Last month I set out with somewhat of an unusual goal. My intention was to photograph (and share on Instagram) at least 15 of my outfits for the month. I did this for two primary reasons. First, I hoped it would make me focus more intently on wearing things that I actually like, rather than rushing out the door in something mediocre. Secondly, I wanted to practice taking photos and get more comfortable being in front of the camera. I am definitely not a selfie kind of girl. Or a “hey, take my picture kind of girl.” As November comes to an end and I complete this little challenge, I thought it would be fun to look back on how I did.
I ended up photographing 17 outfits, and some were definitely better than others. (That goes for both the outfits and the photos.) Sometimes, I’d find myself throwing an outfit and photo together, just because I knew I needed to meet a quota. I suppose that’s ok, because I might would have worn a sweatshirt and shared a photo of my coffee instead. Here’s what else I learned:
- The details are often what make my outfits more special, and the details are difficult to capture in a photo. Often, it’s the way my earrings coordinate with a bracelet or how you can subtlety see a fun belt that makes my outfits pop. However, capturing the whole outfit in one square photo is very hard. The lesson here is that if I ever want to really show my whole outfit, I’ll have to take detail shots too.
- I’m not concerned with trying to be perfect online. I thought that forcing myself to share my daily outfits online would make me obsess over having awesome, drool-worthy outfits every single day. Not so much. There were some outfits/photos that I truly loved like this one and this one, and others that were just decent. I suppose I’m a bigger fan of being “real” than I am of painting a glamorous picture online, so I wasn’t too upset when I had to share just a basic outfit or a decent picture. Let’s face it. Some days I look amazing and some days you’re lucky that I’m not wearing sweats. That’s real life.
- I miss being trendy. In my previous life, it was my job to dress trendy and fashionably. Even before owning a boutique, I was known to be a bit fashion-forward, often identifying and wearing new trends long before they were popular. I had an eye for fashion and wasn’t afraid to be a tad daring with my attire. An admirer even told me once, “You just wear things that other girls don’t wear.” Call me flattered. Lately though, I’ve been wearing the basics. Comfort has been the name of my game and my wardrobe is quickly reflecting that. Don’t get me wrong, I think we should all dress comfortably. However, a slouchy and unimaginative wardrobe is not what I want and that’s how I’ve felt lately.
Just like I anticipated, I hated this goal in the beginning. I cringed with every photo and dreaded the process. Eventually though, it became easier. I didn’t dread it quite so much and had to take way less photos before feeling comfortable enough to share one…which was part of the reasoning behind this goal anyway. Will I continue to share my outfits online? I’m not sure. At least I feel more comfortable doing so now than I did before. Plus, I have some great references to look back on when I’m thinking about my capsule wardrobe!
How about the rest of my November goals? Well, there’s just not much to report. I did make some progress in the nooks and crannies of my home and did a bit of this and that. However, I wouldn’t really say that I knocked out a major project. Although, I did purchase chairs for our new table and sold the old ones, so that decluttered our living area. We also installed three new light fixtures, and that should count for something too. As for Christmas decor, I ended up putting if off since I was hosting my family for Thanksgiving. We’ve been traveling the last several days, so I guess it’ll be on my list for this week! What are my goals for December, you ask? Christmas. All of the Christmas things and activities. That’s what I intend to do this month. Anything else will just be icing on the cake…or should I say icing on the Gingerbread House! Happy December, friends. Make it a good one!
If you’d like to see the rest of the outfit photos, check #ppwearsnovember on Instagram.
The Internet has been buzzing about capsule wardrobes for a while now. If you’re not familiar with the concept, take a gander through this description. Basically, a capsule wardrobe is supposed to ensure that you have only items that you love so that you can create outfits quickly and easily.
At first, I wanted to run the opposite direction from a capsule wardrobe. Not having a ton of options seemed scary and daunting to me. After all, I’d worked for years to build a rather extensive wardrobe and thinning it just felt like such a waste. After I looked in to the KonMari Method, I began to look at my closet differently and got rid of over 5 large bags of clothes. (I went from 44 miscellaneous tshirts to just 20 if that gives you an idea of how much I thinned.) I also pulled out items that didn’t bring me joy, even if I’d spent large amounts of money on them. Once I began looking at things differently, I was housing a lot less clothes in my closet and the concept of a capsule wardrobe didn’t seem so foreign.
