Fancy sweatshirt, where have you been all my life?
This sweatshirt is getting so much wear these days, that I’m getting that nervous I-should-probably-buy-another-one feeling.
Do you ever feel that way about your capsule clothes?
I definitely do sometimes. But, a few capsule wardrobes in, I’m learning that things don’t wear out as fast as I think they will. And while I may have a favorite piece one week, I’ll probably end up latching on to another favorite the next week. I tend to hop from favorite to favorite over the course of a wardrobe.
In some cases though, things actually do wear out, which is a bummer. Remember my striped shirt from my spring capsule? Around the end of the season, it got a hole in it when my dog jumped on me. Frowny face.
But for the most part, in my experience, things last longer than I think they will. I used to worry about these Ponte leggings wearing out too, but I’ve had them for about 3 years and they are still going strong, even though I wash them almost every time I wear them. Dang! :)
When I start questioning if I should buy more, I’m always glad I have a specific limit on my wardrobe. Because I know myself. I spend (maybe a little too much) mental energy on little decisions like this. If I don’t check myself, I can use up my energy on these little things — and not have enough left for the more important things.
I’m still working on my single priority this year, but I’m thinking it may be along the lines of how I spend my mental energy. Something along these lines: Stop giving energy to small things that don’t really matter. Then, pour it out for something that does.
So in case you’re wondering, that’s the main reason I subscribe to the idea of having a specific number of pieces in my wardrobe. It makes the decision for me. It saves that energy for something more valuable.
But that’s just what works for me. A number isn’t for everyone. And my favorite, favorite thing about Unfancy is seeing the way we can all change it up and make it work for our own lives. Pretty awesome if you ask me.
Scarf: old from Target (similar)
Sweatshirt: Nordstrom Rack (also similar)
Pants: old from J.Crew Factory (similar)
Christine Presto says
Haha, Caroline, I think you just read my mind! I was literally going to ask you about wearing out of certain pieces. I put on my favorite burgundy tunic for work this morning and noticed a snag going right up the front (probably from my dog as well), and didn’t know what to do. I’m at 37 pieces for my everyday wardrobe right now and about 20 for my work-specific wear (I’m in corporate, yay :/ ).
So, what would you suggest if a piece in your wardrobe is damaged during the time period of your capsule. Do you purchase a similar item to replace it, or do you just go ahead with 36 items for the rest of the time?
Hi Christine! Most of the time, I don’t replace things mid-season because I’ve grown to love the whole “not shopping” part. But even still, I think I’ll always take it on a case by case basis. When I got a hole in my striped shirt, I could front tuck it and the hole didn’t show, so I just wore it like that for the rest of the season and I still haven’t replaced it yet. I say just do what feels right to you in the situation. :) xo Caroline
I love this look – today I picked a grey funnel collared sweatshirt and paired it with my skinny jeans. I like those leggings though and need to get a pair. For my winter capsule I am mostly just filling in holes from the fall. Its funny b/c I haven’t bought that much yet – but gifts I received from a very fashionable sister-in-law have given me some great options!! I too love the simplicity of morning dressing thanks to capsule dressing. I am mostly wearing all my favorite things and realizing how little I can really live with. Hopefully this idea will spill over to the rest of our home and life. I sometimes get frustrated with how much more difficult it is to accomplish capsule/simple living around me. Probably something I need not be anxious about but with thanksgiving, prayer and petition give it to the Author of Priority. Thank you for the reminders.
Your winter capsule is so on point!
I totally struggle with buying multiples of things I love. I’m more of a uniform wearer so I will buy the same style of shirt in a couple different colors, but I try (try!) not to go overboard and buy every color or print available. I think since switching to a more paired down wardrobe I am better at taking care of my clothes, making sure they’re washed and dried properly, and repairing things when I can instead of replacing as soon as a little wear starts to show. Obviously, sometimes it’s inevitable, but I think when you have less you value it more and take better care of it.
