Prepping For Fall (Part Four)

(This is part three of a four-part series.  For part-one click here, part-two click here, and part-three click here.  This is a photo heavy post.)

August 23, 2016

I’ve finally arrived at the last post of this series, what is in my Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe for the start of the fall season.  But before I start the number crunching, I have one more photo of new additions.  These 3 items are not from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, which is my favorite sale, they are from Banana Republic instead.

Three stragglers from Banana Republic.

Three stragglers from Banana Republic.

Why do I have yet more new things?  In my last post, you’ll notice that there were a few items marked incomplete after shopping my favorite sale.  I stumbled across these 3 pieces in my quest to complete my Fall/Winter Capsule shopping list:

  1. Black Jeans: The black jeans are a replacement for a pair of black jeans in my Spring/Summer Capsule wardrobe (which will be discussed in a future post).
  2. Black Crewneck Knit: The black crewneck knit (and the green chino trousers) are new additions to the Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe.  The black knit, actually crosses off one of the outstanding items on my Business Capsule shopping list (a black knit for the blazers), but it also pairs well with the green chinos so I am keeping it as part of my Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe.
  3. Green Chino Trousers: The green chino trousers are my attempt to vary up my bottoms from jeans all of the time.  I decided to keep the green chino trousers because they will remix well with the new additions to both my Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer Capsule wardrobes.
Remixing for Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe footwear.

Remixing for Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe footwear.

Spring/Summer Capsule footwear.

Remixing for Spring/Summer Capsule wardrobe footwear.

Of course, new additions mean only one thing, something has to go.  I donated 2 pairs of jeans, one for the new cropped jeans from the Anniversary Sale and one for the new green chino trousers from Banana Republic.

Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe bottoms- before.

Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe bottoms- before.

Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe bottoms- after.

Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe bottoms- after.

I still have a few outstanding items on my Fall/Winter wardrobe shopping list, but for now, here’s what’s in my Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe.

Fall/Winter and Business Capsule wardrobes.

Fall/Winter and Business Capsule wardrobes with new additions.

Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe-Shoes.

Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe-Shoes.

Business Capsule-Shoes.

Business Capsule-Shoes.

I have 57 items in my Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe:

  • 2 Vest (gear) (no change)
  • 1 Knit (gear) (no change)
  • 1 Flannel Shirt (gear) (no change)
  • 1 Jean (bootcut-gear) (no change)
  • 1 Blazer (no change)
  • 1 Jacket (no change)
  • 2 Cardigans (1 is worn in the winter and 1 is sentimental-no change)
  • 11 Knits (1 turtleneck, 4 crewnecks-added 6; 2 short sleeve crewnecks, 3 pullover knits, 1 top)
  • 7 LS T’s (used for layering-added 1)
  • 6 Jeans/Trousers (added 2 and removed 2, no total net change; 2 bootcut, 2 skinny, 1 boyfriend cropped, 1 chino trouser)
  • 6 Thermals (no change)
  • 2 Capes (1 in the photo, 1 on my office chair at work-no change)
  • 8 Pullovers/Sweaters/Ponchos (6 are worn in the winter and 2 are sentimental-no change)
  • 8 Shoes: 7 Boots (1 Over The Knee, 2 Knee High [black, pebble], 2 Short/Booties-added 1 and removed 2, went down by 1-donated black buckle and grey short boot [black/taupe, mushroom], 2 Cowboy [sentimental]) and 1 Shoe)

And on the far right of the closet rod, is the Business Capsule Wardrobe which currently contains 14 items (counting the shoes):

  • 3 Blazers (cobalt and black-added 1 black, which can also be worn for casual use)
  • 3 trousers (black lined full length and black cropped-added 1 black)
  • 3 Blouses (black, black print, blue-no change)
  • 2 knits (black lace and black turtleneck-no change)
  • 3 pairs of shoes (added 1 wedge, donated 1 pump, no net change, black patent pumps, black heel sandal, black short boot)

Also here’s what’s left from my shopping lists.

For the Business Capsule (3 items):

  1. Pointy toe flat shoe
  2. Long Sleeve-Blouse for one of the blazers
  3. Three short sleeve tops for the blazers for warmer months (I’m not going to worry about this until the spring)

And for the Fall/Winter Capsule (6 items):

  1. Knit/Top for Brown Suede Jacket x2
  2. Printed or Striped LS T for Tan Sweatercoat x2
  3. Knit/Tops for Cowboy Boots x2

Sometimes I wonder if my favorite sale is worth shopping, well looking at my leftovers from my shopping lists (which originally had 23 items and is now down to 9) I’d say yes.  But how about for my wallet?  I saved 38% on my purchase when I compared the sale price to the full price.  So again, I would say yes.

In my next post I’ll demonstrate how I plan to transition my spring/summer wardrobe into fall, using my new additions to my Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe.

Is your wardrobe ready for the upcoming Fall/Winter (or Spring/Summer) season?

Prepping For Fall (Part Three)

(This is part three of a four-part series.  For part-one click here.  For part-two click here. Also, this is a photo heavy post.)

August 14, 2016

I'm ready for some of these.

I’m ready for some of these.

