The State of The Capsule Wardrobe – Month One

You can follow my daily capsule outfits here.

The first month of my capsule wardrobe just wrapped up, and boy, do I have lots to say on the matter. Let’s dive in.

1. MVP pieces – Of my 37 items, there were a handful of workhorses that, indeed, worked it overtime. Conversely, several items weren’t worn at all. Let’s take a look at the MVPs for the month of January.

capsule wardrobe winter most worn


clothing sources here 

Pretty basic, folks. I mean, HELLO CASUAL PERSON. Or boring person. Actually, kidding aside, this (very) accurately conveys my day-to-day style. It’s simple, stream-lined, classic, and no frills. It’s also kind of male-inspired, wouldn’t you say? I think my core pieces tend to skirt an slightly androgynous look…I’m definitely not one to wear dresses or romantic pieces because I like my accessories to bring the feminine into the mix. (More on that in just a sec.)

Items that weren’t (or barely) worn? The fancier ones. The fur jacket, the silk tops, the leather heels…despite feeling like I “need” those options, I’m not sure I do. I still go for the MVP options when meeting friends for a drink or date night. We’ll see if that changes over the next few months. (I also think winter lends itself to less feminine items. I foresee a little more girly come Spring capsule.)

2. Accessories are key – People, my accessories are keeping me sane. Scarves, bracelets, chunky rings, hats, bags, glasses…these are the essentials that make my outfits stand out and feel original, despite pulling from the same small pool of core pieces. I wear a scarf (from my collection of about 10 faves) almost every day, which keeps me from feeling like I’m wearing the same ol’ outfit.

Accessories are what keep me in this thing, to be honest. If I wasn’t able to wear unlimited accessories, I’d be crying in my gluten-free beer right now. (My fellow GFers, have you tried Omission Lager? Damn fine stuff.) Oh, and don’t even get me started on lipstick as an accessory. I’m wearing lots of different colors right now. Hang tight for a post on what accessories I’m loving.

3. Weather changes – Okay, Oklahoma sure threw me for a loop this month. We had a week of 70-degree+ temps, and that left me in a bit of bind, considering so many of my capsule tops are wool sweaters and warm sweatshirts. The buttoned shirts were in major rotation during the warmer days, which leads me to my next point…

4. Laundry – When you are wearing such a small collection of items, you have to stay on top of your laundry. There were days when all of my go-to buttoned shirts were dirty. Total buzzkill, especially when it was sunny and 75. Yikes.

5. Travel – I traveled to Dallas and Newport Beach in January and had no problem sticking to the capsule. Warmer winter climates called for boyfriend jeans, buttoned shirts, and oxfords without socks. Also, OMG, people, packing is So. Much. Easier. No more standing around your closet, staring at choice after choice after choice. You get in and get it done. Love that aspect.

Now, I am approaching my first major (and hopefully only) capsule issue. I’m traveling to Lima, Peru in two weeks, and as most of you know, it’s summer there. Barely any of these options will work for the trip, so I am creating a miniature travel capsule for the duration of the trip. I’d be happy to post that mini-capsule if you are interested in checking it out.

6. Strategy – I’ve realized strategic outfit planning is important, especially with weather fluctuations. I make sure to pay attention to the forecast – if it’s going to be cold, it’s imperative that I wear my sweaters and knee-high boots, otherwise they will never be worn. I’m actually hoping for cold weather in February so my wool sweaters get some love!

7. Workout clothing – Not counting my yoga clothes has been so helpful, because they truly are part of my everyday wardrobe. Most mornings I’m in leggings and a tank with my puffer coat on top. (I also wear Uggs to yoga on cold mornings, although I didn’t count them as a capsule shoe.) But I also am pretty adamant about not wearing workout clothing throughout the day.

8. Temptation to shop – Obviously I’m only one month into this, so the temptation hasn’t been too bad, although, this post is timely considering every brand known to man is debuting Spring right now. The past few days have become way more challenging, for sure. The way I’m dealing with temptation is pinning everything I love to a private board that I created for my upcoming capsule. It’s perfect, actually, because I have everything in one place, and it will allow me to stew on what few items I will actually purchase come late March. It’s always so interesting to see what “I have to have this NOW” items turn into “meh” ones in the short span of a couple of months.

Also, in carefully observing my behavior this month, it has become crystal clear that sourcing and shopping online is a complete method of distraction for me. When I’m not feeling well, having a crappy day or just plain bored, I always open up the laptop and visit my favorite retailers. Every. Time. It’s my personal addiction. My escape from feeling the feelings. So, now, I’m trying to incorporate healthier choices – going for a walk (why is it so hard for me to do this?!), reaching out to friends, journaling, reading a book, or making a new recipe. I’m hoping these will become new habits.

