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.
I finally chose my 14 items for the 14 days of dressing in 14 item capsule wardrobe challenge. The weather is finally warming up, but I know how unpredictable it is. Since this is the weird could be spring, could be winter time of year I am not including winter necessaries—like coat, mittens, hats. My vintage Eddie Bauer hat is a year round staple. I can wear it in snowy weather and warmer weather alike. Even though it’s included in these photos, I’m not counting it as one of my 14 pieces.
My 14 piece capsule wardrobe:
1. Short sleeve, bird patterned, Peter Pan collar shirt. Thrifted.
2. Old JCrew tissue long sleeve tea in peachy pink.
3. Pink long sleeve boho shirt with woven design at neckline. Thrifted.
4. Beige short sleeved tunic t-shirt. Bought at a local shop several years ago.
5. Feminine lavender tunic top with sheer panel in back. Thrifted.
1. Grey skinny jeans from American Eagle. Clothing swap.
2. J Peterman 1930s-40s style linen overalls. Gifted long ago.
1. J Crew pink ballet wrap 3/4 sleeve cardigan. Thrifted.
2.Beige cowl neck boho sweater. Clothing swap.
3. Navy with pink and green flecks l.s. sweater. Thrifted.
4. Free People long wool beige duster. Thrifted long ago.
1. Brown with pink flowers silk scarf. Birthday gift from ten years ago.
2. Hoop earrings from Atonement Design (gifted by maker).
3. Brown ankle boots. I will swap these out with my red Hunter rain boots depending on the weather.
Are you joining me in this challenge? Remember to tag your Instagram posts with #14springcapsule
If you need tips for creating your own spring capsule wardrobe for this challenge (or in general) feel free to send me a message. I had my own system for choosing pieces. I’ll try to share that in my next post.
Are there zero waste shops in Ithaca, NY? A guide for shopping responsibly in a city that's supposed to be green.Read Now
(Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase).
When I first moved to Ithaca, NY around thirteen years ago, I was impressed by the amount of eco-conscious people in this small college town. Ithaca has a reputation for attracting hippie liberals, so naturally it seems like there should be at least one zero waste shop here, right? Well, there aren't any zero waste shops such as one might find in New York City and other places, but there are some specialty shops that are mostly zero waste. There are also ample options for those of you interested in supporting shops that are at least low waste. I have compiled a list of some of the best shops serving those who follow a simple living, zero waste lifestyle. Each recommendation is ranked on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being extremely wasteful and ten generating the least amount of waste possible. I have also listed categories of shops, with recommended shops under each category. For this reason, some shops might appear in more than one category.
GUIDE TO ZERO WASTE SHOPPING IN ITHACA, NY.
ZERO WASTE GROCERY OPTIONS:
1. GreenStar Natural Foods Market. GreenStar seems to be the favorite shopping place of the eco-conscious consumers here in Ithaca. It has a wonderful selection of organic and local produce, bulk items, health food items, and natural beauty items. GreenStar encourages people to bring their own bags. They offer paper bags, cardboard boxes, and non-plastic bags made from some sort of plant material. They do, however, stock products which come in plastic containers, and their made-in-deli items are also packaged in plastic. They try to offer low waste options, such as having actual plates, glasses, silverware, and bamboo utensils in their seating area to encourage customers to eat their meals in store rather than packaging in plastic to take away. They also have an amazing selection of bulk items. I haven't noticed many people bringing their own containers for the bulk items, though. Most people seem to use the provided paper (or even plastic) bags provided next to the bulk section. Zero Waste Ranking: 7 out of 10.
2. Brookton's Market. This adorable, rural shop isn't technically in Ithaca (it's in Brooktondale), but it's still in the general Ithaca area. This is by far my favorite shop/market. They don't have a huge selection, but what they have is always nicely presented. There are no plastic shopping baskets. Instead, there are actual wicker baskets in the produce aisle. They also offer delicious sandwiches, soups, salads, an amazing selection of tea and coffee, and they recently added a bar, so you can sit down with your pint of beer. It reminds me of some of my favorite pubs in England, as it really is a gathering place for the local community. It's the perfect low waste country store/café/market. Zero Waste Ranking: 7 out of 10.