In this third post of shopping my favorite sale, I’ll share what happened when I shopped both online and in the store.  To recap, here was my entire shopping list:

For the Business Capsule (7 items):

  1. Full length black trouser
  2. Pointy toe flat shoe
  3. Replacement for the black patent pumps with a heel
  4. Long Sleeve-Blouse for one of the blazers
  5. Three short sleeve tops for the blazers for warmer months
  6. Knit for black blazer
  7. Knit/Sweater/Cardigan for a third outfit

And for the Fall/Winter Capsule (10 items):

  1. Knit/Top for Brown Suede Jacket x2
  2. Printed or Striped LS T for Tan Sweatercoat x2
  3. Fun Blazer for Jeans
  4. Knit for Tall Tan Boots
  5. Knit for Over The Knee (OTK) Black Boots
  6. Knit/Tops for Cowboy Boots x2
  7. Wildcard Outfit

I also had my yearly replacement sale items (lingerie wash, bras, underwear and towels x3), bringing the final total of my shopping list to 23 items.  Now onto my favorite part, the shopping!

My online order consisted of a whopping 35 items.  Why so many?  The reasons are always the same, multiple sizes, multiple colors, and challenging fit items, especially business clothing.  Here’s what came in the mail.

The first 5.

First Delivery-The first 5.

Second Delivery-Another 9.

Second Delivery-Another 9.

Third Delivery-Another 15.

Third Delivery-Another 16.

Fourth Delivery-The Final 5.

Fourth Delivery-The Final 5.

With so many packages, there was plenty of things to return to the store.  The danger with returning items in person, is that you have to go to the store, and this opens up the potential to purchase things I did not already order.  I am not immune to in store temptation and ended up coming home with my yearly replacement sale items (bras and underwear not shown) as well as some “extra items.”

Some of the yearly replacement stuff.

Some of the yearly replacement stuff.

Why did I purchase dresses when I never wear them?

Why did I purchase dresses when I never wear them?

Once at home, with my entire wardrobe before me, I could analyze each item to see if they were a keeper, or something to be returned.  To help me decide, items had to meet the following criteria:

  • Is it on my shopping list?  Yes, move to the next step, no, return pile.
  • Does it fit my body today?  Yes, move to the next step, no, return pile.
  • Does it mix with anything in my current wardrobe?  Yes, move to the next step, no, return pile.
  • Does it meet my wardrobe and personal style goals?  Yes, keep, no, return pile.

I was able to pare down the 39 items (35 ordered online and 4 in person [I forgot to include the handbag in the dress photo above]) to a final lucky 13.

Keepers-The final 13.

Keepers-The final 13.

I walked away from my favorite sale, with about half of my shopping list complete.  It’s always nice to shop with a plan, but to keep it from being only utilitarian, one has to allow for a little flexibility, as you’ll see with my purchases.  But first, a run-down of how much of my shopping list I completed.  If you look at the left side of the photo above, you’ll see that I was able to complete three of the items for my Business Capsule Shopping List.

Business Capsule (7 items):

  1. Full length black trouser-Complete
  2. Pointy toe flat shoe-Incomplete
  3. Replacement for the black patent pumps with a heel-Complete (selected a wedge)
  4. Long Sleeve-Blouse for one of the blazers-Incomplete
  5. Three short sleeve tops for the blazers for warmer months-Incomplete
  6. Knit for black blazer-Incomplete
  7. Knit/Sweater/Cardigan for a third outfit-Complete with a bonus

The ‘bonus’ designation is because I decided on a blazer instead of a knit/sweater/cardigan as a third topper option for this capsule.  The blazer is a bonus item because it also meets a need from my fall/winter capsule.  The blazer pairs just as well with my black trousers as it does with my OTK boots and jeans.

Black blazer with OTK boots and jeans.

Black blazer with OTK boots and jeans.

Fall/Winter Capsule (10 items):

  1. Knit/Top for Brown Suede Jacket x2-Incomplete
  2. Printed or Striped LS T for Tan Sweatercoat x2-Incomplete
  3. Fun Blazer for Jeans-Complete with a bonus (blazer works for business capsule and OTK boots)
  4. Knit for Tall Tan Boots-Complete (green thermal with shirt tail hem)
  5. Knit for Over The Knee (OTK) Black Boots-Complete (used a blazer from business capsule instead for OTK boots, added knit for tall black boots instead)
  6. Knit/Tops for Cowboy Boots x2-Complete for cognac cowboy boots (black and grey ribbed knits)
  7. Wildcard Outfit-Complete

With the blazer working double duty for both capsules, here’s how the rest of my new stuff meets my needs.

Completed outfits by adding 4 new tops.

Completed outfits by adding 4 new tops.

The photo above shows items #4 to #6 filled.  The great thing about all of these pieces is that they will easily remix with any of my boots.  The tall black boots I forgot about during my planning, but anything that works with the OTK boots, will also work with these.  The jacket is from my outerwear collection, and works well as a topper for my cowboy boots.  The extra knitwear on the far right, is from my Spring/Summer Capsule, but will work well with the boots as well.

Bonus outfit x2.

Bonus outfit x2.

