But I Have NOTHING To Wear!

Over the past few years we have found ourselves in the middle of “adulting.” Whether it was budgeting our monthly spending, getting a mortgage or making sense of our taxes, suddenly our financial health was at the top of our to do list. That’s why we are thrilled to welcome Lindsey Hocanin from Making Cents of Life as a regular columnist. Lindsey will be taking us through some of our more pressing financial challenges. First up, how to build our capsule wardrobe! 

Has this happened to you? You’re standing in front of your closet, rushing against the clock to get to work on time and you yelled, “I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR?!” Up until very recently, this was my approach to my wardrobe. I had a jammed-packed closet full of clothes that varied between everyday items to things I were keeping, hoping my post-baby body could squeeze back into them (spoiler alert: it hasn’t). I had clothes that I have only worn a few times, but because I spent a bit of money, I kept it out of guilt.

Over the past six months I have been curating my clothes into a capsule wardrobe. I am creating a space with pieces of clothes that fit both my body and lifestyle. My style has evolved over the years and as I get more comfortable in my new mom bod, I have gravitated towards clothes that can be classified as ‘comfy chic.’

So, how did I de-clutter my wardrobe and curate a capsule wardrobe? Read below for my simple and effective tips:

What I did to build my capsule wardrobe:

  1. Read blogs about capsule wardrobes (see below for links)
  2. Took an online quiz to determine how to label my style
  3. In a pie chart, divided up my day based on activities I do on weekdays and weekends
  4. Realized my style is classic chic. Generally wear neutrals (beige, gray, black) with complimentary warm colours (navy blue, maroon). I do enjoy a nice floral print, but pair this with a solid color shirt. On weekends, since I am chasing a preschooler and doing errands, exercising and spending time with family, I prefer athleisure ware (super basic, I know!) but these clothes make me feel comfortable and I don’t feel lumpy if I go between a yoga class to the park with Emily.
  5. Took out all of my clothes in my closet and dressers and dumped it on my bed. Put on a solid play list and continuously explained to Emily, that no, in fact, its not awesome to throw mommy’s clothes off the bed. See that Badger has made a nice bed with my clothes on the floor. Guess he likes athleisure clothes too.
  6. Separated my clothes into three piles; Love it, undecided, donate. However, between the impromptu throwing of clothes off the bed (Emily) and new collections to his bed (Badger, my dog) this step took the better part of an afternoon
  7. Waited until Emily was napping to continue. Took each item, examined in the mirror, thought of my “why do I like this?” and put it into the appropriate pile
  8. By the time I was done, I had 40 pieces in my Love It pile, 30 pieces in my Undecided pile and 40 pieces in my Donate pile
  9. Went through my Love it/Undecided pile and picked out the 35 pieces to make my three month capsule wardrobe (check out Project333 for more info). Packed up the rest and stored in the basement for three months. In mid-December, I will bring that box up and see what I can add back to the collection and donate the rest.
  10. For the Donate pile, I immediately drove it over to Goodwill, so I wouldn’t be tempted to keep the items. Can’t even remember what those items were.

What did I learn from creating a capsule wardrobe?

  1. By eliminating vast majority of items in closet (currently about 35 items) I now have a better sense of my style and what I feel confident and comfortable in
  2. Feel a physical release when eliminating with stuff
  3. Clearer sense of what works with my body type and lifestyle
  4. When I do go clothes shopping, I shop with purpose and intention. Since I am no longer shopping as a stress release, I can spend on quality as opposed to quantity.

What to keep doing:

  1. Every three months, re-examine my closet to see what I did and did not wear. Make a seasonal shopping list for items to help enhance wardrobe.
  2. Find and support ethically-made fashion; can spend the money due to being more conscious about my wardrobe and only buying clothes that I need versus want
  3. Buy clothes which compliment lifestyle and body shape

What to stop doing:

  1. Remind myself why I am doing this. I need to control my spending, become a more conscious spender and want to support ethically-made fashion.
  2. When I do become stress/depressive episode, draw strength and support from my village and re-read goals, so I don’t stress shop. I have had to hide my credit card, so I don’t feel the urge to shop.

Since building my capsule wardrobe in mid-September, I have learned a lot about my personal style and my spending habits. It is also a great conversation at a dinner party! Lots of people are interested in doing this, and I have had lots of great talks about what I have done and the progress I’ve made. It has forced me to be more creative in my wardrobe, to pair items together to help create a brand new look. This weekend, I’ll be making my fall/winter shopping list, and will work diligently to stick to my list. I know what works for my body and lifestyle and can make a more conscious and confident choice in my clothes and shopping habits.  Interested in doing this? Let me know and I would love to hear your progress!

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