The case for an unplanned capsule wardrobe

This week I got a major wardrobe upgrade that cost me $0–I re-capsuled my closet. Here are the outfits that change inspired!

This week, in the midst of April academic stress, I decided I needed less decision fatigue. There’s good evidence that more choices don’t help us make good choices, and I took that to heart and decided to capsule my closet.

There are plenty of good guides, books, and worksheets about how to build a capsule wardrobe. They involve careful analysis, considering weather, time spent at various activities, and color scheme. I have done and enjoyed these worksheets. But I didn’t do that this time, I just put on a podcast and started pulling anything off the rack that didn’t feel like exactly what I wanted to be wearing right now.

I stashed all of this in a spare closet, which left me with the above choices. I was and am surprised by how completely different my wardrobe looks after this! I did some other mundane yet fun closet maintenance: I took 5 things to a tailor (time I’ve put this off for: 2 years, total errand time: 30 minutes), I made a dedicated hiking clothes drawer in my closet. With all of these tasks done there was nothing left to do but get dressed for the week…

Who. Am. I. The first outfit I put on was this secondhand teal tank top. I haven’t reached for this since the fall but with all of the extra items put away it suddenly called to me. And then I thought “what if you add yellow shorts from that clothing exchange” (thanks Elyse!!) which again, hid in the back of a drawer for a long time. And then I thought “put the fun Tevas on” and this my friends is what we call Lizard Brain dressing.

Tuesday was toned down but still fun. The best purchases usually feel like they slot into my closet effortlessly and bring other things together, and that is how I’m feeling about my newer Tevas. I can’t believe I’m here to gush about my river and camping shoes but they are definitely funky and give me license to put 4-5 colors together that I’m usually too bold to try, like emerald green joggers and a brown tank top.

Enjoying my capsule wardrobe powers, and seeing this fun skirt in such close proximity to teal, I decided to put them on together for a trip to the office on Wednesday.

I haven’t been to my office in several months but have decided to 1) move things back in slowly and 2) start going back a couple days at a time so that when we are all back to in-person learning in the fall I’ve built up some tolerance to working outside my house 🙂

Between the Tevas and the drawstring on this skirt, I think I’m definitely pushing toward more casual vibes for the office that fit with my style goals for the year.

This was my Thursday outfit, the best tie dye tee completed by the arrival of my ideal shorts. I said in this post I’m trying to dedicate more headspace to summer clothes so that I actually have clothes I like. I’ve grabbed:

-2 pairs of longer shorts (black, white)

-Fancier sandals

-Fun Tevas

“Going out” tank top

I’ve split these purchases over March and April and used some money I made on Poshmark so they thankfully didn’t make a big dent in my budget. These shorts in particular are pretty expensive for me ($100), but I decided to go for it after making a very picky list of details I was looking for in shorts (white, pleated, linen) and then deciding to go out and actually find my perfect pair, instead of a compromise pair that I once again won’t like and will give away after a season. I found them by looking for inspiration images on Pinterest and then using the “shop” feature to find similar items.

I’m happy with everything and think that planning it all out first and then shopping worked really well, so I hope to try that again in the future.

Friday the colorful vibes ended when I picked a thrifted black mockneck and white pants. But then I was still inspired by the week so I grabbed some pink earrings made by my friend Heather and matched my shoes. Except I have nowhere to go. But I think this will be a fun fall teaching outfit. It kind of gives me art gallery vibes which I am always striving for a little bit because of Trevor’s curator work (gotta keep up with all the cool people at art openings! JK I never do).

I guess overall this week was the first week in a long time I’ve really liked every outfit I’ve put together. Thanks, capsule wardrobe!

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