My Wardrobe, Myself

The intersection of clothing, emotions, and life

About a month ago, I posted about my first time creating a “four-by-four capsule wardrobe,” which is a concept from The Vivienne Files blog.  At the time, I thought I’d be dealing with at least another month of cool weather, so I put the capsule together with that in mind. However, I was pleasantly surprised that “June Gloom” didn’t really come to pass this year, and we’ve been blessed with warm and sunny weather most days. Of course, the downside of that was that I wasn’t able to give my four-by-four capsule a good tryout, but I’m sure it will still come in handy when fall and winter roll around. At least I got a better sense of my closet favorites and how to mix and match them for maximum versatility, which is a “win” in my book.

putting together a capsule wardrobe

Have you ever put together a capsule wardrobe? Most of us have for travel! 

Since I enjoyed the challenge of putting a small capsule together and because capsule posts seem to be popular here, I’m going to give the four-by-four another try, this time for summer. I will likely take some sort of trip in the coming months, which is where this wardrobe concept can really come in handy. Additionally, the four-by-four is a great way to see how versatile one’s wardrobe really is, and it can serve as a nice foundation for a larger capsule. In fact, I will likely do a follow-on post soon expanding this capsule to a Project 333 for summer (focusing only on clothing piece rather than 33 total items).

The First Core of Four

As a reminder, the four-by-four wardrobe starts out with a first “core of four” of two tops and two bottoms in a core neutral color. My core neutral is always black, no matter what season we’re in, so I chose two pairs of black pants, a black short-sleeved top, and a black cardigan for this first grouping. While the pants may look quite similar, they’re actually more distinct than they appear in terms of fabrication, style, and silhouette.

The Farallon Weekender Pants are brand new, so I took a bit of a chance in including them in my capsule, but I think they’ll work out well for me. They’re more casual in nature and can be modified via the snap feature at the hem. Like all Athleta pants, they’re available in a wide size range, and they’re also offered in an off-white color. I usually shy away from light-colored bottoms, but I could see possibly purchasing the other color if the pants work out well for me in the coming weeks (I need to take my own advice about “test-driving” potential multiples first!).

The other three items in this group are tried-and-true favorites. I like that the black tee includes the cross-strap detail to make it more special than a plain tee (I have plenty of those, too, as I wrote about recently!). The lightweight black cardigan has been in my closet since 2010 and it’s still going strong! I wish clothing was made as well now, but I haven’t found that to be the case in most instances. The second pair of pants are from last year and are a basic style that can be easily dressed up or down. I own other black pants that I considered, but I thought these were the best ones to include in a small capsule, as they would likely be the first pair I’d grab when packing for travel.

first core of four - summer

The Second Core of Four

The instructions from The Vivienne Files for the second core of four is to choose two tops/toppers and two bottoms in a second neutral, or alternatively more items in the first neutral color. Like with my cool weather capsule, I elected to choose more black pieces here, as well as one pair of jeans. The black knit blazer (which is now on deep sale, but in limited sizes) was also part of my first four-by-four, as it’s a good crossover item between the seasons. It might be too warm to wear during the day, but it would work nicely for evening occasions or in an air-conditioned setting.

The black print pants have been a favorite of mine since 2018, and I still enjoy wearing them. It’s not easy for me to find non-basic pants in tall sizes, but Old Navy (a “sister brand” of Athleta) can be a good resource for that (and also for petite and plus sizing).  The black side-tie top has also been in my closet since 2018. I like to tie it lower than is shown in the stock photo, to create more of a tunic silhouette. It’s lightweight and flattering on my shape.

The jeans are a bit too large for me now, but the adjuster buttons I bought from Amazon help to create a better fit. I’ve added the faux buttons to all of my jeans so that I can continue wearing them at my current weight/size, and it’s working well for me. These jeans are shown uncuffed, but I like to wear them with a large cuff to create a more casual and “summery” look. I usually pair them with heeled sandals or peep-toe booties.

second core of four - summer

The Mileage Four

The third grouping is where more exciting pieces are added to the mix. The instructions are to select four tops that coordinate well with the first eight garments in the capsule. This is where prints, patterns, and accent colors can be introduced, and that’s exactly what I did! I chose to include polka dots, stripes, a bold print, and a bright red tee here. These tops coordinate well with almost all of the pieces in my first and second cores of four (the printed tops probably won’t work with the pair of printed pants, though).

