Even though capsule wardrobes got super trendy last year (almost a little too trendy, if I’m allowed to say that), I’m still fascinated by them.
Creating a strong style concept through a small, thoughtful collection of clothes? I don’t know why, but I love it.
I learned so much about my style and myself from my capsule experiment, and I’ve been wanting to explore the concept in a less structured way — something practical that honors the heart of it while being free to flow as life changes.
So, welcome to the Style Series! It’s like version 2.0 of my capsule posts.
It’s a little different than my original capsule posts — there are no rules, no full list of every single thing in my wardrobe.
Instead it’s all about my style concept for each season, including:
- my goals for my wardrobe
- where I found inspiration for my style concept
- the top 12 pieces that define my style
- uniforms — AKA outfit formulas — that I’ll be wearing and rewearing all summer long
Sound good? Let’s get into it.
Whether I write ’em down or not, I always have a few loose goals for my closet — things like organizing my drawers or introducing a new color into my wardrobe or having an old piece remade at the tailor.
This summer, I’ve got five goals I’m working on:
1 / Let loose and enjoy dressing for my favorite season
Summer dressing is hands-down my favorite — it’s where my style really hits it’s stride. I’m using this summer as a time to play with my style, throw off all the little “shoulds” that have encroached on my style lately, and experiment a little with some things I’ve been wanting to try (hello, overalls).
Summer, you guys. I’m ready for that outta school feeling.
2 / Rewear + restyle
While I want to have fun and explore styling some new things, I want to focus most of my energy on restyling my older clothes.
There are a few pieces that I haven’t worn much lately, and I’m getting to that point where it seems like they may not be my style anymore. But is that really true? Or are they just a little too familiar?
With a little bit of creativity and thoughtful styling, I know I can make these pieces feel like “me” again.
3 / Bring one or two more patterned pieces into my closet
I still love my basics, but I’ve been up for a little pattern play lately.
You know me — it’ll be subtle, but hey, a pattern is a pattern.
4 / Declutter my underwear drawer
Yep, I’ve had this jumble of unorganized bras and panties for too long now. Only a handful of them really fit, and the rest are just … hanging around. For what purpose, I’m not sure.
Any of you in this boat?
So, my goal is to declutter, see what I’m left with, and then supplement if needed. I’m aiming for a useful yet minimal underwear drawer, with maybe two or three solid bras and about ten pairs of undies. We’ll see what feels right.
5 / Unsubscribe
This one is more of a to-do than a goal, but I want to take a few minutes and unsubscribe from retailer mailing lists again.
I don’t know why I don’t take five seconds and click unsubscribe right when the email hits my inbox, but I almost never do. A few retailers have snuck into my inbox lately, and honestly, I just don’t want the temptation to shop — so it’s time. Bring on the quiet inbox!
Want to join me? How about if we plan to make it happen on June 9th, next Thursday? I’ll remind you.
INSPIRATION + PLANNING
Thanks to the capsule experiment, my closet has a strong foundation I love — kind of like California chill mixed with Parisian cool.
So, when planning my summer wardrobe, I started with that foundation and then honed in on some muses who could give me a little styling inspiration — Jane Birkin and Caroline de Maigret. Think flared denim and short shift dresses for Jane, and boyish button downs and striped tees for Caroline.
However, my style always scooches a little closer to boho in the summertime, and I decided to play that up with elements like a soft, broken-in embroidered dress, a woven straw hat, frayed denim, flat sandals, and undone hair.
Anyway, let’s talk lifestyle and climate — the two most non-sexy yet vitally important things that guide me in wardrobe planning.
I’ve got a few trips planned this summer, but the biggest chunks of my time are spent working from home and running around town, or doing family time and playing with my nieces and nephews in the backyard, so I’m all about those comfortable, easy-to-wear pieces.
The heat in Texas is no joke this time of year, but I also have to balance that with chilly AC units trying to freeze me out when I’m indoors — so I’ve still got some light jackets and jeans and low profile sneakers in my closet.
MY SUMMER STAPLES
I know you’re used to seeing me post my entire wardrobe, so I just want to let you know, this isn’t my whole wardrobe — other pieces will flow in and out, but these are the 12 pieces I think I’ll be reaching for the most in the coming months. They define my style this summer.
01 | Similar crop top | I’m sure you’re shocked to see crop tops listed as my top staple. :)
02 | Loose dress • another great loose dress in black | This forgiving silhouette? I can’t get enough of it, especially in the summer heat.
03 | Woven hat | I officially don’t feel conspicuous wearing a hat anymore. Instead, I’m like, Keep that sun off my face, hat!
04 | Silk cami | Turns out, even us casual gals need something fancy to wear for date night.
05 | High rise shorts | A classic in my book.
06 | Slouchy bag | My sis-in-law gave me this bag as a belated birthday present. Needless to say she wins Sister Of The Year. (Just FYI, she owns the store that I linked to.)
07 | Clogs • similar for less | Clogs have been calling my name ever since I lost my original pair. Really happy to have them back in my life.
08 | Flare jeans • similar for less | These flares are giving my closet a nice little shake up from skinny jeans.
09 | Romper (on sale) | I’m already reaching for it again and again. This thing is so light and breezy that it’s perfect for an outdoor concert or a patio dinner. Also a plus — it’s black and doesn’t show sweat.
10 | Sunnies | I gave up on trendy sunglasses a long time ago — classic Wayfarers are my signature forever and ever.
11 | Flat sandals • another great pair with lace up detail | Comfort is the name of the game in my wardrobe. So, yes, flats.
12 | Button down | I’m excited about this one in particular because it’s so light and airy — ideal for hot days.
I’ll leave it to Alison Syrett and her recent article on uniforms to give you the lowdown:
“Something funny about fashion is that for an industry defined by what’s next and what’s new, many of its prominent figures dress the same way every day. Some of the most influential players in the game spend all day dictating trends and then promptly ignore their own advice.
My theory: They’ve achieved Personal Style Nirvana — that rare, unshakeable understanding of who you are and the outfit that expresses it. Unlike defaulting to, say, old jeans and a comfy sweater — neutral clothes — because you’re feeling lazy, it’s an inspired and carefully considered move.”
