What happens at the end of a capsule wardrobe season?
Spring is over! And summer is here. Which is a rather unusual occurrence for us because here in Scotland we frequently have our “summer” in April or May (i.e. a sunny spell) and then no real summer at all later on. But this year we have had very unusual weather and at the moment we have a heat wave.
Summer technically begins with the solstice on Wednesday 21st June and that is the date I had in mind for switching over my seasonal wardrobe. However the thing about the capsule wardrobe is that it is supposed to serve your actual life, not fit an arbitrary schedule, and so I have started early this year in line with the weather. Plus I was in the south of Germany last week where it was nearly 30 degrees C every day so it made sense to wear summer clothes then!
I thought it might be helpful to show the process at the end of the season, as well as the choices made at the beginning (for that see my 2017 Spring Capsule Wardrobe post). The success of a capsule wardrobe depends not on how the items look on the hangers in the closet, but how they actually work in practice, being worn day in day out. And it is the review at the end of the season that provides the information to take forward into the next capsule and that will help to avoid mistakes in the future.
So how did my wardrobe fare?
I have decided to get rid of a few items that were not serving me well. When you have a limited wardrobe there is no room for items that are uncomfortable or that make you feel self-conscious or constrained. For whatever reason, if you are not happy with something then don’t keep it – find a suitable way of moving it on (preferably donate, sell or repurpose).
The green dress from Boden: I really wanted this to work, but it just didn’t.
- For one thing, the waist is too high and sits uncomfortably on my bottom ribs. I don’t know why I even tried this dress – I have bought so many dresses in the past from Boden and they have almost always had this problem. I buy the long size, and I am not even that tall – only 5′ 9″ – and don’t have a particularly long torso. Boden, what is it with the short bodice on your dresses????!!
- In addition, a stain mysteriously appeared on the front of the bodice. It is not a dramatic stain, but visible enough to make me self conscious about wearing the dress.
- There was something odd about the fit of the arms and bust area, and it pulled and creased in awkward ways.
- And lastly, I don’t actually enjoy wearing the 50s extreme fit-and-flare style. I have tried it so often because I am pear shaped with big hips and thighs and that style is supposed to be flattering for my figure type. But for some reason I feel like ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ when I wear this kind of thing and often feel like I actually look bigger. I have tried it over and over again, and it never quite works for me.
Lessons for next time:
- Make sure the item is long enough in the torso
- Avoid 50s fit-and-flare dresses
- Don’t buy any new Boden dresses
The magenta and white striped tee: This was also a Boden item. Like the dress I bought it over Ebay and originally I had thought it would be more of a cherry red, and was surprised when I opened up the parcel and discovered it to be a vibrant magenta. Although it is bright and pretty, the colour doesn’t suit me and I felt uncomfortable wearing it. Also the quality of the fabric is not as thick as my other tees in this wardrobe, and it didn’t keep me as warm in the chilly spring weather. Although for this reason I could have carried it over to summer, I felt uncomfortable enough with the colour that I would rather just say goodbye to it.
- Make sure of the colour before buying. If using Ebay, check with seller if I have any doubt.
The multi coloured tank top: I had two tank tops in this wardrobe and that proved unnecessary. It was only towards the end of the season that the weather offered any opportunity of wearing a tank, and when I wanted to wear one I always ended up pulling out the blue one. I even put this one on a couple of times and then pulled it off immediately and put the blue one on. The reason was that although I love the colours and the crazy pattern, they are not quite in my colour palette and don’t suit me well enough.
- Just because I love the colours or the pattern doesn’t mean I will love wearing the garment. Check that it suits my colouring and resist items that are out of my colour palette.
- I don’t need two tank tops for spring, only one
The green woolly jumper/sweater: I bought this because I liked the colour and it was only £1 in the charity shop and was made from real wool. But I found it unbearably scratchy.
- Be realistic about the fabric. Will I really be able to wear the garment comfortably?
These are the items that were successful and that will also be of use during the next season, which in this case is summer. I don’t need to wax lyrical about the qualities of each; I will just list the items:
- Grey dress with fern pattern
- Butterfly print jersey dress
- Green and white striped tee
- Blue floral tank
- Teal raincoat
- Grey velvet jacket
- Blue linen jacket
- Blue corduroy jacket (I think – not 100% sure about this as it is a bit heavy for summer)
- Both scarves
- All the shoes except the brogues
- Both the bags
Items for storage
There are two reasons for putting items back in storage: either they are no longer appropriate for the weather, or they no longer fit. I have had a lot of problems with weight fluctuation this year, and some of my spring items are not fitting me just at the moment. Rather than have them hanging unworn in my wardrobe making me miserable, I decided to put them into storage. If I lose some weight over the course of the summer then I can bring them out again and enjoy wearing them once more. Otherwise they will stay in a box until I have to make a decision further down the line.
- Both long sleeved tees (too warm)
- Purple woolly jumper/sweater (too warm)
- Blue corduroy jacket (possibly – it could carry over – haven’t made up my mind)
- Brown brogues (not very summery, more of a spring and autumn shoe)
- chambray shirt (a little too small for now)
- Floral shirt (a little too small for now)
- Polka dot shirt dress (a little too small for now; also I’m not happy with the colour and am considering dyeing it – will make up my mind about that at a later date)
- Blue twill pinafore dress (it’s a workhorse but my weight gain means that the zip has too much pressure on it – I think it’s better to retire the dress while I try to lose the excess weight rather than force the zip and damage the dress)
As you can see, the wardrobe both worked and didn’t work. Some choices were poor due to colour, fabric or fit. Others I became too large for and that is something that happens sometimes and it’s best not to get too worked up about it. (Btw, I am not one of those people who says if it doesn’t fit then get rid of it – my weight fluctuates a lot and I have gone up and down in size many times, so I don’t see any problem in keeping items I really like for some future date.) And other items were season/weather specific and just need to be stored until the time comes for using them again.
I hope you have found this interesting and even useful. I find there is a plethora of blog posts and Youtube videos showing people’s capsule wardrobe selections, but not so many reviewing how the wardrobes actually worked. I’m always curious about that so I thought there might be a place for this post!
Let me know if you go through this same kind of process. I would love to hear how you get on with your wardrobes!