The black polka-dot tank is another “oldie but goodie” that has been in my closet since 2017. The front of the top is woven, while the back is a black knit fabric. This top can easily be dressed up or down. I like that it has a nice high-low silhouette that I feel is very flattering. The striped tank is fun because of the varying stripes, and I like that white is more predominant in the print than black. That helps to give a “lighter” appearance that works well for summer. I bought this top in 2020, and it was a favorite of mine for the past two summers.

The navy print top is from last year, and it was a bit of a “wildcard” for me. I don’t usually wear such bold and busy prints, but the fact that it’s grounded in navy helps a lot. I like that the top also includes other colors that I like to wear, including teal, red, and black. Speaking of red, it’s become my favorite bright color to wear (besides cobalt, of course), so I wanted to include at least one red piece in my four-by-four capsule. I decided to select the scoop-neck tee from J. Jill that I picked up in 2020. It’s a very basic tee, but it fits well and can be made more exciting by the accessories that I pair with it.

the mileage four - summer

The Expansion Four

The instructions for this last group of garments are less specific, but the point is to round out the capsule and make it more exciting and versatile. The recommendation is to include at least two more tops or toppers here, but one can also choose to add a dress or additional bottoms if desired. I considered adding a dress, but because I wear different toppers with dresses and skirts for silhouette reasons, I opted to stick with pants for this capsule. I ultimately chose to add one bright top and three bright or printed toppers as my final garments.

The top is in one of my longtime favorite colors, cobalt. I like that this top includes an interesting ruffle detail at the neckline, which adds visual interest without being “loud” or overwhelming. This top pairs well with all of the pants in the capsule. The three cardigans are all very similar in silhouette and were all purchased at J. Jill in 2020. Because I tend to run cooler than most people, I like to have a cardigan or jacket on hand even in the summer. I may not end up wearing it during the day, but I almost always wear some sort of topper in the evenings. I love the bright red and teal colors, and the black and white print is right up my alley.

the expansion four - summer

This was the most difficult grouping to select, and I pondered whether or not to choose an additional top instead of one of the cardigans. If I would have elected to do so, it probably would have replaced one of the bright cardigans, as I definitely wanted to include the printed one in the mix to wear with my black tops and pants, as well as the two bright tops (red and blue). I will show some alternative tops that I considered below, and it’s possible that I might opt to switch something out as I wear the capsule (which I intend to do to test it out as a potential travel wardrobe).

Rounding Up All of the Garments

Here’s a look at the sixteen garments in my summer four-by-four wardrobe capsule:

summer four-by-four capsule garments

Broken down by color, here’s what we’re looking at:

  • 6 solid black pieces (2 tops, 2 toppers, 2 pairs of pants)
  • 4 black-and-white printed pieces (2 tops, 1 topper, 1 pair of pants)
  • 3 blue or blue printed pieces (2 tops, 1 topper)
  • 2 red pieces (1 top, 1 topper)

I wanted to keep my color palette fairly tight to increase the mix-and-match capabilities. Of course, not all of the pieces can be worn with every other piece, but there are still a lot of viable possibilities available to me. Each pair of pants can be worn with at least four tops (and some with all seven tops), each topper can be worn with at least three pairs of pants (and most with all four), and each top can be worn with at least four of the toppers. I didn’t count up all of the outfit combinations, but I know I have at least twenty that I could work with, and that number will go up when I add accessories in (see later in the post).

Four-By-Four Capsule by Category

I think it helps to look at the capsule pieces broken down by categories. I did this as I was making my selections, which actually caused me to swap a few things out to make the capsule more versatile. My sixteen-item capsule consists of four pairs of pants, seven tops, and five toppers, which interestingly is the same composition as that of my cool weather four-by-four. As I mentioned above, five toppers might be too many for a summer capsule, so I might ultimately swap one or two of them out in favor of more tops. However, if you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I like my toppers, especially cardigans, so I’m keeping it as-is for now.

