Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Style Wednesday - Capsule Wardrobes, 10 item wardrobes and Project 333 wardrobes - Oh My


Toto - we're not in Kansas anymore..

Oh there are bloggers who blog about them, but to me, in real life, capsule wardrobes (see Mai Tai for that perfected) , 10 item wardrobes (see the Daily Connoisseur), Project 333 wardrobes (which is coincidentally half of the devil's 666 wardrobe, because it makes you show RESTRAINT - and yes, honestly that is a joke...), are as rare as
  • hen's teeth
  • unicorns
  • seeing the dial on my bathroom scale go below 125
  • a good night's sleep
  • insert your own mythical beast (including spouses) or young starlet fully dressed
Like Dorothy in Oz, I continue my plucky journey towards buying less and loving my wardrobe more.  I will not go on ad nausea, lest I bore a faithful reader, but I do want less "filler" in my life, and more "holy crap that is amazing!"

I went through my transition to fall wardrobe over the last couple of days.  So much did not meet my questions - so off I went to consignment again.  No surprise - much of what is now gone is the cheap stuff or stuff I am literally uncomfortable wearing.  Everything that is left I can fit into and walk in. 

But there is always the pesky issue of not wearing all of one's clothes.  This week I decided to take that on directly: I have identified 10 items that I will wear for the next 5 days.  Only those 10 items.  I am testing out whether I can indeed live with less. 

This week, I chose a navy/camel colour story.  I understand from the blogs I read that things in a capsule wardrobe need to match.  This has been a big surprise to me.  I always kind of had an Auntie Mame approach to my wardrobe, treating it more like a smorgasbord...


So looking at my wardrobe as a coherent, interchangeable WHOLE has been interesting/frightening/soul destroying!  The 10 items for this week, en masse:

 
Composed of:

polka dot blouse


silk blouse

oatmeal and navy Tahari shawl cardigans

Tory Burch sweater skirt
 

Marc Cain navy knit skirt

A navy and black Bon Marche dress bought in Paris last summer

And the outfit I have on below, consisting of a navy lace skirt from J Crew (old) , Gap Chambray skirt and an old navy tweed blazer:



Oh and one pair of jeans.

I have no idea if this little exercise will assist me in wearing what is left of my once expansive wardrobe.  I will let you know now and then if planning a week at a time makes wearing all of my wardobe easier.

How about you - do any of you do this?  The whole point of this, for me, is to have less, wear more and only choose things now that I believe, to the best of my abilities (limited though they are!) will NOT end up in a consignment bag!!!  That means buying better quality, which typically means buying less!

I am not certain this will work for me, and I reserve the right to return to my wanton, depraved ways, but it is worth a go. 

 
As always, I am a work in progress!!  Have a great day and stay safe out there!


In Gigi-talk, this exercise is not endorsed by me, any one who loves me, or by the Surgeon-General...







 

71 comments:

  1. Oh I am so in awe of capsule wardrobe people... I try it from time to time, but I am way too fickle and prone to fits of random non-capsule item lust.
    I think this can only really work if one lives in a place with very dependable weather.
    I think your capsule items look very interchangeable - are you allowed different shoes and accessories?
    I'm really intrigued how you go with this - it would be amazing to be able to do it!

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    1. Ruth - I am with you - that is why I am trying this week by week - next week will be a different bunch. I am just vowing to wear my clothes! I don't have a ton left and this should help winnow it further. I have already found myself falling into the "let's wear this sweater 3X in a week. And I completely agree - weather plays a huge role - it is changing from warm to cool and then back again, so it can't be a hard or fast thing!

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  2. When I travel for business or otherwise, I think it is the equivalent experience. One thing that I feel in such situations is the delicate balance between utility, less-is-more, and enjoying what we have versus sucking the joy out. It is definitely true that it is easier to get dressed when everything matches and is thought out and everything is comfortable and works with each other. But it is also true that I just *enjoy* acquiring new things and weird things that aren't always practical and so forth. How to strike the balance is an endless dilemma! You look awesome in the blazer and skirt combo, by the way!

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    1. Thanks Monty! I think you are bang on - I can play with this "capsule wardrobe" for a few days, but I know I absolutely could not have only 10 things in my wardrobe. I just like clothes and colour too much! I may try this for a couple of weeks and find it too prescribed. One thing I do hate in life is rules, even when they are self-imposed!