Don’t you love that?
It’s taken a lot of practice, but I feel like I’m finally getting to that point with my uniforms.
Here are the four uniforms — AKA outfit formulas — I’ve got on rotation for the summer.
Friend dates and patio dinners were made for this uniform. Somehow this combo is never too dressy nor too casual, especially if I’m wearing a black dress like this one. It’s what I wear when I’m not quite sure if I’m supposed to dress up or not.
The thing I love about this uniform? It hits that feminine tomboy vibe on the nose — especially when I take the time to fix my hair all wavy.
One piece and I’ve made an outfit, you say? Yes. Just yes. If I’m going to be indoors, I’d swap the hat for a denim jacket.
Sigh. A crop top and high waisted jeans, again? You’ve seen a version of this uniform about one hundred times on Unfancy, but there’s a reason for that — it’s my most trusted outfit formula. Always works.
• • •
And that’s that! The first installment of the Style Series. My goals + inspiration + staples + uniforms for the summer.
At the end of the summer, I’ll be recapping how things actually went — most worn pieces, least worn pieces, clothes that surprised me, and most importantly, what I learned over the season.
I hope it’s fun + helpful for you to see how I approach my closet these days. I’ve been so excited to share it with you.
Your turn! Do you have any goals for your wardrobe this summer? Got any go-to uniforms in mind? I’d love to hear if you’re doing a structured capsule or if you’re taking a relaxed approach. If you’re looking for a little guidance either way, I made a free wardrobe planner that you can download or you might want to try the capsule builder — it generates a custom capsule for you.
Oh! And don’t forget about our unsubscribing date next Thursday. See you then.
Lindsey Kelly says
Caroline! I love this! I’ve been wanting to start a capsule wardrobe of my own as of this last year (volunteering in the UK this year = living out of a suitcase’s worth of clothes for a year)… and your posts (and some hard-core practical experience) are making me more and more confident that I NEED to do this. So THANK YOU! This new style series is just the thing to take it to the next, looser level! *high fives*
Hey Lindsey, glad you excited to try it! High fives right back! :) xo, Caroline
Very helpful post, Caroline. For some reason, I’m no longer getting your posts in an e-mail, even though I’m signed up. This has happened for the last two posts. Is there something I should do besides checking the check box below for notification?
You may want to check your “junk” or “spam” folder in your email inbox. Sometimes emails that I want and subscribe to end up there.
Thanks, Anne. They weren’t in my junk folder, but I did get this week’s e-mail.
I loved this post and can’t wait to see the end of season round up. Thank you xx
Sara @ Cake Over Steak says
That underwear drawer disaster zone is a REAL THING. I’m loving all of this. I desperately wanted to be able to wear that romper from Madewell, but sadly this dinosaur torso of mine has yet to find a romper that works for it. I’m loving this more relaxed vibe to your capsule. :-)
Hi Sara, have you tried matching separates? It can give off the vibe of a romper, but is easier to fit. And you can mix and match with other stuff! Ace & Jig has some really cool pieces for inspiration! Just a thought. :) xo, Caroline
Love this! Sometimes (ok, always) I get impatient about waiting a whole week to see what you’ll share, but its always so worth it because the quality of your content is off the charts. I can’t wait to see these outfits in action- please share some outfit posts, too!
I’ve been hunting for a silky cami to tuck into my own flares (I love this 70’s thing that’s going on), where did you get yours? I’m hesitant about white because I feel like it’d be super sheer!
Also, your comment about the black not showing sweat is exactly why I never retire black from my summer wardrobe- its just too convenient.
If matte is ok, I love my white chiffon cami just found at WHBM…it’s lined, so not too sheer.
Hi Kate, you are so sweet! Thanks for being patient while I work on these posts :) The J Crew one I linked to is great (stick with a nude bra) and I saw a looser fit one at American Apparel that was pretty matte. Not lined, but not super sheer either. Or you could always go from some color! Hope that helps! :) xo, Caroline
I appreciate your outlook! I myself tend to wear a uniform often because it is so dependable and it does not have to be boring.
Now, on the underwear thing, I don’t know how you are going to make do with two or three bras. I need 12 to cover all the different situations but I am open to conversion!!! Let us know how that area goes!
i have five bras – two “nude” that both have straps that can be converted to racerback or normal, a black bra, a grey bra, and a nude strapless that has attachable straps. i feel like that’s more than enough, but i admittedly do not have a large bust, so i don’t know if that makes a difference.
oh, and i’m not counting sports bras. i have three of those.
I’ve been loving your blog for ages, but my first comment! I just HAVE to give you a shout-out for flagging the romper that doesn’t show sweat! I bike a lot, and this is seriously my most important wardrobe-building factor. Am I gonna show up looking like a hot, sweaty mess or will I look cool and breezy? :)
Thanks for making this a thoughtful (and fun!) space to think about style.
Lisa, it is so important, as you said, even on the hottest of days to show up looking cool and breezy! I’m with you! :) xo, Caroline
Unsubscribing from retailer ‘junk mail’ is so satisfying. I love a cleaned up inbox. But it’s a pain in the butt to do if you’ve got a little out of control with sale alerts… I found a service called Unroll.me to be so helpful. I recently got a friend in a similar predicament onto it and helped her unsubscribe to about 200 mailing lists in around 15 mins while we caught up for drinks. The ones she wanted to keep eg blog subscriptions and important stuff like bills and bank notifications she could either keep in her inbox or roll into one daily emailed list of alerts. I heard of it originally on Caroline Hiron’s blog and I’ve been using it for about 3 years now. So much easier to wade through all my emails. So much less temptation.
CC, thanks for the recommendation! :) xo, Caroline
That Everlane dress would be on permanent rotation for me this summer, but I’m scared to death of items that say ‘dry clean only.’
I started hand washing my silk clothes with this: http://www.thelaundress.com/delicate-wash and haven’t looked back! I find they are cleaner and smell better than when I had them dry cleaned, and a quick iron (because I don’t have a steamer yet) gets their texture back to silky.
