As you know from my last post, I recently completed a long-overdue personal style evaluation and closet clean out. Many of you reached out to tell me you are on the same page (yay!); others of you wanted to know more when I shared the photo below on Insta:
As I wrote in my last post, I knew my wardrobe wasn’t working for me as well as it used to, and that my lifestyle and personal tastes had changed. So before I tackled my closet, I started surfing the Web with the idea of a capsule wardrobe in mind; I wanted to know how much of what I already own is good “capsule” material, and how to get to the nitty gritty of what I really need. That’s when I discovered the FREE(!) Un-Fancy Capsule Wardrobe Planner, and boy am I glad I did.
Now listen up: Whether you plan to actually do a capsule wardrobe experiment is irrelevant; this planner is excellent for evaluating your wardrobe in general. If you are even the slightest bit over your current wardrobe, download the planner ASAP. It really will help give you some clarity about what works, and maybe even help you stop making the same sartorial mistakes you’ve made in the past.
Understanding why something works—or doesn’t—is key to making better future purchases.
What I love about the planner is it forces you consider what works, and what doesn’t, and why. The why of this exercise is the most important aspect of it. Once you understand why you love some pieces more than others, you are basically giving yourself a guide that will ensure new items stay in the “love” category of your wardrobe, forever.
I quickly learned that comfort is an important characteristic of the pieces in my closet that I reach for over and over; and on the flip side, things I noted as uncomfortable were the pieces that gathered dust. That comfort is important may seem like a no-brainer for most, but it wasn’t always high on my list of criteria. In the past I had definitely subscribed to the “no pain, no gain” approach. If it looked good and looked the part, I often dealt with discomfort and even straight up pain in some cases. (Louboutin Pigalle 120s, anyone? I actually wore them to a wedding once; I only made it through the night and the dancing because a steady stream of cocktails numbed the pain. My toes and the balls of my feet were sore the whole next day. But the flash of that red sole during the Greek dancing…worth it.)
I also love that the planner makes you think about fabrics. I almost always read labels to see what a piece is made of before purchasing. These are some of my observations on fabrics:
- I hate the 100% rayon of fast fashion—it wrinkles like hell, doesn’t launder well, and it doesn’t hold up.
- Jeans must have a little stretch/spandex in them because if not, they are excruciating to sit in for more than 30 minutes. This is not 1997. There has to be more than just cotton in them.
- Dry clean only items are almost always a no-go. Who wants a regular (expensive) dry-cleaning bill? Exceptions made only for suits and formalwear.
- Forget cashmere. I had a cashmere sweater…once. Even when kept in a drawer with moth-repellent bricks, some invisible moth still had a feast. I am not going to spend $100+ on a sweater just to have it eaten. Because it will. Cashmere is their favorite flavor, apparently.
- And no silk. You can’t wear it in summer…it shows sweat like crazy! And again, dry clean only. No thanks.
Guess what got the boot in my latest closet edit? Three silk blouses? Check. A pair of trousers with no stretch in them? Check. I know from experience (now) what happens when I don’t read the label, or chose to buy something made from a fabric on my no-go list, anyway. From now on, I’m just going to envision myself flushing a $100 bill down the toilet next time I even think about breaking one of these rules.
Know your uniform and duplicate it.
We all have default looks we rely on. That’s a good thing. Your “uniform” is another thing the planner asks you to think about. The typical way you combine certain pieces—whether it’s skinny jeans and a tank top or tee, or a maxi dress and gladiators—is your uniform for a reason. It’s easy, it’s comfortable, it takes almost no thought.
When evaluating your wardrobe, capturing your uniforms is important because it helps inform future clothing combinations and purchases. I already have two pairs of black skinny jeans with gold zips at the pockets and ankles that are definitely part of my uniform. I chose to add one more pair of ultra-comfy, plain black skinny ankle jeans to my wardrobe, after removing another pair that I loved, but no longer fit.
On the idea of a capsule wardrobe…
Although the wardrobe planner was created with a capsule approach in mind, I still found it extremely helpful for evaluating my wardrobe and doing a tough-love closet edit. I don’t think I’m going to force myself into a capsule experiment just yet, but I am going to put myself on a buying diet after adding a couple more key items (like ballet flats) that are missing.
Even though I’m not limiting myself to 30-pieces-or-under for a season, using the planner has definitely changed my perspective. Now I’m kind of looking at my entire wardrobe as a capsule; I’m putting new purchases through a real checkpoint, and I’m actually thinking about how I can combine what I have in new and interesting ways. That is HUGE considering that nearly every day, I put something in an online cart that I didn’t even know I wanted until I saw it on Instagram or a blog. That kind of mindless wardrobing has been my M.O. for a long, long time. But not anymore.
I hope this little peek into my own experience using this wardrobe planner has helped you think about your own approach. I highly recommend downloading the planner and spending an hour or so completing it. It really is eye-opening! Even if you think you know yourself, I bet something will be revealed that you hadn’t realized before.
Plus, it’s FREE, people. What are you waiting for?