Planning Before Shopping

October 9, 2014


Top row: From the boutique. Bottom row: Items to purge.

Top row: From the boutique // Bottom row: Items to purge.

With the Fall French Capsule Challenge now complete, I’ve been able to return to my entire fall/winter capsule wardrobe.  And after working with my entire fall/winter capsule wardrobe once again, it’s time to adjust some of the items in my wardrobe.  I’ve noticed a wardrobe hole with my current fall/winter capsule—mid-weight layers.  I have plenty of heavier weight sweaters, which will work well once our weather drops a bit more in temperature, but I’m struggling to successfully layer my current wardrobe items.  Which means it’s time once again to shop the boutique first to fill this wardrobe hole.  But before I go shopping, I want to plan what I’m looking for so that I can shop for items that will seamlessly integrate into my current fall/winter capsule wardrobe.

By planning before I go shopping, I’m able to select items that fit into my current wardrobe seamlessly, instead of just randomly adding items that catch my eye.  This doesn’t mean that I don’t get sidetracked by other items, as you’ll read below I still do, but planning ahead does help me stay at least a little more focused while I shop.

What I’m shopping for:

  • Layering Knits-I have plenty of layering LS T’s, short sleeve tops, and heavy weight knits, but I am lacking in middle weight knits that will layer for our cool but not yet cold weather.
  • Bootcut Jean-I learned during the Fall French Capsule Challenge that I’m really craving another pair of bootcut jeans while our fall weather is still dry.  Once our weather turns wet, I’ll be sporting my jeans tucked into boots daily, which means straight leg and skinny jeans everyday.

What I’m adding from the boutique:

  1. Dark Wash Bootcut Jean-I realized during the Fall French Capsule Challenge that I’m really craving my bootcut jeans right now.  These dark wash jeans will perfectly satisfy my bootcut jean cravings.
  2. Two Mid Weight Knits-Both of these knits are mid weight, they are not heavy enough for our cold winter days, but our current 60-70F weather is perfect for them.  The short sleeve tops I already have in the boutique are not warm enough when layered with a topper (jacket, blazer, or cardigan) but these mid weight knits should work perfectly.

What I’m purging from the fall/winter capsule wardrobe:

I’m including the reasons why and what the CPW/CPU of the item was at the time of the purge.

  1. Side Zipper Skinny Jeans-These jeans drive me batty because of the side zippers near the ankle.  The zipper rubs against my ankle bone when I pair these jeans with ballet flats, sans socks.  And tucked into my boots and booties, the zipper rubs a bit more since it’s pressed up against a boot. CPW/CPU = $1.43, worn 39 times
  2. Camo Print Jeans-I’m not sure why these bottoms were listed as jeans, as the material really reminds me of a trouser.  And that’s exactly the problem with them.  Because they do not have the spandex count that my straight leg and skinny jeans do, they do not have the ‘give’ that I prefer for my tighter fitting bottoms.  I also struggle to remix these ‘jeans’ because of the print.  It’s a dark camo, but also a warm based print.  My wardrobe is mostly cool based colors. CPW/CPU =$3.88, worn 17 times
  3. Short Sleeve Knit Top-This top was part of the Fall French Capsule Challenge wardrobe and it was very difficult to style.  It doesn’t layer comfortably with jackets and blazers because of the bulk, and the color is not mixing well with my capsule wardrobe. I don’t think short sleeve sweaters work well for me.  CPW/CPU =$7.65, worn 3 times

When shopping I typically stick to one in/one out of my items, in the same category.  If I pick up two new tops, I’ll usually purge two old tops.  But this time, I did not.  Instead I purged two bottoms for two tops.  Which begs the question, should one always replace like items for like items?

I don’t think so.  If I always kept my wardrobe categories at the same number, my wardrobe and style would never get a chance to evolve over time.  By shifting the number of items from one category to the next, I can slowly adjust my wardrobe to prevent boredom without leaving myself too short in any given category.

The additional new items after getting side tracked.

Of course, when I get started shopping, it becomes tough to stop.  And I also ended up making a few more tweaks to my wardrobe.  I don’t have anymore bootcut jeans left in the boutique, so I found myself in the stores looking for a new pair.  Unfortunately, I ended up walking away with two pairs, because they were on sale.  Sigh, one of these days I’ll be more disciplined.  However, I did resist walking away with some new knit tops and sweaters, despite the fact that I really, really wanted to pick up a few.  So only one new pair of jeans I did not pre-plan to purchase doesn’t seem as bad when I remember how badly I wanted to purchase many more items than just the two new jeans.

