Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Capture the Capsule

So I’ve been living the capsule wardrobe for a couple of months now.  I’m working my way through Summer and I’m starting to think of Autumn.  Actually, I started thinking about all of the seasons back when I committed to giving the capsule wardrobe a go for a whole month.

And how has it been?  In one word, and I’ve used it before, liberating.  I don’t feel constrained with shopping for the latest look.  I don’t feel constrained with the type of look I’m going for.  I don’t feel constrained in presenting the right image.  I just choose – business or casual, shaved legs or not.

It hasn’t been a quick process.  Creating a capsule requires a lot of planning and focus.  And a lot of compromises and decisions, especially in the beginning.

But, as I settled into a capsule wardrobe, both in building it and using it, I had fun. 

Firstly – in the planning.  What piece/s of clothing do I need?  How am I going to use it – casual or business, flats or heels, dry-cleaned or machine-washed, on its own or with a third piece.  Which acceptable colours from my Zyla colour palette does it need to be?  What’s the budget?

Second – in the shop
a.) Hold up my Zyla paint chips and walk around the shop.  No match, don’t bother.
b.) Found something?  Does it suit all of the above requirements?
c.) Try it on… Love it on first sight or leave it.
d.) Scrutinise it… how does it fit?  Is it alterable?
e.) Confirm it… try it on with the other pieces in my wardrobe, try it on with the different shoes.  Walk around the shop – am I strutting like a peacock or am I pulling and tugging and adjusting and flapping?

Third – style it.
While I might have had a particular look in mind when I bought the piece of clothing, I also have to think of the other possibilities.  Scarves, necklaces, tucking, tieing, belting, layering, shoes, bags – ok, ok not endless possibilities, but a lot.

The experience has been fun and liberating…

Planning is my thing.  No brainer there.

It suits the level of shopping that I like to do – concentrated, intense, focused and limited in time to allow an iced chocolate at the end and a guilt-free trip back home to my kids.

As for styling, given my extreme lack of styling savvy, this was the perfect way for me to explore styling techniques and discover my personal style without feeling overwhelmed and inadequate.  

Knowing that all the colours worked well together; knowing that each piece of clothing fit me perfectly and made me feel like a million dollars, it was just a matter of trying out a style.  There were definitely some fails along the way.  

A month of outfit photographing allowed me to critique my style choices and see on the screen what worked and what didn’t.  On the same page as the outfits that worked, the ones that didn’t work really stood out.

For the month of January, I made it a point to not wear the same two pieces together in the whole month.  I did the maths – I had enough combinations to last the month without repeating any combination.  But, in actual fact, once you introduce styling into the foray, the capsule wardrobe can offer an amazing amount of “outfits” as you can wear each combination of clothing in multiple ways.

For example, I’ve taken the basic white tee and tight blue jeans and styled them 6 ways.  Given that it is Summer, I’ve kept accessories such as scarves to a minimum because it’s just too hot.  But, imagine how many more looks you could get if you had numerous scarves!

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