I’m a uniform type person, too. I try to think of palates for each season, which helps with not buying one in every color. Right now, my wardrobe is black, gray, white, and aqua. I have a tee shirt in black, aqua, and a black-and-white pattern, so I’m definitely with you on same item in a few ways. Limiting myself to a few color choices has kept me from overbuying, and it also helps with matching. Pretty much everything I own goes with everything else. I wouldn’t do black tee under black cardigan, etc., but that’s about it.
I love this look! I too worry about the wearing out of my favorite pieces (even though I don’t have a capsule, if I’m honest, I only wear a small amount of stuff in my closet). I learn to let it go – because if I buy the same piece, perhaps I won’t stick to my budget. If I buy the same piece, maybe I’ll miss out on buying something different that is also amazing. (I chalk it up to the “Justin Case” syndrome.)
i just recently found your blog and have been frantically trying to catch up.
this particular really “spoke” to me as i definitely guilty of buying “another one” of an item i truly love.
i’m talking the same sweater in six colors, same scarf in 3…it’s sick.
i’m really excited to start this whole capsule wardrobe journey and thank you for all your tips!
Bummer about the striped shirt from your spring capsule!
Can you tell me what the brand of the ponte pants are that have lasted so long? I’ve previously purchased two different pair and (following laundry instructions) they have become pilly within a few weeks of wear.
Hi Rachel! I got them at J.Crew Factory. :) xo Caroline
what brand were they?
Hi Caroline! I so appreciate your blog. It has given me a great deal of clarity when it comes to clothing, shopping, and living a more minimal lifestyle. So much so that I have my husband on board as well! I love your hair in this post. Could you share how you make a messy top bun look so…neat??
Hi Stephanie! Thanks for your kind words! For my hair, I just use one of these spongey donuts:
I have an idea for your ‘priority’ resolutions for this year. Isn’t it true that your personal health is the most important thing in your life? Think about it: when you have a good health, you have more energy for helping people. You can focus on other little things, without thinking how bad you feel or about visiting doctors. You can spend more time with your family and friends. It’s easier to travel. You spend less money for medicines. You just feel better and it is a thing which let you feel more power in your life. It is important to care about your physical and mental health – this is the easiest way to face other problems in your life.
Hope you’ll find your way in ‘priority’ :) your post about it was very inspiring and makes me think about my “the most important thing in life’. I can say it is health. Definitely.
Greetings from Poland! :)
And just this week I picked up a second pair of teal-green leggings… :) BUT my old ones really probably should go in the trash, and I love them and wear them a lot, and the replacement ones are fleece lined, lovely, and a terrific price. :) These days I generally don’t buy another one, though. I’m still growing, though. (Here’s looking at 8 pairs of nearly identical jeans I pulled out of my closet before starting capsule wardrobe-ing. I would pick up a new pair–well, a thrifted new pair–every time I found one in my favorite brand for a decent price because I was worried that when the old ones wore out I wouldn’t be able to find any at a good price. I don’t care how good the price was, there’s no reason for that kind of paranoia and excess.)
I love your hair!! The two most recent sweaters didn’t catch my eye when you posted your winter capsule, but now that I see them as an outfit on your person…MUST! HAVE! Alas, my shopping for this season is done. (But it’ll stay tucked in mind for future reference.)
Kelsey M. says
Love your hair! Adorable!
I’m not a huge shopper (kinda shocking I know). Just the hassle of trying everything on to find something that actually fits like it should is a big pain to me that I would rather avoid. So when I do find a piece that I love and fits perfectly I definitely stock up on a few different colors. I rarely buy the same exact piece more than once (exceptions being white tees and black leggings since I tend to live in both). I’m also bad in that I probably wear my clothes longer than I should (I’ll still wear shirts with stains or holes as long as they’re not that noticeable or I can cover them up) just because I would rather avoid the whole shopping ordeal.
This post really hits home with me. I just pared down to a capsule wardrobe and my guest room bed is piled with everything that came out of my closet. As I purged I counted 5 identical basic black crew neck t-shirts from target. One is still brand new with the tag on it. Last year I ended up wearing a black crew neck t-shirt way too often just cause one was always on the top of the pile and I ignored other pieces I had purchased. I was so worried I wouldn’t get another one of these I over looked the fact that Target always seems to have basic t-shirts like these and I could have just waited till I actually needed a new one. Now I am enjoying wearing looser t-shirts than these and I didn’t include a single one in my capsule wardrobe, so I definitely should have saved the money for something else.
