The death of the capsule wardrobe

I tried to be a good capsule wardrobe champion, and for fall/winter, I actually did really well. But the second the nice weather started rolling around the London skyline, I lost all sanity, and well…it’s gone downhill from there. I’d like to say I’m just sorting out what my style is {goodness knows I’ve completed enough Find Your Style worksheets from various blogs: conclusion – not the style I currently own}.

My biggest problem is I am bored. So I shop. I read a fashion blog. So I shop. Online shopping will be the death of my debit card. There, I have at least admitted it. Just yesterday I left a comment on blog saying how I keep wanting dresses and skirts, and my closet has plenty of pretty examples, but I don’t ever seem to wear them for some reason. And this morning in a moment of sleep-deprived madness, I saw a beautiful dress on a blog, and chucked it in my cart. No one I know is getting married, christening a baby, or having a garden party. Maybe I save it for my 40th birthday {which is now less than year away}, or my sons graduation from high school {which is less than three years away}.

I don’t know which one of those things is scarier right at the moment.

It would look nice for the Kew Literary Festival in September, where I have tickets to hear Jessie Burton speak. It would be nice for a picture session at Kew Gardens or in Hyde Park, the floral dress among the florals and trees. In all reality, I will probably just return it (thank you asos for free returns). But in the five minutes I spend twirling in it in my bedroom, I think I will fall in love with it and try to convince myself to keep it.

Maybe I am having a mid-life crisis, but if we take into account that my grandmother is in her 90’s and my great-grandmother lived to be 99, I haven’t *quite* hit mid-life yet. So I’m having some sort of other crisis then.

This was me last week trying to capture photo’s of my outfit which has helped me see what direction I might be working towards. Or at the very least, it does show me what works and what doesn’t. I’ve seen several pictures in the last year of group shots where I’m wearing something I thought I really liked, then when I saw how it looked as an observer, immediately put the item in the charity pile. {we can say goodbye to any double breasted coats}


This is very much a picture that shows my real life. My life is messy and full of stuff, and so is my house. {it’s part of being an expat and having movers putting things in storage and sending the rest to your destination. though we clearly marked everything, plenty of things got mixed up – like the door wreath and painting behind the chair  and the bookcases that arrived missing all the shelves- and there is quite a bit we don’t need here, more than any other move we’ve made.}

I’m  not exactly sure why the capsule concept failed me for summer. As I keep examining what my style is, I see other things I want to try. Maybe that is okay, so long as I make sure that if something comes in, then something must go out. I also need to be sure the item really will work for me, so trying it on multiple times and being in the item for 30 minutes before deciding keep or return can limit the ‘wrong’ purchases I make.

There are a more than a few items in my closet that I’ve had for years. My favorite pair of skinny jeans I’ve had for four years and wear 2-3 times a week. They definitely meet the criteria of 30 Wears as established by Livia Firth at EcoAge. She asks us to examine each item before we buy it and ask ourselves Would we wear this 30 times? I definitely have 30+ wear items in my closet. Once I do find something I like, I wear it on repeat. It’s part of the reason why I tried the capsule concept to begin with. I liked the limited choices (which in winter didn’t feel limited. I definitely had a sense of what worked for me and what I liked.)

In a London summer it is much harder to limit my closet to a typical summer wardrobe. In Seattle I could actually count on wearing shorts/skirts/dresses through the majority of the May/June/July months. Yesterday here in London I wore jeans and a sweatshirt to start with. Then I had to change into a t-shirt because I was too hot. When I left the house at 1, I was cold again and back on went the sweatshirt. It became crazy humid while I was making dinner so I moved on to shorts and a t-shirt. After dinner I got cold and I gave up and just put on my pajamas. The point being, weather in the course of one day in London is completely unpredictable and annoying. And really messes with me trying to have a summer capsule.

For the summer months of August/September I’m planing to try having a combined capsule of summer and warmer items to see if that works better. I have several items waiting at my parents house in the US that I am very excited about, and I think waiting until I have them will work better than trying to sort things out now. There are only three  weeks until we leave. {yay! 5 days in Seattle, and then 5 days at a lake house we rented with my parents on the lake where I spent most of my childhood. it is definitely my happy place, and if I could, I would have a summer house there.}

In the future I might do a capsule wardrobe again. I do feel like I failed for not making it an entire year, but I definitely didn’t anticipate how challenging the weather in London can be; especially given that I lived for three years prior to this in Seattle. I thought I’d seen everything when we first went house hunting there in late April and it was snowing, and the first day after we moved in May, I didn’t wear shorts until the end of July.

Have you had luck with a capsule wardrobe? What wisdom can you give me from your experience?

3 thoughts on “The death of the capsule wardrobe

  1. Hi! Interesting post and I can relate. I am also an expat and I keep onto my clothes because I keep thinking I’ll wear it when I move again. I had a dress for 10 years that I never wore! lol fail XD
    I am actually trying to do my version of capsule wardrobe so I started a little experiment where I keep track of what I wear. I didn’t want to limit myself to any number of items so this is more about getting to know myself and my personal style and it helped me. Take a look on my blog if you have the time! 🙂 And try again!


    • I completely agree about documenting your daily outfits to find your own style. I *was* doing pretty good with that but I got off track. I need to just keep taking pictures for me and not for the blog (which is where I lost track trying to make them nice for blogging!) I keep thinking I’ve found my style, but then I find something else, and I get all confused. Maybe I’m a mishmash? Who knows! Thanks for stopping by!


      • Yeah, do it for yourself, not the blog. You can see my pics are not taht nice hhh
        I know what you mean ehen you say you see sth nice. But i’m pretty tough on myself. I think bck to my closet and how much stuff i have and don’t wear and in the end i realize i honestly don’t need it cuz i’m not gonna wear it. But yeah, maybe you have an eclectic taste 😉 good luck second time around! 🙂


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