I’m sure you’ve all heard that there are no seasons in Southern California. I’ve lived here almost my entire life and apparently, I still have a hard time accepting this. I get really excited about fall and winter fashion, and every single year, I fall for the same old tricks.
The stores are filled with snuggly sweaters and scarves and all the things that would make a winter wardrobe perfect. There are ads with people frolicking through snow, surrounded by beautiful pines. A cute guy throwing snowballs. The perfect mitten-wearing mother, with thick winter breath, watching her children sled down the hill. Everyone looks like they are having the time of their lives.
I put myself in the moment and feel like yes, I really could use a down jacket with a fur collar. That would make all my winter dreams come true!
Am I an advertiser’s dream or what?
Then we get our two weeks of “winter”. It’s pretty short, and rarely drops below 60 degrees during the day. Ya know, it’s funny, I always thought I loved chilly weather, until I spent a wintry weekend in NYC and truly learned what cold was!
Clearly that down jacket is not getting worn anytime soon.
Now, as a solid week of 80 degree days is upon us, I want to tell you I’ve made some mistakes with my winter capsule. It looked good on paper. Perfect for the typical season one might expect, and I was so proud of it. But in this situation, I should have looked at my life (namely my location) a little more realistically. I know I chose appropriate base outfits, but I overdid it on the sweaters and coats. And my biggest mistake was that I only kept one pair of shorts in my whole wardrobe.
A “Fascinating!” moment brought to you by me.
So… what now? Well, I’m going to ride it out. Wear what I have. But I’m making a note for all future capsules that I need to dress for the California season and not the season the stores are telling me to buy for. You’d think in all these years of dressing myself I’d have learned this by now!
I’m also thinking about a mini capsule wardrobe specifically for cold climates. It wouldn’t have very many items, just enough to keep me warm when I travel to colder destinations a few times a year. That way I don’t have to scramble to find a coat and boots right before a trip.
Has anyone tried that? Did you feel like it worked for you?
Top: Old Navy (on sale!)
Bottoms: old from Gap (similar)
Shoes: Nike Blazer Mid (on sale!)
Jacket: J. Crew sold out! (similar)
Bag: Kate Spade (similar here or similar for less here)
Hat: Urban Outfitters
Watch: ArvoWear (similar and just as cool here)
Bracelets: Alex + Ani
Rings: Etsy (similar for much less here)
Mary Beth says
Hi Jaana. I love this post because I too live in Southern California and get so puzzled and frustrated by our winters lately. We used to have a bit more of a colder season, right? But the last few years that is less and less true. I still need layers for chilly mornings and evenings. The hard part (for me) is putting together cute outfits that still look chic when the layers (cute jacket or cardi) have to come off during the day in my hot office. It’s a puzzle I will one day figure out!
when you figure it out, keep me in the loop! :)
I feel like San Diego winters happen more in the late November to early January timeframe. As a kid I always viewed winter as ending after New Years… I’m not sure how old I was when I realized that January and February are still cold in most of the country.
Of course, looks like my memory isn’t quite backed up by the data:
http://web.archive.org/web/20130918002655/http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/92129 (sadly this is a wayback machine link as I can’t find this chart since weather.com revamped their site)
Well the grass is always greener, isn’t it? :) This morning while I was scraping ice from my car, I most definitely was not having the time of my life. Will we get to see all items from you capsule in one post?
This post is so painful for me! If only I had your problem. The windchill is -15 degrees (Fahrenheit) here and winter “fashion” is more like halfway flattering sweaters designed primarily to keep me from freezing to death. If you come to visit me, you can wear your fur-collared coat while we hang out inside my house.
Megan, that is exactly what I was thinking. -10 and snow up to my eyeballs. I am freezing! even inside in the heat.
I have the same problem. I live in Panama and only spend a month in the US for winter. I have had to learn to just have a small capsule for winter/fall, and not just keep buying a lot because I prefer dressing for winter.
I live in Atlanta and we do have some cold weather during the winter months but I drive everywhere and spend little time outside if its freezing. Years ago I found a great full length down coat with a fur trimmed hood at an outlet and while it rarely sees the outside of the closet it will happily stay tuck away there for when I am lucky enough to go to NYC and it happens to be winter. It has saved me time (looking for a coat before the trip), money (buying something for just for a trip that I won’t wear at home) and from freezing my butt off (cause its hard to drive in a long coat so I never wear one in Atlanta). I keep my cashmere wooly gloves and hat in the pockets of the coat so I am set.
Thinking of it in terms of a cold weather travel capsule I think I will make sure I stash away a good pair of warm boots that are suitable for walking as well.
Thinking of these items in those terms will help me justify keeping these things set aside rather than tossing them in one of my wardrobe purging sessions and having to replace them next time a winter trip comes up.