The bonus outfit became two outfits, by adding a second top.  I surprised myself with purchasing a pair of jeans, after all I recently did a purge of my jeans.  But these jeans are similar to a pair of cropped white boyfriend jeans I’ve worn all summer long, a style I’ve really enjoyed and want to extend into fall.  The boots were an unexpected purchase (after all I have plenty of boots), but they help to lighten my outfits which is something I am always trying to do, considering that I am fair skinned and have blonde hair.  The two tops, remix easily with all of my old boots too.

Bonus outfit seamlessly fitting into my old stuff.

Bonus outfit seamlessly fitting into my old stuff.

Finally, there were a couple of extra items that managed to sneak in, a pair of sandal booties and a matching colored bag.

Two extra additions.

Two extra additions.

While these two extra additions will be added to my Spring/Summer Capsule wardrobe, they help me bridge my bonus outfit so that I can start wearing items now, as I enter the transitional season from summer to fall.

Bonus outfit for transition season.

Bonus outfit with the two extra items for transition season.

For the last post in this series, I’ll end with some number crunching and what my Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe is starting with for the upcoming fall season.

As a side note, I’ve just shown how I am able to use two extra items to start wearing my bonus outfit now.  I’m thinking about a future post that shows how I plan to transition my current Spring/Summer Wardrobe to early fall.  If this is something you are interested in reading about, leave a comment below!

And finally, if you were wondering what happened to the dresses I purchased during my in store returns, well, I returned them.  If you’ve been following Shopping Brake for a while, then you already know that I am not a dress gal.  I was attracted to the pretty colors of the dresses.  But as soon as they came home I was reminded of why I don’t wear dresses.  I would need proper footwear, and proper outerwear, and proper layering pieces, for the 2 dresses to work with my wardrobe and fashion preferences.  That would be a lot of wardrobe additions which is something I do not want to do at this time.  Plus, I already added two bonus outfits.  So despite the great fit and gorgeous colors of the 2 dresses, back to the store they went.

If you shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, how did you do?

Prepping For Fall (Part Two)

(This is part two of a four-part series.   For part-one click here.)

August 7, 2016

8.7.2016_01

Fall/Winter and Business Capsule Wardrobes After The Purge

Fall/Winter Capsule Footwear

Fall/Winter Capsule Shoes (well mostly boots actually)

In my last post I began prepping for fall (part one) before I go out shopping at my favorite sale.  During that review session, I purged both my Fall/Winter and Business Capsule wardrobes.  I also began writing my shopping list, which contained 7 items to fill wardrobe holes for my Business Capsule.

Today I’ll review what the total and break down of my Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe was after that closet review session.  I’ll also share the rest of my shopping list, this time with the items I desire for my Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe.

Fall/Winter Capsule After The Purge

I walked away from my recent closet purge with 13 empty hangers and 51 items:

  • 2 Vest (gear)
  • 1 Knit (gear)
  • 1 Flannel Shirt (gear)
  • 1 Jean (bootcut-gear)
  • 1 Blazer (added from the Business Capsule wardrobe)
  • 1 Jacket
  • 2 Cardigans (1 is worn in the winter and 1 is sentimental)
  • 5 Knits (1 turtleneck, 4 crewnecks)
  • 6 LS T’s (used for layering)
  • 6 Jeans (3 bootcut and 3 skinny)
  • 6 Thermals
  • 2 Capes (1 in the photo, 1 on my office chair at work)
  • 8 Pullovers/Sweaters/Ponchos (6 are worn in the winter and 2 are sentimental)
  • 9 Shoes: 8 Boots (1 Over The Knee, 2 Knee High [black, pebble], 3 Short/Booties [grey, black buckle, black/taupe], 2 Cowboy [sentimental]) and 1 Shoe (added from the Business Capsule wardrobe)

And as a reminder, on the far right of the closet rod, is the Business Capsule Wardrobe which currently contains 12 items (counting the shoes not shown in the closet photo, but the Business Capsule Wardrobe can be found in this post):

  • 2 Blazers (cobalt and black)
  • 2 trousers (black lined full length and black cropped)
  • 3 Blouses (black, black print, blue)
  • 2 knits (black lace and black turtleneck)
  • 3 pairs of shoes (black patent pumps, black heel sandal, black short boot)

Looking at the wardrobe holes in my Fall/Winter Capsule, I began with the toppers that have no knitwear to layer with:

Toppers with no well...tops.

Toppers with no well…tops.

  • Knit/Top for Brown Suede Jacket x2:  I currently have only one style of knit to layer with this jacket, 2 turtlenecks, the navy one from my Fall/Winter Capsule and the black one from my Business Capsule Wardrobe.  This suede jacket is a piece that I’d really like to use more often, especially during the fall season, paired with my cowboy boots.
  • Printed or Striped LS T for Tan Sweatercoat x2: This sweatercoat has moved from loungewear to the fall/winter wardrobe and back again.  It is a sentimental piece, as I picked it up in Europe during my honeymoon.  I currently have nothing to pair with it and it’s a shame that it sits unworn a lot.
  • Fun Blazer for Jeans: I always adore the look of jeans paired with a blazer.  While I can (and sometimes do) pair my Business Capsule blazers with jeans, I would like a fun blazer that is specifically for jeans.  Currently I only own one blazer in my Fall/Winter Capsule, and it was the tan blazer moved from the Business Capsule.
Plenty of Sweaters/Jumpers for now.

