8 Tips For Choosing The Right Clothes For Your Spring Capsule Wardrobe: What I'm Learning From My #14springcapsule Challenge.
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I'm on day 5 of my spring capsule wardrobe challenge and I'm already questioning my choices! The 14 pieces I chose for this 14 days of dressing in a capsule wardrobe challenge are proving to be hard to mix and match when the weather keeps jumping around. I knew the weather is unpredictable this time of year, and that this capsule wardrobe challenge would be difficult because of the back and forth from warm sixty degree sunny weather to freak'n cold and snowy, but I wasn't expecting it to be THIS hard! So, I sat down and jotted down some thoughts about my process so far and what I have learned.
I came up with 8 Tips For Choosing the Right Clothes For Your Spring Capsule Wardrobe. Part of the reason why I decided to challenge myself with the 14 days of dressing in 14 items capsule wardrobe challenge is to gain some clarity as to which items I still love, what works for me, what I need to change, and which pieces I may need to acquire in order to REALLY feel good about my seasonal capsule wardrobe. I hope these tips help you choose the items for your spring capsule wardrobe. I'm planning on following them too, when I'm ready to curate my spring capsule wardrobe. Let's hope that winter will disappear soon, so that spring may return in all her glory and we can actually wear spring clothes without having to swathe ourselves in fifteen layers of winter woolens to stay warm!
8 Tips For Choosing The Right Clothes For Your Spring Capsule Wardrobe.
1. Know your STYLE IDENTITY and SEASON. Whether you are a fan of Kibbe types, David Zyla's seasonal archetypes, or the classic "Color Me Beautiful" system, it's extremely helpful to have an idea of what works for your body type. I'm talking about lines, shapes, textures, colors. Most women have an intuitive knowledge of what suits us best, so if you are just starting out on your style journey--trust your intuition, your sixth beauty sense. My style identity Pinterest board is here if you want to take a peek for inspiration, or just out of curiosity. I highly recommend either cutting styles you like out of magazines or starting a Pinterest board where you pin the styles that call to you. If you don't know your color season or image archetype(s), Pinterest is a great resource for helping you along that journey.
2. Read "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up." This book, more than any other has been such a source of inspiration to me. It's helped me to find the things that ACTUALLY spark joy for me and to know when to part with the rest. The process she has outlined in this gem of a book for sorting through clothing (and properly storing clothing) was so useful! Another book I am keen to add to my library, that I keep hearing amazing things about is "The Curated Closet." I would recommend starting with this book if you are just beginning your journey towards slow living and capsule wardrobe curation.
3. Follow Marie Kondo's advice (from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up) and get all of your clothes and put them in one pile on the floor. When I say all, I mean ALL. Anything that's in storage, bring it out. If you live in a place with four distinct seasons (like me) you may need to create a seasonal capsule wardrobe rather than have a capsule wardrobe that works all year long. Even though I curate my capsule wardrobe at the start of each season, I tend to keep articles of clothing that can be worn all year round. For example: under layers like camisoles can be worn in the summer and in the winter. If you are curating a spring season capsule wardrobe, go ahead and sort through all of your clothes using Marie Kondo's method. Pack away anything that is out of season (like heavy winter coats). Try to only keep in season items in your wardrobe. I personally use a clothing rack for hanging most of my in-season clothes. I also have baskets on a shelf for storing lingerie, socks, sweaters, and items that should be folded.
