Winter 2016 Capsule Wardrobe: An experiment


Here is my first attempt at a capsule wardrobe for Winter 2016. After doing a bit of research, making lists and revising them, and then revising again, these are the pieces that I came up with.

Quick overview if you have not read/heard/been bombarded with the idea of the capsule wardrobe: It is a limited collection of clothes that you can mix and match to create an array of outfits. The point is that every piece is one that you love and feel good in, and that even in those limited choices, every outfit you pull together will make you feel great and reflect your personal style without you having to amass a mountain of clothes. It will be easier to get dressed in the morning, easier to shop for, and you’ll be better equipped to express your real style. Cool idea, right?

When the idea struck me to create (and then blog) a capsule wardrobe, I imagined a comepletely handmade collection that fit my lifestyle, taste and was perfectly tailored to me. The challenge was that I do not have enough handmades at this time and for this season to put that together immediately. Should I wait and make the 8-10 pieces I dream of and then put the collection together? But then it will no longer be winter, and I won’t be able to wear the clothes. And I wasn’t sure which pieces were the perfect pieces anyway. So I set my perfectionist dreams aside and decided to put together a capsule about half and half, with a few plans for new pieces thrown in as I see fit.

My goal in doing this: I want a better sense of my style and what I feel good in, I want to see how I can be creative with the clothes I have now, and I want a clearer picture of what I’m missing for the future. I hope to use these insights for a Spring 2016 capsule. And I thought it would be fun! Clothes are so purely fun to me!

Hnadmade Capsule wardrobe bottoms

I’m already learning a bunch from making my list and photographing it for you guys. The plan I am going to follow prescribes 37 pieces…8 bottoms, 10 tops, 8 jackets, 8 pairs of shoes and 3 dresses or jumpsuits. I’m going create outfits and try to comb my hair for pictures 4 days a week and I’ll post about how it all goes together.

My 8 bottoms are pictured above: Top L-R; J Crew leopard skirt, Anthropologie coral stretch denim pencil skirt, Kohl’s black chiffon scalloped shorts (that I will use more like a skirt in winter with tights and boots), Gap hunter green zippered skinnies.
Bottom L-R; Burda leather/ponte jeggings, Itch to Stitch Liana Stretch jeans, Named Jamie jeans in Ikat twill, Old Navy gray moto skinnies.
Sewn Capsule wardrobe tops

I only picked out 8 tops, with room for 2 more as I make or buy them: Top L-R; Seamwork Aurora pink and denim, McCall’s peplum in gray lace, royal blue rayon Gray Day Patterns Athena Top, Grainline Hemlock Tee in pink jersey.  Bottom L-R; Thread Theory Camas blouse (gotta make more of these!), Nordstrom Silk-cotton Horsey shirt, Cheap white rayon-esque shirt (the shape of it looks just like the Camas blouse, right?), Kohl’s “Will work for shoes” T-shirt.
Half handmade capsule jackets


These are the jackets/layering pieces. I only have 6 here because I am making something right now for this category and I want to add a cape cardigan, also. Top L-R; Grainline Morris Blazer, Nordstrom Navy Linen Blazer, B6169 plaid and leather moto jacket. Bottom L-R; B6169 quilted and floral moto jacket, Gap neon long cardigan, Express gray jacket. I can see, just by looking at my selection here that I need longer items to keep cozy during the winter. Many of my jackets are cropped. You’ll see soon what I come up with to fill that hole!
Capsule wardrobe shoes

And the hardest part – shoes! How am I supposed to pick 8 favorites out of all my lovelies? But, to be honest, we have a huge shoe closet full of shelving and it is very. nearly. full. I should take stock of my shoes and focus on the ones I will wear. Many of these I don’t wear regularly, especially since moving, but I miss them and want to show them some love.

But what about dresses? Well, the only one I could imagine myself wearing this winter is my Renfrew knit and leather dress. I have a couple dresses in mind to sew that will fit better into my lifestyle. And summer is a bigger time for dresses. I did just buy the Named Inari Tee Dress and I can’t wait to try it out!

It is a 3 month experiment and I’m not sure what’s going to happen. I hope that this challenge will clarify what I like to wear, what I feel cute and comfortable in, and what I should make and add to my wardrobe. We shall see! Do you think I’m crazy? Comments and discussion welcome!

Here is an update on Weeks 1 and 2.
Longer Morris blazer to add to my jacket wardrobe



8 thoughts on “Winter 2016 Capsule Wardrobe: An experiment

  1. Your post gave me a good shot in the arm to organize a few of my drawers and my closet. When I think about what I should make next I have trouble determining what I could use more of! Sorting it as you have into wearable, comfortable interchangeable outfits is brilliant. I have a sewing journal on the way that I think will help me with that even more. My 2016 intention is not buy any more clothes – and to get more focused (monotasking as opposed to multitasking!) and simplify my life in general with just LESS STUFF 🙂 Your clothing organization is a great place to start.

    • I really like all your stated “intentions” and I need to do all of the same things. And I should plan things in my sewing planner, right? It got buried in the piles in the sewing room, I think! I hope we both find better clarity this year. Thank you for commenting!

  2. My first reaction is a big ooooohhhh – I want a capsule too, the whole idea sounds just so great. My second reaction is one of inane jealousy at your selection of WINTER clothes. Thinking of my top-to-toe-goosedown anorak (seriously, I look like the Michelin man in it) makes me want to cry…
    I’ll be looking forward to your outfit pictures (albeit through gritted teeth and from under a wooly hat 😉 )

    • Oh Chris, I feel you so hard! I wake up every single day amazed that the sun it out and the temperature in January is 55 degrees! It makes dressing so much more fun. I do not miss my down jacket. Stay warm, my friend! You can start planning now for your spring capsule.

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