Here’s a look at my capsule pieces by category, starting with the pants:

summer four-by-four capsule pants

These are the four pairs of pants in my summer “four-by-four” capsule.

summer four-by-four capsule tops

I included these seven tops in my summer “four-by-four” wardrobe. 

summer four-by-four capsule toppers

I have five toppers in my summer capsule collection. 

You may wonder where the dresses, skirts, and shorts are. I actually haven’t worn shorts for years, other than for exercising at home. I have a lot of varicose and spider veins on my legs that I don’t like to show off, plus it doesn’t get so hot where I live such that cropped pants aren’t okay for summer. I do plan to have a procedure for my varicose veins (which are only on my left leg but are quite prominent) later this year, so maybe I’ll opt to wear shorts next year, even if just for going on walks on a hot day.

As for dresses and skirts, I do still like to wear them, and I will include some of each in the larger Project 333 capsule that I’ll create for a future post. However, in order to keep a tight and versatile group of sixteen garments for my four-by-four, I decided to just stick with pants. Since I wear different tops and toppers with skirts and dresses versus pants (because I don’t like to tuck my tops on my very short-waisted frame), it would have gotten too complicated to mix things up. My “pickiness” regarding top silhouettes is part of why I’ve moved away from skirts and toward the simplicity of dresses in recent years. While I still wear alternate toppers with my dresses versus pants, things are still simpler in my closet these days as opposed to a few years ago when I was all about wearing skirts.

The Integration Four or More

The Vivienne Files doesn’t provide a hard and fast limit around accessories for the four-by-four capsule.  While most of the examples that she presents include around eight accessories, I decided to double that number and select sixteen accessories, just like I did with my cool weather capsule. I did this because accessories don’t usually take up a lot of space and they also do so much to give our outfits variety and make them interesting.

I broke my “integration items” into two groupings, jewelry pieces and “other” items (which include shoes, bags, and scarves). Let’s start with the jewelry. I selected four pairs of earrings, two bracelets, and two necklaces for my capsule. All of the jewelry pieces are silver, and half of them also include black, which makes sense given the number of black garments in my four-by-four. The necklaces are both long, as that better suits the necklines of the tops in my collection. Here’s a look at the jewelry pieces I chose (two of these pieces were also in my “not summer” capsule):

summer integration items - jewelry

For the “other” section, I chose four pairs of shoes, three scarves, and one handbag. Three pairs of shoes are black, but they’re all quite different. The other pair of shoes is a metallic sandal in the same style as one of the black pairs. The handbag includes both metallic and black, which makes it very versatile. It coordinates well with all of the garments and accessories in my capsule. As for scarves, I selected one solid black one and two prints that include black. These scarves can add visual interest to the outfits, especially when it’s too warm to wear a topper. They’re all lightweight and if tied loosely can be worn on all but the hottest of days.

summer integration items - other

If I were going on a trip, I don’t think I would pack all four pairs of shoes, as that can get heavy in a suitcase. Additionally, I like to pack my walking shoes when I travel because I try to get in a walk most days, especially when I’m in the Tahoe area visiting my family (walks by the lake are my favorite!). I would likely leave one of the black pairs of sandals at home, but I’m not sure which one (maybe the Tom’s Majorca since the heel is a bit higher and less conducive for walking). I might also opt to pack a small crossbody bag to use while I’m sightseeing. I’m still on the lookout for the right such bag for me, which is why I didn’t include this item in my integration group.

Other Items I Considered Choosing…

It’s not easy to put together a four-by-four capsule, especially when one has a larger-sized wardrobe. I hemmed and hawed over many of the pieces, but probably less so than I did for my initial cool weather grouping. It helped to have some recent practice in compiling this type of collection. I thought you might be interested in seeing some of the items that I considered including in my four-by-four but ultimately passed over.

Alternate Pants

Let’s start with the pants, as these provide the foundation for the capsule. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve struggled with my wardrobe, it’s almost always been my pants that were the issue. It’s difficult for me to find pants that fit and flatter me well, but after putting time and effort into that search in recent years, I now have a lot better options in my closet. This is true more for my summer wardrobe than for the cooler months, as it’s easier for me to find cropped pants due to my height (full-length pants are rarely long enough, but cropped pants can be more forgiving in that regard).