Plenty of Sweaters/Jumpers for now.

 

A quick look at my Pullovers/Sweaters/Ponchos, I own 8 and 6 are used regularly during the season (the two on the left are sentimental).  I don’t see any holes to fill for this category.

With my toppers (blazers, cardigans, and pullovers) sorted, it’s time to move onto my boots.  Last year I struggled with wearing all of my boots regularly, often complaining I “have nothing to wear” with many of my boots:

Boots that need tops.

Boots that need tops.

  • Knit for Tall Tan Boots: These boots were purchased at the end of last year and were only worn once.  It would be nice to pair these with some tops and start using them in the fall.  I tried these boots with the sweatercoat from above, while the colors pair well together, the length of the sweatercoat is too long for these boots and hits the top of them.
  • Knit for Over The Knee (OTK) Black Boots:  A pair of boots that sat unworn a lot last year, I only have a long ribbed tunic sweater that I pair with these.  It would be nice to have an additional top so that these boots are worn more often.
  • Knit/Tops for Cowboy Boots x2:  I have two pairs of cowboy boots and they both sit unworn a lot because I don’t have many toppers for them.  The brown one’s were paired with the brown suede jacket needs in the prior photo.  For the cognac pair, I have one cardigan/knit pairing (from the Spring/Summer Capsule) that I sport with these.  The cognac jacket, is part of my outerwear capsule and is always paired with these cognac boots.  But I have no tops to layer with the jacket.  I would really like two shorter length tops, so that you can see my cowgirl belt.
  • Wildcard Outfit: The most challenging and most fun item on my list.  Shopping isn’t fun if it’s only to fill wardrobe holes.  Sometimes a gal wants to try something new.  And the only way to freshen up one’s style is to try out the latest styles or trends and see what you like.  I sport jeans daily, and I’m open to adding a fun style jean (a color, a different cut, etc) or a pair of trousers that are casual (maybe chinos or corduroy’s) or even a dress would be an option here.  The point is to give myself a new outfit, that freshens up my style for the fall season.  If I don’t, I may quickly grown bored of my new things and start to shop very soon after the sale.  The challenging part, is making sure I stop at one or two new outfits, I don’t want to run off like a wildebeest and purchase an entire new wardrobe!

I walked away from my closet review with 10 items on my shopping list for my Fall/Winter Capsule (I’m counting the wildcard outfit as one item, although it can consist of 3-4 pieces for a complete outfit).  Adding in my total from my Business Capsule shopping list (7 items from this post) and my yearly replacement sale items (lingerie wash, bras, underwear and towels x3) I’m up to 23 items!  That’s an awful lot to add at one time.

Lots of black boots.

Lots of black boots.

Finally, looking at the rest of my boots, last season I struggled to create outfits with all of the black footwear.  I haven’t come up with a solution for this problem yet, so I’ll just let this issue simmer for a little while.  I have plenty of things to shop for already anyway.

In my next post we shall see how well I did (or did not do) shopping at my favorite sale.

Are your shopping trips more successful when using a list?  

Prepping For Fall (Part One)

(This is part one of a four-part series.  Also, this is a very long and photo heavy post.)

July 31, 2016

Every year when My Favorite Sale Is Back, I use that event as the jump start to begin prepping my wardrobe for the upcoming fall/winter season.  Over the years I’ve learned that I cannot shop the sale effectively without a little pre-planning.  In order for me to assemble a list of wardrobe needs and wants to shop for, I have to first review what is inside my closet.

In my last post I detailed how I narrowed down the large number of items from my wish list, to the smaller number that went into my shopping cart.  Today the attention is turned to the closet itself, specifically my Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe from last year as well as my Business Capsule.  For this closet review, I’m going to take a very close look at my Business Capsule, as this area fell out of sorts lately, and I have been struggling with creating outfits that I am happy with.

Reviewing The Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe

Fall/Winter Wardrobe Before The Purge

Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe before the purge

Above is my Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe from last year.  Even though I typically review and cull items from my capsule wardrobes at the end of the season, I always begin with another purging session right before the season begins.  I find that the time away provides me with a clear head and I look at my closet in a new light.  I often end up purging at least a few items, especially since I want to purchase something new.  The photo above was my Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe before the purge, and before tackling the jeans.  As a reminder, my fall/winter wardrobe walked away from that recent jeans purge with 7 pairs of denim bottoms

The first five to go.

The first five to go.

Additional items I purged after a quick review of my closet included:

  • Black/Grey Knit-Damaged.  Always easy to purge something that’s ruined.
  • Grey/White Knit-I never could figure out what footwear to sport with this sweater/jumper.  Also the white neckline is already yellowing, yuck.
  • The bottom row were 3 impulse purchases from the sale rack that never went into rotation due to material (red blouse) or style (purple cardigan) or both (cropped grey top.)  One of these days I’ll learn not to impulse shop, but until then, I will end up culling items that were never worn.
7.31.2016_03

Another three to donate.

