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.


How Your Lifestyle Relates to Clothing Choices

by Jessica Sliman in ,

Just one more quick note before we start building our capsule wardrobe. This seems like a no-brainer but it plays a big part in creating an effective capsule wardrobe: your lifestyle and your clothing choices should get along. I stay at home with my two daughters who are 4 and 3 years old. My days consist of play dates, errands, bike ride and parks, running them to and from preschool, cooking, cleaning, and the gym. Sure, there are other things thrown in on occasion but this is the majority of my life. Let's say 75% of my time is spent in mom-life. Then it makes sense that 75% of my clothing choices should mesh with that. Maybe a bit more.

 When I show you my capsule wardrobe, you'll see lots of jeans, tees, flats, and boots. You'll see comfy because that's mostly what I need. The wardrobe reflects my life. The other 25% of my life includes dates with my husband or family nights out, nights out with girlfriends, and the occasional "event" like a blogger meetup or a work function with my husband. If we hang out with friends on the weekend, we're most likely at one of our homes, with our kids, and dressing casual.

My wardrobe is super casual. Yours needn't be.

Think about your life and how you spend your days. If you work out of the house, you'll obviously need work appropriate attire. If you spend more time out with friends, your clothing choices will need to reflect that. Think about your days and try to make a pie chart of your time. What do you spend your biggest chunks for time doing? Perhaps you'll discover you need two capsules - one for work and one for play with some pieces that bridge the gap.

For me, this meant freedom from heels and fancy dresses. Just because I love them doesn't mean I need to own them. From experience, I never (or very rarely) wear those pieces. Moving forward, this helps me know what NOT to buy. And looking back, well, maybe I don't feel so bad about getting rid of some of those fancy dresses that were just taking up space in my life. Both literally and figuratively.

Onward and upward!