***TIP*** If you are just starting out and are feeling a bit lost, rather than attempt to curate a capsule wardrobe now, I'd recommend returning your clothes to your closet. Every time you wear an outfit, either put it at the back of your closet, or turn the hanger around the opposite way from how you usually position it. After one-two months check your closet to see which items you wore the most. Keep those and think really hard about what to do with the rest. If they are items you might need for special/every once in awhile events go ahead and keep them, otherwise GIVE THEM AWAY!****
4. Now that you have sorted through your clothes, decide on a color palette and TRY TO CREATE AS MANY OUTFITS AS POSSIBLE USING THE CLOTHES YOU WANT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR CAPSULE. This tip was mentioned by theminimalistwardrobe.com in her post. This is what I neglected to do when I choose my 14 pieces for my 14 day capsule wardrobe challenge! Major hand to forehead moment on my part!!! Hence, the reason I am writing this post. This is where knowing your color season really comes in handy. Most people recommend using mostly neutrals for your capsule wardrobe, with just two or three at most other colors to add interest. While this system works for those who need a more conventional style for work, or for those who look best in classic styles, this might not be the best option for EVERYONE. Again, know your STYLE IDENTITY. Then you can choose a color palette that fits YOU.
5. Make a list of any upcoming events, types of outfits you are required to wear (such as work uniforms or outfits that adhere to a dress code), outfits you tend to wear on days off, etc. Write down EVERYTHING. It's important to plan. This was also an oversight on my part when I was planning my 14 day capsule wardrobe. I failed to take into consideration the fact that I need old clothes when I engage in homeschool activities with my kid (like baking bread on Mondays and painting on Thursdays), that I wear yoga pants often because I actually do yoga every day, etc. Think about YOUR LIFESTYLE. A capsule wardrobe isn't just for business professionals. It can make getting dressed every day so much easier for everyone. It also helps you feel positive about yourself when you are dressing in clothes you actually love and that express your style identity. If that means wearing yoga pants almost every day, so be it, as long as that is authentic for you.
6. Choose a number. Not everyone is in agreement about how many items should be included in a capsule wardrobe. Think about what it realistic and doable for YOU. Don't try to follow anyone else's system, unless you feel like you need that added structure (if you are just starting on your capsule wardrobe journey as an example). Last season, I limited myself to 35 items (that included my mittens, scarves, coat, winter boots, and jewelry). Although I felt pretty good about what I was wearing, I also felt like some of the fun and joy of creating outfits was missing.
I LOVE clothes. Dressing up has always been one of my very favorite things in the world. I'm trying to be a conscious consumer who advocates for slow fashion, but does this mean I shouldn't do what brings me joy? Sometimes, shopping at thrift stores and vintage clothing shops and acquiring new items is something that I need to do in order to feel authentically ME.
I'm not going to limit myself to a set number of clothing this time around, but I am still going to make sure that everything I include in my capsule wardrobe goes with everything else. I'm not going to buy new (or new OLD) clothing just to be buying something, but I will give a lot of thought to what items I need to fill out my wardrobe and spark that sense of childlike joy and wonder in me. Then, I will look for those items and will choose to purchase them from sustainable/ethical/slow fashion brands, OR (more likely) purchase secondhand (which really is the most sustainable option).
I feel like my number will be around 45, but who knows? It could be more, could be less. Think about what is realistic for you, and don't feel guilty if you end up with more items than most people think appropriate to be considered a "capsule wardrobe."
7. Add fun, just in case items. Are there items you haven't worn, but keep thinking you will wear one day? Do you smile and feel happy every time you see those particular items? My tip: add them to your capsule wardrobe. Force yourself to wear them. If they don't feel right, go ahead and pass them on to someone who will appreciate them. Chances are you love those items for a reason. Maybe they remind you of your child self, or a dear friend, or bring back memories of a certain place you visited on a wonderful holiday. If you genuinely love them and feel happy wearing them (if only every once in awhile) go ahead and keep them. For years I had this kaftan type of shirt that a friend whose family was from India gave to me long ago. She was actually my older sibling's friend who gave me the shirt when I was a gawky adolescent. She had such amazing style and the shirt always made me think of her. The color wasn't my best color, but I always felt happy whenever I wore that shirt. I literally had this shirt for twenty years, until it fell apart! It wasn't exactly my style, or color, but I kept it for so long because of the amazing memories and how I felt every time I did wear it.