Right there with you! I live in Phoenix! I actually don’t add coats and boots to my capsule wardrobe, I just keep 3 coats (long, short, puffy) and 3 pairs of warm boots in the hall closet. Then I can pick what I need for the occasional trip to Chicago or NYC. I guess you could call that a mini-capsule!
Perfect! I have scarves and hats taking up valuable closet space, but didn’t want to send them off to storage because of the hassle getting them out, so I think this is great. Just keep it small and simple!
Oooooh goodness did I need this today! I moved to Central Florida 3 years ago from Pittsburgh, PA and I still have a hard time letting go of the typical seasons. I love fall and winter fashion and get sucked into the pretty sweaters and coats every single year. Definitely something I’m working on! Sometimes it can be hard to dress for the climate you live in versus the climate you like dressing the most for. I’m learning slowly but it’s definitely a process :) Thanks for this post!
the struggle is real!! :D
Sara @ Cake Over Steak says
I’m loving the guest blogger series! Jaana’s smile is so infectious. :-)
I feel your pain, I made the same mistake. Here in Northern CA temps are in the high 60-70s. Everyday at my office I’ve been hot. Stripping off layers of my outfits and thankful that at least I had layers and not one of my lovely, I really want to wear them, long sleeved sweaters or tunics!
I am not sticking it out- I redid my capsule last night by pulling some items out of my storage box and putting a few away. I now have 41
pieces instead off 37 but I’m good with it!!
Thanks for sharing and being authentic about the choices you made :)
So jealous of your predicament. There will be no shorts in my winter capsule! Bundled up today with wind chill values -25 to -35ºF. Yep, those are negative numbers. Check out “number one” of the coldest cities in America. That’s me! http://list25.com/25-coldest-large-american-cities-you-should-avoid-this-winter/5/
Oh my gosh!!! I’ve never even been in subzero temps! My mom is from Finland, so I thought maybe I have cold-loving genes, but I don’t know about all that!
I live in New England and love the fall and winter weather and fashion. I have the opposite problem in that I used to buy lots of shorts and cute sun dresses that just collected dust as I avoided excepting the fact that it was 85 and humid outside while holed up in the beautiful 60’s of my air-conditioned apartment. I tend to live in maxi dresses or Jeans and tank tops. I do keep a small collection of “beach” wear (shorts, bathing suits, sun dresses, etc) for any summer trips I may take or the occasional trip to a warmer climate but I try to keep this very small.
I find this post super relevant for England as well. While it may not stay as warm as SoCal. It is definitely much more mild than the winters I’m use to back in Pennsylvania and Colorado. While Winter has definitely dug her claws into the English countryside a bit now, back during Christmas it was still 60F. You definitely have to plan for the strange warmer spells that seem to be becoming more frequent here. It can be a challenge when you’re trying to simplify your wardrobe.
I was in LA in Sept…omg I totally miss it. Can you send me some sunshine and a palm tree? lol
Love your braid! I wish I knew how to do that with my bangs!
Jan Marie says
Ha! I wish my problems were as small as not having enough shorts in my winter capsule!
Boston is expecting its FOURTH blizzard in three weeks tomorrow.
I actually am wondering, Jaana and Caroline, if you know of any capsule wardrobe enthusiasts who live in actually cold climates? Minnesota, Chicago, Rochester, Montreal? There’s gotta be more badass capsule fashion bloggers out there, right?
If not, I think I’ma have to start one. It’ll be winter through May here anyhow, so I’ve got *plenty* of time to document. Haha.
Chicago here. I will keep my coat in the capsule until may. I always think of mother’s day as the first true warm weather. But no worries, in the summer it will be HOT.
Ann Marie says
I was thinking the same thing. I’m in Buffalo, NY and tomorrow when I wake it’s supposed to be -7 with a wind chill of -25 to -30. I’ve lived in my sorel boots and down parka for the last 3 months. And layers are definitely my friend – tank top, tee shirt, long sleeve and a cardigan, double up on the socks. I feel like I’m wearing my entire capsule at once, lol.
Stay safe in Boston!
Edmonton, Alberta here. We have extreme temps here…from blistering cold winters to very hot in the summer. I traveled to San Francisco in July two years ago with all of my summer gear and couldn’t believe all of the girls in scarves, jackets, jeans, and long boots! I can see how climate totally impacts your capsule wardrobe.
I feel you. I am in Sunny South Florida. I see the same in stores and I tell myself, WHY? I need to be realistic to. The problem here, one day high 70’s, then 50’s, it is not stable at all. Very frustrating.