3. P&C Grocery. This grocery definitely generates much more waste than either Brookton's Market or GreenStar, but they have been improving recently. They have started stocking many more locally grown produce, and even grains grown by local farms. They don't have many bulk items, but they do have a deli where you can request to use your own jars and containers for the items. You have to be careful at the checkout. They try to sneak in plastic bags, even when you bring your own bags. I'm constantly having to remind them that I don't want anything in plastic bags. They do stock some natural beauty items, including a selection of products by a local brand--packaged in glass and paper. Zero Waste ranking: 4 out of 10.
4. Wegmans. I'm still shocked and overwhelmed every time I find myself in Wegmans. This grocery is enormous! I try to avoid it as much as possible, but they do have the best selection of products, including a decent bulk section (well sections, as they are scattered throughout the store). If you bring your own containers, and choose items from their natural foods and beauty section, it is possible to get through the store without picking up too many items packaged in wasteful plastic. Zero Waste ranking: 5 out of 10.
5. Ithaca Farmer's Market. This is by far the best option during the warm seasons. I believe there is a winter Saturday market in the Space across from GreenStar, and the rest of year it is possible to shop at the Farmer's Market most days. I believe there is a market on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Check the website for the various locations and times. I absolutely love shopping at the farmer's market. Most people know to bring their own bags, so there is very little waste. The food vendors provide compostable containers, but you can also bring your own container. I have even seen people bringing their own plate, or bowl. You could even purchase a beautiful, handmade clay bowl and then use it right away when you visit one of the food vendors. One of my recommendations for amazing, wholesome food is Marco Mamas. Zero Waste ranking: 10 out of 10! The best!
Zero Waste Clothing:
Mama Goose. This is a fantastic hshop for mama and child items. They carry secondhand children's toys and clothes, as well as some new items by eco-friendly brands. They also have a selection o maternity clothing and products for mamas. I also love buying my soap from them. They stock two zero waste soap brands, one is made locally and the other is Sappo Hill. I love Sappo Hill jasmine soap and even use it as a shampoo bar from time to time. I tend to buy most of my son's clothes from this shop, and have even found some amazing clothing from the maternity section, like my tweed coat I wear during the autumn and winter months (you can't even tell it's meant to be a maternity coat). This shop gets a Zero Waste ranking of 8 out of 10.
Plato's Closet. This is hands down the best secondhand clothing shop in Ithaca (for men's and women's clothing). They only stock items which look practically new, and I have often found items that are still new with tags. It's mostly name brand clothing, such as Free People. I find it's a great option when you want clothing that is well made, but don't feel comfortable buying new items and supporting fast fashion. It really is a wonderful way of supporting slow fashion. If you can't afford eco-conscious and ethical brands, try to shop secondhand shops and look for quality items. Zero Waste ranking: 7 out of 10.
Petrune. This is a wonderful vintage clothing shop, but they also have new items that are inspired by past-times. They can be a bit pricey, but I have found some amazing and affordable vintage items in this shop. Zero Waste ranking: 8 out of 10.
Jillian's Drawers. This is such a fantastic mother and child shop. They are a staple in the Ithaca community. Besides offering secondhand items and new, sustainable items, Jillian's Drawers had a community room for classes and events. The clothing in this shop is mostly for kids 4 and under, and for mamas, but what they do have is excellent. I can also recommend their cloth diaper service. I participated in this program when my kid was a baby, and it was fantastic. The staff are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. It's one of my favorite shops ever. I rank them 9 out of 10 in zero waste.
Household items and furniture:
Mimi's Attic. This shop is located in the same building as Mama Goose, and is considered its sister store. They carry beautiful household items- from furniture, to linen towels, to adorable succulents. They also offer pickup and delivery, so if you have lots of items you want to sell or buy it's worth it to look into this option to save you the hassle of renting a van. Zero Waste ranking: 8 out of 10.
Found. Do you love antiques? This is the best antique store in Ithaca. It has amazing furniture, household items, and even jewelry. I'd recommend allowing enough time to browse, because it is a bit overwhelming. It's absolutely packed with amazing antiques. Zero Waste ranking: 8 out of 10.
East Hill Antiques. This is such a charming, little antique shop. It doesn't have a lot of furniture, but it has lots of household items, curiosities, plants, and even some vintage clothing. Zero Waste ranking: 8 out of 10.