The next three were problem pieces.  The two knits are itchy to wear.  The poncho should look familiar, it’s been donated, then saved, then donated again.  Every time it goes into the donate bag I take it out.  I like the drape of it and the color paired with black.  But the short sleeves have never layered well and I do not understand why a poncho, with a turtleneck, has short sleeves.  It’s never kept me warm without a layer under it.  I’m finally letting go of this troublesome piece.

Reviewing The Business Capsule Wardrobe

After the quick review came the big task, sorting my Business Capsule.  I only focused on the clothes in my daily closet, I’ll leave the additional items that are stored in another closet (suits and a special occasion dress) for another post.  My Business Capsule Wardrobe began with 23 items in it including:

6 pairs of trousers.

6 pairs of trousers.

Five blazers

5 blazers

7.31.2016_06

6 pairs of shoes.

The Business Capsule also had 3 blouses, 1 woven top, 1 cardigan, and 1 turtleneck (which I forgot to photo).  Before I could cull anything, I reviewed the outfits I have been using.  I started with something easy, the outfits I’ve worn for recent special occasions.

7.31.2016_07

Special occasion outfits.

The outfit on the left is a black lace knit top paired with lined black trousers that make up my “suit.”  I sport this for the holiday’s come fall/winter.  On the right is my summer special occasion outfit—weddings, baby showers, bridal showers, etc.  My special occasion needs look covered to me, nothing to add to my shopping list.

Spring/Summer/Fall Business Outfits

Spring/Summer/Fall Business Capsule Outfits

The cobalt blazer and black blouse combination I sport with my full length, lined trousers from the special occasion outfit, along with my black patent pumps.  The black blazer was not purchased as part of a suit with the trousers, but the fabrics are spot on and I do wear this as my “suit” when I need one.  I included the printed blouse that I sport with the black blazer.  If I have a two day business meeting, than I’m covered with everything here.

However, I often need 3 days worth of outfits and that’s when I see the wardrobe holes.  I could really use a second pair of full length black trousers, preferably unlined, since I already have a lined pair.  The black patent pumps hurt my feet and I would like a replacement for them.  Also the ballet flats, they are not part of the Business Capsule but in a bind, I’ve worn them when the pumps became too painful to wear anymore.  The black cropped trousers, I’ve wanted to sport for the summer but I do not like how either shoe pairs with them.  Also, I’ve been rather warm layering a blazer over long sleeves in the warmer months, short sleeve options would have been helpful this summer season.

To recap the wardrobe holes:

  1. Full length black trouser
  2. Pointy toe flat shoe
  3. Replacement for the black patent pumps with a heel
  4. Long Sleeve-Blouse for one of the blazers
  5. Three short sleeve tops for the blazers for warmer months

I don’t expect to find all of these items right away, but over time these pieces would make a considerable impact on the cohesiveness of this capsule.

Business Capsule in the winter.

Winter Business Capsule Outfits.

For the winter months, I have one black turtleneck that pairs well with the black lined trousers and cobalt blazer.   The black blazer has no knit top at the moment, even after I dig around in my Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe.  The heeled boot is in good shape and is comfortable, I do not need to replace it.  And again, I have no third day outfit.  For fall/winter I’ve added an additional two items to my shopping list:

  • Knit for black blazer
  • Knit/Sweater/Cardigan for a third outfit
  • The black trouser request I’ve already covered in the Spring/Summer/Fall Business Capsule shopping list
Items to purge.

Items to purge.

Finally, what am I letting go of?  Well, reviewing what’s left from this capsule wardrobe, everything in this group has been a problem item:

  • Outfit #1-The corduroy blazer and blue trousers are difficult to pair with tops and shoes, and the color of the blazer washes me out.
  • Outfit #2-The grey trousers have once again always been a challenge for me to pair with an outfit.  The printed woven top looks too casual with the grey trousers on it’s own and I have no blazer or cardigan here (and it could really use one).  The grey suede booties are just as cute as they are painful to wear.
  • Outfit #3-The third outfit, I always felt frumpy in.  A classic button front crewneck cardigan and a plaid trouser, just feels stuffy to me when I wear these pieces.
  • Outfit #4-The pink (ish) blazer on the right and the brown tweed trousers, I could never figure out what to pair as a top and shoes for this outfit.  The open toe pump, never paired with anything and again it’s a painful shoe to wear.

It’s interesting that every single one of the pieces going into the donate pile were purchased on impulse in the past, and prior to me deciding to limit my Business Capsule to a base of black.  It’s no wonder I’ve been struggling to create outfits, I had a lot of troublesome pieces taking up room in this Business Capsule Wardrobe.

Bonus outfits.

Bonus outfits.

Finally I discovered a couple of bonus outfits.  The tan blazer from the Business Capsule, well it turns out that I actually do not like paired with any of the trousers from my Business Capsule.  But I do like it paired with my jeans!  If I sport it with my nude flats and a navy t-shirt from my Spring/Summer Capsule wardrobe, I can wear this outfit straight away.  Later, looking at items from my Fall/Winter Capsule, if I swap to a bootcut jean, the striped knit or the navy turtleneck, and use the leftover Business Capsule nude wedge pumps, I can transition this outfit for fall.  I’m not sure the height of the nude wedge pumps will make my feet happy, but I’m willing to give it a try.  If the wedges don’t work, I’ll just stick to the flats for fall.  I’m shifting the nude wedge pumps and the tan blazer to my Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe.