My new motto is “live in the moment” and don’t hoard things for the future, cause when the future comes I am likely to want something entirely new and different.
I love this: My new motto is “live in the moment” and don’t hoard things for the future, cause when the future comes I am likely to want something entirely new and different.
It reminds me of the quote “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Works for our closets too. :)
I love that way of thinking!!
I struggle with the urge to buy/hoard duplicates of things I like for the future and agree with your ‘live in the moment’ approach.
For me, it can be just the desire to shop manifesting in another form…
More than that, I think this can be a downside of chasing the “perfect” capsule wardrobe, with some idea that when you attain it you will magically look perfect all the time and feel good but never have to worry about what to wear or shopping again! (Oh and of course your life will also be great.)
But of course life doesn’t work like that! So I always go back to the question of what I really need for now, and leave the future for the future. It’s accepting that things will inevitably change, that many things are out of our control, that in fact you don’t even know what you will need in the future – but having faith and trusting yourself that you will be able to cope and adapt when you get there.
(I should say that that’s why I love Caroline’s approach to capsule dressing, with the emphasis on making it work for you and adapting it for you now, instead of prescribing the ’10 must have wardrobe essentials’ or something like that).
I think we all panic a bit when we realize how much we love a basic item (usually after it has withstood several washings without wear and tear), and realize it’s probably out of stores, and we may not be able to find it again when we need it… Fabric, fit, availability, and quality seems so variable at so many retailers (even high-end retailers!) season after season, based on demand and cost of production in previous quarters. It makes sense economically, but it only adds to fast-fashion frustration for consumers :(
Does anyone has suggestions for retailers that have fairly consistent basics from season to season – hopefully year to year? I feel someplace like Everlane would (with the bonus of being relatively inexpensive and theoretically respectful of factory workers), since they have so few items, but I’ve heard the quality of their items can vary. Plus their ladies’ tees are so boxy :/ Any other stores that sell styles you can safely fall in love with?
I’d also love to hear suggestions for retailers with fairly consistent basics. I want to love Everlane but none of their stuff for this season fit me (sniff) and I find the fit/cut tends to be a little off in general (crew necklines too tight, loose boxy sweater with really tight sleeves, etc.). So I’d love to hear what other folks have found!
One tip: I have found decent quality at Boden. They tend toward bright colors and florals but if you’re into neutrals (like me) you can usually find some. And lately I’ve noticed they’re posting actual garment measurements on their website — makes things much easier to order!
what would you wear from your winter capsule if you were going to club and dance all night?
Hi Violet! Check out this post:
It’ll help answer you question. :) xo Caroline
Hi there! I came across your blog recently, and immediately thought “YES! This is what I’ve been looking for!” I’ve been struggling with my wardrobe for awhile, and not really able to figure out why or how to revamp it. I have felt that I have way too much quantity, not enough quality, and a very incohesive collection of clothes. So I started this weekend and created a collection of 40 pieces for this winter. After a week in im already starting to notice a pattern in what I’m more drawn to, and mistakes in selecting the capsule pieces that I made on a bigger scale in my entire wardrobe. Everything else is in storage. I’m going to see how these 3 months go and then I may continue with this idea and purge a lot of the excess that I’m just not happy with. Very excited to see where this experiment takes me!
i love this look along with all the other pieces in your winter & fall capsules! this outfit is so great for the stay at home mom needing to go grocery shopping (or anywhere else in public with 3 kids ;) i love it! Now i just need to get a cute sweatshirt ;) thanks for the F21 link! score!
I always love telling others about Unfancy, I feel so cool saying “she was our wedding photographer (so i know her) and now she’s an awesome fashion blogger!!” you are too cute and i’m so happy for you!
Amber, it’s SO good to hear from you! I love keeping up with you on Insta — your family is precious and you are an inspiring mom. It was a joy to be your wedding photog! :) xo Caroline
I just wanted to let you know how happy I am that I found your blog a few months back. It has been a huge source of inspiration for the shopping addict that I am.