Here are the other pants that I considered for my four-by-four. Two of the printed pants (top row) are new this year, so they’re definitely not tried-and-true yet (and one pair is currently being tailored). The other pair is trickier to wear because of the wider hemline, and due to the length, I can only wear them with flatter shoes. I like the navy and olive pants (the olive ones are brand new, from Old Navy), but because I was working with a small capsule of just sixteen items, I opted to stick with just black and denim bottoms for the sake of versatility. The black Brooklyn Ankle Pants are great, but I chose the J. Jill pants instead because they’re more comfortable and I think more flattering on my backside.

summer alternate items - pants

Alternate Toppers

It was difficult for me to select the best black cardigan for my capsule, as I have three similar ones (yeah, I know, but I wear black cardigans a lot) that all work well for me. I ultimately chose the most lightweight version, though, because it’s summer after all. I also pondered quite a bit regarding both printed and bright cardigans for my four-by-four. I almost chose the light purple cardigan, but I went in favor of the red and teal ones instead. The blue cardigan skews dressy so it’s less versatile, and the purple one is a bit heavier weight, so I left those two out.

I was tempted to choose the black-and-white striped cardigan, but I like the other printed version a bit more. They’re different enough to have both in my closet, but when I was choosing the small wardrobe capsule, it didn’t make sense to have two black-and-white printed cardigans in the mix. I’m not sure about the two marled cardigans, as the sleeves are a bit short on both. That was a case where buying multiples was not a good idea, but I fell for the allure of a deep sale (that can be a minefield for sure!). I may try to stretch the sleeves when the cardigans are wet, as that has worked for me in the past.

summer alternate items - toppers

Alternate Tops

Finally, we have the tops that I pondered including in my four-by-four capsule, which were a lot! I have quite a few black and black-printed tops, so it was challenging to pick the best from among those groups. I’m not entirely certain that I made the right choices, but I did take the time to try most of them on to gauge my reaction to the fit and feel of each item.

All of the tops below are good and still deserve a place in my closet, but they’re all slightly less versatile than the tops I included in my four-by-four. Some of them don’t work well with all of my pants, and others don’t coordinate with all of the toppers in the capsule. Others are a bit tighter-fitting and/or less breathable, which makes them less appropriate for super-hot days (we don’t get too many of those, thankfully, but they do happen). Since I could only choose seven tops for my small travel capsule, I had to make some hard choices, but I still think I’ll wear all of the tops shown in the coming months.

summer alternate items - tops


I think it’s helpful to go through the exercise of putting together a capsule wardrobe, whether it be the four-by four, Project 333, or something else, even if you’re still going to wear other pieces in your closet. For one, the capsule can come in handy during travel, and it’s much easier to pack when you’ve already gone through the trouble of compiling a mix-and-match capsule. Additionally, creating a capsule can help you to see both areas of duplication (I have at least a few…) and areas of need in your closet. If you find yourself wishing you had a <fill in the blanks> for your capsule, that may be a good item to add to your shopping list.

Going through this exercise showed me that my “pickiness” around my wardrobe is part of why I have a lot of items and multiple areas of duplication. I have a lot of “rules” around how things should fit and which items do or don’t work with each other. For that reason, I think it’s a good idea for me to just have a small number of silhouettes and outfit formulas to work from. Otherwise, it can get exhausting to try to figure out what to wear with what.

I’m placing a lot of attention around buying and having “standalone” tops that don’t need to be worn with a topper for my emotional comfort. In the same vein, I want most of my tops to be special enough so as not to need a “third piece” in order to look pulled together (I wrote about my third piece challenges here). Basic tops can be helpful during the cooler months for layering, but they can become boring when worn on their own on hot days. I wrote a lot about this subject in this April post, and I’ll be revisiting my categories of tops and how that’s all going for me in a future essay.