My Business Capsule is walking away from this purging session with 12 items:

  • 3 pairs of shoes (black patent pumps, black heel sandal, black short boot) (moved 1 to Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe and purged 2)
  • 2 Blazers (cobalt and black) (moved 1 to Fall/Winter Capsule Wardrobe and purged 2)
  • 2 trousers (black lined full length and black cropped) (purged 4)
  • 3 Blouses (black, black print, blue)
  • 2 knits (black lace and black turtleneck)

And recapping my shopping list for my Business Capsule:

  1. Full length black trouser
  2. Pointy toe flat shoe
  3. Replacement for the black patent pumps with a heel
  4. Long Sleeve-Blouse for one of the blazers
  5. Three short sleeve tops for the blazers for warmer months
  6. Knit for black blazer
  7. Knit/Sweater/Cardigan for a third outfit

Coming up in future posts:

  • I’ll share what went else went on my shopping list for my Fall/Winter and Business Capsule wardrobes as well as the totals of my Fall/Winter Capsule wardrobe before I shopped
  • In my third post for this series, I’ll share what happened with what I ordered and what I kept
  • Finally I’ll end with some number crunching and what I’m starting with for the upcoming fall season

Do you struggle with any of your wardrobe capsules?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Sale Is Back

July 23, 2016

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One event I look forward to every year occurs in the middle of July.  It is my favorite sale of the entire year—the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  And I am not alone, many bloggers are posting their advice on the best items to purchase, as well as how to shop the sale.  Here are some of my favorites:

And if you are looking for even more reading material, I have also written about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, both in 2014 and 2015.  It took me four years to learn how to shop this sale effectively, and this year I’m following the same approach as last year, with one modification, I will order online AND visit the store in person (last year I only ordered online).

My action plan is the same as last year:

  1. What do I like?
  2. Step away for a day.
  3. What are my wardrobe holes?
  4. How will I wear this item with the pieces I already own?
  5. How will I wear this item with the pieces in my shopping cart?

Fortunately, Nordstrom allowed early access without a store card.  While I was not able to make any purchases until the sale went public (I’m not a card holder), I was able to peruse the items that will be on sale and added them to my wish list (shopping cart).  This feature really works to my advantage, because it helps me to plan before I shop the sale.  I’ll outline the action steps below.

1.  What do I like?

Add everything that catches my eye to my wish list.  As a first pass I added everything that I liked, pure impulse pre-shopping.  I didn’t focus on colors or styles or anything, just if I liked it.  Ironically, this year I added 63 items, this is lower than last year (which was over 70 items) but 63 is still an awful lot to order!  Clearly some items just have to go.

2.  Step away for a day.

To give time for the shopping high to wear off I ignored my shopping cart for a day.  In truth, I ignored my shopping cart all week.  I accessed the online catalog early, and couldn’t purchase anything until the sale went public anyway.  Hot on the heels of my recent purge, where I was tackling the jeans, this time away from the cart let me continue to focus on purging my closet and prepping my wardrobe for fall.

3.  What are my wardrobe holes?

I sat down inside my closet and took inventory of my fall/winter wardrobe to identify what my wardrobe holes are.  Armed with the information I looked at my wish list to see if my impulse pieces filled those gaps in my wardrobe.

My business capsule is once again a focus this year, as this is a capsule I often struggle to maintain, and it fell out of sorts.  I have bottoms with no tops and vice versa.  With sale items, I managed to assemble two potential outfits to try, so those stayed in my shopping cart.  Back in my closet, I noticed that I own multiple pairs of boots with very few tops (or toppers, ie blazers, jackets, cardigans, sweaters/jumpers) to pair with them.  Especially my beloved cowboy boots, and a pair of tall wedge boots in a tan color that was purchased at the end of the winter season last year.  Any items that looked like they might pair well with my boots needing tops, stayed.

In my quest to keep the size of my wardrobe small I noticed that my fall/winter blazers only had one (or no) tops to pair with them.  Any tops that might pair with the blazers also remained in my shopping cart.

During my fall/winter capsule review, I noted areas that I do not need to shop for: jeans, boots, sweaters/jumpers, blazers, jackets/coats.  All of these items were removed from the shopping cart.

Despite my careful review of my shopping cart, I found myself left with a bunch of wildcard items, outfits or styles that did not fill a specific wardrobe need, merely items that I wanted to try.  Particularly trendy items, pieces that would help to keep my look fresh.  If I never try anything new, my style will not evolve.  And what gal doesn’t want to be at least a little current with their wardrobe, right?  But I do not want to purchase items that end up unworn, so I moved on to step 4.

4.  How will I wear this item with the pieces I already own?

To prevent owning a wardrobe item I cannot use in an outfit (also known as a wardrobe orphan), I looked at each item in my cart and asked myself, what outfit can I wear with this piece?  If there was nothing in my current wardrobe to pair with it, the item could be removed.  But before I did I had a follow up question.

