Start With a Capsule, Then Stretch

I continue to work my way through my wardrobe. While I have (it seems) officially abandoned the rigid “this is in my capsule right now and that is it” method (which I loved under different circumstances, see Feb 2013-Jan 2014), I am using it as a place to try the remaining items I haven’t worked through, I’m trying to pay attention to what feels like it’s missing and whether I’m really glad to have it once added, and I’m moving closer to a place where I’m ready to start cultivating (emphasis on culling, haha).

In a nutshell, here’s where my closet and drawers currently are:

Main closet houses approximately 50 items on hangers and about a dozen pairs of shoes.
Overflow/Seasonal closet houses approximately 100 out-of-season, nursing-inappropriate, or “not right now” fit/style items. Drawers hold: (1) workout, (2) graphic tees, (3) noncapsule shoes, (4) intimates, (5) lounge/PJs, (6) hosiery. I have a faux rattan (not as pokey) basket with swimwear. Bassinet (haha) holds the things I still need to try on (we also have a pack n play in our room for when the baby’s room needs to function as a guest room, and it is often Joe’s interim valet). I am currently working my way through the bassinet, and will likely try to work through my graphic tees next.

For example, today I wore my navy hi-low blouse from my original Spring capsule, with a stretch poly pencil skirt that was in the bassinet (in _bright_ red paisley), with brought-into-capsule tan Frye ballet flats. I really like this combo. The skirt is borderline too bright for me (and is way too bright for my current capsule), but still works, because it’s far from my face and pairing it with tan and navy neutrals feels both fresh (navy is having a real moment, I think) and grounded than pairing with black or white or other brights.

The skirt looks more subdued from a distance, is very comfortable, can be adjusted for length by folding the waistband or adjusting where on your waist you wear it (I like it unfolded and high these days) and could go with a million colors as well as any neutrals. It’s also probably made in a sweatshop, from a pretty embattled MLM company with rumors of all sorts of structure and fairness problems, and is not a particularly high-quality item. That said, I purchased it in 2015 or 2016 and it’s now 2-3 years old, and I’ve probably worn in a dozen times, so I’m slowing it down and using it. That also said, when I launder it, it will likely release microplastics into our water because it’s synthetic, so I’m trying to move away from purchasing those items, but I’ll be honest, I still pretty regularly do, as a result of budget constraints, or because they perform better in other ways.

The top. I requested and received for Christmas 2016, when I was pregnant with Lora. It has been a great nursing top, and it is pretty and covers my rear (which means I don’t sweat my choice of undies and VPL in a lot of outfits), and when I was newly postpartum, it hid my mama pooch well. However, now that my overall frame is smaller and I’m back to my prebaby weight, I feel like it makes the pooch look bigger with the little fold and still-large nursing boobs. I will keep it until I am through nursing to see how it looks when my cup goes down a size, but I’m considering letting this go at some point.

To that point, I’ve started a new page, Closet Inventory, where I can record the pros and cons of items I’m wearing. I hope it will be a purge/keep tool, and it will probably be boring as snot to actually read, but it’s over in the sidebar list along with my other pages if you are so inclined! :) 

The above is also inspired in part by a new blog I’ve begun reading, called Truncation, by Karin. Karin’s style leans a hair more retro than my own, but she’s a mama to three littles and writes about capsule wardrobing and how she manages her closet. She named the blog Truncation because of the mathematical reference to shortening (reducing) to the more essential, which she felt capsule wardrobing does. She talks about reducing her wardrobe, but it’s less “Kondo-get-rid-of-it-all-in-one-swoop” and more “not-sure-pack-it-away-for-a-year-and-revisit-if-you-didn’t-miss-it”, which really speaks to me these days. I used to have “purgatory” bins and it may be time to reinstate those! Of course, I need to go through the multiple bins of baby clothing to free some up first…

This is what I wore yesterday (May 30). It is okay. I don’t think the half tuck did me a lot of favors, and it might have created a smoother line to leave the top untucked. The top is a secondhand purchase, Boden, via Poshmark, in size 4. I could probably have taken a 6, but I believe it will be perfect when I have fully weaned the baby and my bust is smaller. I love bateau/Breton shirts and snagged this and a short-sleeved one for about $35 shipped. I have worn both tops twice already.

