Beach Capsule Wardrobe

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Every summer, I look forward to heading down south with my fiance and his family for a beach vacation. We’ve been going to the Isle of Palms right outside of Charleston for over 10 years, so I’ve sort of got my packing list down to a science. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to create a mini capsule wardrobe with all of the essential outfits. We spend most of our time on the beach and at the beach house. We go out a few times throughout the trip, but most of our days and nights are spent in casual clothes at the house. With a washing and dry machine, these capsule items should easily last you for a 7-day beach trip, plus 2 travel days. The best part is that all of these pieces are interchangeable, so you can create a number of different outfits if you mix and match the pieces.

What I pack:

3 tops

2 layering pieces

3 bottoms

After we’ve squeezed as much beach fun out of the day as possible, we all reconvene at the house for a delicious homemade dinner and a card game. Most of my outfits are pretty casual, but I like to have a few nicer options just in case we go out for dinner one night or run into the city for lunch. I also bring layers to stay warm in the air conditioned house.

3 dresses

For my days spent flying to and from the beach, I usually wear a comfortable jersey dress and a jacket or cardigan. We usually go out for one really nice dinner, so I make sure to pack a formal dress and a day dress just in case my fiance and I decide to run downtown for a nice dinner or lunch.

3 cover ups

5 to 6 bathing suits (not pictured here)

I like to have a few different cover ups to get me through the week since I have a variety of bathing suits in different patterns and bright colors. Also, after a few days down at the beach, they start to look not fresh. Haha!

4 pairs of shoes

Not all shoes are pictured because my Jack Rogers go with every outfit, but I like to have sneakers just in case we go for a walk. And I live in my flip flops at the beach.

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Jean Jacket / Striped Shirt / White Skirt / Dressy Sandals

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Tank Top / Shorts / Dressy Sandals

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Dressy Top / White Jeans / Dressy Sandals

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Jean Jacket / Jersey Dress / Dressy Sandals

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Navy Blue Cardigan / Day Dress / Dressy Sandals

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Formal Dress / Dressy Shoes

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White Cover Up / Dressy Sandals

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Patterned Cover Up / Dressy Sandals

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Chambray Cover Up / Dressy Sandals

Checking in on My Yearly Goals

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The start of summer is one of my favorite times of year. It’s lighter out longer, which makes me feel more motivated to finish projects around the house or just stay up a little later reading. Everything is blooming, so my front porch is decorated with flowers and I’ve started my vegetable herb garden. And everyone is ready to celebrate the warmer weather, so outdoor patios and open windows line every shopping and restaurant district.

It’s also about half way through the year and a good time to reflect on successes and opportunities. Here’s a little life update on some of things I’ve been working on lately.

Capsule Wardrobe

As you know, I plunged full swing into a capsule wardrobe at the beginning of the year. It’s definitely been beneficial in a number of ways. I’m more aware of all of the stuff I have, and I’m more focused than ever on buying less. In the beginning of the year though, I focused too heavily on perfecting my capsule wardrobe and spent more money on that than I intended. I think I need to come to terms with the fact that the ideal capsule wardrobe doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s something you have to build over time.

Becoming More Sustainable

One of the reasons I started my capsule wardrobe is to become more sustainable. It’s a topic that’s been weighing heavily on my mind lately. Every day brings a new report of how climate change is affecting our world, and I think some of the onus is on us to change our behaviors as consumers. I’ve been trying very hard to bring reusable shopping bags with me everywhere. Sometimes I still forget. And I’m trying to be less wasteful by using what I have or buying less to begin with (that includes clothes, but also food and consumables like toiletries). There are so many ways to be more sustainable, but this is what I’ve been trying to focus on lately.

Being Purposeful

Buying less stuff and thereby consuming less dovetails perfectly into one of my other goals, being purposeful. I think it’s easy to get caught in a cycle where you think buying more stuff will make you happy. But in reality, spending more time with the ones you love and filling your time with meaningful experiences are much better ways to seek out happiness. Instead of picking up my phone, I’ve been trying to spend more time reading books. Instead of watching TV, I’ve spent a lot more time on this blog! I’m also very interested in learning and trying new things, so whenever I can make the time for it, I try to learn a new skill. Any way I can, I’m trying to live a more purpose-driven life.

