My Capsule Wardrobe // Early Summer

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I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a post.  This post is a culmination of so many things that I don’t even know where to begin, but here goes!  The idea to try out a capsule wardrobe came about around three months ago.  I was getting my hair done by my good friend and hair stylist extraordinaire, Addie, and she asked if I had seen a particular post about capsule wardrobes.  I hadn’t seen the one she was referring to, but it was right around the time that Erin was doing something similar and I had just recently seen that.  Addie is a mom also and we just began talking about what it would be like to have fewer things and less choice to make in the morning.  When I got home that afternoon I was completely inspired and immediately took the wardrobe racks out of my office (the perks of being a stylist came in handy!) and put everything from my closet onto the racks.  I pulled off roughly thirty pieces, not including shoes, put them back in my closet and wheeled everything else into my office.  Out of site out of mind.

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A few things happened.  For starters, I posted this photo to Instagram and got such great feedback from people about being curious about the concept or interested in trying a similar approach.  I also started getting ready quicker in the morning.  Suddenly this little impulsive experiment was giving me back a little slice of my day which was thrilling.  It also quickly curbed my need to buy anything new.  I kept asking myself, “How would this fit with my other 35 pieces?  Would I really wear it enough to justify the purchase?  Is this the one pair of white jeans I’m going to own for the next however many years?”.  What I had done on a whim and with very little thought was quickly transforming my life.  I think the key words here, though, are “on a whim and with very little thought.”  I hadn’t thought it through.  I hadn’t actually purged as much as I should have or packed up what was left, so as soon as the next styling job came up and I needed those rolling racks and the space my old clothes were occupying, everything took up residence once again back in my closet and it was quickly back to same old methods of getting dressed in the morning with a slew of clothes to choose from.

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Enter April.  April was pure craziness going from one styling job to the next, something that I have been mindful not to do since Parker was born, but one yes led to the next yes and before I knew it I was booking out my last free day of the month.  The insanity made me want to reduce and minimize the time I spent on everything else in my life.  When I wasn’t working I wanted to be with Aaron and Parker.  It also reminded me how much I love styling and fashion and wardrobe.  As exhausting as it can be at times, I love my job.  When I started this site, it was because I had just transitioned from a full-time job in television to a freelance career and needed something to do with the extra time on my hands, lest I lose my mind.  I never imagined it becoming a business, but as it did I quickly began dabbling in other interests.  Interiors?  Sure!  Food?  Why not?!  Cocktails?  Yes, please!  I do love seeing how style is translated across different categories, but I have been realizing over the last few months that I really want to get back to my roots of personal style and wardrobe with the mission to help get people dressed.  It’s what I’ve been doing for the last 8 years as a stylist and it’s what I’ve love most about this site.

Posts aren’t typically this wordy around here, so if you’re still reading at this point, thanks!  Any how, here are the details about how it will work:  These are my 36 pieces that I have been/will be wearing for the next two months.  Twice a week I will be posting outfits from this capsule collection here and also sporadically on Instagram.  I imagine myself switching out the pieces every two months instead of three.  I just feel like May and June are very different here from July and August and September and October are very different from November and December.   I’m excited to see where I am on this little adventure in two months!  Here is the breakdown of what I kept:

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5 short sleeve tees, 4 tank tops ( 2 casual, 2 dressy), 1 long sleeve dressier tee, 1 3/4 sleeve thin sweater, 3 button down shirts (2 casual cotton, 1 dressier silk crepe), 3 pairs of shorts, 1 short skirt, 1 long skirt, 3 pairs of jeans, 4 dresses, 1 cardigan, 1 jean jacket, 1 cropped kimono, and 1 jersey cotton cocoon wrap.

01. C’est La Vie Graphic Tee, J. Crew Factory (No longer available, but See all of my favorite graphic tees here!)

02. Red Tee, Madewell

03. Tout Va Bien, J. Crew (No longer available, but See all of my favorite graphic tees here!)

04. Gray Boatneck Tee, A.P.C. ( Similar and Similar)

05. Pineapple Tee, Anthropologie

06. White Silk Tank, Nordstrom BP Department

07. Blue Linen Tank, Sandro (from a sale in Paris like 5 years ago– similar)

08. White and Black Embroidered Tank, Anthropologie (It’s only kind of similar, but I love this tank)

09. Black Silk Tank, Theory (Similar + Similar)

10. Grey knit Tee with Leather Trim, Splendid

11. Thin Striped Sweater, Rag & Bone (Similar + Similar)

12. Grey and White Striped Buttondown, Madewell (Similar + Similar)

13. Chambray Shirt, BDG (Similar)

14. Floral Silk Button Down, Equipment

15. Sheer Floral Kimono, Kimchi & Blue (Similar)

16. White Cropped Jeans, Paige

17. Denim Shorts, Madewell

18. Light Distressed Jeans, Alexa Chung for AG

19. White and Navy Cotton Pinstripe Shorts, Splendid

20. Dark Skinny Jeans, Paige

21. Striped Midi Skirt, J. Crew

22. Polka Dot Dress, Equipment

23. Lace Crochet Mini Dress, Ella Moss (+ Similar)

24. Long Sleeve Striped Dress, J. Crew

25. Gray Knotted Dress, Splendid (Also, available here.)

26. Black Crepe Shorts with Leather Tie, Helmut Lang

27. Rust Cardigan, Madewell

28. Denim Jacket, Levi’s

29. Red & Navy Striped Jersey Pencil Skirt, Madewell (Similar + Similar)

30. Gray Jersey Cocoon Wrap, Alternative Apparel (Similar)

31. Platform Raffia Lace Up Shoes, Robert Clergerie (Also, available here if you need a different size and this is a much cheaper somewhat similar version.)