8. This last tip is for those of you who might be struggling with finding your unique style, or feeling good about your spring capsule wardrobe. It could also be just for fun for those of you who feel pretty happy with your seasonal capsule wardrobe. Look through old photographs. Think about who you were when you were a kid. That was when you were most authentically YOU! Try to reconnect with your child self. She may have a thing or two to share with you! Also make note of the outfits your past selves wore that looked AMAZING. What was it about those styles that you liked? Are there elements you can add to your current look? You probably don't want to recreate the entire look, or you could look completely dated, but try to add some elements from those FABULOUS OUTFITS to your current look to keep it fresh and keep you feeling INSPIRED.
So, those are my 8 tips for choosing the right clothes for your spring capsule wardrobe. I'd love to hear about your journey towards curating a seasonal capsule wardrobe. Which items are you most excited to add to your spring capsule wardrobe? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me a message on Instagram.
You might want to read my blog post about Creating a Spring Capsule Wardrobe so you can participate in the 14 day challenge. The 14 items I chose for the 14 day challenge are here.
"There is nothing in life that can't be solved by a cup of tea with a friend."
I've been blessed with many amazing female friends throughout my life. When I think about my dearest friends, my memories often involve sharing tea and conversation with them. I grew up in a family that acknowledged the ritual of teatime every afternoon. We started our day with a cup of tea, had tea breaks at 11 o'clock, afternoon tea at 4, and an evening cuppa as my dad read aloud to us.
Tea has always brought me comfort and a sense of stability. Besides drinking regular black tea, I was drawn to herbalism and the magical properties of various herbal tea blends from around the age of twelve. When I was a tiny child, I was obsessed with making potions. I suppose as I have gotten older, tea has become my grown-up potion of choice! I brew different blends depending on the moon phase and my intent.
Sometimes I share these tea potions with women in ritual (Red Tent Ceremonies, women's circles, even at swap parties). A few years ago I was fortunate to participate in a Japanese Tea Ceremony with women I am close with. There is just something so magical, comforting, and quietly powerful about tea! In honor of International Women's Day, I am sharing some of my favorite tea blends with ideas for how you can create your very own tea rituals.
"She would cure people in her neighborhood by going into her garden, plucking a couple of leaves, and brewing teas." --Selenis Leyva
MOON MILK: A delicious milky tea to be drunk before bedtime, when you need a good night's sleep, or wish to engage in Dream Tending activities. You can use your favorite milk as a base (almond, hazelnut, regular cow's milk) and add different herbs. I like lavender moon milk best of all, but there are lots of different recipes available. Here is one I like:
1 cup milk of choice
1 tbsp. dried lavender flowers
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp sweetener of choice
pinch of Himalayan pink salt
**1/2- 1 tsp healthy additions (such as reishi mushroom, ashwagandha, etc.) if desired.
Add the milk to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring milk to a simmer, then shut off hear and add in lavender. Allow to steep for a few minutes and then strain out the lavender. Pour into a blender and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until frothy. Pour into your favorite mug.
RITUAL: After you have your tea, sit in a comfortable place and sip your moon milk. You can use this time to visualize the dreams you wish to have when you go to sleep. The more you work with your dreams, the more you can begin crafting the dream you want. If you wish to engage in a sleepy time ritual instead, just drink your moon milk, savoring each sip. Engage in deep breathing exercise and allow the stress to slip away.
MUGWORT SCRYING TEA
Here's a recipe for a tea you can drink with witchy, wild women friends before meeting in circle for a ritual which helps you boost your intuition.
1 tbsp mugwort leaves
1 tsp peppermint
1 tsp Melissa (lemon balm)
Brew the tea and let it steep for a few minutes. Drink the tea with your women before gazing into crystal balls, choosing tarot cards, or other ritual activities which help you tap into your intuition.