I have that exact Everlane dress and honestly, I’ve just hand washed it or washed it on delicate and let it air dry and it’s been fine ;)
Hi Sarah, I like the suggestions mentioned above. You can also carefully steam the dress with a handheld steamer to freshen it up, but be careful not to get water spots on it! :) xo, Caroline
Hi Caroline, love your blog. On the topic of underwear drawers and silk camis…I love the look of a white silk top but have a hard time finding a bra to wear with it that doesn’t show through. Wondering if you have any advice or favorites. Thanks.
yes!! I second this!
Hi Allison and Sarah! A few options would include a nude strapless bra (not exactly the most comfy lightweight thing to wear in summer time), a camisole with a shelf bra built in, or a cute lacey bralette underneath that won’t matter too much if it’s peeking out a bit. :) xo, Caroline
I totally live in wide-legged drapey pants (I got mine from j.jill and WHBM) and boxy chiffon blouses, three of which came from F21. 3/4 sleeve cardigan for over-air-conditioning, or a dressy blazer and stilettos for evening occasions…which strokes my inner Cameron Diaz!
Sarah, sounds like an easy, sophisticated silhouette! :) xo, Caroline
Abby | Lace & Lilacs says
Oh, I just adore this! (ps a Cali/Paris mix sounds utterly perfect… I’m originally from California and moved to Paris last year, so this style has my full approval ;) )
i am still mostly practicing a capsule wardrobe, and i love introducing the concept and practice to friends. i think it has been incredibly helpful to me in determining my style, focusing my shopping plans, and purchasing more ethical pieces as much as possible. but i still feel like as i read this post, it does capture a bit more of the spirit of how i view my capsule than when i first started. i think a more “strict” capsule is a great experiment and can be a very clarifying and freeing experience. but it’s sort of like training wheels…once you get the hang of it, you don’t need as much of the structure and support.
Joy! Totally. You get it! :) xo, Caroline
Thank you for this and for continuing your blog. Your blog plus the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” have helped me so much! You’re in my head when/if I shop! Thank you a million times!
Love that you mentioned unmentionables! I am having a reduction later this summer to even up my girls after the lumpectomy last winter, so right around my birthday I’ll be replacing all of my bras and probably some undies too. It’s exciting because I am going down to sizes that can be cute and not just utilitarian. Silver linings!! My style is still all about comfort for now though–and what I can maneuver my arms in and out of. Love your goals and basics!
Sarah, wishing you so much luck with the reduction! Hope it turns out perfectly. Have fun shopping for new underthings! :) xo, Caroline
I am so exited!! I prefer this relaxed approach. I was such a hoarder before and cutting down to a number is hard but I feel like making uniforms would be much easier and just have a brand new start! I don’t have a blog but I’ll share my journey through Instagram :)
Love how you gave the context of your biggest chunks of time, the summer staples and then the uniforms! So helpful and inspiring.
Here is a silly question that you have probably addressed somewhere on your website… I have done some major closet purging (which I love doing and sometimes go a little overboard). I love finding and wearing uniforms that work for me, but sometimes I get a little voice in my head that goes “people are going to notice that I’m pretty much wearing the same thing the last time I saw them, or the time before that”! Do you just ignore that voice and carry on with your head up and smile on your face, knowing that the environment and your happiness are for the better?
PS As I type this, I remembered this article. So fascinating: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/coquitlam-richard-stewart-suit-1.3459469
Emma B says
Not Caroline! But, I can tell you what my experience has been as a capsule-wardrobe-wearer for the last couple of years. It seems impossible but most people don’t notice. I find that it helps me to try to remember the last outfit your friend wore, or that your coworker wore, when you saw them last. Most of the time I can’t recall it perfectly. I might remember the cute shoes they wore, or a top, and rarely the entire outfit. So it makes sense that others can’t do it either, even if they see you on a daily basis!
That’s not helpful if you have a photographic memory, of course :) And now that I’ve been doing this for a long-term basis I actually did have ONE coworker make a semi-negative comment about my wardrobe… and it was that I wore a lot of “loose clothing.” Which struck me as odd and was a little upsetting at first, but I work at a computer all day, last thing I want to wear is a tight pencil skirt– I had been intentional in my wardrobe and I have a different role than she does, so to each her own!
Hey Amanda, it’s not really a silly question at all! Totally understandable to have those thoughts, especially when clothes are important to you and the people you associate with. As Emma said, most people don’t notice. There may be those few key pieces that they like and remember, but when mixing and matching, they’ll forget exactly what you’ve worn. I think it’s easy to feel self-conscious about it at first, but I also think that when you’re confident in your style, people will remember that vs. a certain shirt or pair of pants. Glad your finding comfy clothes that work for YOU. :) xo, Caroline
I agree most people don’t remember exactly what you wore last time and you can wear clothes in heavy rotation without problems.
There is an exception tho: if you have only one option (or one go-to) for a certain occasion, and you meet certain people only or mostly for this type of occasion. Say, working from home and having one blazer for client meetings. Or going out for drinks, and you have friends you mostly meet up with to go out for drinks, they’d see you in the same outfit every time. And they will notice. A second (mix and match) option or playing with accessories helps, tho.
My dad has clothes for physical labour and 1 decent shirt. My mom hates this, because their group of friends mostly meets for their birthday parties and he’s wearing his one decent shirt every. single. time.
Amanda, if you get self-concious or get comments about your uniform, just say you too are challenging the double standards ;)
There was an (australian?) news anchor that pulled the same stunt, btw. Same suit on primetime TV for a year and no-one noticed/cared!
Leah LW says
I work in an office where a lot of folks have a pretty solid style and re-wear things frequently – and I notice, because I am clothes-minded (pun).
Instead of thinking “ugh, they wear that ALL the time,” I usually just think it looks like “them” and am happy when my favorite pieces out of their wardrobe rotate back into wear.
PS Wayfarers forever!
On a lighthearted note, I just want to add that if you decide that that blue Zara (I think?) wrap front skirt from a couple years ago is no longer your style, I will most happily buy it off your back! Just email me! (I am not kidding! I’ve been looking for a skirt like that for two years!)
