A Capsule Wardrobe Isn’t a Panacea

The other day, I had so much trouble figuring out what to wear, despite the capsule wardrobe. It was a Saturday in March and after a few days of warm weather, we were dealing with 40 degree temperatures and the potential for snow (it ended up being just rain). Usually, my weekend outfit is jeans + top (usually a T-shirt, sometimes a silk blouse as seen below). This this Saturday, I dunno. I just couldn’t get it together. I tried this outfit:


capsule wardrobe


Then this one (switching the cardigan for a “jardigan“):


capsule wardrobe


Then I tried a different top with the jardigan, but didn’t bother to take a picture because it didn’t look quite right (I’m not sure that the jardigan with the loose floral blouse looks quite right, either).

Then I tried the jardigan with a mock-neck black top from Reformation. That looked a little weird. So I tried it with a green kimono from MM LaFleur. I thought it made my hips look particularly big. Then I tried the kimono with the floral blouse. Good god, no.

So, I finally went back to the first outfit, pictured above. I wasn’t totally sold on it, but it was the best of what I’d tried.

This all took about 30 minutes, which got me thinking about the fact that even though I have a capsule wardrobe, and every thing’s supposed to be all planned and so easy, I still have to deal with days when I have feel as though I have nothing to wear.

It’s definitely not my closet or my clothing choices. In some ways (in most ways), it’s me. Here’s what I realized after changing my outfit more times than I want to count on Saturday:

Capsule Wardrobe Problem 1: Finicky Weather

The first few weeks of a  capsule are going to be a bit tricky, particularly during transitional seasons (Spring and Fall). When winter hits (or Dec. 1, in my capsule world), the weather’s already gone cold. When summer happens (June 1, for my capsule), it’s already very hot. Consistent weather makes planning pretty easy.

But, things are a bit more up in the air in spring and fall, especially this year, when we had a mild winter, and a lot of up and down in terms of temperature. During the first few weeks of March, we effectively saw four-season weather – days when it was 80 degrees, days when it was around 50, and days in the low 40s/high 30s, with a chance of snow. How can you plan for that with a limited selection of clothing?

It all means that you can’t wear a sleeveless shirt on its own when you want to and you have to plan for layers, even if you’re ready to wear pack away your winter gear and start wearing light jackets or blazers by themselves.

I tried to plan for great fluctuations in weather in my wardrobe, by including cardigans and blazers, even though I’m fairly sure I won’t be wearing them come the end of April and into May. But, the idea of having to wear winter gear (heavy coat, scarf, gloves) when I’m ready for spring made me quite cranky and compounded the issue on that Saturday.

Capsule Wardrobe Problem 2: Finicky Me

Ugh, we’ve all got body issues, right? Mine are my hips. Sometimes, they just feel puffy and fat. I’m a pear shape, so I’m always self conscious about outfits drawing attention to the widest area of my body. And on Saturday, that’s what it felt like everything I put on was doing.

Adding to the problem was the fact that I’m not so sure I like jeans. I guess they look OK, but I also feel that they aren’t that flattering on me. I also always feel like the thighs and waist aren’t quite right. Maybe I should just not have them? I dunno.

Even though I feel that I know my style, there are still times when I veer away from what I like wearing, because I feel like I should be wearing jeans, even if they don’t make me happy or make me feel good.

Capsule Wardrobe Problem 3: Falling Behind on Laundry/Ironing

I’ve got three long-sleeve, button front shirts in this season’s capsule. On that Saturday, they were all a wrinkled mess because I hadn’t gotten around to ironing them. So, even though it was cold out and a long sleeved shirt, versus a sleeveless blouse, would have made sense, I was stuck with picking a sleeveless top and layering over it.

A few things I’ve done to solve the laundry issue is to reduce the number of cotton tops that require ironing that I own. I’ve also gotten a bit better about ironing (I did it the evening of the outfit debacle), by finding ways to make it a bit more enjoyable (I put on Legally Blonde while ironing).

I could go a step further and find a way to make ironing easier to do. Right now, my system is to drag out the creaky ironing board, lug it downstairs, set it up in front of the TV, then grab the iron from upstairs and whatever needs to be ironed. It’s not the most efficient system, so maybe if I improve that, I won’t end up with several unwearable, unironed garments in my closet.

Have you faced any issues with your capsule?