One of my fondest memories is of drinking chai in sturdy white mugs with friends at a festival. It was after midnight and we were shrouded in darkness except for the small bonfires we walked past. The chai tent had silk cushions on the ground and was lit by many candles in glass jars. I grew up making a particular chai recipe, thanks to a family friend from India, but this one experience helped me to see how magical the ritual of making chai can be. Since then, I have refined my recipe, and I drink this tea anytime I am feeling uninspired and run down. This tea helps to spark my passion and creativity. It's wonderful when drunk with close friends, or with a lover. Try to make it and serve it at a meetup with other creatives, like a writer's or painter's group.
fresh ginger root
milk of choice
sweetener of choice
Place the tea, cardamom, chopped ginger root, 1 to 2 cinnamon sticks in a pot and cover with water. Place on stove and let it come to a boil. Turn down to a lower heat and let simmer for an hour or two, adding water as needed. Strain into cups and add milk and sweetener to taste.
My son and I have been drinking Lavender London Fogs anytime we need that extra bit of comfort. It's the perfect tea to share with a friend who is going through a rough time. Best when drunk on a rainy day.
1 tbsp Earl Grey tea (or 2-3 teabags).
1 tsp lavender flowers
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
milk to taste
sweetener to taste
Place tea leaves and lavender in a pot and cover with water. Simmer for a few minutes. Strain tea into blender. Add desired milk and sweetener and blend until frothy.
REGULAR BLACK TEA
This is my everyday tea, but that doesn't make it any less special. I start my morning by filling the kettle. I place it on the stove to boil and go about making my tea. As I make my tea, I watch the birds at the kitchen window feeder. When I've made my tea, I sit down at the table and spend half an hour writing in my journal--completing my morning pages. Sometimes I make a full afternoon tea with sandwiches and scones too. Regular black tea is the best tea for afternoon tea, or a cream tea. No matter how you choose to include black tea in a ritual, just still your mind and be present. Enjoy every sip. Count your blessings.
your favorite black tea (I use PG Tips as my everyday tea in a mug kind of tea, but if I feel like making loose leaf tea in a pot I use TeaLeaves Co tea or Ithaca Coffee Company English Breakfast).
milk to taste
sugar to taste (I never put sugar in my tea).
I hope you enjoy these tea recipes and suggestions for tea rituals. See if you can connect with your women today, preferably over a cup of tea.
I'll leave you with some quotes about women that I love. Have a blessed day friends!
"A wise woman is never far from her teapot."
"Women are like teabags. We don't know our true strength until we are in hot water." --Eleanor Roosevelt.
"Women are going to form a chain, a greater sisterhood than the world has ever known." --Nellie L. McClung
"A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eyes and gives it a wink."
"A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture, and transform." --Diane Mariechild.
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Does it still feel like February to anyone else? We are already one week into March, and I still can't quite believe it. It might have something to do with all the snow and lack of green-growing-things here in the Northeastern USA. I'll admit, I feel like I am behind on my goals for the month, but I have managed to notice something magical every single day. I've been participating in some daily activities to help with remaining present.
At the end of last month, I came up with a list of activities I wanted to do, (I suppose most people would call this a "Bucket List") so that March would seem a bit more bearable. Here are ten ideas (from my list) for helping you experience everyday enchantment this month. Enjoy!
Ten Tips for Making March Magical.
1. Record your dreams. I have kept a dream journal for many years now, but sometimes I forget to record my dreams in it. I have noticed that when I do record my dreams on a regular basis, I am rewarded with amazing and colorful dreams. The other night I gifted a friend a blue lace agate stone in my dream. When I woke up, I looked up the stone's symbolism and immediately decided to find this stone to give to my friend in real life. This is just one example of the ways in which remembering dreams can add a bit of mystery and magic to your daily life. If you want to start working with dreams more, I highly recommend the book Dream Tending.
2. Find your style muse. Every woman should have a style muse (or muses). Find some time when you can be alone to just dream and play. Browse through magazines, think about your favorite characters from films and books, look at Pinterest boards, and record your thoughts in your journal. You can be as whimsical as you want, truly anything goes. Listen to yourself and have fun with it! Choose someone fabulous! How about Mary Poppins, or Zelda from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, or Cher from Clueless, or Anne Shirley? What is it about this person, or character that you love the most? See if you can discover how they have inspired you throughout your life so far.