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  3. I can't cope with having too many clothes, it would addle my brain, I like having just enough and loving everything I have, Europeans just don't tend to shop as much as the other side of the pond, ( aside from young girls) I think it's a big cultural difference.

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    1. Tabs - I think you are right! I can tell you that having weeded out so much, it is so freeing. The only things not in my closet now are the cocktail/party outfits. So much more relaxing! I wonder what begat the difference in shopping between NA and Europe? You certainly have as many shops as we do...

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    2. Hmm, well too much shopping here is sort of frowned upon to be honest amongst certain circles, it's sort of "not the done thing" and I think we/that circle are brought up to save up for/ buy a few good quality pieces rather than go shopping every month.

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    3. Yeah... thinking about that a bit more deeply, there are shopping centres her crammed to the gills with shoppers buying the latest tat, it's a snobby class thing, yes, indeed it is.

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    4. Makes sense. Would that be the same for the average middle class person in Scotland or England? I do agree - I think one piece that really sings to you is worth three that will go out in the bin in a year!

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    5. Heehee! I could use that snobby class thing - would save me gobs of money!!! Send me some of that good fairy dust, will you?

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    6. Yes it's part of that private school, old money snobbery, mumsie would consider it very, very non U!

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    7. I do also think that in Europe generally, there is less closet space, and less selection, and certainly fewer "deals." There is also just less of an emphasis on shopping - I was really struck by how overwhelmed I was by the shopping culture the last time that I went back to the US.

      It is a bit like when you compare Canada to the US - harder to shop in Canada, fewer sales, promotions, and shopping messages in general. In Europe, I find, there is even less of a shopping emphasis.

      I do think it's considered a little tasteless here to be shopping all the time. But, I'm Switzerland, which is a little like living in a wealthy neighbourhood, but it's the the whole country (and this region in particular) - makes for an odd cultural experience.

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    8. I can't speak to the class element, but I think another factor in the difference in shopping habits between Europe and NA is online availability. There are more online options over here (Germany) than there were when we lived in Belgium several years back, but it still pales by comparison to the US, and especially including things like free shipping and returns, massive discount promotions, etc. When it is harder to spend, receive and return just by clicking a button, I think consumption probably declines.

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    9. Monty - I think you are right - I fall prey to that!

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    10. Abby, your use of the term "shopping culture" is interesting. I hadn't thought about that before, but it definitely differs, even within a country or within a city or region. Good food for thought, thanks!

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  4. I love this idea, Wendy! You are finding your groove. I like that you're experimenting with less in a low-commitment way.

    I am struggling to find anything that I feel like wearing these days. Fall is here, and I've moved into leggings, dresses, and boots, but that uniform really is not speaking to me. It is so comfortable, though, so I'd like to figure out what I can do to make it feel more me!

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    1. Abby I was thinking the same, my style goes out the window in the next few months it just becomes warmth and comfort, boots, big jumpers and dressing like a big fat snowman.

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    2. Well I haven't bought much this fall and I what I am realizing is that I am okay so long as there is something special in the outfit. Somewhere, anywhere! The only thing left on the list is a nice versatile top - I may actually have found it in the latest JC rollout. Then nothing else till I order a Brora cargidan in the after Christmas sale. Oh and the blue glitter kikis I order that were supposed to ship in October, but suddenly shipped earlier this week....damn...

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    3. That is the line of the day - dressing like a big fat snowman!

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    4. Also laughing about the snowman!

      I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out how to make this uniform look more "me." I think if I had different boots, that would help, but honestly that is not going to happen this year. So, I need other ideas - suggestions welcome :) I find my current uniform a little too classic, and a little too sporty. I'd like a bit more edge/interest.

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    5. Hello All,
      I really try hard not to do the Bibendum as well, but always blue around the edges for the next six months. Must also learn to discard cozy-comfort layering again as not an office thing.

      Abby, I always admire people who have a signature piece or item, a great bag that's really an accessory, not just a hold-all, fun tights, signature necklaces, a distinctive ring like a signet or a cool watch. Would something like that help? Although might cost more than the boots. I guess it's that whole "item that says and feels you" thing.

