Capsule Wardrobe Update

by Jessica Sliman in , , ,

It's been almost a full month since I started out with this capsule wardrobe (follow the link to see what's included and pictures) so I thought I'd share a bit of update on how it's going.

First let's talk about the bottoms:

My dark skinny jeans and my navy pants have been my all stars. I wear them with t-shirts, loose sweaters, button ups, booties and flats. They're comfortable, I feel good in them, and they're so easy to pair up with the other items in my closet. The leggings have seen little action as it's just been too warm. Fall, where are you?

My slim boyfriend jeans are a favorite in theory (SO comfy) but I have to resign myself to the fact that I bought them in the wrong size. They're a bit big and the rise is too high for me to comfortably wear a belt. The other day, Donovan caught me wearing them with the waist rolled. I gave them to my mom and they fit her perfectly. It felt good to pass them on to someone I know would get them a lot of use out of them.

The dresses:

I've worn the striped dress quite a bit but the white one feels a bit summery to me. I love the blue and black tunic but I'm waiting for the weather to change and although I really love the green one, it's waiting to be ironed....and waiting....and waiting....

The short sleeved tops:

I live in the navy and gray v-necks. The black tee from Nectar is so loose and comfy and one of those pieces I'd brag that I scored for $10. Although it's made in the USA and I've followed the care guidelines exactly, it's getting little holes throughout the shirt. Not the best quality. A good lesson for the future in "scoring" a great deal on a t-shirt. I want something that lasts a long time - not something that will wind up in a landfill or as a rag.

The long sleeved tops:

Favorites include my chambray, the wine colored thermal and the striped linen t-shirt (even though it needs to be dry cleaned). I wear the flannel when it gets chilly at night or first thing in the morning and the rest haven't even been pulled out of my closet.

The sweaters:

Hardly been touched. I wore the slouchy cream one today with a camisole and skinny jeans BUT had to take it off by noon. It's just too warm here.

The outwear:


The shoes:

Favorites are the black booties and the sneakers but I have worn each and every pair since starting this in October. It's such an easy way to change up outfits.

At this point, I'd say I'm relying on less than 20 pieces on my regular rotation. I guarantee this will change a bit with the weather changes but it's making me really think through how much I need.

On a side note, I just finished reading Over-dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion, and I feel very committed to finding more high quality, American made pieces for future capsules. It's a very interesting read on the side effects of fast fashion.


Find Your GO-TO Brands

by Jessica Sliman in ,

I have to tell you, it's hard to write on any one topic for 30 straight days. I'm still super excited about my capsule wardrobe though and I do have a number of other things I want to share before the end of the month.

First, we pared down our closets. Then I shared my capsule wardrobe and maybe you started building yours? (P.S. I would love to see it! If you have a capsule wardrobe can you share it in the comments? Either a link or just a synopsis of what it includes). Now let's talk about shopping! Yes, shopping! Having a capsule wardrobe isn't about NEVER shopping, it's about approaching shopping with a plan. It's about being mindful with purchases. It's about being rational rather than emotional.

Capsule wardrobe tip: Find your GO TO brands to help give you some direction when shopping.

First up: finding your brands. When you went through your closet, in addition to shapes and colors, I'll bet you discovered that certain brands work better for you than others. For instance, when I buy things from J.Crew or Madewell, I'm pretty sure I'm going to like what I'm get. I feel comfortable shopping online at those stores because the sizing is consistent for me. They tend to have great sales.

If you don't have go to brands, I implore you to discover some. Take an afternoon at the mall (or wherever you shop. Do you hate the mall as much as I do?) and try on clothes at some different stores. One of the best tips I ever received about shopping was all about doing research. Take an afternoon at Nordstrom. Figure out what high quality brands fit you and work well for your body and then shop the heck out of them second hand.

There are a ton of brands that just don't work for me...Zara, Banana Republic, Old Navy. I'm always between sizes. And outside of pajamas or t-shirts, I don't love the way stuff washes up from Target....even though I'm always tempted to buy stuff when I wander the store. (Capsule Wardrobe Tip 101: Stay out of Target). I love Anthropologie and will continue to shop there, but I know I've got to be super careful in there. The music + the displays + burning candles = impulse buy.

I'm also interested in developing new go to brands as I strive to find clothing items that are ethically produced.

What are your go to brands? Have you ever done research at the mall just trying stuff on? I'd love to hear about it.

What's Not Included in My Capsule Wardrobe

by Jessica Sliman

Accessories, workout clothes, pajamas, special occasion outfits and lingerie. I left all of this out of my fall capsule for a few reasons.

First, this is an exercise in mindfulness not minimalism. I want to be mindful when purchasing and mindful about the clothes in my closet. The easiest way to do this, and figure out my style, was for me to pare down. It's forcing me to be creative, to think about what I actually need and wear, and what I love. It isn't necessary for me to pare everything down to less than 40 pieces.

Rather than feeling restricted, I feel excited about learning. It's like kayaking down a river rather than being plopped down in the middle in the ocean - there's a definite direction. I don't know exactly what's at the end of the journey but I like knowing where I'm going.

There is no reason for me to get rid of beautiful, well fitting pieces just because I don't wear them everyday. Special occasion dresses have been narrowed down to those that fit and that make me feel good but I don't feel bad about having a space for them in my closet. Same goes for special occasion shoes.