Do you have trouble getting dressed in the morning? Do you find yourself wearing the same few items over and over? Do you just need a fresh perspective on what you wear? Maybe a capsule wardrobe is for you. Here’s how to get started:
- Create a Pinterest board for styles and outfits that you like. Don’t overthink this step. Pin everything that you like, even if you’re not sure why. If you already have a fashion board, that’s a good place to start. Add more pins based on things that appeal to you. Again, be sure not to spend too much time on this. Scroll and pin without thinking too much about it.
- Scroll through the Pinterest board and identify common elements. Scroll through the board you created without focusing too heavily on any one pin. It’s best to do this a day or so after last pinning items. This will help you see the collection as a whole instead of focusing too heavily on what you just pinned. In this step, you’re looking for items that pop up time and time again. Do you see a lot of a similar color? Is it mainly flare jeans or dresses? Are the accessories what seem to stand out most? When you see things popping up over and over again, these will likely be the elements that you want to include in your capsule. Remember, don’t focus too heavily on one item. There will most likely be outliers and maybe you can include elements or use them in a later wardrobe.The main elements I saw in my board were cuffed jeans, blazers, stripes, plaid/flannel, professional-style dresses, and bold accessories. Identifying these as my favorite looks helped me to see why I hadn’t been wearing a lot of my wardrobe (it wasn’t the look I wanted) and to subsequently get rid of a lot of extra baggage.
- Clean out your closet. If you haven’t already, get this pared down as much as you can, while keeping in mind the elements you identified from your Pinterest board. Go ahead and get rid of the items that don’t bring you joy or are ill-fitting or tattered. If there’s something you’re not sure you want to part with yet and it doesn’t match your look for this season, put it in a separate pile to be stored and dealt with later. If you miss that item, you can bring it back. If you don’t, then it’s probably time for it to go. The purpose here is to pare down to only the clothes you love.
- Buy the missing pieces. Now that you’ve thinned your closet, it’s time to buy the pieces that you’re missing to create the looks from your board. If you identified that you like a lot of looks including a leather jacket and don’t have one, then you need to purchase a leather (or faux leather) jacket. Keep in mind, I’m not suggesting to go out and buy a ton of new clothes. Instead, you’re buying just the key pieces that are missing from the looks you want to create. For me, that meant I needed to look for a plaid button up, ripped jeans, and a neutral blazer. Be careful to not overbuy during this step or you’ll end up defeating the purpose of a capsule.
- Create a photo album of outfits or lists. Now that you’ve identified the look you want, pared down your closet, and purchased the key items you were missing, it’s time to create some outfits. If you struggle to find inspiration with your outfits, go ahead and photograph items together or make lists of what you’ll put together. If you struggle to create outfits, make yours very similar to your Pinterest photos. If a photo you pinned has a blue sweater with a brown leather jacket and gold necklace, make your outfit option look just like that. The individual elements don’t have to be identical to recreate the look. The purpose of this step is to eliminate time putting together the outfits if you find that you often get stuck. There are plenty of apps out there that allow you to save outfit details and photos if you’d like to give that a whirl. However you approach it, just remember that this step is here so that you have an immediate idea of how you’ll wear that adorable striped blouse.
- Get dressed and look/feel amazing! Creating a capsule wardrobe means doing a bit of work and investing time on the front end. You’re doing this, though, to eliminate time standing in front of the mirror guessing what to wear. You’re also putting in the prep time so that you leave the house feeling amazing everyday instead of bland. By intentionally creating outfits that you love, you ensure that you feel and look you best each and everyday. You save yourself time and frustration getting dressed, and you increase your self confidence dramatically. All of these rewards are entirely worth the time and effort required to get started.I can’t guarantee that starting a capsule will be easy. As a matter of a fact, I’ll warn you that it’s quite difficult. However, I’ll also say that it’s worth it. I firmly believe that we should invest a bit of time (and even money where necessary) to look and feel our best. The benefits of looking and feeling great spill over in to all aspects of life — our careers, relationships, and even our productivity.
That being said, absolutely do not expect to walk into your closet and leave with a perfectly trimmed capsule a few hours later. It’s taken me MONTHS to even gather the courage to try this approach. Then, it took me several weeks to do a bit at a time. It’s not an overnight transition. However, with a bit of dedication and intentionality, you can transform both your appearance, the way you shop, and the way you feel. Is that worth the time required? Absolutely!
P.S. I’m starting to offer personal style consultations again. If you need a bit of guidance or encouragement, email me at pamela AT pamelapetrus DOT com!