September 26, 2014

my capsule wardrobe // fall 2014

First things first: HAPPY DANCE!

Fall is MAGIC. And I’m wildly happy to share my fall capsule wardrobe with you.

Pssst … here’s a refresher course on capsule wardrobes, just in case you want to brush up.

In this post, we’ll be chatting about my process of putting it together + my budget + what I ended up with + finally, where you can shop for each piece.

But first, let’s just look at it. ‘Cause it’s so pretty.


Disclaimer: Honesty is awesome, so I chat numbers and dollars in this post. I trust you’ll honor my honesty. Just so we’re clear, everything written here is based on my personal experiences + opinions. Not everything I say here will work for you, but I have faith that you’ll take the information presented  and apply some of it to your own wardrobe in a new and creative way. 


I came into this season with confidence … only to have it shaken up a bit.

See, my summer wardrobe was really easy for me to put together, I figured, “Hey, that wasn’t so hard — so I guess every season from here on out will just be easier!”

Not so. I felt unsure when it came to combining layers the “right” way. I felt unsure of my style. I felt unsure when it came to translating trends into something that felt “me.” For a while, I was totally lost.

Let me take this moment to remind you that I’m still new at this whole fashion + capsule wardrobe thing.

But …

If you remember from a couple posts ago …

How fascinating!

I had a new opportunity to problem-solve + discover a bit more of my authentic style.

I decided to focus on the girl inside the clothes — rather than the clothes themselves. I decided to let go of the idea that I needed to create a perfect wardrobe — I saw it instead as a part of the process, something I’d learn from. I decided that I had put pressure on myself –and I could take it away.

And little by little, things started to come together.

And now I can say:

My style for the fall is cabin-cozy + urban-cool + a little bit classic.


I knew that fall was going to be my biggest spending season all year. Because:

  1. Cold-weather clothes — boots, jeans, coats, and whatnot — are usually more expensive.
  2. I was seriously lacking boots, jeans, coats, and whatnot.

With fall purchases looming, I planned accordingly + saved up during the summer.

I budgeted $1000 for my fall capsule and I’m really proud to say I stuck to it. Since I won’t be shopping for the next three months, it comes out to about $330 per month.

My goal is to build 4 really solid capsule wardrobes this year so that next year I can just pull them out of storage, maybe swap out 4-8 pieces, and go.


I ended up with a total of 37 pieces in my fall wardrobe including 16 tops, 4 jackets/coats, 8 bottoms, and 9 pairs of shoes.

I bought 21 new pieces for fall. (You can see which ones are new in the photo above – they have a little dot next to them) Most of them were either from Aritzia (new fav store!) + Zara + Madewell. I shopped strategically, using gift cards + hitting up sales + avidly applying discount codes. The remaining 16 pieces were either rolled over from my summer wardrobe or pulled from storage.

Seriously. CANNOT WAIT to show you all the cool outfits I’ve been putting together with these pieces.


A few of these pieces aren’t available anymore, so I’ve linked to a similar item.


white sweatshirt  /  white tank  /  classic button up  /  slouchy sweater


 graphic tee  /  wrap coat  /  thermal tee  /  colorblock sweater


 striped dress  /  cocoon cardigan  /  feather print top  /  slouchy cardigan

Don’t miss:

The Cocoon Cardigan / Dex / $80 – If you follow me on Insta, you might remember when I posted about this cardigan a couple of weeks ago. Sadly, there were only a few in stock and it quickly sold out. But guess what? It’s back!


chambray shirt  /  distressed denim  /  charcoal sweatshirt  /  wool joggers


dark grey denim  /  unstructured blazer  /  midi skirt  /  ponte leggings


puffer jacket  /  vegan leather jacket  /  shirttail hem skirt  /  leather leggings

Don’t miss:

The Leather Leggings / Urban Outfitters / $30 – I actually bought this exact pair last year, and I’m so glad they have them again for all of you! If you’ve been wanting to try the leather legging trend, this is an awesome pair to start with. They aren’t all va-va-voom, they lay perfectly, and the fabric is smooth and almost matte — meaning they look high-quality. And that little cuff at the bottom just makes ‘em.