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    6. I am sure others will have better suggestions than I - I will sometimes change up by jewelry or scarves, which are relatively inexpensive options. Also - really interesting tshirts can be a game-changer...

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    7. Thanks for the ideas :)

      I'm having some health and pain woes, so I've been mostly wearing a backpack and cotton leggings, for comfort reasons. I'd like to wear a nice purse or neat tights. I have been looking for interesting cotton leggings or tights.

      I like the idea of a ring or necklace, or perhaps a big bracelet. I will think about those. I'm also thinking I should wear more make up and a bright lipstick!

      Some cost is okay, the not wanting to replace my boots is also about the hassle of finding another pair that meet my needs (these fit my calves, are comfortable, and waterproof!).

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    8. Abby, I don't like make-up or the time even the basics take. But I do find I am much cheerier about my clothes when my face rather matches. Even if it is dark circle banishment and a dash of lipstick. A new lipstick or "love it" bauble can be a great boost - JulieStyles did a post I loved on what her mom calls a "nosh" a while back.

      Stay warm and feel better!

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    9. Thanks GF :) Hope you are well.

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    10. Hell will freeze over before Tabs looks like a big fat snowman in anything!

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    11. Lane, giggle turned to snort, so true!

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    12. Abby - I have been wearing knit skirts over leggings - so comfy and really feels quite dressy!

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  5. It's so much easier to have just a few things that all mesh in our everyday closet. If I had to look at all of my clothes crammed together I'd go mental. In that way I'm with Tabs, except that as you know I also have a huge storage closet for next season as well as archived clothes, so I'm no minimalist.
    In my current cupboard is my fall wardrobe: 4 blouses (good for this up and down weather, the only time of year I really wear blouses is fall), 4 jumpers, 1 skirt, 2 pairs of pants (riding-type for boots) and 2 dresses, also a Harris Tweed blazer and two longer tweed coats. I also have a Sunday Section and a Black Section.
    So I'm not working with much right now either and it is much easier! I'm planning a post on this, I just have to get off my arse and take the pics.
    Loving that tweed blazer with lace skirt and chambray shirt: that outfit really sings!

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    1. That sounds perfect, I think my autumn/winter wardrobe all melds into one, oh with the exception of my jackets, they only really get worn in autumn, but by October it will probably already be coat weather here, so yes, the jackets are probably my most wasteful item actually.

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    2. Thanks Dani! Next week I think we will do pink and camel. I figure if I keep rotating, it will be do much easier! and then if things don't get worn, it's a sign! When I went to consignment yesterday the girl went "whoa!" - it was embarrassing - my stuff is everywhere there! And there were a couple of pairs of shoes I only wore once!

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    3. B&P I love jackets as well, but they are a tough one here as only really work for about 6 weeks then coats. And I have yet to find any suit ones that really fit well under coats and don't make me feel "men in white coats". Another "daily swap" thing I despise, along with the boots-to-shoes rota.

      DBP, you were a fashion stylist/ rail editor in a previous or secret life, I just know it.

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    4. GF - am with you - I hated having to do the swap at the office, but always felt like the Michelin man otherwise. That is why knits are my friend now!

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  6. PARED UP WMM, dying at the thought of you and Auntie Mame sharing wanton, depraved ways. Wasn't Rosalind Russell brill. in that one?

    Back to the closet. I wonder if you need to inject a bit of WMM colour (some pink?) into the navy and beige basics to not feel a bit bored, dull and proscribed after a week? Otherwise, I fear it may be a bit "oatmeal" for your magpie/ hummingbird self.

    I think what you are trying to find is that elusive balance between simple and real (feels like you and is fun). Bravo for embracing less is more and sharing it all with us.

    That TB sweater skirt always reminds me of Duchess Kate's PEI dress from Canada tour three years ago. Your little touch of royal retro prep.

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    1. Hi GF - don't disagree, though am getting some wow in my jewelry and boots and shoes these days and doing the pop of fun there! I have lots of pink the wings, but if I get desperate, will throw in!

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  7. This spring/summer (they were one and the same here) i lined up my clothes and forced myself to wear what was next in line...it was tough and if I couldn't wear it out the door, it was a goner. I would like to do that with fall/winter. I am ready but the weather is not cooperating. Birthday discounts, flash sales, 25% off + free shipping, it is hard to stay on track. I have enough sweaters but the JCrew one with elbow patches in light blue looks really cute!