5.  How will I wear this item with the pieces in my shopping cart?

As a follow up to the above question, I then asked myself, is there anything in my shopping cart I can pair with this item?  If I had nothing in my current wardrobe or my shopping cart that I could pair with it, the item was removed.  I was left with 35 items in my wish list, once again I was down, from my total last year of 52.  But….

Isn’t 35 items still a lot of things to order?

Absolutely!  And why are there still so many items in my cart?  The reasons are the same as last year, multiple sizes, multiple colors and challenging fit items, especially business clothing, I find trousers even harder for me to fit than jeans.  I also walked away from my shopping cart review with a small list of things that I had to purchase in person.  I am due for new bras and I don’t trust measuring myself, I want a sales associate to do it.  I pick up a bottle of the Nordstrom lingerie wash every year and with our high temperatures lately, I do not want a liquid mailed to my home, I’d rather purchase that in person.  And I don’t trust purchasing make-up online, as I do not feel that my computer screen (or me) accurately identify the colors without some help.

In a four-part mini series over the next few posts I’ll share the results of my closet purge, what went on my fall/winter shopping list, and what happened with my online orders and in store visit.

Do you over order when shopping online?

 

 

 

 

Tackling The Jeans

July 17, 2016

That's a lotta jeans!

That’s an awful lot of jeans!

Encouraged by DH’s recent t-shirt purge, I decided to tackle one of the clothing areas that has managed to climb up in number on me lately, jeans.  I sport my jeans daily, making this a challenging area for me to purge.  As someone with a pear shape body, athletic build, and short in height, bottoms are always a headache for me to shop for.  In fact, I am often so aggravated when shopping for any type of bottom, I eliminated dresses and skirt from my closet a long time ago, and I rarely sport shorts.  I only own 3 pairs of shorts and I haven’t worn them since going on holiday in May.  Even in our current 90-100F temperatures, you will typically find me in jeans.  My general tendency to run cold in a/c settings, combined with the fit challenges due to my body type, means that bottoms are just as hard for me to purge, as they are to shop for.

Here is how I purged my jeans:

  1. My jean capsule (the photo at the top of this post) had 17 pairs (which includes my gear jeans).  2 cropped jeans, 7 bootcut and 8 skinnies.
  2. I began by pulling out all of the jeans I am currently using in my spring/summer capsule.  That total was 5.  One cropped white pair (what I wear as my “shorts”), three pairs of skinny jeans, and a pair of bootcut blue jeans as gear (for horseback riding).
Jeans in the spring/summer capsule

Jeans for spring/summer capsule.

3. Next up was tackling my fall/winter capsule.  At first I was going to use the same number as the spring/summer capsule, 4 daily use jeans and 1 gear pair.  Beginning at 17 pairs of jeans, and reducing down to 10, would mean purging 7 pairs of jeans.  Every time I got down to 5 pairs of jeans for fall/winter, I balked at the donation pile with 7 pairs of jeans in it.  I just couldn’t let go of 41.2% of my jean collection.

Why was this capsule so hard?  Well, I’m not currently using my fall/winter capsule.  How do I really know if 4 pairs of jeans is enough for fall/winter?  Also, my fall/winter capsule is usually my largest capsule in my wardrobe.  I sport boots for as long as I can every year, which means all of my jeans dedicated to boots are used more often than the jeans in my spring/summer capsule.

So I decided on donating 5 pairs of jeans (29.4%) instead of 7.  I figure I can always revisit the jeans in my fall/winter capsule again during the season to see if I kept too much.

Jeans for fall/winter capsule.

Jeans for fall/winter capsule.

My fall/winter capsule jeans includes: 3 bootcut, 3 skinnies, and an additional pair of skinny blue jeans as gear (for horseback riding).  This brings about an interesting question, why don’t I just use my summer skinnies in the winter (or vice versa) and shrink my jean capsule a little more?

A great question.  Unlike the skinny jeans in my spring/summer capsule, the skinnies in my winter capsule are very tight near the ankle, and I do not like the look with flats.  My summer skinnies bunch at the ankle, making them appealing to my eye with flats, but they tend to bunch up uncomfortably with tall boots for the winter.

Unlike DH’s recent t-shirt purge, I wasn’t able to cull my jean capsule by half.  However, I did remove 5 pairs, and that’s a fine start.

Jeans for donation.

5 pairs of jeans for donation.

I find it helpful to review why something is leaving my closet.  Here’s why I’m letting these 5 pairs of jeans go…the black cropped jeans I haven’t worn once this spring/summer season, I keep favoring my white crops instead.  The 3 bootcut jeans are either worn out, don’t fit, or I never liked the color of the wash on the jeans, and the skinny pair, were worn out.  And I’m happy to report that the purchase price of these jeans ranged from $39.99 to $119.90 and the cost per wear was under $1.00 for all of them, except the one pair that I didn’t like the wash of.  A fwe worn out pairs of jeans is a great sign of progress, yay!

Do you struggle to purge your jeans?

She’s Got Shoes, He’s Got T-Shirts

July 10, 2016

An overabundance of t-shirts

Before–An overabundance of t-shirts in DH’s closet

DH has the kind of closet that I can only dream about.  As a minimalist, his closet rods and shelves have all of the room to store the things that he needs, without everything squeezed and squished together.

