minimalism

Encapsulate

As I proceeded to work on my capsule wardrobe (more details here and here), I did some math.  The basic gist of the capsule wardrobe is a certain number of items, all working together in the same vein of style, to be easily mixed for a season of time of year.  There are various sources on the internet that do not align with the count of items - I've seen anywhere from 33 to 38 items per capsule.  Let's say that I want to be conservative and go with 33 items in each capsule.  And let's say that I had four different capsule wardrobes; one for each season.

4 seasons x 33 items per capsule = 132 total items

And this is just the conservative estimate of items that would be my closet!  I looked at that number and immediately thought "There's no way I can have that much clothing."  I don't have a ton of clothing already, and I wasn't interested in accumulating more of it for no real reason other than to fulfill an arbitrary quota.

The other issue I had with creating my capsule wardrobe was that, at least in Pennsylvania, it does not seem like we have four seasons of equal length.  I do realize that having four seasons, three months each, is not possible in other parts of the world either.  It just seems like we only get about a month or two of autumn (if there's not a hurricane) and a month or less of spring (especially when there is a Polar Vortex).  Needless to say, the seasonal breakdown was just not practical for me.  I'm always cold anyway, so my always-colder-than-everyone-else body temperature had to be taken into account, too.

Yet another issue I had was that I often wear layers.  Those layers can be pared down for the summer, and put on more heavily in the winter.  So I also had pieces that couldn't simply be put in a capsule for winter, and stashed away while I could still wear them during the spring or fall.

What I did was this: clothing that could be worn year round is in a separate category.  Then, I divided the rest of the clothing into an October - March capsule, and an April - September capsule.  This way, very heavy winter clothing (a wool skirt) would not be combined in a capsule with things such as sleeveless tops.

My final count of clothing items?

Year-Round: 22 pieces

April to September: 14 pieces

October to March: 12 pieces

Remember - this is not including things like accessories or loungewear, like pajamas, sweatshirts, or loungewear like tee-shirts and the like.

Total: 48 pieces

My advice with creating a capsule wardrobe?  Do what works for you!  Modify as needed, but stay true to the thesis of what a capsule wardrobe really is.  I'll be posting more about what each piece in my capsule wardrobe is soon, and starting a new wardrobe series as well.  If you're starting or already have a capsule wardrobe, I'd love to hear about what you're doing!  Did you need to modify it?  Change anything to better suit you?  Let's hear all about it in the comments.

Love and light,

Alyssa

Piling it Up

I used to think that talking about fashion, clothing, and beauty was such a trivial thing.  That I would be viewed as someone who was vain, or otherwise incapable of an intelligent thought.  How times have changed.  First of all, who cares what anyone else thinks.  Seriously.

Second of all, it really is important for me to think of myself as someone who is attractive and worthy.  Worthy of what?  Well, I think I'm worthy of a positive self-image, and if that means reconsidering the items I wear and the style I have, then so be it.


Image found here.

Back to getting un-fancy.  I spoke briefly in this post about my discovery of capsule wardrobes, and my journey into simplification.  In beginning to think about my capsule wardrobe, I found that I pretty much already fell into a pitfall surrounding the "rules" of a capsule wardrobe before I really even started.  The issue was that many of my articles of clothing are multi-season items.  J.Crew tee shirts are a prime example of that.  As are my blue jeans, and several dresses and skirts.  Blouses can be layered underneath heavier items, so I was really in a bind when it came to being able to effectively separate my clothing into capsules for different seasons.

Another issue of living in Pennsylvania, especially in the past six months, is that seasonal temperatures can be wildly unpredictable, AND some seasons last for six months.  Especially for us gals who are always cold.

What was I to do?

I changed the rules!  They weren't working for me.  I can't have four different capsules, to change out every three months.  If each capsule had a maximum number of 33 items, that means that without any overlap at all, there would be about 132 items I'd have to think about.  That is way too many!  Personally, I didn't think that I could really handle that.  Too much to worry about.

So I cleaned out.  Anything that I hadn't worn in 4 months, anything I didn't love, and anything that was no longer my style, was donated or given away to a friend.

I'll be talking about what stayed in my wardrobe, and also how I've separated things into "capsules" that make more sense for my life.  Until then, check out this post for more inspiration.

Love and light,

Alyssa

Getting Un-Fancy

About a month ago, I stumbled upon a really fantastic fashion blog.  Before I divulge any more details, I feel that I really need to say that my thoughts about fashion and clothing have changed a lot in the past few years.


