I’m a firm believer that we can make anything happen. We can do it. Or at least … we can try. Which, after all, is the most important part, right? Because that’s where the learning happens. We try, we come across something that doesn’t work, we change directions, we try again.
Life is a grand experiment.
What does this have to do with this outfit?
Nothing. And also everything.
Because it’s how I approach my capsule wardrobes.
The first time I attempted a capsule wardrobe, I felt paralyzed by the idea of creating a perfect wardrobe. The idea of creating this tiny yet ideal wardrobe was just too much. What if I make a mistake? What if I pick the wrong pieces?
If this was going to work, I was going to have to let go of perfection.
So I reframed the whole thing:
Not: the chance to make a perfect wardrobe.
But: the chance to learn something about myself.
What if mistakes are what it’s all about? What if picking the wrong piece will teach me more about my true style? What if it teaches me how to better handle mistakes in other areas of life?
I decided to make it so.
If you want to start, but you’ve been nervous, approach it like a game. If you’re not interested, but you feel like you “should”, let go of it and do something else that brings you joy.
Whatever you do, make it yours.
Shorts: old from Madewell (this year’s version)
Shoes: old from Topshop (similar)
Bag: Nordstrom (also, leather version)
Watch: Skagen via Nordstrom
I love this! It’s a great reminder that mistakes are not as terrible as we think they are — in fact, that they’re an important part of our human existence. This is a particularly timely message for me right now, so thank you.
Can you be more specific about what mistakes you made with your personal wardrobe and how it helped you to learn about yourself?
YES! I can absolutely 100% relate to this. Creating a capsule is about more than just refining my style. It is an exercise I’m still doing to detach myself from mindless buying and always feeling like I have to own something new in order to be happy. However, when I first started researching, I got caught up in building the most perfect wardrobe and I started building a list of things I thought should be in my capsule, regardless of whether or not I even liked said items. I had to pump the brakes and really reflect and that’s when the magic happened! I’m super happy with my closet now but accept that it’s never going to be perfect. I will forever be adding and deleting, but at least I’ll be doing so mindfully now. It’s amazing what creating a capsule has done not only for my wallet, but also for my mind. I think out purchases so much more now, and as a result I stay happy with what I do bring into my closet. Sidenote — your posts this week have been so insightful, reflective and thought provoking. I’ve really enjoyed them :) -Stephanie
This post is EXACTLY why your blog has influenced my life so greatly!!!
I am a perfectionist (FLYlady.com has helped tremendously in that area). I would read all the minimalism blogs and then go to work on creating the perfect wardrobe for me. It all looked so good on paper but I couldn’t find any of the perfect clothes that were on my paper.
I could barely get dressed in the morning because I didn’t have enough clothes to wear. Previously you wrote something that made me realize that this is about an adventure not having the perfect wardrobe. It’s about having self imposed limits so you can get dressed AND focus your life on more important things. I finally started buying clothes that were good enough for me.
Last week we had all kinds of weather and all kinds of activities to go to. I was able to get dressed easily for 5 days in a row and I loved each outfit that I wore – it was nothing fancy but reflected who I am. THAT has never happened before!
Thank you so much. Caroline, you are making a huge difference in this world.
Such wise words. We so often get caught up in trying to make everything perfect that we lose any fun we might have had.
I too am a perfectionist. I think that is why I was having such a hard time with creating my first capsule wardrobe. I didn’t know it at the time but I think that is exactly what it was. I wanted it to be perfect; The amount I chose, the items I picked, they way I posted it for my blog, EVERYTHING. This is a good reminder that sometimes we need to just let go and go ahead and be open to making those mistakes. Thanks!
Love this post! I am so intrigued by the capsule wardrobe but so many of the executions I see online show kind of blah clothing. I love my clothing. I could only survive with a capsule if they were 33 amazing pieces, or so I think. Your re-framing of the mission is critical!
Manda Panda says
Thanks for the post! So true in every aspect of life. I battle this daily as a perfectionist! We are human and making mistakes is a part of life. But fear of them can be paralyzing.
I really love this. It’s such a beautiful way to navigate life in general. I’ve been letting some mistakes get me down recently and I love how you framed mistakes as a part of the grand experiment of life. Just what I needed this morning. Thank you!
Cuuuute. This outfit is awesome.
Gosh, perfectionism. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes I just really want to let it go. I think it’s all about balance. If this outfit is any indication of capsule wardrobe success, you must be doing well! You look so effortlessly adorable! :)
Sarah Lillian says
What a wonderful post and exactly what I needed today. I’m currently finishing up creating my first capsule wardrobe (!!!) after listening to your interview with Jess Lively and them promptly hardcore stalking your blog. I have always enjoyed putting together outfits but I just had a baby and am working on feeling comfortable with my newfound curves. I am so stoked about my spring capsule wardrobe; I think it’s going to be super fun and exactly what I need!
You’re channeling some major Alexa Chung! :) Love your blog so much–thanks for sharing!
I’ve committed myself to a thirty day capsule of 30 pieces (not including shoes) just to see how I like it. After a week, I realized I didn’t plan very well–too many skirts and tanks for this early in the year, not enough tops and layering pieces. So, I switched them out. No big deal. I think I will want more pieces to get through a full season, but this has already been helpful for me in being more mindful about what I bring into my closet, especially those cheap impulse purchases. For me, it’s not about proving anything or being perfect. It’s about being more mindful and clearing some of the clutter from my life. Your blog has been so inspiring!
love love love. you inspired me to do my own capsule!
While you were on the hunt for your unicorn denim jacket, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect white and chambray shirts. Thanks to this post I now how my perfect white shirt from Anthro (I bought it in the store so that I could try it on, but I hope you are able to get credit somehow.) Still searching for the perfect chambray shirt…
On another note, letting go of perfection is crucial in order to get started or to get finished or to find fulfillment, but I think it’s also important to keep an ideal in mind to strive toward. I’ve wasted a lot of money over the years because I’ve ‘settled’ on purchases while knowing they weren’t quite right (the drape was wrong, the sleeves too short, the buttons were wrong, etc.)
JoAnn Moran says
I rarely write comments, but I wanted to take a few minutes and thank you. I’m quite a bit older than you, and I’m a mother and a teacher, but I am continually learning from you. I purchased the book you recommended for Advent and loved it. I think I’ve been stress shopping for years. Even though I’m older i still love fashion, but I am trying to fill a hole instead of turning to God for my needs. I think a capsule wardrobe is a good idea, but I don’t know where to start. Long story short- your light shines and you are a blessing – for more than fashion advice.
What mistakes are you referring to, specifically? It sounds like you decided this outfit is a mistake, but you put it on anyway. Your post is rather cryptic.
That’s exactly what I thought. At first it looked like you wanted to say the outfit didn’t come out as you envisioned it, it was a mistake, and oh well… But them you didn’t follow up. It’s confusing.
This post is exactly the kind of positivity and reflection that keeps me coming back almost every day.
I love style and minimalism, but when life comes at you with all of its little stressors… well, I just hope you keep writing here for a long time to come! Please don’t change the blog *too* much!
in love with the shoes :)
I find myself slowly getting better at accepting mistakes and not being perfect. I think its something that comes with practice.
Love and inspired by this xx