How to Survive Your First Capsule Wardrobe and Discover Your Personal Style

I have never tried a 30-day barre challenge, The Whole30® Program, or a 21-day habit-kicking plan. I once did a three-day juice cleanse that made be pretty nauseous. :) 

So, with the lack of challenge success, I am feeling pretty great about finishing my 30 day, 37 capsule wardrobe trial (see original post here). I know….a typical capsule wardrobe lasts for three months, one season. But I am going on vacation this week and thought I would be able to share some learnings from a month of no blood, some sweat (make sure to wash your capsule pieces), and minimal tears.

See what I learned, what I enjoyed, and why I would do it again. I hope you try the next one with me! 

My Capsule Wardrobe Highs

I needed less time in the morning to get ready.

I put my capsule wardrobe front and center on my clothes rack. Each morning I only had a few pants and shirts to choose from so it made getting ready for work at least five to ten minutes faster. And that adds up. I did have to think back if I wore the same shirt already that week or if I was having meetings with similar groups of people in the same clothes—but I soon didn’t care. 

The before: Not my capsule wardrobe.

The before: Not my capsule wardrobe.

My capsule wardrobe, front and center.

My capsule wardrobe, front and center.

I didn’t have to do as much laundry. 

Since I only had a few pairs of pants I could wear I ended up washing them. And it's okay to not wash your pants all the time. 

One I did decide to wash items (when my underwear ran out) my laundry loads were much smaller since I was only wearing 37 items vs. my full closet. This made laundry day less taxing with less folding and less time needed to put clothes away. 

I discovered new outfits. 

Since I was limited in my options I started to pair items together I had never thought would go together. I am excited to say I have outfits I am excited to wear again which included those more out-there items I had trouble adding to my wardrobe mix.

Here it goes. Mirror selfies. No going back from here. I'm wearing an  American Apparel  sweater,  Joie  pants, and  Nike shoes .

Here it goes. Mirror selfies. No going back from here. I'm wearing an American Apparel sweater, Joie pants, and Nike shoes.

Me, again.  Guess  faux fur jacket from  Poshmark ,  Adidas  shirt from  Wasteland ,  American Apparel  pants, and  Target  Sam & Libby boots.

Me, again. Guess faux fur jacket from Poshmark, Adidas shirt from Wasteland, American Apparel pants, and Target Sam & Libby boots.

A close up of the shirt (and my hand).

A close up of the shirt (and my hand).

Happy to be here.  Forever 21  shirt,  Zara  pants, and my  Nike Air Max 95s .

Happy to be here. Forever 21 shirt, Zara pants, and my Nike Air Max 95s.

My Capsule Wardrobe Lows

I didn’t include enough loose-fitting pants. 

I had high expectations for myself for how often I want to suck it all in, in some tight pants. I realized I need to fit more elastic into my wardrobe. Already scoping out some options

I used workout clothes as a crutch. 

Since I didn’t choose enough comfortable pants for my capsule I would wear workout clothes a lot during the weekends—when I wasn’t working out. Even though I like a good casual look, I try to at least wear real pants when I am picking up to-go food and then walking back home. Most capsule wardrobes don't put a limit on number of workout clothes/have you had them to the capsule—but that doesn't mean I should wear as much as I want. 

On Sundays I wore workout clothes. I'm in a vintage 80s jacket from the  Melrose Trading Post  and lululemon pants.

On Sundays I wore workout clothes. I'm in a vintage 80s jacket from the Melrose Trading Post and lululemon pants.

I didn’t include enough shirts. 

Even though I learned how to mix in more fun jackets in my wardrobe I didn’t choose enough shirts. I realized I didn’t need too many jackets as I could wear the same one everyday. With shirts—that is a different, sweaty story. 

I didn’t know what to do about costume days or weddings.

I admit—I wore clothes outside the capsule for two every important days—San Francisco's Bay to Breakers race (I didn't run but took part in the all-day festivities), and my friend Kaylie’s wedding. Was I supposed to leave room in my capsule for costumes and dresses for each night of wedding weekend? 

Here is what Caroline from Unfancy said, "You’ve probably gathered this by now, but I don’t include special occasion clothes in my 37 piece capsule wardrobe. Why not? Because I want my capsule wardrobe to serve as my everyday, real life wardrobe. It’s only once in a blue moon that I need a fancy dress." Woohoo! 

Proud to say our costumes all together were under $30.

Proud to say our costumes all together were under $30.

I shopped—but not too much.

Mission Thrift: Vacationing dad costumes 

Uniqlo: Bathing suit on sale for my trip to Portugal 

Thinx: I needed more period underwear. Period. 

Gaby's closet: I went through the clothes my friend Gaby was giving away (as I do when I go to LA) and took a few sweaters, shirts, and jumpsuits. I don't think this counts as shopping? 

Finish Line: New running shoes. It was time.

I am happy to say I shopped less than a typical month and didn't spend money on new outfits. 

At  Wasteland , in my faux fur, where I managed to not buy anything. (Chris got  Acne Studios  jeans!)

At Wasteland, in my faux fur, where I managed to not buy anything. (Chris got Acne Studios jeans!)

My Capsule Wardrobe Learnings (Honing in on My Personal Style!) 

I like tight pants, but need more variety. 

I will always love my high-waisted skinny jeans and vintage Levi’s. But sometimes a girl just needs some work-appropriate joggers. 

I would like more shirts that can go from weekday to weekend. 

I love turtle necks and weekend t-shirts but I realized I need more shirts that can work for weekend and weekday. I also would love shirts that I don’t need to wash every time I wear them. Any suggestions?! 

I’m okay with wearing the same shoes.  

Mom, did you hear that? I have learned. Comfort matters a lot to me and I realized wearing a few sneakers and a couple casual boots suffices. 

Overall, I recommend trying a capsule wardrobe. If you want to figure out your personal style stat, a 30-day capsule wardrobe challenge is the right move.  It helped me understand what items I enjoy wearing and what items I should get rid of. I don't have the urge to impulse shop as I have a clear direction for what I need and like and on top of that, I also realized I can do more with making new looks with the clothes I have and love. 

Peace out. Thanks for reading. I'm in a vintage 70s light jacket from the  Alameda Point Antiques Faire , vintage  Levi's , and  Asos   Park Lane mules .

Peace out. Thanks for reading. I'm in a vintage 70s light jacket from the Alameda Point Antiques Faire, vintage Levi's, and Asos Park Lane mules.