I don’t do a capsule wardrobe but I follow you lovely ladies because I really dislike shopping. But I want to be smartly dressed. So I get ideas from you all and it makes the rare shopping outing more streamlined and even enjoyable. Anyway I live in Northern California, Oakland to be specific. So not as cold as San Francisco. Winter weather is usually sunny and in the 50’s-70’s. But we do go to the mountains regularly for our dose of winter fun. So I kinda do have a mini cold weather capsule with 2 down jackets (one short & one hits @ mid thigh), Sorrell boots, and some actual wool sweaters. And I was super happy to have them this year for Christmas because we were in NYC. It was perfect and I felt very snug and appropriately dressed. So I think it is a good idea.
why the heck would advertisers put those winters ads in Cali? Do Californians say Cali? How much do they expect you Californians to search out snow? As a Fashion and Merchandiser major this fascinates me.
I think they do it because it works!! I’m a native Californian, and always buy too many winter clothes, because layering is just so much more interesting, and those sweaters look so cozy when you are dying for it to cool off in mid-September, knowing that it will still be in the 90s for at least a few more weeks. And, no, no one I’ve ever heard who lives here says Cali :)
It works on me because I live only about an hour from the mountains so I tell myself every year that I’ll be up there plenty, rent a cabin, play in the snow, all that stuff.
Ha! I used to fall for that winter ‘dream’ as well when I lived in Brisbane only to be very disappointed, and overdressed!! Now I’m living back home in New Zealand so I get to wear actual winter clothes (without it being freezing). Your outfit is perfect for that so I’m pinning it for my upcoming autumn/winter capsule.
I’m in the same boat Tania – leaving north-west Western Australia at the end of the month to live back in New Zealand. We will be in Central Otago so looking forward to actual seasons and maybe even some snow in the next few months! Love seeing the winter outfits from the US as I feel it puts me ahead for the coming season. BTW it’s going to be 40degC (120F) here today … as it has been, or hotter, for the past two months or more! Thinking the transition home is going to be interesting!!!
Moving up to San Francisco I had the same problem, opposite climate! I planned for summers to be full of tank tops and shorts only to find I was pulling all of my sweaters back out! I had to move my shorts to fall and keep light weight sweaters and cute scarves for our summer fog!
I live in a place where it’s cold all the time, so I miss wearing summer clothes! Our summers rarely get above 50 degrees (Fahrenheit), and right now it’s about -28 degrees F outside (and that’s the ambient temperature! Windchill is -50).
Anyway, I get soooooooo tired of bundling up all the time. I do have a small summer capsule wardrobe, but really it’s just leftover summer clothes from when I lived in a warmer climate. So calling it a “capsule” may be giving it a bit too much credit . . . Regardless, I know I can stuff some summer dresses and sandals in a bag and call it good when I fly to the Caribbean or Hawaii or wherever :).
Your idea about having a small reserve of winter clothes for when you fly somewhere cold is a good one. You’d really just need a good coat and some accessories (gloves, hat, warm scarf). Then just layer up beneath all that. Layers are the key to staying warm (coming from someone who works partly outside in -30 temperatures).
I, too, live in a moderate climate (Vancouver Island, Canada). I am a minimalist. I have a reasonably lightweight winter coat, very tailored which I occasionally use along with a matching pair of boots which I wear perhaps once a year, although I could also use them as walking boots as long as it is not hot because they are lined. The coat and boots are a muted sage green. With the coat, I have a multi-coloured scarf (greys, browns and the muted sage green) that I can use with my two other regular jackets. I rely heavily on blazers in my capsule wardrobe (of varying weights) to work with a moderate, but changing environment. Blazers with one or sometimes two items beneath are my go-to response to the challenge around layering that arises in work versus other environments. Thanks for the post and the comments from everyone.
I live in Montana. I sort of have an informal mini capsule collection for when I travel to WARM climates (because let’s face it, even in the middle of summer chances are it’ll be 40 degrees Fahrenheit when you wake up, and you’ll want to wear a cardigan and jeans). Just a couple of tank tops, a strappy sundress, and those cute jean shorts with lace appliques.
Ha! I just had to pull my “summer” box out of storage too! In Northern California and it seems to be layering weather, every day, all day. I think a hat and a scarf would be my only needs beyond one or two jackets for “winter”. I come from Oregon and I love to knit, so the whole layering bit is what I am born to do, but sadly, California has no need for my super layering wardrobe abilities. Le sigh…
Love your outfit, btw, Jaana!!
I ended up having a problem with my last capsule because I lost 25 lbs. I didn’t want to go out and reconstruct my entire capsule. Most of the pieces still worked fine. I remedied the situation by swapping out the items that no longer fit with other items from other seasons’ capsules. I was actually able to figure it out with about twenty minutes and a word document. It worked really well for me and could help your situation.