Saving Money

I feel like this goal is the undercurrent of all my other goals. If I buy less, waste less, and focus more on the experiences and people that truly make me happy, I will definitely end up spending less money. And at the very least, I’ll waste less money. I’ve been consistently saving every month. But I definitely think I can save even more. Inspired by “The Year of Less” I’ve been really trying to not buy anything new and just live with what I have. So far, it’s going well, and I can already say I’ve seen results, both in terms of my happiness and my savings account.

On top of these goals, I’m planning a wedding! It may seem like I have a lot going on, but to be honest, I feel like these goals are helping me stay on target to save for my wedding, and not burn out on wedding planning. What goals are you focusing on for the rest of the year?

 

May Capsule Wardrobe Recap

Today’s post is the first in a new series where I’ll be sharing the capsule wardrobe items I wore most during the month and how I wore them. First up, May! I can’t believe it’s almost over. The month flew by. We had special celebrations like Mother’s Day and an end-of-year sports banquet. There were brunches and other fun activities and lots of bipolar weather. I’m still getting used to wearing jeans at work. Here are the 12 staples I wore most this month and how I wore them.

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1. White jeans

2. Striped button down

3. Mules

4. Jean jacket

I love to wear white jeans when I want an outfit to look a little more sophisticated, especially at work. Right now I’m wearing them a lot with this striped button down, jean jacket, and mules for that transitional period between spring and summer. I’m linking to the exact Madewell jeans I’m wearing here. So good.

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5. Bright, long cardigan

6. Raw hem jeans

This adorable cardigan from Target is great for early to late spring. It adds an extra layer for warmth as well as a bright pop of color. I’ve been wearing this with every color blouse because this light blue feels like a neutral and my raw hem jeans. I love showing a little ankle especially for spring and summer with these jeans. They really show off my mules!

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7. Floral print maxi dress

I’ve been wearing this for every special event since April. It’s long, which means I can wear leggings underneath on those unusually cold spring days, and the floral print pattern makes you feel warm inside even when it’s cold outside.

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8. Bright skirt

9. White button down

10. Nude flats

Bright skirts are my go-tos during the spring and summer. Once again, this bright pink feels like a neutral to me. It can handle almost any color top and even something patterned like this leopard print sweater. I’ve been wearing it with my white button down and nude flats.

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11. Striped shirt

My striped shirt works for just about any season. I feel put together in it no matter how I wear it, but lately I’ve been wearing it with layers like this army vest.

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12. Chambray shirt

It’s been warm enough to break out the chambray shirt without a sweater, but I’ve been wearing it with a scarf lately my office is already a freezer.

4 Capsule Wardrobe Myths Debunked

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After posting about my capsule wardrobe, I realized many people still have misconceptions about them. Some view them as too restrictive or boring, but that doesn’t have to be the case. A capsule wardrobe should be defined by a person’s lifestyle and preferences, so there should be a variety of ways to approach one. Here are some common capsule wardrobe myths debunked.

  1. You can’t add new things. A capsule wardrobe isn’t about not adding anything new. You will always have new clothing needs and your personal style will continue to evolve as you get older. It’s about adding fewer new items. You can do this by only adding the clothing you truly love and need. So that means you need to learn how to walk away from clothing that just isn’t the right fit for your life and style. My office recently changed the dress code so we can wear jeans to work every day. I’ll still buy work wear pieces for days I want to dress up, but I’ll certainly be adding fewer pieces like that to my wardrobe now.
  2. You can’t add trendy clothes. Trendy clothes should not be off limits. Especially if a particular trend really works with your style. Plus, trendier items can sometimes give your wardrobe a little facelift, making it look more current. And some trends stick around. Skinny jeans have been a trend since I was in college. That was over 10 years ago, and I don’t see that trend going away anytime soon. Just don’t let trendy clothes dominate your wardrobe.
  3. You have to stick to a black, white, and gray color palette. Once again, this is something that should be determined by your personal style and what actually looks good on you. You can use whatever color palette you want as long as the items of clothing are easy to mix and match. You can even have a few items that aren’t easily interchangeable as long as you wear them and find them useful. I gravitate to warm colors. I would say my main colors tend to be pinks, grays, and blues, mostly navy. Occasionally I throw in some greens. These are all colors that work together.
  4. You have to stick to a certain number. There is no right number. We all have different lifestyles and needs. Some people need a really dressy wardrobe for work and a casual wardrobe for home. Others can blend the two. That will inform the number of items that’s right for you. Like I said, my office has become more casual, so now that my work wardrobe is more like my after-work wardrobe, I’ll probably need fewer work wear items, causing my particular number to decrease.

