Capsule Wardrobe: Part 1 – My story

Disclaimer: I am not a fashionista or a model. I’m just a regular-sized, thirty-something mama of two girls. It’s way out of my comfort zone to offer fashion advice, so please don’t think I’m trying to tell you what all hip mamas wear. I just want to share my story of how I am moving from insecure to confident in my own personal style. I’m definitely a work in progress.

Turns out I have a lot more boho in me than I thought

When I quit teaching to stay at home with my girls, my wardrobe suffered a kind of identity crisis. Finding a “mom style” and adapting to my post-baby body made it hard to find clothing I truly loved and felt good in. My closet became a jumble of leftover pieces from my teaching career, clearance finds I bought out of necessity when nothing fit, and jeans from pre-pregnancy to post-pregnancy sizes. I even had several maternity pieces that I had just never gotten rid of.

Fast-forward to January 2016. I had been on the Trim Healthy Mama plan for several months and had made some great progress, though I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be. I had been hearing about the “capsule wardrobe” concept for a while, and I decided this was the perfect opportunity to try it out. Since I wasn’t quite at my final goal size I didn’t want to buy anything new, so I just went with what I had.

Sorry for the poor photo-quality, but our bathroom is the only room with a full-length mirror
I loosely followed the guidelines from this blog, beginning with taking everything out of my closet and donating or selling anything that didn’t fit anymore. I packed all the summer clothes in a plastic bin (mostly shorts and tank tops) and then checked again to make sure I really loved (or at least sort of liked) everything I had left. I think it came out to thirty-eight pieces (not including workout gear and lounge-wear). Those are the pieces I wore for the next three months. I was worried I would get sick of the clothes and be tempted to buy some new things just to change it up, but I really didn’t. In fact I feel like I wore more of the pieces simply because I could see what I had rather than just reaching for the same three shirts. It was fun to mix and match and find accessories to freshen up the outfits.

I promise these boots don’t look mustard-colored in person
Once the weather started warming up and I was pretty much at my goal weight, I decided (with my husband’s blessing) it was time for a serious wardrobe upgrade. My old pattern would have been to hit all my favorite stores, buying anything from the sale rack that caught my eye (often in multiple colors) and ending up with an assortment of clothing but no real outfits. Then I would proceed to wear the same three shirts over and over until I got sick of them and went to get something new. Rinse, repeat. I knew this wasn’t a very practical or responsible approach to clothes shopping, so with a little capsule building experience under my belt (no pun intended) I carefully made a plan and shopping list before I hit any stores.

This time I really was starting from scratch, since I had almost nothing left that fit. I started by defining my style and thinking about how I spend my time. Since I’m a stay-at-home-mama my clothes need to be practical, comfortable, and easy to care for, but also make me feel pretty and confident in my role as a “professional mom.” 😉

I love how the right shoe and accessories can dress the same top up or down

Next I searched Pinterest for outfits that fit my style/activities, and wrote down the common pieces (dark skinny jeans, distressed straight jeans, charcoal gray top, boho white blouse, etc.) Once I had my shopping list I decided on the stores I wanted to visit. I started at LOFT which was perfect. Their collections are well-curated and I am definitely in their target demographic. 🙂 I found most of my staple pieces there, and thanks to some serious sales I managed to spend less than I had planned. I found a couple more items at Old Navy to finish off my list, and I was set.

It took me less than two minutes to pull together each one of these outfits
I repeated this method for summer and now fall, and I think I’m getting better at it every time. So far I’m loving my fall clothes, but realizing I should have included more short-sleeved shirts and cardigans for layering. I guess I forgot that autumn weather in NWA is cool in the mornings and evenings but still warms up into the high seventies and eighties by the afternoon.

Did you notice I’m wearing the same skinny jeans in every outfit?

So there is definitely a learning curve, but overall this intentional wardrobe planning thing really fits my personality, and I’m loving it. Next post I will (hopefully) share my fall 2016 wardrobe, if I can ever finish editing all the photos. 🙂 Any capsule wardrobe enthusiasts out there? Tell me how you do it and what you love about it!  

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