3. Play dressing up. Now that you have a style muse, see if you can add elements of their style to your own style. Spend the afternoon playing dressing up, as if you were a child.
4. Be present. Put your phone down, unplug and just be present. Take a few deep breaths, look around, and focus on something in your surroundings. See if you can spot your favorite color. Notice the way the sunlight streams in through the window, or the sound of rain on the rooftop. As I'm writing this, I paused to look around my room and listen to the sound of my bamboo windchimes. I'm appreciating the mellow sunlight today, the taste of freshly brewed coffee, the sound of pages turning as my son reads one of his favorite fairytales. At the end of the day, record the beautiful things you noticed, the highlights of your day, in your gratitude journal.
5. Keep a gratitude journal. I always feel so much better when I write in my gratitude journal daily. When I get out of the habit of recording the things I am grateful for, I tend not to notice or appreciate the little things as much.
6. Plant some seeds. Either purchase seeds to plant, or see if you can save seeds and get them to sprout. Once the seeds have sprouted, plant them in a small pot, or a paper egg carton, and place the pot in a window that gets the most natural light. I was thrilled that the lemon seeds I saved from a couple organic lemons had sprouted. Even better, as you plant the seeds, create an intention. I made a whole ritual out of planting these lemon seeds. I smudged, envisioned pure white light, held the seeds in the palm of my hand, poured my desires into the seeds, planted them, and visualized my desires manifesting as the seeds grow. This would be the perfect ritual to engage in on the spring equinox.
7. Turn on some music! I tend to forget to listen to music, but lately I have been making an effort to listen to some of my favorite music throughout the day. Music is MAGICAL. It instantly lifts my spirits and helps me to stay present and grounded. I've been listening to Kurt Vile these days, but also Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Darlingside.
8. Move your body! Try to engage in some kind of physical activity that you enjoy. There is magic in being so focused on nurturing your body through exercise. When I dance, do yoga, or hike in the woods behind my house, I feel more alive.
9. Learn a new hobby, or dedicate time to improving your skills in a certain area. I learned how to finger-knit a couple years ago when I knew I was going to homeschool my son in the Waldorf Steiner tradition. This bit of handwork is so very satisfying. I love the tactile quality of the materials, and the magic of creating something tangible. Handwork and crafts may not be your jam though. Choose something you are passionate about it and court it like a love-struck person pursuing their love.
10. Read amazing books, or listen to audiobooks. Choose something joyful and inspiring. My recent favorites are Romancing the Ordinary by Sarah Ban Breathnach and Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Both books are inspiring me to live a creative, mindful life, and to experience the magic in the ordinary.
If you enjoyed these ten tips, you might appreciate my free Enchanted April guide. If you sign up for this free guide, you will receive a list of quotes and daily journal activities to help inspire you throughout the month of April. Signup below, or by visiting my home page.
It's no secret that I love nature, magic, and folklore; so when I won a giveaway hosted by the lovely Karen of Flower & Fable, I was ecstatic. I've been following Karen's Instagram page for quite awhile now, and am constantly impressed by her brand and everything it stands for.
I once lived in England, and still consider the British countryside to be HOME. Flower & Fable is inspired by Karen's own home base in Wales. She uses real botanical flowers, which she lost wax cast in sterling silver. She includes folkore about each flower too. Mine is of a gorse blossom, one of my very favorite plants. I always adored these cheerful yellow flowers, especially in the springtime when pregnant ponies devour the pina colada scented blossoms.
I have been curating seasonal capsule wardrobes for a couple years now, so it is important to me that every item I add to my wardrobe should be meaningful to me. This is a necklace I know I will always cherish. For one, it reminds me of my ancestral home. Secondly, it is my exact style. It is simple, elegant, nature inspired. Thirdly, it is made by someone I admire, whose way of being present in nature is similar to my own.