I started working from home just about a year ago and have been using shopping as a way to get out of the house. This translated to a closet full of clothes that were not practical for the life I am currently living (for example at least 8 fancy dresses that I was keeping just in case.) I downloaded your wardrobe planner and that helped me figure out the reality of what I needed verse what I was keeping just in case (I did keep a few things in storage and sent some home with a friend who helped with round one of my purge)
I do own a lot of casual basics and some dressier pieces but find mixing and matching to be a struggle. I constantly wear items only one way and can’t seem to see how to pair them with other things and still look right. I then get bored and want to buy something new so I can have a new outfit. Any tips on how to translate what you already own in to a well rounded capsule. I did enjoy looking at your fall look book and seeing all the different ways you wore the individual pieces.
I love this look! Makes me wish for winter…
It’s weird how capsule wardrobes can change everything. Because I had a baby six months ago (yay!!), my pant size changed and I’d stretched out all my regular shirts by wearing them too long during pregnancy, so basically I needed a new wardrobe.
By deciding to shop the weekend after Christmas, I managed to get literally everything I needed in two trips, for about $100 of my own money (I used a lot of gift cards; they were pretty much all I asked for for Christmas). My company is offering us polos with the logo on it, and the person in charge reminded me to get my order in. I told him I wouldn’t be getting anything and he said, “Why?” My response of “I have enough clothes” seemed to baffle him.
As to your actual question, I definitely struggle with wondering if I need multiples of something, or if something will wear out before the end of the season. I ended up buying three of the same t-shirt (in black, teal, and a black and white pattern), but they’re now three of five tees I own. And I’m a jeans-and-t-shirt kind of girl (thankfully, that’s allowed at work).
Steph M says
I had that same striped shirt in my fall capsule and when I saw them on sale in early November for $6 apiece…I bought one each in the other colours, too. Lol! I wear them so much, though! They are all great neutrals with a little bit of interest. Under a cardigan for the winter, they are perfection,
This doesn’t work for every garment or situation, but have you thought about mending? I often sew up small and bigger holes in clothes. It’s usually invisible and I always figure that no one is looking that closely anyways! Such a good way to add life to beloved items. I also love how eco-friendly and thrifty it feels.
I love the texture of your sweatshirt! x
Sophia // sophiebysophia.blogspot.com
Fighting an urge to purchase takes some energy… I would tend to walk away for an hour or so and almost 100% of the time I would end up feeling less inclined to buy the item. It’s the impulse that’s hard to fight but if I allow the rational mind to take over, I would end up with only things that I need.
Nice pics and very comfortable look.
Cody Doll says
I am sooo familiar with that feeling. I am trying to live with less in general and it’s so hard. Slowly slowly I am learning.
Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's says
My friend has a rule that I think is really effective and that I have adopted. If there’s ever anything she wants, she writes it down and then writes the date next to it. She returns to the list a month later, and if she still wants/needs it, she’ll allow herself to buy it :) -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s
If you ever get a chance, I would love to know how you styled your hair in these photos!
Love how you styled the sneakers!
Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork says
I can also stress myself out with little decisions. I am always looking for the perfect something. I set my expectations too high, can never find what I’m looking for at my price point, and then end up disappointed. Must just relax with these silly little decisions.
My “theme” of the year (like your priority) is being present. Something I need to desperately work on. Maybe next year will be your theme for this year. ;-)
The idea of freeing up your mind so that you can dedicate your thoughts to the things you really care about really chimed with me. This Mark Zuckerberg video speaks to the same point, although it is taking things to the extreme!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM_FL-IuOS4
I think a lot of great minds have found having a “uniform” a really great way, not just of representing themselves externally but also of freeing up brain space to focus on the important questions, I’m thinking of Steve Jobs and the black roll neck in particular.
I also need to get over that nagging “should I buy another one” feeling… My mom taught me that if you love an article of clothing, you should buy it in three different colors. Always. She still does this. I need to work on unlearning this habit.