Lynn, it’s been noted! ;) xo, Caroline
Caroline, are you still wearing that blue skirt? Did you replace it with the black pencil skirt? Just curious.
Love your simplicity and your style. In general, now that I’m older and wiser – at least I like to claim that i am…I am more careful about how I spend my money and how much time i have to shop. I want key pieces that I’m in love with and will look forward to putting on. Thank you!!
I love that quote, and it makes me think. Of myself, and where I am now in that journey. For I am not really sure. It is funny how these things can work in a circular fashion (no pun intended). As a mom little ones, I paid little attention to “fashion” – just wore basic staples that have been working for me for years – not “mom jeans” but nothing cutting edge. I don’t like and don’t have time to shop, and when I tried, there were far more misses than hits because I had no strategy (thank you for helping me with that! It works!). So I stuck with simple stuff. Then I decided to up my style game a bit, around the time I found your blog. As a non-shopper, it has led me to doing A LOT more shopping (mostly trying things on and rejecting them). And since I’m devoted to USA-made and/or clothing made sustainability from natural fibers, it takes a LONG time to find a piece. I’m doing better, and my wardrobe is the better for it, but I sometimes wonder where all this is going. I have watched your style evolve and you do it beautifully. But I have to admit, from my point of view (everything is relative) you seem to change things up a lot – a lot of new pieces/styles, a lot of shopping, a lot of attention paid to trends (and in other ways, of course, you are very consistent). You helped get me into some trendier styles*, but I’ve noticed you’ve since quit wearing those items, and I still have them, and I don’t really want to start all over with a new look (flares, for example) – I just want to find what works and keep it forever (okay, for 10+ years anyway)! Maybe it’s an age thing, a mom thing, but I wonder if I was closer to my ‘personal style nirvana’ BEFORE I started Paying Attention, and now I’m trying too hard, and I wonder if a lot of us are trying too hard? It’s a fine line. Because maybe the key to not wanting to change your style all the time is to Quit Paying Attention.
*However, I will be forever grateful to you for making me aware that moto jackets were back in style… I was the first and only girl to have one in high school 20+ years ago – 3 sizes too big because that’s the one I could afford, and it was my signature look with jeans and a white t-shirt. I bought myself a beautiful updated one a while back made of recycled leather, and it takes me back to the good old days. A warm cozy feeling like listening to Summer of 69 or Glory Days… Sometimes paying attention pays off. :)
Thanks for all you do Caroline!
Hi Michaela, thanks for your thoughtful comment and your perspective! I absolutely think it’s an individual journey for everyone and please know that what works for me, will not work for all. I hope you truly do find your fashion nirvana, there is no pressure to keep up with anyone else! I personally find shopping enjoyable, so that right there is a big difference between us. Find a happy medium that fits your lifestyle. Good luck! :) xo, Caroline
Michaela, I have never liked to shop either and I also want to keep wearing the same things for 10+ years. I’ve decided to limit the number of pieces I own, rather than the number of pieces I wear during a particular season. That way, if I want to acquire something new, it will have to be something I really love and worth giving up something I don’t love as much. I really needed to do the capsule thing for the last 18 months, because my lifestyle has changed during the last few years and I needed to do some serious purging and give a lot of thought to what kind of clothes I wanted to wear. But I feel like that process is just about complete and I won’t have to make so many changes in the future. I think the Style Series has come along just at the right time, just to let those of us who are not shoppers know what’s out there.
Leah LW says
Funnily enough, the first pic that pops up in the article on uniforms is of Emanuelle Alt (know for skinnies) wearing… boyfriend jeans. She definitely has her uniform but updates it to look more or “current.” I’d be surprised to see her wearing flares but maybe she’ll remix them with other pieces she already has to make it her own.
For me, I think of new trends I like/love as opportunities to expand my classic core – but I feel no obligation to try them if they’re not “me.” So for instance I don’t own skinny jeans but I’ve let the trend (until recently!) towards narrower pants show me that I do love slimmer or fitted pant legs, just not skinny. I can appreciate new trends from afar without having to update – and after some practice it’s become easier to discern what fresh items will complement my core and what won’t.
Hope the same holds true for you!
la Caleya says
Marie @ The Business of Blooming says
Caroline, I absolutely love your approach to style. I think I’d at first feel guilty to put so much effort, planning and organization into my wardrobe, but you show that by doing so, you really free up your life A LOT and can enjoy clothing and style that much more. Always an inspiration :)
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine says
I think I need to try a crop top :O I don’t have one yet, but I’m curious!
I’m all about rompers though!
Although I’ve been reading your blog for the past few years and loving it, I’ve always had a feeling that capsule wardrobes are not exactly my thing. I like to have a lot of options and the weather in my region is too unpredictable to be able to plan a wardrobe so tight. But what you wrote in this post is exactly what has been on my mind lately, but I couldn’t put it into words. That is just what I needed, so thank you!
About the new things to try, I am trying to convince myself to wear short dresses in summer. I usually don’t wear such dresses without opaque tights, because I have visible veins on my white as snow legs, so it will be a challenge to talk myself into that.
And one more thing, from my experience patterned tops are also good to camouflage sweat, so go for it :)
Hi Caroline! Love the new strategy!
I’m going to order the silk tank you posted (SO GOOD). The site says it’s ivory…is it more white than ivory? Or definitely ivory? I have cool-toned skin and look best in white so I wanted to see what your thoughts are before I pull the trigger!
Hey Ali, It’s definitely more on the white side than ivory, but it’s a nice soft white — not a stark white. :) xo, Caroline
Hey Caroline, great post with some spot on advice! Will be there on our unsubscribing adventure next week, already marked my calendar :)
As for the underwear drawer, I wish you good luck with that because I have a feeling it took me the longest from all of my decluttering fiascoes at home (if I may say so…)! Soooo worth it though! I now actually have 2 bras, 12 pairs of undies and a couple of pairs of socks. Getting ready like a super pro in the mornings!