I also purchased the pants (Caslon/Nordstrom) used through Poshmark. They (4) had been taken in 1″ at the waist to reduce the boyfriend-style bagginess by the prior owner and I really love that detail. They stay up, I can bend down in them without them sliding down my hips, and they are a great length – cute double rolled like this but I can also wear them unrolled and they go just past my ankle bone. I love the slate blue color.

My favorite part of the outfit is this perennially-rediscovered pair of shoes. They should be too small, but they aren’t, and they are so, so classic. My grandmother swore by these in the 80s and 90s, and my mom purchased a pair for me in probably 1999, while I was in college, and I’ve had them ever since. They are still in fabulous condition, they are simultaneously timeless and totally on trend (mules/slides), and they feel like butter. Cole Haan/old. I considered getting rid of them at one point (!!) because I just wasn’t wearing them, but I’m now planning to keep them until they fall apart (or I do, whichever happens first).

I didn’t snap an outfit photo for Tuesday, May 29, but wore a grey v-neck tee (the ancient Old Navy one from my capsule) and older (2010?) Banana Republic boot-cut pants my friend JW gave to me during a clothing swap several years ago (2014?). The top was comfortable and easy to nurse in, the jeans fit like a dream right now, and the “real” denim and bootcut with back-patch (but not embellished!) pockets and 1″ hem felt really fresh. I also have almost given away these pants before and am so glad I kept them! I love them.

Saturday-Monday, May 26-28, we were in Topeka, Kansas, for the long weekend, to visit family. I have casual photos that show my outfits, including Monday’s, above. I wore the (brought into capsule) Target half-button large gingham top, navy Target shorts, and gray TOMS alpargatas (which you can spot near the elephant’s knee). This was a comfortable, nursing-friendly, sun-protecting outfit, though the top and shorts are both getting a little big now that I’m back to pre-baby weight (I bought them last summer to use while newly postpartum).

Sunday, May 27. The photo is blurry, but so cute! I wore my new Target white blouse with my Dear John’s jeans (double, thick cuff), and Everlane sandals. I put a gray tank under the cream blouse, which I liked – it was a nice grounding of the different neutrals and added another shade and some interest, which I hadn’t really expected. Pictured above: niece,  brother, SIL, mother, Lora, Joe, Me in back; Henry, Anna seated.

Saturday, May 26.
Same navy shorts as Monday, Old Navy chambray button up (2012), TOMs. Pictured: good friend from high school, M, baby L, at the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center in Topeka. When I see this photo, I see happiness and the comfort that comes with spending time with someone who really gets you and accepts you for who you are (and who is excited to meet your kiddos!). I also see that I cannot wait to wear regular bras again and lift up the girls, haha. Our own worst critics, right?

Friday, May 25. New top from May 24 Stitch Fix, more on that Fix below. The top is by Collective Concepts, is 100% silk, and is navy and white, with a pretty cuffed sleeve detail, v-neck, and floral design. It was $68, I think, which is a fair amount for a top, but not much for one that is 100% silk. The brand is a wholesale seller and retail store that sells items to places like Stitch Fix, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and other anchor-level department stores. There is no information I could find about the sustainability or ethics of their clothing/design/manufacturing, and a Google Search didn’t turn up much more, so I don’t know where they fall, or whether those issues are important to CC (presumably not from a marketing standpoint, at the least).

The pants are also Stitch Fix from around March of this year (Level 99 Francis Straight) and I love them. I took a 2, which was shockingly perfect. That was a nice ego boost. These have been go-to Spring work pants (you’ve seen them a lot on here so far this year!) and will surge in popularity in the fall – we’ve recently found Summer and immediately, so I’m avoiding pants (especially heavier ones) a lot right now. Frye ballet flats.

I really like this outfit. I felt polished and the silk was so light and breathable and I love the pattern and cut.

Wednesday, May 23 (no Thursday 5/24 photo):
Lularoe Nicole dress and Carson flats. This dress is really soft, but not especially flattering in photos. I feel like it makes my trunk look really thick. Perhaps a belt would help, or losing ten pounds, but this one is looking toward purgatory, along with its other XS friend (a blue with a white water-reflection type design). I do love the curved stripes design so much – and the color (periwinkle on gray). It is comfortable and work appropriate. But… yeah.

