I’ve been reading more and more about capsule wardrobes recently. On one hand, it’s a fairly seductive concept; who wouldn’t want a small, cohesive wardrobe full of beautiful, luxury garments which all match and make getting dressed simple? On the other hand, its a fairly ludicrous idea for me, I love making and wearing all sorts of clothes and I can’t ever imagine paring my wardrobe back to that extent! So I thought I’d dip my toes into the capsule wardrobe world by trying a 10×10 challenge. I’d seen this idea on various fashion blogs, where you choose ten items of clothing to make up a capsule wardrobe to wear for ten days, but when I listened to the Love To Sew podcast episode on trying it with a handmade wardrobe I decided to jump in (along with Emma from Emma’s Atelier). This is the capsule I put together:
One dress: The Mito Cami dress from Papercut Patterns in teal rayon crepe (unblogged)
One Skirt: v1247 in indigo cotton
One pair of trousers: Flint Pants in viscose twill
One long sleeved top: Melilot shirt in chambray
Two tops: Willow Tank and Ogden Cami
Two tee shirts: Lark Tee (unblogged) and Plantain Tee
Two pairs of shoes: Leather sneakers and gold flats.
I decided at the beginning of my planning that what I really wanted was to shake myself out of some wardrobe ruts that I often find myself in. Obviously I could have made this really easy by picking a pair of jeans, 7 tee shirts, a Driftless cardi and some lace up shoes, which is what I wear about 70% of the time anyway, but that isn’t really the point! So I purposely didn’t pick jeans or a cardigan, and I also tried to pick items that I tend to wear as part of specific outfits to force myself to find new ways to wear them.
This is what days 1-5 looked like. Nothing terribly exciting, to be honest, but I managed to wear every item in my capsule except for the Ogden Cami, and I felt like I had enough separate pieces to put together 5 outfits that didn’t feel limited or boring or repetitive. I had a couple of small cheats, on day one I was unexpectedly invited out to a fancy restaurant for dinner that night and I decided to wear a pair of heels with my Flint Trousers and Willow tank to dress them up, and on day 2 I was at the cricket all day and I took my raincoat along (luckily, as it started to rain that evening). Even though none of these outfits are groundbreaking, even small changes like tying my tee shirt or shirt at the waist made them feel a bit different and is outside of what I would normally have done (I usually just tuck things in, easy but lazy!). I especially like how my Plantain tee looks tied over the waist of that skirt. This was also the first time I wore my Mito cami dress, which I had been feeling a bit ambivalent about, and I was pretty comfy in it!
Days 6-10 carried on in much the same way! My outfit for day 6 was basically pyjamas for lounging around the house, and day 7 annoyingly ended up being the only repeated outfit of the 10 days as it suddenly got chilly and I wanted long sleeves! Days 9 and 10 were probably the only days that I branched out, I know it sounds silly but I struggle with mixing prints and even the combination of navy and white stripes with the navy and white abstract pattern on the skirt made me think twice. I think it looks fine though, the pattern on the skirt is so minimal it barely counts! I was also glad to see that the Ogden cami works pretty well under the Mito dress, which is good because it’s a much breezier combination than a tee-shirt under the dress. the other combination I considered trying was the Willow Tank over the Mito dress, and the shirt open and tied at the waist over the dress (or over the Ogden/Flint outfit). I did try throwing the shirt on unbuttoned over the tee shirts, but I just felt a bit silly. I think the Melilot is too shaped at the side seams to look right unbuttoned, and I felt a bit swamped in fabric between that and the billowing Flint pants.
I was lucky that I picked a 10 day stretch of pretty settled, warmer than average summer weather, a capsule wardrobe for standard Wellington weather would need to be considerably bigger than this one! I also think I picked a pretty good selection of items. Keeping to a limited colour palette and choosing all separates definitely helped, and I felt like I had plenty of options. Ultimately, I don’t think a capsule wardrobe is for me, I was feeling pretty over all of those items by the end of my 10 days! I also found that it killed my urge to sew, because I knew I wouldn’t get any instant gratification by sewing and then wearing something immediately (I feel like there’s a bit to unpack in that realisation, do I do the sewing equivalent of fast fashion? I’ll have to think a bit more about that…). I am glad that I found a few new ways to wear some things, and that I took a small step outside of my comfort zone, so it wasn’t a wasted experience!
Do any of you stick to a capsule wardrobe? Have you tried anything like the 10×10 challenge? I’d love to hear what other people think about this sort of thing!