On a hike on the Wissahickon Trail, wearing my absolute favorite item.
Red rose scarf from Terrain.

If you'd spoken to me a year ago, I would have said that I didn't care about fashion or personal style, as long as I was comfortable and maintained a professional appearance.  I would have also told you (and to this day, still believe) that I was wearing a lot of high-quality hand me downs from my mother.  Happily, we're the same size in clothing sometimes, which really set me up for a good starter set of clothes for a professional wardrobe.  However, I would have said little to nothing about what my personal style was.  Honestly, I'm still figuring that out!  With the help of some virtual inspiration and guidance, I'm getting there.

Enter Caroline of Caroline Joy Photography and, her newest venture, Un-Fancy.

Un-Fancy is a blog in which Caroline displays and documents her capsule wardrobe, and the outfits that she creates during each capsule season.

I know what you're thinking - what the heck is a capsule wardrobe?

There are several different definitions that you can find online.  Loosely, a capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing pieces that can be interchanged efficiently, to create numerous different outfits. But isn't that any wardrobe?

The definition that you'll find most often today is that a capsule wardrobe is a compilation of pieces of clothing, ranging from 33 to 37 items, that the individual wears in a season.  Spring's capsule would be different than autumn's capsule, for example, because of the temperature difference (at least in my neck of the woods).  If you want to see another definition, check out Caroline's definition and this article too.

When I began reading up on this idea, the first thing that went through my head was, "Wow.  That sounds like a lot of clothing for just one season!"

The second thing I thought was, "I want to love all of my clothes, and right now, I could probably donate some things that I haven't recently worn."

Want to know what I did after that?  In my next blog post about my capsule wardrobe, I'll be talking about the pitfall I fell into with my capsule wardrobe before I even truly got started.

Love and light,

Alyssa

Leave it Behind

I know you've heard that little saying.

"Less is more."

I'm writing this from a perspective of wanting more positive change in my life.  Positive in what way?  I believe that when things are organized and easy to understand or complete, then I can focus more on the things that I really want to spend time on.  That I'll have more time to make what truly matters happen.  That I can focus more on the people that I love and the things that I love to do.

I've been feeling pretty inspired recently by several people out there on the internet (who are also real life people that I may one day be fortunate enough to meet) who are living life while operating under a minimalist philosophy.  They might still have lots of clothes in their wardrobe, but perhaps they've pared down on their work obligations.  Maybe their closet was completely cleaned out, but now that they have just the basics that they need, they are able to focus more on internal things, about themselves and others, than on the external of what we usually see.

I've been whittling down my closet, getting rid of some things that I don't wear, or that really weren't my style in the first place.  I've been saying "NO" to more obligations that I can take on, in work and in my personal life.  These changes have been small, but I've felt more free now than I have in a long time.  I think that focusing on what matters most, and constantly reminding myself of what that really is, has made me more conscientious of the words that I'm saying, the interactions I am purposefully making, and the actions that I take and others notice.

Fortunately, my kind fiancé Chris is, by his very utilitarian and practical nature, a minimalist in his own regard.  It's nice to find some company in even minor lifestyle changes.  Take a look at the links below for some more information and inspiration, from people who encourage me to be more focused and have less clutter: mentally and physically.


I've never been a person who shares a lot about clothing or style, but I truly believe that simplification can make life easier, and if I can always like how I'm dressed, all the better!  For some reason, when I was a bit younger, I think I was resigned to thinking that even if I didn't like something in my closet, I had to continue to wear it.  It sounds really simple, but making definitive decisions in a closet is not a daunting task - but it really was for some time!  I've been gradually cutting down and refining, and I feel more me than ever before.  That's a huge step in my growth, and in my happiness.

It is also crucial for my personal style, image, and voice to be consistent throughout my brand and my life.  There's a lot of spill-over from career to personal life, but when can make image seamless across the board, my personality and my personal aesthetic can influence my business in a very positive way, and vice-versa.

Feeling like myself in my current job is something that I really truly struggle with.  I feel like I go to work and have a face there, and I come home and have a different face here.  It's not even truly the face that I'm talking about - it's the clothes, the mannerisms, the conversation, the tone, the everything and anything that makes me myself.  This is something that is a great source of stress for me, and I am working on changing the tone and the circumstances.  But change is slow and small, so for now, this is where I start.

Love and light,

Alyssa