The uniform thing is still a try and error process for me and I can’t quite seem to find that perfect combination! I wish I could also define such a nice sounding description of my style like “California chill mixed with Parisian cool”. Unfortunately there’s nothing past “I wanna feel comfortable and also look nice” so far… Would really love some tips on that!!!
Yana, The “I wanna feel comfortable and also look nice” is a perfect description of style! :) xo, Caroline
Winifred Holloway says
What is it about keeping every pair of undies that we own. I did a purge in the last month and found space in my lingerie draw that I hitherto did not know existed. I can now find the right color and type of panties and bra that I need. And my drawers are now so neat. It is refreshing and clears the mind. Opening that drawer in the past has been – where in hell is that – whatever. Its all good. Paring down and just purchasing what you need and are attracted to is a good feeling.
Emma B says
I’m not an inbox zero purist, but I do like limiting my inbox just to things I need to take care of… at the same time I don’t like missing out on sales when I do actually need to replace an item in my wardrobe. And I’m on a tight budget! So if you have the self control, my pro-tip for those readers that are interested is creating filters in gmail.
Create a “shopping” label and as emails come in from retailers, create a filter for that email address so that the shopping label is applied, they skip the inbox, and mark them as read if that helps you as well. That way you never see them unless you click on the label. I will go in periodically and delete them all without looking at them. When I actually need something I browse the last week or so of emails to see if there are any useful sales.
It’s also a nice middle step if you have trouble totally unsubscribing to emails at first :)
Hey Emma, thanks so much for the helpful tips! Great suggestion about the Gmail filters :) xo, Caroline
So excited by this post, I’m so happy your back with the capsule collection 2.0! I’ve recently been really inspired by your old posts and am attempting my own “capsule inspired” collection for the summer (not limiting my pieces to a certain number) in the attempt at ending mindless shopping/spending, creating a collection of clothes I really love, and simplifying life. I am a chronic shopaholic who is sick of constantly shopping and trying to keep up with the trends and this is my experiment to really create my own style and ditch “fast fashion” for good. I have tried to do this in the past but have always failed. I would love to get some more input on how you kept yourself from avoiding triggers (mindless shopping/emotions/GREAT sales) in the beginning. This week starts no shopping for 3 months and I’m a little nervous about cheating! Keep the posts coming :)
Karen Baily says
Check out Debbie Roes’ website recoveringshopaholic.com. great site with content apropriate to many of us. Shopaholic or not!
Berta Errando Aguila says
Thank you, Caroline! Very inspiring post! I am one of your european followers (from Barcelona, Spain) and here the whole capsule thing hasn’t quite arrived yet. I just started my few month ago, in my second pregnancy, and I absolutely loved it. So now, as a working mum of two, seasonal capsule wardrobe is making my life easier and funnier …. The bigger surprise was to descober that 37 pieces of clothing was more than enough. I am thinking to build my next summer capsule with less pieces…. Somehow I use uniforms too
I also love your concern on responsible , ethical clothing…. In Spain is really happening and lots of designers and small retailers are making their places in the market.
Hoping that your summers bring lots of beautiful moments
Hi Berta, Thanks for the support! Excited that you’re trying out the capsule — pregnancy seems like a great time to experiment with it! :) xo, Caroline
lisa ValinskY says
I am all about comfy cotton dresses and skirts in the summertime, paired with a simple tee or tank, and I’ll just throw on a pair of sandals and I’m good to go.
I was wondering, Caroline — what do you use to write notes and journal and track your ideas on style? I’m always looking to improve my systems — do you use online journals or a paper notebooks?
Hey! I totally love that bag from Storyweaver and I have been looking for a high-quality, go-anywhere bag to carry around Philly for errands and such. Can you tell me more about it? It looks so beautiful!
I just switched from 3-month capsules to 6-month capsules. I live in Montana where it’s COLD for about six months, and then assorted stages of warm-with-plenty-of-chilly-days-thrown-in for the other six months. I’m happy with the change. I don’t have to fuss about switching everything up as often, I’m getting more use out of my favorites and keeping fewer items that I don’t absolutely love, and my clothes are taking up way less storage space. So far my summer uniforms is either jeans and a t-shirt or a sundress + cotton cardigan or slouchy sweatshirt + ballet flats + cloche (if I need a hat) + crossbody leather bag. My sandals will come into rotation when it’s warmer. I’m nowhere near as analytical about my fashion as you are. I just wear what makes me happy and comfy. :)
Ladylyn, those uniforms sound perfectly cute and comfy! :) xo, Caroline
Is it something in the collective consciousness maybe? Your post mirrors my feelings lately.
This season I have been shopping my older pieces for things I can reinvent. I have refashioned a couple of pairs of jeans and a shirt. Giving these pieces a new life made me feel good all around.
I also have been unsubscribing to online shopping sites. Just feel like its causing mental clutter.
As far as the underwear drawer, my birthday gift to myself this year was 9 identical pairs of black boy short undies and 3 new bras (one flesh tone, 2 black). This works perfectly for me.
One goal I have for myself is to stop being so hard on myself when I make a shopping mistake. I have curbed my impulse buying habit and apply a lot of thought before making a purchase but still find myself with a piece or two that doesn’t work at like I hoped. Rather than struggle to make something work trying to see these as learning experiences-then donate and move on.
Bronwyn, I love that attitude of forgiving yourself when making shopping “mistakes”. It happens to the best of us! Look at it as a learning moment, and move on! Well done. :) xo, Caroline
Ah I’m loving it. I love how “clean” it feels, the cuts, the color- it’s just so perfect!
I’m glad to be seeing a post like this from you again!
Leanne Blackmon says
Great post! I love the colors. I depend on my capsule wardrobe every season. I’ve saved a ton of money by not buying unnecessary clothes anymore.
Leanne, isn’t that a great feeling?! :) xo, Caroline
This is perfect. I just Marie Kondo’d my closet of the few items I don’t really love, and I’m wanting to do more with less. I’m also confronting the uniform idea and coming up a little frustrated with it – I already wear the same handful of things over and over. I more or less have a uniform, which is great in some respects, but leaves me craving some variety. The foray into subdued patterns that you mentioned struck a chord. I need a little texture and structure in my wardrobe, and I need to introduce it in a thoughtful way with pieces I’ll still love a few years down the road. Also, you’ve convinced me that a romper (and maybe some overalls – Madewell, I’m looking at your black denim overall shorts!) may help me with my striped-shirts-with-jean-cutoffs malaise. Thanks!