    I do agree with GF, you need some pink accent colors with all neutrals - remember WHIMSICAL!

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    1. Gotcha! I do wear a pink scarf with my camel today and that did make the difference. As much as royal blue is my color, I think the pinks are moreso!

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  8. You will start seeing your things worn around town; I see my 90's big sweaters sported by fellow villagers after finally parting with them.

    I do like the discipline of this approach, probably more than I would the reality. Usually I would get a new blazer every fall, but in my new life, I don't need any more than I have. I imagined the different things I do, ie, meetings,volunteering, some home office visits, walking, dinners etc and found I have clothes for all. In the depths of winter at home I wear athleta black polartech pants so I can leave my thermostat at 64. I don't shop much and have no shopping buddy; I'm more apt to see something on a blog and try it.

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    1. I am like you Lane - only buying things that I would wear around the house or out to coffee or events, although I do need a blouse. I did buy some nice Royal Robbins things, which are comfy cozy!

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    2. Shoot, I think I need a blouse too; looked at the Everlane silk ones.

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    3. Lane, funny you say that, I could have sworn I saw someone wearing one of my old J. Jill zip-top sweatshirts today :D

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    4. Lane, do tell if you try the Everlane blouse! We have Ruth's review, but I'd like one more voice of validation before I take the plunge :)

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    5. I'll let you know if I do-- so helpful to have others comments. Someone loved the Frye Anna oxfords and, lo, here they are without my having to search!

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  9. Great idea Wedndy! I notice that I like to wear and rewear the same things during the week. Wear a dress to work, love it, then wear it on the weekend. I do this with sweaters a lot too. When it gets cold, it's all about comfort much like Tabitha:)

    I definitely agree that you need to throw in a brighter color this week to make it more you. Have fun!

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    1. I will throw on the odd feather boa!!!

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  10. I just couldn't do it. I would get bored so easily, and probably break down and wear my wildest printed dress! Like this morning... the night before I set out a royal purple dress for one option, and mustard pants w/ a royal blue top for the other. I like the freedom to wear what I feel like wearing that morning! But I can see the appeal, it lets you feel more in control and avoid "oh crap I have nothing to wear" mornings as you stand in front of your jammed closet!

    You look so great in all of your fun colors and fancy pants, I am not so secretly hoping that your experiment fails. Haha! Show me some jacquard capris, darn it!!!

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    1. I just saw your comment about being ok w/ an outfit as long as something is special. I am the same way... I completely understand! I am wearing a suiting dress today, which felt so boring until I put on green shoes. Instant outfit-which-makes-me-feel-amazing! Thank you for helping me realize this. I am just not happy 'til I have on one quirky/colorful/special item!

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    2. Well I have navy glitter kiki enroute, so never worry and I am seriously eying the marigold jacquard top, so no worries!!!! But yes, I will put on some fancy pants for you!

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  11. Your capsule looks perfect, I think you will have no problem this week. I did it sometime ago and I found it easier than I thought. The problem is sticking with it, I think at first it is easy because of the novelty of it. I did not contunue for too long but I have learned from it mostly than when you stop shopping for a while (NA while, not the European one, 3 months is a looong time, lol) you become less compulsive. But I admit, I do love your whimsical and exuberant self so I am with JcrewJD, not really want you to become the capsule wearer, sorry Wendy...

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    1. Well I think I can only stick with things for awhile anyway, so won't be easy regardless!!!

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  12. I need to pair down my wardrobe. But I like clothes. I like colors. And I like to spend money.

    I'm convinced once we get more room I'll be better with it.. but right now it all kinda sucks.

    I like your outfits. So classic and chic!

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    1. Well it is always hard, isn't it - I like things too! This is one way to try and wear more of my things, though I did have to add a pop of colour!

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  13. You look lovely! Frankly, these 'projects' never worked for me. I don't like being restrained by any numbers. I probably would be wasting too much time selecting the items for the capsule to start with, and then, just like JD, I would probably cheat.

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    1. well I didn't even know how to begin very well! On the other hand, if this goes by the wayside - which it likely will - I will now know how to pack for a trip!