Depending on the week, I may exercise four times. Or once.  I'm a bit up and down here. Rather than having an overflowing drawer of stuff, I've narrowed it down to three pairs of workout pants, three pairs of shorts, and a handful of tops. Along with my sneakers and sports bras, it fits into one small cubby in my closet. Done.

Same with pajamas and lingerie.

And if you're not ready to jump into a capsule wardrobe, maybe these categories are a good place to start. It's a lot less painful getting rid of excess pajamas, right?

And just so you know, I haven't touched my accessories or jewelry yet. I'm still figuring out how to pare these down. What I like and don't like and what is just plain excess.

My Capsule Wardrobe

by Jessica Sliman in ,

I took a few days off while traveling to a wedding but I'm back sharing my own fall capsule wardrobe today. I'm still learning a lot about how to mix pieces and how to make my love of neutral colors more interesting with accessories but I do feel like this capsule is going to be my most successful yet. A lot of the items are old, some are new, and some are new to me (hand me downs or thrifted).

Because the weather in Southern California is still warm, I had to include some shorts and sandals in here. I may swap them out as it cools down for something different but if I do it will be something I already own. I'm also going on a break from shopping until the end of the year!

Here's the break down of my capsule: 38 total pieces, 8 bottoms, 4 dresses, 5 short sleeved shirts, 8 long sleeved shirts, 4 sweaters, 3 outerwear pieces, and 6 pairs of shoes.

Clockwise starting from upper left: Madewell Skinny Skinny Crop / Madewell Slim Boyfriend / J.Crew Factory Leggings / J.Crew Andie Pants in Navy / J.Crew Denim Shorts (old/similar) / American Eagle flowy shorts (old/similar) / Emerson Fry Black Jeans / Anthropologie AG Red Cords

Like I mentioned above, I included a few pairs of shorts because it's still awfully warm here. I'm not much of a skirt girl - hence, no skirts in the capsule - so shorts felt like a must. If you've never bought semi-decent leggings, let me tell, I finally splurged and bought these J.Crew Factory leggings (for about $20) and they're so much nicer and more comfortable than the ones I've owned from Target. I've owned the red pants for a few years and rarely wear them so I wanted to include them to see how much use I'd get out of them while eliminating the other options. The J.Crew Andie pants are SO comfy (and I got them thrifted for just $25!).

From L to R: Anthropologie Cloth and Stone Button Up / Madewell Plaid Tunic / Madewell Striped Dress / Madewell Sweatshirt Dress

All of these dresses are super comfy and although the navy and black tunic is new, I've already worn it four times. I think it will be a favorite piece this fall - with leggings or tights when it cools down - or bare legged while it's still warm.

Clockwise from top left: Target gray v-neck, Nectar Black oversized tee (old/similar), Madewell Navy Slub v-neck / Madewell linen tee / Everlane white v-neck

I'm a t-shirt girl all the way. I love my Everlane v-necks and have them in a variety of colors. They're totally worth the bit of extra money and have washed up really well. The linen tee is pretty new and I'm not super happy with the way it washed up (even with handwashing) so we'll see how much use it gets.

Clockwise from top left: J.Crew Factory Chambray light / J.Crew Factory Chambray dark (old/similar) / James Perse Flannel (old/similar) / Michael Stars Wine Thermal (old/similar) / LA MADE linen striped tee / J.Crew Factory Wine Striped Tee (old/similar) / Madewell Black Striped / Anthropologie Rust tee (old/similar)

Lots of these shirts are old or hand me downs. I've worn that James Perse flannel for about a year in the mornings as a quasi-robe with my sweatpants. Now that flannels seem to be popular again, I figured adding it in was a good cheap way to get the look without spending any extra money. This seemed like a natural place to add a bit of color without buying anything new since I had a couple of rust/wine pieces already.

LF black sweater (similar) / LF oversized cream sweater (similar) / J.Crew factory baseball sweater / Charli bluegreen sweater.

I picked up the LF sweaters after wandering into the store with a friend and discovering everything hugely discounted. The beautiful Charli sweater was a birthday gift from my mother in law and the J.Crew baseball sweater is from last year.

Clockwise from top left: Free People Army Jacket (old/similar) / Target Cotton Gray Blazer (old similar) / J. Crew Factory Vest

Love the coat and vest - not so sure about the blazer. I've had it a few years and I'm not even sure I've ever worn it. It feels too casual to wear somewhere nice and too structured to wear to something like a park play date.

Clockwise from top left: Lucky Brand Emmie Flats / Madewell Gladiator Sandals / Sam Edelman Mare Booties / H by Hudson Horrigan Booties / Birkenstock Gizeh / Mint Vans

I LOVE all of these shoes and wear them all the time. I'm not much of a heel girl anymore (I really don't have appropriate places to wear them) so I only included everyday shoes. I would love a pair of more fallish/winterish sneakers to kick around in (thinking black slip on Vans) but these mint ones are relatively new (and since it doesn't feel like fall yet, I'm just going to keep on rocking them) so I opted to wait. Both pairs of boots were bought second hand but in terrific shape.

Whew, so there we go. Later this week, assuming I keep rolling with it, I'll share some more about shopping, buying second hand, thinking about ethically made clothing selections, and some updates on how this capsule is going. I'll also be sharing some info on the other clothes I own - little capsules like workout gear and pajamas - and fancier dresses and shoes.