Love your summer capsule! I definitely need that dress!
Do you have a recommendation for underwear??
Love it! I admire your style. I’m still in the throes of curating my personal style and I have to admit, it’s frustrating. I’ve minimized my closet significantly over the past two years and while it’s easier to get dressed in the morning, there are very few outfits in which I feel my best.
Kendal, I think that’s a very common problem among capsulers and downsizers. We are trying to make the most of what we have, as styles change all around us. It can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster to have the more thoughtful closet — we feel good about having less, but some of those items don’t make us feel 100% great. My advice would be to take your time. Forgive yourself if you make shopping mistakes. You’ll get there. You’ll learn and develop your overall style. It doesn’t have to be today, but you’ve already taken the first steps. Good luck! xo, Caroline
Thank you for the kind words! I’ll keep them in mind throughout my journey.
Hannah @ Glitter and Grace Blog says
Caroline, this is great! It’s been fun to see the evolution of your approach to capsules, and this post-capsule period is particularly interesting!
My main wardrobe goal for the summer is to continue weeding out from my closet all of the items that I don’t absolutely love. I’ve been taking a slow and steady approach to this process – deciding to part with one or two pieces per week – and want to keep this up until I feel excited about each and every piece I have left!
Hannah, what a great approach! Slow and steady wins the race :) xo, Caroline
Do the underwear drawer; it will change your life! I just got done having babies/breastfeeding for the last 5 years so my underwear drawer was a train wreck. Now that I’m done, I cleaned it out and have 3 t-shirt bras (2 nude, 1 black), 3 cute bralettes, and 5 sports bras. That’s it, and it’s more than enough. I don’t have to dig to find what I need, and it’s also easy to see when I need to do a delicate wash because I can see everything. I did the same to my sock and panty drawer and it was also life changing.
Kassandra Knudsen says
Thanks Caroline! Our styles often overlap, so I like picking up your insight and applying it when I need some fresh ideas.
Do you have any suggestions for maternity capsule wardrobes or bloggers who may cover this, by chance? I’m at a standstill but my belly is NOT. :)
Hi Kassandra! Congrats on the little one :) A couple of bloggers who aren’t currently pregnant, but capsuled while they were, are Kate from The Small Things blog and Laura of Lovely Laura Life. You’ll have to go through their archives a bit. And I’m sure there are others too if ya Google it :) xo, Caroline
Marie @ The Business of Blooming says
Caroline, do you know about Sotela? They’re a company just starting out-ethical fashion, minimal design. I thought of you! http://sotela.co/
My underwear drawer is always my worst organized drawer. I finally cleaned out everything that I wouldn’t actually wear, but I still have more than I need in there. I don’t think I’ll need to buy socks for at least another decade. I like the capsules 2.0, Caroline. After doing 6 capsules, I’ve kind of relaxed on that too. I’m just committing to not accumulating too much and if I decide I don’t love something, getting rid of it.
This is my second capsule-my first was this spring (inspired by your blog) and it was a revelation. Trust me, ask my poor friends, I never shut up about it. After a spring of dark urban cool, I’m challenging myself to saturated color and getting outside of my comfort zone (floral Lands End shorts on this Rick Owens lover? It’s true!) and I’m excited to see how it plays out. Thank you for your energy!!
I really like the heart, as you say, Caroline, of the capsule wardrobe concept, and feel that this is what is to be gained ultimately by creating (strictly or not) a capsule wardrobe.
I live in Southern California, which to me is essentially a season-less place, so I’m working more towards creating a long-term intentional wardrobe. In preparation for summer, I got rid of lots of clothing that simply didn’t make the cut and stored a small amount of clothing for the “cold” season. My closet has about 40 pieces in it now (I used that number as a rough guideline/challenge). I don’t bother with shoes because I own about 10 pair including specialty ones (i.e. running, dancing, and fancy shoes). Though I’m sure that some of the remaining pieces will end up being cut from my wardrobe, I am already seeing a much happier and welcoming closet!
I’ve recently decluttered my underwear drawer. I used to have a bit of a knicker collection (70+ pairs! All brought from a beautiful local company called Who Made Your Pants, who have sadly stopped trading), but I have removed the uncomfortable and non pretty ones and am now down to 15 pairs of pretty pants, 6 bras that are single colours, and match the pants. I also have a pair of control knickers and a thong I wear when I get my wax. That’s it. It looks so lovely in my knicker drawer now, I hope your declutter is as successful – look forward to hearing about it ?
Hannah hardy says
Hi Caroline! You may already know of this, but there is a website called unroll.me and you can unsubscribe from all of the websites that email you super easy and fast! It’s been a lifesaver for me! :) Thanks for always being inspiring!
Love this post a lot! Though it’s a little difficult lately to decide whether the summer is coming on time or late, I still love preparing my wardrobe for days full of sun!
I’ve been trying to declutter my underwear drawer, too. It seems quite challenging due to my old mindset about piling it up, ‘in case there’s an urgent situation’. But I’m doing it fine lately with only some functional bras and panties !
I love your blog Caroline. Over the past year I have totally embraced de-cluttering and getting rid of everything in my wardrobe that I don’t love (I currently have 7 pairs of underwear…haha), but now I don’t know where to shop for quality staple pieces. I am a pretty awful shopper and would prefer to shop online, but am worried that if I don’t try stuff on and do a long session in the dressing room I won’t be happy with what I buy. Any suggestions on a good place to start? I live in South Florida where our summers are hot and sticky as well, and as of now I don’t even own a pair of shorts. (I have been wearing a spaghetti strap athletic style dress pretty much every day for the past two weeks.)
I’m in south Florida too! I would die without shorts haha. Although theses shorts are from before I learned about ethical clothing options, I have multiple pairs from J Crew and American eagle. I liked that once I knew my size, I could get the same short in 2 different colors. Madewell seems to be good quality too. I totally understand about wanting to shop online, but it may be worth to try stuff on so you can find a pair you really love. Good luck!