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  14. I can't imagine going down to 10 items in my wardrobe. Maybe I could go down to 333 but I doubt it. I do need to streamline though. Now that the kids are in school things should settle down a bit so I can work on weeding out the things that are just taking up space. I think I need to take inventory at the beginning and end of each season and note what was really worn often and attempt to focus on why.

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    1. SC - that is exactly what I did! I still have TONS, but much less than before and the cashmere is tucked away till it is colder so that it is a nice "surprise!" for later!

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  15. I don't know if you follow her already but you might want to check out the vivienne files - i think you would really like her blog!

    http://theviviennefiles.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I am off to visit her right now!

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    2. Love her! And she uses a lot of Bean's clothes.

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  16. Truly, you could NEVER bore a faithful reader! Enjoy your day, WMM>

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  17. I think I lost my post? I like your outfit there! Good luck with the capsule wardrobe. I admire you getting rid of so many things. I must have either been a hoarder or lived during the Great Depression during a previous life because I am so bad at letting go of things. I wrote down my own list of questions to ask myself when I am choosing not to get rid of something I don't wear very often. On the list are: Can I replace it? Is it one-of-a-kind? Does it have sentimental value? If I can answer Yes to the first one, it's got to go. Working on it... !

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    1. Well I can do it with clothes, but not with other things, so honestly, I think we are all a work in progress! The 10 outfit concept gives me the heebie-jeebies!

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  18. It gives me a surge of pride to see "my blouse" among the items you chose. I think this is a great idea, and a good exercise in "restraint" so to speak, in order to illustrate we can live with less. I think I've told you before, though my wardrobe is steadily growing, I probably have less than 100 pieces counting shoes and tees, and I constantly throw/replace items that are not in good shape. 85% gets worn on a regular basis, and if it doesn't, to another home it goes. I don't think I'd be a good candidate for this project because I feel like my wardrobe is already a "capsule" of sorts. But you know what? I'm a good candidate to borrow that top, and that TB skirt :-)

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    1. well bad news: you are too teeny tiny for either!! I think I am down to about 120 everything in, with the purge. Ema even saved me more money with her review for me of the magnolia top. I will keep searching for a non button-down blouse I really love, like the polka dot one. I do much better with those kinds of popovers - no gaping!! :-)

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  19. Good Luck WMM...I've tried the 30 for 30 but lost motivation. Right now, though, the Stylebook App is really making me want to wear my clothes; wear an actual outfit that is not shorts or jeans. And if jeans, then a nicer top and not a tee. I want to see my calendar filled up with outfits. And I'm purging like crazy. I think I'll get to my "10" or "capsule" it's just going to take me a little while longer.

    I can't wait to see outfits!

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    1. I am so slow with the style book app! I have got to get it all in there! I do not think I could limit myself, but I do think that in general, I do actually only wear about 30 things at one time!

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  20. Hats off to you for taking on the capsule wardrobe challenge! I am also trying to pare down my wardrobe but I have not been as ruthless as you when culling. There's a ton of stuff taking up room in my closet that I don't wear, but they are too pretty to donate or sell.

    (PS. I used to look at MaiTai's capsule wardrobe and think she was the model of restraint...until one day she posted a photo of her scarf and accessories closet, and then I thought differently!)

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    1. HA! Well I have way more than these things in my closet and keep wanting to add anyway!!!

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  21. Getting caught up here. :) Great post and really interesting comments! I can't wait to see how your experiment goes. My closet (the actual closet and the clothes within) have shrunk with the move. I had a lot of clothes that were worn out or didn't fit well, and I tossed or donated them. I need to add in more clothes, but I'm on a restricted budget, so I've made a rule that new clothes must work with multiple items already in my closet. I'll let you know how it goes...

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  22. I moved to London for a year, and could only take one suitcase with me. I had a capsule wardrobe by default (unfortunately as I was a student, and there was a terrible exchange rate at the time I couldn't really afford to add to it). In some ways it was quite liberating, in others completely boring. I would say that I was always well dressed, but I was so sick of those clothes by the end of the year. Everything was on repeat, and it was pretty much all separates to add to outfit combinations. In my suitcase I had one formal dress (full length for balls - I had known I was going to a couple during the year), clothes for being a student, clothes for a career (as I worked for 6 months of that year), going out clothes, and clothes for Winter in London and summer as well. I have no idea how I did it. But as I say, it wasn't that much fun. I'll follow your progress with great interest! xx

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