Despite his small wardrobe, every year there is one item that creeps up in number, until the stacks are ready to fall over.  It’s the clothing item every man owns too much of…t-shirts.  A woman may own too many shoes, but when it comes to husband’s, it’s always too many t-shirts isn’t it?  We set aside some time and went through his supply of t-shirts.  In about an hour, DH and I managed to reduce his t-shirt by 50%.

Started with 40 t-shirts, yikes!  Since DH has been dieting to loose weight, we created 4 piles:

Pile 1-We kept 10 t-shirts for the size he is now.  8 in the closet, 1 to wear that day and 1 was in the wash.

Pile 2-We kept 8 t-shirts for when he looses 10 pounds, or a year passes, which ever comes first.

Pile 3-We kept 2 junk t-shirts (not shown in photo)

Pile 4-The donation pile, a total of 20 t-shirts.

And here’s DH’s t-shirt collection after the purge.

After-Left side is the t-shirts for now. Right side is the t-shirts for later.

After-Left side are the t-shirts for now. Right side are the t-shirts for later.

What item do you, or your partner, always have a tendency to overstock on?

It’s Just Another Holiday

July 4, 2016

Today is Independence Day in the US, one of the 10 Federal Holiday’s.  And in accord with a federal holiday, all of the retailers are conducting their holiday sales.  How exciting!  Merchandise will be on sale now, since it’s a holiday.  And holiday’s don’t happen every day.  Surely this is a reason to go shopping today right?

Wrong.

I’m going to repeat myself, Independence Day is one of 10 federal holiday’s in the US.  TEN holidays.  And retailers run a holiday sale, for every single holiday.  That’s TEN sales!  There are only 12 months in a year, and retailers are conducting holiday sales for ten of them.  That leaves only two months out of the year, without a sale.

Ok, well that’s not entirely true.  The ten holiday’s in the US are not evenly spread out across the year.  Three of these holiday’s occur in January alone (New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday, and Inauguration Day) and another two (Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving Day) take place in the month of November.

Regardless, if I shopped based on holiday’s sales I would end up shopping a minimum of ten times a year, and my purchases would be unevenly distributed throughout the year.  Also, this begs the question, if retailers hold sales ten times a year (and we all know they hold many more than that) just how special are these holiday sales anyway?

This year I’m avoiding the Independence Day sales, and the upcoming Labor Day sales in September, and while I’m at it, I’ll by pass the Columbus Day sales in October too.  Aw heck, I’ll just stick to shopping for what I want, when I want it, and ignore the retailers teasing of trying to get me to shop just because it’s a holiday sale.

Do holiday sales tempt you to shop?

Open Space

May 24, 2016

week 1_01

Starting with an empty closet.

One of these reasons why I strive to reduce the size of my wardrobe, is so that my clothes have a little breathing room.  I used to pull out one top, and get two more along with it, either because the hangers were squished together, or because more than one top was stored on the same hanger.  As I have purged pieces from my wardrobe, and have NOT add anything new, I’ve been able to increase the amount of open space in my closet.

The photo above is from the DH Closet Challenge, and is the the ultimate example of open space in a closet.  Today, after years of struggling with overshopping, this open space represents a state of satisfaction.  Empty space in my closet, means that I have enough, and I am where I want to be.

But a few years ago, this open space meant scarcity.  I strived to fill every inch of available space in my closet, because these empty areas, meant that my life was empty too.

Open space used to make me shop and seek to add more, but now, this open space demosntrates that I am where I want to be, happy and content.

What does the open space in your closet mean to you?

Fast To Buy, Slow To Purge

May 17, 2016

I recently stumbled across one of my favorite jean manufacturers, holding an exceptional sale.  The Lucky Brand outlet store had select pairs of Lucky Brand jeans discounted enough times for a total cost of $12 to $16 per pair of jeans.  I immediately jumped at the chance to purchase my beloved jeans at such a low price, after all these jeans typically start at a cost of $74.50 per pair.

It took me less than 20 minutes to have the sales associate pull the jeans in my size and favorite styles.  I walked out with these four pairs of jeans.

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Four new pairs in under 20 minutes

Then came the hard part.  Figuring out which pairs of jeans to purge from my wardrobe.  It took me over two hours to select four pairs of jeans to donate.

Why did it take longer to purge than buy?

Easy.  I didn’t enter the Lucky Brand outlet store seeking to purchase jeans.  When I returned home, I had three options:

  1. Add the new jean to my wardrobe, increasing the total number of items in my wardrobe by four
  2. Return the jeans, despite the low price
  3. Select four pairs of jeans to donate/purge from my wardrobe

Well, I was unwilling to return the deeply discounted jeans and  I realized that I would prefer to sport my newest jeans, over my old ones, thus options 1 and 2 were eliminated.

So how did I decide which jeans to purge?  I selected my oldest pairs of jeans, as well as the jeans that were washes and cuts I never really cared for, as the one’s to purge.  Hopefully my old jeans, that still have some life left in them, will find a new home.  And now I can use the new jeans I impulsively purchased.

Which of the three options would you have chosen for the four new pairs of jeans?