I chose the smaller sized pendant on a chain, but Karen also offers earrings, larger pendants, and bracelets. She even offers child-sized jewelry. Everything is beautifully packaged in a sustainable way too. There was no wasteful packaging to deal with.
I highly recommend this brand, and plan on purchasing more items from Flower & Fable. They would make lovely gifts for all sorts of occasions, or just to treat yourself! I have my eye on the motherhood bangle!
My gorse necklace is one of my everyday staples now, and will be included in my spring capsule wardrobe and my summer capsule wardrobe. I absolutely love it. I adore that one of the symbolic meanings of gorse is INDEPENDENCE. This is so appropriate, as I am working towards crafting my own, unique life. I'm weaving my own fate! This gorse blossom necklace will be a constant reminder that I am my own authority. Thank you dear Karen for sending it my way. Flower & Fable can be found on Instagram www.instagram.com/flower_and_fable/ and on the web www.flowerandfable.co.uk/
How to not go crazy when winter drags on. A slow living guide for appreciating winter as we transition to spring—Caitlin Gemmell.Read Now
In my corner of the world, on the top of a hill in a cold Northern place, winter is still howling and raging. Many of you are posting beautiful springtime photos of snowdrops, crocuses, and even daffodils. I admit I was feeling a tad resentful, and unhappy to be living in such a harsh climate. I grew up in warm and mild climates (Southern England and Oklahoma), so it’s easy for me to compare the first 18 years of my life with the past decade or so of living in the Northeastern USA, and to feel wistful for warmer places that actually get springtime weather.
But then, on a warmer day, I walked in the wood surrounding my house and I felt so much gratitude for the beautiful nature in my own backyard. We may only get a month of spring weather at the most, before summer arrives in a frenzy, but I sure feel appreciative of this winter wonderland.
So while some of you are out there enjoying mild weather and the first flowers of the season, I am still curled up in my winter nest with plenty of hot tea, warm blankets, and good books. Hygge living for the win! I might still crave spring as intensely as Rapunzel’s mother craved that green of the same name, but I have found ways to cope—to slow down and appreciate these final two months of winter.
If you find yourself in the same boat, or are just curious about my slow living tips, read on!
•Immerse yourself in a good book. I’ve been reading Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy. I recently completed The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower. Both are set in medieval Russia and feature a Winter King. The winter scenes are so hauntingly beautiful. As I lose myself in these incredible fairytales, I find myself looking up at the snowy scene outside my own window. These books help me to appreciate winter again, if even just enough to make it bearable.
•Have an indoor picnic. Are you yearning for spring, but it’s still only 20 degrees Fahrenheit? How about creating an indoor picnic? My son and I did this today. I boiled some eggs, sliced some fruits and veggies, and made a thermos of tea. We spread our picnic blanket on the floor and had a lovely indoor picnic.
• Treat yourself to a facial, herbal bath, or foot soak. The hot water is so soothing and comforting when it’s bitterly cold outside. If you add fresh, floral essential oils you can pretend it’s spring for a moment.
• If you have seasonal capsule wardrobes like me, try to pack away some of your winter clothes and get out just a few spring pieces that you can layer with your winter clothes. I added some spring floral scarves to my wardrobe and packed away my heavy winter plaid scarves. It’s a simple change, but one that helps me embrace the spring feeling even when it’s too cold to fully dress in spring clothes.
•Get a bouquet of flowers from your local grocery, or try planting indoor bulbs (like paper whites). It’s so helpful having green, growing things indoors.
• Make tea, chocolate, or coffee in your most beautiful, extravagant cup and sip it slowly. Be present. Enjoy every single sip.
•Grab a pair of binoculars, bundle up, and go on a nature observation walk. Record how many plants you can identify, birds you spot, other wildlife you come across. Perhaps you will even see the first signs of spring.
• Keep a gratitude journal. I’ll be posting on Instagram about a month long gratitude journal challenge for the month of March. Want to join in? Stay tuned for more info, or join my email list to be notified when this challenge begins.
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