wine sweater  /  flannel button up  /  boyfriend cardigan  /  buffalo check shirt


cheetah booties  /  black booties  /  wedge booties  /  cognac booties

Don’t miss:

The High Heeled Black Booties / Aldo / $67 – I searched high and low for these shoes after I saw this pin. And amazingly enough, I found them! But if you want a pair yourself, you might want to act fast – they’re on clearance and I’m not sure how much longer they’ll last. (Oh, and size up about a half size. They run a tad small.)


black booties  /  vans high tops  /  flats  /  slip-ons  /  lace up heels

Don’t miss:

The Lace Up Heels / Target / $40 – I know, I know. I was just going on about how I didn’t wear my yellow heels much this summer, so it’s surprising to see a pair of fancy heels in my fall capsule. There is a method to my madness, though. Summer is casual to the max. But October-December is full of holiday parties and special events, like — my favorite — the Nutcracker ballet. So I’ll be glad to have these little guys around. And … $40!

Starting tomorrow, I’m taking a few glorious days off. And then Wednesday, I’ll be back with FALL OUTFITS! Woohoo!!



September 25, 2014

summer wrap up | pieces I’m carrying over to fall

With such a drastic season change, there are actually very few pieces I’m carrying over from summer to fall.

And also … I’m ready for a break from these clothes.

Which is perfectly okay.

In fact, it’s why I like having four seasons of clothing. The switch up every three months keeps my wardrobe dynamic and lively + it gives me a sense of renewal.

Bottom line? This whole capsule wardrobe experience is meant to be a happy one.

It’s not about bashing shopping or fashion.

And it’s definitely not a competition of who can be the “most minimalist.”

It’s about striking the balance between keeping it minimal + having fun with fashion.

So … here are the four pieces that I’m carrying over from summer to fall. That’s right, there’s only four. But don’t panic, that doesn’t mean I bought 33 new items for fall. :) I have a bunch of pieces from last fall and winter to carry over — you just haven’t seen them yet. (But I can’t wait to show you — tomorrow!!)

Fun fact: my chambray shirt + leather jacket + spot dot flats have been in all of my capsule wardrobes so far — they are awesome.


 chambray shirt – jcrew

 moto jacket – zara (similar)

spot dot flats – madewell (in a new pretty color for fall) — or —  similar at ASOS for less

white tank – jcrew (similar)


September 24, 2014

the seasonal transition (what it really looks like)

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 9.38.57 AM

photo via my Instagram feed — I’m @caroline_joy

(Psssst…t-minus 2 days til I share my fall capsule wardrobe!)


Dear Caroline,

I was wondering how your transition from season to season looks? Do you literally switch everything over in one day or do you let pieces trickle in and out over time, depending on the weather?



Dear Hallie,

Awesome question! Here’s what my transition really looks like:

1. I don’t do a hard cut. Meaning, I take my time with the transition. As one reader put it — “The weather doesn’t switch in one day. Why should my wardrobe?”

2. About two weeks before the fall season starts, I start moving my fall clothes into my closet. From that point on, I start a slow transition, moving fall pieces in + summer pieces out. Then about a week or two after the fall season starts, the transition is complete and my closet is all fall.

3. But I always like to keep a minimal number of clothes hanging in my closet — I function better that way because I feel more creative when I’m working with limited options and little to no visual clutter. And for some strange subconscious reason, I tend to wear summer pieces with summer pieces and fall pieces with fall pieces — I don’t mix the two very often. Just a preference.

Remember this is all about creative problem-solving + embracing your style, your way.



September 23, 2014

summer wrap up | least worn pieces

Let’s continue our summer wrap up by chatting about the pieces in my capsule wardrobe that I wore the least + the lessons I learned from them.

Mistakes — of any kind — usually make us fidget + sweat. After all, if we’re being real, any mistake has a cost.