32. White and Tan leather Heeled Sandal, Coach (Similar + Similar)

33. Leather Slip-On Sneakers, Gap

34. Tan Cut Out Heels, Anthropologie

35.  Black Clog Sandals, Swedish Hasbeens (Similar style in black)

36. Flat Leather Sandals, Coach (Similar + Similar)

Garment Rack by West Elm

Photography by Mary Costa

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  1. I love the concept. Now to clean out my closets!

    • Jen Pinkston

      05/19/2015

      A freshly cleaned closet is one of my favorite things! Have fun!

  2. Sally Murphy

    05/19/2015

    I have been looking forward to your picks. I have been doing this for a while, but I needed quality finds to replace some overused, holey, paint smeared items in my closet. 🙂 I enjoy your site Jen, thanks for the post!

    • Jen Pinkston

      05/19/2015

      Teach me your ways! What have you learned in the process? How many items do you keep each season? Do you switch it out every three months? I am loving it so far!

  3. I first got introduced to capsule wardrobes when I came across Caroline Rector’s blog Unfancy. I think it’s a super idea and am really excited to see how you’ll be mixing things up, I love your outfit posts! I’m also due in a month so I’d like to try out a capsule wardrobe for post-baby

  4. rachel

    05/19/2015

    fab! agree one of the best bits is how neat and tidy the wardrobe looks, also playing mix and match and getting the next clothes out… i’ve found I’ve swapped my urge to splurge from clothes to beauty products as they ‘don’t count’ hehe!

  5. Katie H.

    05/19/2015

    This is awesome! But the thought of cleaning out my closet is so daunting… Any advice on purging? What did you do with the clothes you took out of your closet?

    • Jen Pinkston

      05/19/2015

      Katie, it’s so daunting, but feels so good! I got rid of a ton of things. I took a few bags and sold at Wasteland (you could also do Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads depending on your area) then I donated everything else. The things that I kept are store either under the bed or in our guest room closet. I put them in garment bags so I’m not tempted to start pulling things out. Good luck to you! Just do it!

  6. So impressed and so excited to see what you come up with! I am curious what you did with the clothes you pulled out of your closet?

    • Jen Pinkston

      05/19/2015

      See above 😉 Congrats on your new little, Wendi! He is adorable!

  7. Such a great idea! I cant wait to clean out my closet too!! I love the idea of changing it out every two months, I feel like that’s the perfect amount of time.

  8. Am I the only person who has too few clothes to do this? I feel like I wear the same couple pairs of shorts or jeans, and tshirts every day. It’s so boring! I’d love advice on how to get away from that basic formula.

    • Jen Pinkston

      05/19/2015

      That sounds pretty nice and simple to me. Do you want to try other things? Do you see other looks that interest you? Sometimes Pinterest can be a great resource if you’re looking to get inspiration for new outfits.

      • rachel

        05/19/2015

        accessories can be a good starter point…

  9. Such a great idea! I’ll have to remember this for my post baby wardrobe. xo

  10. I actually enjoy cleaning out my closet regularly. I use a vacuum pack to store my winter stuff.

  11. Denise

    05/20/2015

    Hi
    I LOVE the last two pairs of shoes on the right of the original picture. I don’t see them listed on your capsule wardrobe with tags. Do you know the brands? Thanks!

    • Jen Pinkston

      05/21/2015

      Hi Denise, the far right pair of shoes is number 34 in the list! The 2nd from the right are by Call It Spring, but they don’t make them anymore! I actually ended up switching these in for the black sneakers and totally forgot to change the graphic. Sorry about that!

  12. This is something I’ve been wanting to try but don’t have the funds for right now. And yes, haha I know we can use what we already own but I’d probably want to go out and buy high quality pieces.

    Your wardrobe looks great though!

    coffeeslag

    coffeeslag: DAILY ELITE REVIEW

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  14. leslie

    05/21/2015

    I’m so intrigued by this concept. I definitely want to try this. But what about more formal events? They don’t count, right?

  15. Ciatlin

    05/22/2015

    I’m SO INSPIRED. I’ve loved the idea of capsule wardrobes… currently pregnant and don’t know if I can limit my expanding belly to so few clothes, but will def. try once I have the baby!

  16. I wish I could do a capsule! Working in finance and having a more casual “rest of life” makes that really difficult. I make it work “for me”, but wish I could have the type of job I had more freedom to dress like this!

  17. I was just telling my girlfriends last week that I wanted to give this a try, but everything I was finding had clothes for colder weather. This post is the perfect guideline for us angelenos! Post baby, it’s impossible to regularly wear the majority of my wardrobe and after reading “the life changing magic of tidying up” and cleaning out a good chunk of my closet, your post has 100% convinced me that I need to do this!

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  20. I know I’m coming a little late to this post, but I’m so happy I found it. I’ve been using a capsule for about 6 months and I’ve been loving it, but I’m so curious how other people use this wardrobe and shopping organizing tool! I’m also so interested in the amount of color and pattern you have here, my capsule is made of generally very neutral pieces with one or two pops of interest, but your whole capsule is interest! I love it. I’m so looking forward to seeing how this capsule plays out and reading your reflections!

    Kate
    kateintheclassroom.com

    • Jen Pinkston

      06/26/2015

      Do you do one capsule every three months? I’m going to mix mine up every two so that end of capsule should be coming sometime late July!

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