers, dresses and jackets suit me for work.  I like the pulled-together look and it also worked quite well over the past twelve months, when I have been losing weight.  At home, I am, as they say, a jeans and tee-shirt kind of girl, with a weakness for stripes.  But fundamentally, the style isn’t too different.  I like the sharp silhouette of skinny jeans, in a dark wash for the cooler months but changing to green and taupe for the warmer months.  As the bottoms are fitted, I keep the tops looser, as I like this look.  I tried the more boho, all-over flowing look but it’s just not me.

Having to choose a finite number of pieces helps me define my personal style.  My first couple of capsules were all encompassing in their shapes, leaving me looking fairly shapeless, as a result.  I certainly tried different pieces, of varying styles, but they never gelled for me.  As Courtney Carver says, Project 333 is not an experiment in suffering but a minimalist fashion challenge!

Every piece has to earn its place in my wardrobe so if something is not my style, I tend not to reach for it and that becomes very obvious with a pared back set of clothes – it’s taking up a valuable space that another piece could inhabit.  So, my clothes suit me more, I’m happier with them, I’m spending less but enjoying more, honing my sense of personal style, learning what works and doesn’t and I have fewer clothes but better quality.  Capsule wardrobes – what’s not to love?!  Have a great week 🙂

Why minimalism?

Three years ago, I went through a difficult time, when a dearly loved one was ill.  I felt helpless, angry, upset, out of control and frightened.  Then, I realized, it wasn’t about me.  My focus and energy needed to be channeled where it was needed most but everything seemed so complicated.  It wasn’t really or at least it was as complicated as I made it.  Fewer complications meant more time and energy available, which is what I needed, but I took the scenic route, not the direct one, on the way.

At first, I thought I needed to be ultra-organized.  I’m quite a structured person anyway (I’m a ‘J’ for those of you interested in Myers-Briggs!).  So, I organized.  I had a container for everything and if a container was ever empty, then I ensured I filled it.  Every minute of every day was planned.  Every article on every shelf was straight.  Funnily enough, this didn’t help!   But I didn’t understand why.

At some level, I knew I needed more simplicity and fewer distractions.  So I started to search the web.  My searches focused on ‘simplicity’ as I had never heard of the term ‘minimalism’.  But it kept popping up.  I stumbled across a site called ‘The Minimalists’ hosted by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.   I read a few of their posts with interest and then saw that they were due to visit London, just a train ride away. 

On Wednesday 8th October 2014, I made my way to Parkgate Road in London, somewhere I didn’t know and had never heard of, a prospect that would have daunted me before.  (I’m Irish, living in the UK, so usually everywhere is different and new!).  However, different results needed different approaches.  That evening was a watershed moment.  By that stage, I had read many articles by The Minimalists and even had one of their books.  However, hearing them speak brought the whole concept of minimalism alive for me and more importantly, within my reach.  They also mentioned some of their friends, Courtney Carver, Leo Babauta, Colin Wright  …. I realized there was a whole world of minimalism and alternative views out there.

The weekend after, I looked around my carefully organized belongings and saw them with different eyes.  Yes, I was fortunate to have so much – but I also had so much distraction, so much anxiety and so much excess.   How much did one person need, for goodness sake?!  I saw the difference between organization and minimalism, which is probably quite obvious to many others, but as I said, I took the scenic route to this realization.

My loved one is now so much better than I ever thought possible.  And the dark days which I hated and feared at the time, showed me a less conventional but more satisfying life.   I’m still on a journey to simplicity but I know why I’m doing it.  As Jim Rohn says, ‘ When the why gets stronger, the how gets easier’.

 

Photo courtesy of http://www.freeimages.co.uk