Leah LW says
Thrift stores could help! It’s still shopping, but it’s ethical, plus you would have a lot of different styles to choose from (not just whatever’s hot in retail stores right now). You’d also have the entire range of not just shorts but pants you could convert to cutoffs or chop and hem for a more polished look, all for a few bucks. The few Florida Goodwills I’ve been to have been really stellar, selection-wise, and it can be fun to go with a friend and laugh at all the crazy outfits alongside the staples. Good luck!
This is the post I’ve been waiting for! Been capsuling for over a year now and just finding it harder and harder to stick to my capsule without feeling trapped. I’m still constantly changing and I want to get creative without restrictions. I’ve learned a lot from the capsules, I quit shopping this way, but it just wasn’t doing it anymore. This style-approach is just such a new wind in capsule-land! Congrats.
Caroline, I have been following your blog from day one and love the direction you are taking it. I loved this post, but I gotta say–10 pairs of undies ain’t gonna cut it. I am 35 and 3 kids in, and maybe that quadruples my laundry, but, just sayin….
I think it takes a lot of courage to say ‘yes this is my style, this is my uniform’. For some reason although I know what I’m inclined to wear, i’m unwilling to commit to a particular style as I also love to experiment. Hopefully one day I would also achieve personal style ‘nirvana’ where I could just ignore everything and say, yep, this is what I wear and i’m not missing out on anything.
Just wanted to give you a hint to help with your unsubscribing goal: unroll.me
It will change your life. Seriously. It gathers all subscribed content automatically and you can then unsubscribe/keep in your inbox/or add to a daily single “rolled up” email with one click – sooooo easy!!
Thanks Katherine! A few people suggested that, so I’ll have to check it out! :) xo, Caroline
Liesbeth Verlinden says
For summer style I was hoping to just keep going with the strong wardrobe of basics and special items that I built over the past year or two. But an unexpected change in my body actually led the way. I quit hormonal birth control and unfortunately I’m now bloated at least half of my cycle. This means all of my preferred fitted trousers are so uncomfortable during that time. I don’t want to wear only dresses and skirts (temperate climate where I live) so I’ve added two pairs of the most comfortable denim leggings to my spring summer wardrobe. With that came a natural move towards more flowy,,oversize tops and sweaters. I’m lucky I didn’t need to add too much (and spend too much) but I think this is the direction I want to take for my wardrobe from now on. Keep focusing on versatile basics and letting life lead the way on (seasonal) additions.
Liesbeth, sometimes it sucks being a girl! I fully support your decision to add those comfy tops and pants and focus on versatile basics. Keep on keepin’ on! :) xo, Caroline
What do you mean by the capsule wardrobe being too trendy? Can you explain further?
Interestng post! You have a different style, but I love the way you combine your stuff. I have never thought about uniforms.
Thays Dos Santos says
I love this post so much because it is so freakin helpful!!! <3 Since I have found your blog I am always trying to minimize how much clothing I have and just focus on the clothes that work well with everything :D Thank you!
Caroline, your entire blog has really changed my viewpoint on fast fashion and has inspired me to be a balanced minimalist — THANK YOU!! (and my wallet thanks you! :) ) I’m so grateful to have stumbled across your blog because what better time to set good financial habits than when I’m a student? :)
Out of curiosity, do you have any places in particular that you would recommend selling old clothing/bags to (any place that’s easier/more accepting than Plato’s closet)? Donation is definitely on my mind, but I also really like the idea of getting as much as I can back from my old clothing.
Hannah, have you checked into ThredUp?
Poshmark! It’s an app and you get a larger % of the sale. Shipping is paid for by the buyer and they send you a label. It’s great.
Hey Hannah, I don’t blame you for wanting to get a little something back! For online selling I know of ThredUp and Poshmark. I’ve also seen people set up Instagram and/or Ebay accounts to sell used clothing, and they seem pretty successful. But I don’t quite know the ins and outs of it all. Good luck! :) xo, Caroline
Just echoing the recommendation for unrollme.com. Love, love, love it! My inbox is much cleaner, and it was so much faster than individually unsubscribing from everything. A win-win!
I’ve been curious about rompers, and the Madewell one that’s on your list is so, so cute. I may take the leap, but hoping it runs big — the XS size is sold out, but XXS is left, and reviews indicate that it does seem to run big.
My summer uniform (beyond sundresses ;) ) is high waisted flowy skirts (above the knee to midi), in fun colors and patterns, and usually a linen sleeveless button up tied at the waist.
I’m experimenting with high waisted linen culottes this summer, something I never would have expected, as a short person!
Joanna, work those culottes!! :) xo, Caroline
Love Love Love your blog!!! I am considering that Madewell dress. Is it short? Or would it be office appropriate?
Hi Lana! I think it would probably be office appropriate, although it’s been a long time since I’ve had to dress for an office environment. It hits me about 3-4 inches above my knee. Hopefully that helps a bit! :) xo, Caroline
Here’s my problem… I want to buy EVERYTHING you linked!! Going to be hard to put a pause on the shopping though I know it’s for the best :) Thank you for all the inspiration!!
Small detail, but I love what you said about your hat. :) I have a similar woven one (with a feather in it!) that I got while in Austin, and I’ve been wearing it everywhere, even the grocery store. I kind of worried initially about what people would think, but then I realized I love wearing it too much to care. Such a freeing feeling!