Lastly, it’s ok if your capsule wardrobe isn’t exactly what you want it to be right away. It takes time to develop personal style and figure out what’s right for you. I think the best part of a capsule wardrobe is that it helps you try to define what your style is and hone in on that, instead of wasting time and resources on clothing that isn’t you.

My First Capsule Wardrobe: How I Did It and Why I Loved It

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At the beginning of the year, I decided to try a capsule wardrobe for the first time. It was winter and I wanted to save money, so I thought why not? Here’s how I approached it and what I loved about it.

If you’ve never heard of a capsule wardrobe, here’s a quick definition from Wikipedia:

“A capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don’t go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces.”

The idea is to have a smaller wardrobe, consisting mostly of interchangeable pieces that stick to a coordinating color scheme.

I arrived at the idea of trying a capsule wardrobe for two reasons:

  1. I want to de-prioritize stuff
  2. I want to further define my personal style

I thought a capsule wardrobe would be perfect for accomplishing both of these things because it’s all about living with less. To live with less, you have to determine what is truly important and essential to you. In deciding what works and what doesn’t, you end up with only the clothing that suits you and your life ­— a wardrobe that is perfectly tailored to your unique style.

How I Did It

I mostly followed the steps outlined by blogger Caroline Joy in her blog post “How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe”. I augmented the steps below to create a process that works for me.

  1. Narrow down your wardrobe to the essentials. I divided everything into three piles: “Yeses”, “Maybes”, and “Nos”. The in-season “Yeses” stayed in my dressing room/closet in plain sight. The out-of-season “Yeses” went into storage along with the “Maybes”. And the “Nos” went to Goodwill. At the end of the season, I took my “Maybes” out of storage to reevaluate if I ever even missed them. I did not even think about them once! So they are going to Goodwill.
  2. Wear only your capsule wardrobe for the entire season. This part is pretty easy actually and forces you to be creative with what you have. Having all of my capsule items in full view all season helped a lot, so closet organization is critical. Hide anything out of season, so it’s not distracting, but don’t rule those items out as a possibility. They’re your clothes, so you might as well wear them, right?
  3. Plan and shop for next season’s capsule wardrobe. Ok, so I did this a little differently than Caroline Joy. She recommends buying for next season two weeks before it starts. I think that would have majorly stressed me out if I tried to do that. It takes me a while to find clothing that I truly love. There is a lot of research of different brands and styles and trial and error to find exactly what I’m looking for. Plus most brands start promoting next season’s styles pretty early. So I did this part throughout the current season and took my time. I do think it’s good to set a budget for these items. This will help to curtail any unnecessary, spur of the moment purchases. Just make sure you’re not continuing to purchase for the current season. That sort of defeats the whole purpose.

What I Love About It

I’ve been using a capsule wardrobe for the last three months, and I love it for a few reasons:

  1. It saves time. With fewer choices, I spend less time worrying about what to wear every day.
  2. It makes wardrobe gaps obvious. It’s easy to see what you’re missing when you narrow your closet down to only the essentials.
  3. It keeps things organized. I’ve moved to a system where my capsule wardrobe for the season is the only thing I see in my main closet/dressing room. Everything else is put in storage. It makes for a much more organized dressing room.
  4. It encourages creativity. With fewer options to choose from, I am forced to get creative if I don’t want to repeat the same outfits over and over again.
  5. It breaks shopping into seasonal chunks. Purchasing with a certain season in mind is so much more manageable. It’s also much more strategic. I think about my true clothing needs for the next three months, taking into weather conditions, events, etc. That way I won’t be rushing around before a big event to find the perfect dress or standing in the rain wondering why I don’t own a hooded rain coat.

Have you ever tried a capsule wardrobe? What do you think? Would you ever try one?