Wanda Williams says
Hi Jaana, I’m loving you here and on your blog, too. This is the same coat from your 36 Pictures post, isn’t it? I loved it there with the skinnies and Converse. Great coat.
Here in Texas, we have cold fronts and warming trends, not really Winter. Yesterday, it was 78. Today it’s 50. Saturday’s forecast is 70, and next week we’ll have 35-40 for a couple of days. Old saying: “If you don’t like the weather in Texas, stick around. It’ll change.”
We definitely have to do the layers thing. Capsules have to be fluid. However, we do manage to rock our boots. All styles.
Good eye! Yes same coat. :) Texas weather is nuts. You get a mix of all the seasons in a few days! Haha
I live in Arizona and am experiencing this same problem! It has been warmer than normal the past few weeks, which has led me to realize I had far too many 60 degree outfits and not enough 80 degree outfits. Not to mention I’m 8+ months pregnant and no longer fit into 2 pairs of jeans that I had included in my capsule wardrobe. So I made some mistakes, but I’m learning along the way!
This! I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and the weather never gets astoundingly hot or particularly cold. Min -3 centigrade over night in winter, and Max 30 centigrade in the midsummer sun. Layering is the key here, and may be for your wardrobe too!
Victoria Bouchard says
I love this post! I realized I have way too many sweaters for living in SW Florida. I just don’t need anything new right now. I guess you could say I am going to be making a winter clothes capsule wardrobe.
Cate Adair says
You look adorable. And your outfit is perfect if you are going to see 50 Shades of Grey this weekend! Here are some other choices as well: http://www.fash365.com/2015/02/nifty-shades-of-grey.html
Thanks for this post, Jaana! I too live in SoCal, and I dealt with the same thing when I made my capsule wardrobe this winter. I ended up with a lot of sweaters that are great now, especially since I am always cold inside, but might be unbearable if the temps go up much more. I think if that happens, I’ll start swapping out a few pieces with some from my spring capsule. There’s no point in sweating through this season just so I can stick to my original plan. Sometimes flexibility can be a good thing!
I recently moved to SoCal (I live in Burbank also!) and still haven’t quite figured out how to deal with the climate. The “hipster” look of layers always makes me happy, but, you’re right, it just is NOT practical. I can’t wait to see your summer capsule because I really need tips on how to make shorts look cute!
Jaana! I would love to hear more about hot weather Winter Capsules. It is already hitting 80 here in Nevada. It was a one month Winter, no joke. I keep muttering, “Stop me before I buy another sweater!” I once heard that we should just buy summer stuff in winter colors, and save it, but that is seriously easier said than done! Layering means you’re a puddle of sweat. I have no idea how to stay cute in 100+ heat.
Being practical is the best policy- I’ve learnt that too :)
People tell me I would miss the changes in season but I doubt it. I would be totally ok with never experiencing winter again! Love the hat :)
Having moved to Santa Barbara recently and adjusting to a new climate, my “how fascinating!” is twofold—I overdid on the cozy sweaters like the other So. Californians here, and I overdid on the black. As much as I love a lot of black, it feels a little too…NYC, urban, or dressy for this sunny, laid back beach town in January and February. Lesson learned–will stay light on the cozy sweaters and keep heavy-on-the-black looks for Nov. and Dec.
Really enjoying your style and addition to Un-Fancy and am looking forward to seeing more of your capsule~
That is so true about Santa barbara style! I love it!!
Your hat and hair combo are incredibly cute together! I’ve always loved hats and raids but never together–until now. Threat you braided your bangs forever solves the “what do I do with these wisps smashed against my eyes” problem. Yay!
Ugh–autocorrect bites again. Meant: braids (not raids), the fact that (not threat). Lol…
I knew what you meant ;)
I have the opposite going on, but I can add that I do prefer having a very small ‘hot’ capsule wardrobe of shorts (which I never wear at home) and fit-for-upperwear tanktops. I keep this stuff in a seperate box so It’s easy to pull out when needed and I don’t feel guilty looking at clothes everyday that don’t get much wear.
Kate M says
You are so cute. I need you to give us a tutorial on how you braided your hair. Mine is short too and I am always looking for different ways to wear it.
I’m working on one this weekend hopefully! Stay tuned :)
This is a question for you and Caroline. Where do you shoot your photos for this blog? Seems you both live in different locations so I was curious how that works seeing as it’s the same back drop.
i went to Caroline’s house!
For me, it’s the other way around. A lot of the clothing I like is more for the spring and fall, even though those seasons are much shorter than winter here. As a result, I don’t have many clothes for the winter (that is an area of my wardrobe that I’m focusing on building right now) and I have warmer-but-not-summer-weather clothing that isn’t worn as much. Now, I try to think about when I would actually wear a piece before I decide whether or not to get it.