Monday, May 21 (no Tuesday photo). This might be another one for purgatory. These wrap/defined waist things are supposed to flatter, but with my diastasis recti and where I carry my weight after babies (exacerbated by nursing bras and boobs, no doubt), this doesn’t seem very flattering and seems to accentuate the curves I don’t want to accentuate. I continue to love the Everlane Day flat, and the Target cardigan gets a lot of use in the evenings when I’m a little chilly.

Sunday, May 20th (red is church, stripes are after). Yes to both. The Boden s/s Breton top I purchased secondhand paired with Everlane Modern BF jeans (I do like these, but think I might like the fit and flattery of the Cheeky ones more? Just not sure about buying jeans in June when I won’t want to wear them often until September…), Stitch Fix poly red blouse, Everlane black Wide Leg Crops, and (secondhand/NWOT) Everlane black Day Heel. I really liked both of these outfits, actually. The red one felt on-trend and the Day Heel is a 9.5 (vs. 9) which is a little more comfortable than the Oxblood ones I have in 9 (but not so much bigger as to look or feel too big). The Day Heel is really comfortable! Not as comfy as the Day Flat and I’m dying to get the Mocha Day Glove, but really good for a heel, which I’ve otherwise more-or-less stopped wearing…

Thursday, May 18th (and Friday May 19th). This was the twins’ last day of their first year of KDO (kids’ day out) preschool. I wore another Lularoe Cassie skirt (from my capsule), the new-to-me Everlane heels, a Target blouse, and my black Target cardigan. The next day, I rewore the shirt and cardigan, but paired them with my distressed Levi’s 501s and Gizeh Birkenstocks. I prefer the more casual look (I nearly always do!) but really liked both options.

That catches up wardrobing through today. Whew. This post got long as a result! I do want to touch on two more quick things, though: Hair and Stitch Fix.

Stitch Fix.
After my last Fix was a bit of a bust, I decided there was no harm (except to my budget, yikes) in stepping up my Fix frequency, since I have no styling fee this year. I received another Fix on May 24th, and my next is due June 8th (the day we leave for vacation! Yikes! But they almost always come a couple of days early and they have been great about extending the return window when customers are traveling — still, fingers are crossed for fortuitous timing).

This is what they sent:


At first viewing, I was intrigued by the sandals, navy blouse, and mint tee. I was lukewarm about the pink top and pretty sure I’d pass on the jeans (I don’t want or need more skinny jeans right now, and most Stitch Fix jeans are a jegging material which doesn’t hold up well to repeated washings and wearings – super flattering, have to hike up all darn day, and wear out in a year or less most of the time).

When everything arrived, I tried it on:

You already know that I kept the navy blouse! I love it with the clogs and white wide-legs in the last photo. I returned everything else. The sandals were cute but not leather and the cross strap was too big; the mint shirt didn’t flatter and was too expensive for a rayon tee, and the pink shirt didn’t flatter and was uncomfortable with 100% polyester. The jeans were uncomfortably tight on my calves and, while flattering to photograph, would have been way too hot for summer in St. Louis.



I went a lot lighter, more layers, more tapered ends. It feels great and I like the shape a bit more! I haven’t tried air-dried curls yet, and I’m moving my frequency from every 12 weeks to every 10 for maintenance, so I’m adjusting my hair budget ($90/mo) to accommodate this ($110/mo). Yes, it’s expensive hair. Yes, it’s also one of the only accessories I wear every day. Cost per diem: $3.50 per day per year for something that requires at least some maintenance in addition to regular care and cleaning. I can live with that price tag, even though I know it could be lower – I love my stylist and what she does with cut and color.

I’ll try to post more frequently – posting less frequently seems like it will save time, and then I write and write and write… more frequent check-ins might be more effective!


1 thought on “Start With a Capsule, Then Stretch

  1. Note to self: I just saw this post pop up in my blog aggregator and the featured photo is today’s outfit and this shirt is officially going in purgatory. Updating inventory list accordingly…

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