But … what if there’s another side to our mistakes? A quieter side, that’s perhaps harder to feel, but just as real.

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite people: Benjamin Zander. If I could pick anyone in the world to adopt as a grandfather, it would be this guy. He’s the renown conductor of the Boston Philharmonic + a wildly innovative, out-of-the-box thinker. He says:

“I actively train my students that when they make a mistake, they are to lift their arms in the air, smile, and say, “How fascinating!” It is only when we make mistakes that we can really begin to notice what needs attention.”

(Don’t you love that mental picture? A bunch of serious musicians throwing their arms in the air and exclaiming to themselves? Makes me smile every time.)

Another mistake? How fascinating! Another opportunity to learn something just presented itself.

So on that note, here are some of my mistakes this season:



TRACK SHORTS | Oops! Turns out that in 103°F heat, I perspire. You can see where this is going, right? Sweat would show up in the most unsightly of places in these light grey shorts. TMI? My apologies. Maybe these would work for spring when it’s not so-dang-hot.

LITTLE WHITE DRESS | …that got even littler. I accidentally threw this baby in the dryer and it came out short … like real short. You can bet I’m much more careful with laundry these days.

WHITE DETAILED TANK | Truth be told, this was one of my favorite pieces — but 10 seconds after I’d put it on it would wrinkle up terribly. I loved it so much that I’d try to wear it anyway, but I always got annoyed with it. Lesson learned? Do a wrinkle test in the dressing room by grabbing a fistful of the material + balling it up in my hand + checking for wrinkles.

BRUSH TANK | No embarrassing story here, I simply didn’t reach for it over other favorites. Maybe next summer.

TRACK PANTS |  I actually wore + washed these pants so many times that they practically fell apart. But they stretched out in the knees each time I wore them, so I would wash them after every wear — which was a lot. I love my track pants so next time, I’m buying higher quality fabric that hopefully won’t stretch at the knees + not need to be washed so often.

YELLOW PUMPS | We all knew these were going to fail, right? They looked cute the few times I wore them, but overall they’re just too fancy for my lifestyle.

So here’s you’re assignment: as you move through your day today, try out what Benjamin teaches his students to do when they make a mistake — smile, raise your arms in the air, and exclaim “How fascinating!” + report back how you felt when you did it.


September 22, 2014

summer wrap up | most worn pieces

It’s time for a week of wrap ups! First up — my most worn pieces from my summer wardrobe.


For my day to day life of working at home + running errands, I found myself reaching for these comfy staples over and over again.

Lessons learned?


I gravitate towards loose fitting graphic tees, like the Paris tee and Boheme D’Ete tee.

So I need to keep this in mind when planning my fall wardrobe. They are ridiculously comfortable + the graphic part adds effortless style and interest + I don’t have to think too hard about it.

For example:

Did I shave my underarms? Who cares — sleeves!

Did I eat one taco too many at lunch? Um … yes …  but also — is there such a thing as one taco too many? No. But either way I don’t have to worry about, you know, a food baby or whatever.


The white shirt tucked into jean shorts is my new signature.

I always felt chic + comfy in this combo paired with birks and a couple of worn-in gold bangles from Madewell. Wore a version of this outfit at least once a week.

Can’t wait to translate it into a fall look!


Good fabric is worth paying for.

My grey Madewell tank top up there is pure magic. It doesn’t wrinkle!

Let me say that again: it doesn’t wrinkle.

I recently traveled to Seattle and packed, among other things, this grey tank and a white shirt from a store that shall remain nameless.

When I pulled them out of my suitcase my white shirt was a wrinkled disaster – basically unusable for the trip.

Meanwhile, my grey tank came out and practically smiled at me like a cute baby chimpanzee. It was magically wrinkle free.

Now I get why fabric matters. Good fabric = your clothes are so easy to live with + travel with + wear.


There’s no reason to be afraid of flowy shorts.

They are actually awesome + crazy versatile.

That is all.

What did you learn this summer season? Any exciting style breakthroughs to share?!