Laura Mikolajczyk says
I know you’ve probably heard this a million and one times before, but your blog is just so incredible. It has such a great spirit/vibe. Your posts are informative, thoughtful, and empowering – I like that your readers can also get a sense of your fun personality through your style of writing. Though I don’t quite have a capsule wardrobe, and I can’t quite consider myself a minimalist, I’ve definitely been trying to incorporate the “less is more” and “quality over quantity” frame of mind into my wardrobe, home, and life in general. It’s amazing how living with less can feel so freeing, almost like I can breathe better and relax more. Instead of wearing clothing that makes me feel self-conscious or holding onto things that no longer bring me joy, I’m now able to express my personal style and arrange my space in a more fun, happy way. Sometimes, though, extra “stuff” starts to creep back in and pile up, and I always come back to your blog for renewed inspiration. Your attitude is all about promoting happiness and overall wellness, and it’s so refreshing. Though I’ve never met you, and likely never will, you’ve still made such a positive impact on me and I appreciate it so much. :) Keep doing your thang! xx
Laura, that is so nice to hear! Thank you so much for the kind, supportive words! xo, Caroline
I discovered your website and started using the capsule wardrobe concept almost 6 months ago. Maybe in America the capsule wardrobes are getting too popular, but in Belgium people are still always surprised when I tell them about it :) I am cheating only a little bit, by excluding coats and shoes from the capsules :) (I might consider it in time though). On the other hand, by giving some thinking about the clothes to put in my capsules, I discovered that I had enough to go for a whole year without shopping for clothes, except for basics that wear out like socks and underwear. And if I really want something new, I have to sew it myself.
Since my first time on your website, I have stumbled on a number of other similar ones, but I always keep getting back to yours, and keep on finding new interesting ideas. I’m not yet fully convinced of your new approach with the 12 key items, but I’m definitely interested in your experiences with it, and also wondering what you include as other items to combine them with. So keep up the good work!
Kate (London) says
I am SOOO glad you are back! I used to follow your blog and adopted your capsule wardrobe ethos so long ago that I’m now on my 8th season capsule! I’m inspired to see you are evolving your concepts too.
Anna L says
I love your blog!!! And was wondering how you make these graphics? What software do you use? How do you take pictures of the clothing?
Hi Anna, I use Photoshop to create the graphics since I was pretty familiar with it from my background in photography. I don’t take pictures of the clothes anymore, I usually find the images online from retailers. Hope that helps :) xo, Caroline
Love this! Love your style & love your blog!?
If you allow me to… I´m on your “boat”! I mean…. I want to join your summer-clothing-adventure!
We share some of the goals. Here are my GOALS:
– Wear everything I have, at least ONCE this summer! I have so many pieces, and the summer-weather here, where I´m from (the Basque Country, in the North of Spain) is so short… I don´t have days to wear it. Or maybe yes? The only way I have found is to wear each piece once. Try not to repeat. I have a lot of pieces I really love. And I want to wear them all. An what I don´t wear, through it! (that´s why I am writing down every cloth I wear, hehehe).
– Be simpler. Do not wear so many colours and try to have a more refinated style.
– Try new combination of clothing-pieces. Experiment. Play. Enjoy. Use my Pinterest dash-boards to inspire me. And to have a more personal style.
– Declutter my underwear drawer. If I don´t wear any of them, get rid of them. I don´t need so many bras and pants and…. (Already began to do it!). Huge and (mentally) hard work.
– Unsubscribe. Go through my Instagram and unfollow the pages that don´t fit with my style/budget. There should be plenty of them, I guess. (When I read your post it was already 11th of June, so my unsubscribing-day will be the 19th, not the 9th of June, ok?).
I think it helps a lot to know that you are not alone, that I am not alone…that we are not alone! And that we can do it! Step by step, being very conscious, strong,… we can do it! Thank you very much for being there and enjoy the journey!
P.S.: I´ll write you regarding the other plans…. Thank you for being there! You are such a help! And sorry for the language. English is by far not my mother language!
Great post! Spring 2016 was my first capsule wardrobe and I loved that my closet was so clean! I can’t wait to put together my Summer 2016 wardrobe!
Kathy Sc says
I have way more than 39 pieces in my wardrobe. Even with plenty of clothes, I still like to shop…mostly online. I am a big Pinterest fan. I have a folder for Clothes I Love.. But I recently started a new folder called “Already in My Closet.” These outfits are not literally in my closet, but I often find I have something close enough that I can put together an outfit in a similar and new way without actually buying anything. Thanks for your inspiration.
Hi Caroline. I enjoy reading your blog very much. It gives me so many ideas about how to stop shopping and focus on what is really important to me. I have been experimenting with capsule wardrobe for a season, though I haven’t done with all the clutter of clothes like you have done. Anyway, I already felt so relieved not having to shop online everyday. It is really good for creating a peaceful mind. Thank you and I will continue to follow your blog. By the way, I have also become a great fan of Madewell, thanks to your blog :)
Caroline, I just came across you via Instagram and this is just what I was looking for. My husband and I were just in Austin for a wedding and our huge checked bag was stolen out of our rental car. It was full of all my favorite pieces. I came home to Chicago and looked at what was left of my wardrobe and thought to myself that I wish they had stolen all of this stuff instead. That’s when I realized I don’t need any of what was left of my wardrobe. I hadn’t realized, but in packing for Austin I created a summer capsule and put it in my suitcase. It was an eye opener. I’m going to consciously practice the capsule wardrobe for at least the next year. We received insurance money to cover our stolen goods and I felt fearful that having to go out and replace stuff just to replace it was going to leave me with more clutter I don’t love. Thanks for the inspiration! And, the coincidence that this happened in Austin and that you are from that area makes me feel better that this was supposed to happen so I could learn to live a better lifestyle in terms of shopping and my wardrobe!
Recently, my checked bag was lost and I have to replace my summer wardrobe. I pretty much do a capsule so this is a hard blow; so sad! I need to get brown sandals, and I love the ones here. How do they run? I read on the website some folks size up and some size down. What did you do?
Hey Arin, for me they ran a little wide so I sized down. But if you have a wider foot, I would size up for sure. They have a good exchange/return policy if it doesn’t work out. :) But you will love them — so comfy! xo, Caroline
Hi Caroline! I didn’t read through all of the comments so this could have been mentioned but have you heard of unroll.me? It has worked wonders for my inbox and wallet! You can unsubscribe from all of those emails tempting you to shop or roll them all up in a daily newsletter- which I find myself not even reading most days! Its great. I love it.
Those clogs! I love the colour! Do you remember what it is called?
Hi Ashlee, the color is bone :) xo, Caroline