9. Outfit photos – This was, by far, the most common request from you guys. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t take any outfit photos in January, but a slew of outfit combos will be up on the blog by mid-to-late February. It took a little time for me to figure out how I was going to approach outfit photos, but it’s all good. (My biggest dilemma was not wanting crappy mirror shots like the days of yore residing on this blog. I mean, will you look at those photos? That I took with an actual point-and-shoot camera? Good lord, I’ve been on the internet too long. WHAT ARE THOSE OUTFITS I AM CRINGING.)

10. Reader questions – You guys have posted great questions about capsule wardrobes and my answers will be up next week. Feel free to leave more in the comments, and I’ll try answer to the best of my knowledge.

Viva la capsule!

  1. SS in NH

    February 2, 2015 at 9:39 am

    I was curious about the laundry impact so thanks for mentioning that.

    I definitely want to know about the Peru travel capsule!

  2. Honour

    February 2, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Please do a post about your travel capsule wardrobe….I am taking a very similar trip and would love some ideas!

  3. Alison C

    February 2, 2015 at 10:19 am

    It makes sense to me that you would not be wearing the “fancier” items as the cold weather just makes me want to wear basic warm clothes.

    I do want to see your travel capsule.

  4. Cheyanne

    February 2, 2015 at 10:42 am

    OHMYGOSH your days of yore photos CRACKED ME UP. Thank you.

    And please share your travel wardrobe! :)

  5. Alicia

    February 2, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Please share the travel wardrobe…I love seeing how someone packs for a trip. It’s so helpful!

  6. brianne

    February 2, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I clicked the “days of yore” link and goodness! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time! You’re inspiring, Sarah!

  7. Allison

    February 2, 2015 at 11:58 am

    This is so great! Thank you. We’re on a journey to the same healthy place, and I’m loving watching the way you do this. And am learning a lot. Simplification is the key to happiness/health for me right now, in every aspect of life. So I love this. YES.

    • whoorl

      February 2, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      Yay, Allison! Ginormous fist bump to you.

  8. Amy @ MomAdvice

    February 2, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    I’m so happy you updated this and gave us the scoop. The same challenges you deal with are the ones that I deal with so I’m glad to hear I wasn’t alone. I pushed my capsule out another month when I realized I did not plan as well as I thought I had. It actually worked better for timing with my travel schedule and the seasons in Indiana.

    I actually really love your picks an awful lot and can’t wait to see your outfits! xo

  9. Megan

    February 2, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    I was so interested to read this post! I love hearing how other people are managing on a capsule wardrobe. I agree with you that basic items end up being the most used and that our fancier pieces stay in the closet a lot more. I also appreciate your comments about the weather making things a little more difficult sometimes. I’ve only been doing the capsule wardrobe thing for two seasons, which luckily for me have been spring and summer. Not so variable. I’m intrigued to see if I find it more challenging in the cooler months when the weather really can be all over the place. Looking forward to seeing how you put some of you’re outfits and accessories together :-)

    My capsule wardrobe blog.
    If you’re interested take a look :-)

  10. Ashley

    February 2, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    My kingdom for a lipstick as accessory post.
    My obsession wth a nude lip means my choices every day are pale, paler and palest. Pretty please?

  11. Rebecca

    February 2, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    I love that you are doing this. When I first read about it, I turned to my closet and did some serious thinning. Too much stuff! Once I read the original post, I also stopped shopping. Similarly, if I am interested in something, instead of buying immediately, I make notes in my phone. It has been a nice money saver. (Except I did buy the bag from Nordstrom’s that you posted recently–yikes!)

  12. Cindy

    February 2, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    I am also in the middle of my first capsule wardrobe (inspired by you: thank you for the idea!). I second what you said about accessories. And travel.

    I have enjoyed only wearing the clothes that I love because of the way that they look on me: I expected that to happen. But I’ve also noticed that I’ve become more aware of the visceral feel of my clothes against my body. I have a down vest that is getting major screen time right now, and I realized for the first time this month how much I love the sense of warmth that seeps into my chest when I put it on. I never noticed it before. Now I notice it every time I wear it, and it never fails to make me feel grateful and happy.

    • whoorl

      February 10, 2015 at 9:31 am

      I totally agree about fabrics and how they make you feel!

  13. Jennie

    February 3, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    This might be my favorite post ever. I love your style and your original capsule wardrobe post led me to purge at least half of the items in my closet. Also, your link to those old outfit photos was so great – at least now I can remind myself that great style is an evolutionary process!

  14. Jennifer W.

    February 4, 2015 at 12:41 am

    I’d love outfit photos. And I love the idea of scarves — but never know how to wear them! I’d love to see the ways you use them to “feminize” your outfits.

  15. Lo

    February 6, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Hi Sarah. Just found your blog searching for capsule wardrobe inspiration, and I love seeing what you’re doing. It’s been challenging for me to make things feel fresh throughout January, so I’m totally with you on lipstick being an accessory. Can’t wait to see outfit posts!