Top row: New additions. Bottom row: Items to purge.

Top row: New additions // Bottom row: Items to purge.

A couple more new additions:

  1. Black Bootcut Jeans-These were the unexpected purchase during my trip to the stores.  I liked the fit of the blue one’s so much I decided to get a black pair too.  And they satisfy my craving for bootcut jeans.  With the addition of these and the dark wash one’s from the boutique above, I now have two pairs of bootcut jeans in my fall/winter wardrobe.
  2. Tan Sweatercoat-This was a souvenir from a trip to Italy, 5 years ago!  And I am finally going to start sporting this piece.
  3. Blue Bootcut Jeans-This pair of jeans was the reason why I went shopping in the stores and NOT the boutique.  As you will read below, I was hunting for a replacement pair of blue bootcut jeans.

In order the maintain the size of my wardrobe, it’s important that I continue to purge items when I add something new.

A couple more purged items:

  1. Black Skinny Jeans-These jeans still have some life in them, although they have been washed enough to be far more grey than black at this point.  But if I want to keep the new black one’s then these have to go.  And since I still have plenty of skinny and straight leg jeans in my fall wardrobe (4 pairs actually), I’m passing these on. CPW/CPU = $1.33, worn 33 times
  2. Tan Poncho-This was a favorite piece last year, although it fits odd in the arms (very tight in the arms).  I’m tired of fighting with this piece so I’m passing it on. CPW/CPU = $1.88, worn 9 times
  3. Blue Bootcut Jeans-These jeans are the entire reason why I went shopping in the stores.  The hems have been ripped for a while now but I kept wearing them anyway.  And now I’ve ripped the belt loops off.  This pair of jeans is actually from my spring/summer wardrobe, but I keep reaching for them to satisfy my current bootcut jean cravings.  CPW/CPU = $1.15, worn 87 times



Fall/Winter capsule wardrobe after the updates.

Although I did get a bit side tracked while updating my wardrobe, I still have the same number of total items.  And since the sweatercoat is too heavy to hang up, I now have TWO empty hangers in my closet.

I am on week 48 of The DH Closet Challenge and have 58 items for fall/winter:

  • 6 bottoms (jeans and trousers; 3 purged, 1 added from the boutique, 1 added from the stores and 1 knit top instead of a jean added; the 4th pair [blue bootcut jean] purged/added is from the spring/summer wardrobe)
  • 13 toppers (this includes: pullover sweaters, blazers and cardigans; no change)
  • 8 knits (used for layering; added 2 from the boutique)
  • 4 gear items (2 toppers [fleece, hoodie], 1 layering knit [turtleneck] and 1 bottom [jean]; no change)
  • 1 shirt (for layering; no change)
  • 5 LS T’s (for layering; no change)
  • 4 tanks (for layering; no change)
  • 6 thermal layers (no change)
  • 5 scarves (no change)
  • 4 workout items (2 tops and 2 bottoms; not shown in closet photo; no change)
  • 2 Short Sleeve Tops/Knits (1 purged)

Do you always stick to one in/one out of like items?


  1. I love these types of posts, as I am a fellow analytical thinker! You are really doing an excellent job in cultivating a workable wardrobe. I love that you are using the “boutique” first to fulfill your needs before going to the stores. As for the duplicate jeans, I can totally see why you bought them. I don’t know about you, but pants/jeans are SO hard to find for me that I would very likely buy two colors if I found a pair that worked well on me.

    You are almost at a year now and have probably made more progress than you ever would have anticipated. I’m sure you will be a wrap-up post at the year mark, even if you plan to continue the DH Closet Challenge (which I hope you will). I look forward to reading your insights at that point. Best wishes for your continued growth and learning!

    1. I also find bottoms very difficult to fit. As a petite pear, I have the double challenge of not only fitting the pear shape, but also my short legs! I am planning on continuing with the challenge past the one year mark, it’s been going so well why stop now right? I want to finish off the boutique and eventually streamline my wardrobe just a tad more in size.

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