Natural beauty products.
Green Star is my go-to place for natural beauty and wellness products. Their beauty and wellness department is fairly low waste, as they offer shampoo and other products in bulk--encouraging customers to bring their own containers. They have a great selection of zero waste soaps, local products in glass jars, natural makeup, and other items. I rank them as 9 out of 10 in zero waste.
Bramble. I absolutely love this shop. They offer herbal medicine consultations as well as stocking bulk herbs and products made by local herbalists. It's a great shop if you are looking to make your own products, but also wonderful if you want really amazing pre-made items too. I would rank them 10 out of 10 in zero waste.
If you live in Ithaca, or are traveling through, I hope you will choose to support some of these shops. Some of them are more zero waste friendly than others, but each of them offers at least some zero waste options. If you can think of any I need to add to the list, let me know. I'll update this post as I discover new shops.
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/
When I was a teenager, I had a huge walk-in closet jam-packed with random clothing items and yet I felt like I had nothing to wear. Sound familiar? Although my family was already embracing a greener lifestyle by eating organic food and using eco-friendly cleaning products, we were far from being conscious consumers.
It wasn’t until my early twenties when I moved to a forward thinking college town in the Northeastern USA that I really examined my lifestyle and decided to CHOOSE a better way.
Fast forward ten(ish) years and I’ve learned a lot about eco-friendly slow fashion, zero waste living, and have refined my style so it suits ME rather than what the conventional world thinks a “mompreneur” should look like.
I’ve been on this journey for many years now, but I still have a long way to go. It was only earlier last year that I swapped my recycled plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one after all. 🙊
Here are some tips for finding your signature style and making healthy, responsible fashion choices. I’m also sharing some of my favorite slow fashion brands (not sponsored, just ones I personally love).
•Step one: find your style! When I was younger I tended to like a hodgepodge of different styles. My closest was a mess! Nothing went with anything else. It’s only been the past few years that I’ve really refined my style and discovered what works for me. I recommend using Pinterest to start tracking the styles you like. When you start noticing a pattern make note of the key words used to describe those similar styles that keep cropping up on your style board. I noticed I like certain colors, textures, fabrics, asymmetrical cuts. I’ve learned that my style is mostly a blend of ethereal faerie with earthy eco-chic and British countryside. See if you can come up with some keywords for your style.
•Don’t buy ANY new clothes for three months. I know this seems difficult, but it will help you to notice what clothes you wear again and again. At the end of the three months donate all of the items you didn’t wear (keep items you didn’t wear but might need at some point —wedding guest dresses as an example. Only keep one or two of these every once in awhile items).
•Now that you have only items you love in your closet, make a list of what you need to fill it in. Try to stick to a cohesive color palette to make life simpler.
•Try to buy what you need from secondhand stores, or through clothing swaps to reduce waste. If you must buy new items try purchasing from slow fashion/eco fashion brands. If you buy out of season you can usually find things on sale.
Here are a list of some of my favorite brands.
Easy Living Hats. Olivia’s eco-friendly handmade hats are some of my wardrobe staples. I have one in dusty blue and one in poppy red. These hats last for years and years and are so stylish! Choose well-made, stylish items over poorly made trendy items always!
Easy Living Hats can be found on Instagram
Another slow fashion advocate I admire is Haley of Atonement Design. I have partnered with Haley in the past, but this post is in no way sponsored. Her work is really amazing and I highly recommend her jewelry. I have my eye on one of her dresses for summertime. A percentage of proceeds are donated to help stop human trafficking. Fashion with a cause? Yes please!
Atonement Design is also on Instagram
Another eco-clothing company I admire is Christy Dawn. They make small batches of dresses using deadstock—the discarded leftover fabric from fashion houses.
Hands down, the best shoe company I’ve found is Nisolo. They are sustainably made, elegant, chic, earthy, and made to last.
I LIVED in a Gaia Conceptions skirt for years, until it began to fall apart. I absolutely love the earthy elegance of Gaia Conceptions designs, the eco-friendly hemp fabric, and low impact dyes.
I’ll share some more favorites in my next newsletter. In the meantime, do you have any tips you’d like to share for living a sustainable lifestyle? Share your #enchantedsimplicity posts on Instagram.
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