As I get dressed for out-and-about occasions in the coming weeks, I’m going to work from my summer four-by-four capsule as much as possible to see how versatile and workable it truly is. That way, when I travel later in the summer (nothing is scheduled yet, but I’m sure I’ll be going somewhere), I will hopefully be able to easily pack and be happy with my outfits on my trip.  Doing this will also help me to round out a Project 333 wardrobe using my four-by-four capsule as a foundation. I’ll report back on that process later in the summer.

Your Thoughts – and Happy Independence Day!

I hope you enjoyed my breakdown of my summer four-by-four capsule wardrobe. I’d love to get your thoughts on what I shared, as well as your own experiences with capsule dressing and packing for travel. Here are a few questions to help you formulate your thoughts, but as always, feel free to chime in however you’d like.

  • Have you ever tried the “Four-by-Four” wardrobe or a similar capsule challenge?
  • What do you like and dislike about capsule wardrobes?
  • What challenges do you experience with dressing for the summer versus other seasons?
  • How many pieces (clothes, shoes, and accessories) would you pack for a summer trip? How does the amount you pack vary based upon how long you’ll be gone?
  • How many pairs of shoes do you pack for a week-long summer trip? Do you need more shoes in the summer or the winter, or does it not matter?
  • What are your favorite pieces to wear for summer? What outfit formulas work best for you?
  • Does your color palette vary based upon the seasons of the year? In what way?

I look forward to reading your thoughts on the above topics and more. I’d like to wish my readers in the United States a Happy Independence Day (and a wonderful Canada Day today for my Canadian readers)! That day is special to me for two reasons, as it’s also my wedding anniversary (21 years on Monday!). I hope that however you spend the day, you find it enjoyable. For everyone else, I wish you a wonderful weekend. I’ll be back soon with more wardrobe challenges and musings.

happy independence day

Happy Independence Day to my American readers!

Buy Me a Coffee at

17 thoughts on “Summer Four-By-Four Wardrobe Capsule

  1. Katrina B says:

    I love your silver and pewter accessories – great combination with the black!

    My main challenge with dressing for the summer is sweat, to be blunt. It’s unavoidable in this desert hellscape and it damages clothing over time so I have to wash everything after wearing. So wasteful, but better than throwing clothes out after one season. I only do cotton and rayon (gave up on linen) and have to check that cotton shirts don’t have a percentage of polyester – so many of them do! Fortunately there is no place I could travel that could be hotter than this, so when traveling I can usually pack nicer clothes than those I wear at home.

    I just did a 7-day trip to Northern California and packing was pretty easy this time because I knew I would only have one outing for the whole week and the rest of the time would be spent inside cleaning the family home. So it was two pairs of jeans plus one pair of capris, four tee shirts (because cleaning), two nicer tops, a cardigan, and three pairs of shoes. I did not wear everything, and I could have lightened the suitcase by leaving out a pair of jeans and one pair of shoes. Overall though it worked pretty well as I didn’t wish I had brought anything else.

    I hope you’re having a great weekend!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I remember that you live in a very hot place, Katrina. I know that dressing for summer in those types of places presents a lot more challenges than what I have where I am (where we have maybe a few weeks to two months of very hot and humid weather). It sounds like you’ve figured out what works best for you to get you through the very hot months. I have never been a fan of linen, either, and have learned that synthetic fibers can be too hot and sweaty.

      Your travel wardrobe to Northern California sounds minimal but appropriate for what you were doing. Interesting that you could have gotten by with even less. I always seem to pack too much for my trips, but I get nervous about unexpected weather or activities. I hope you enjoyed your trip, even though it sounded like it was mostly about work (cleaning). It’s good that you had that one outing to break things up a bit.

  2. Sue says:

    Unless I’m travelling, I don’t go at all for wardrobe capsule challenges. If I have to carry my clothes for weeks on end in hot countries, then I prefer a small, lightweight backpack with a spare pair of the lightest shoes (sandals) I can find, a microfibre towel, a lightweight skirt or dress, 3 extra, lightweight Ts or tops, shorts, very light shorts and top for sleeping, swimmers and 3 sets of spare underwear. I wear lightweight long pants, top and topper and walking shoes.

    But when I’m home, I like variety. I want to wear everything I have. I have the luxury of a spare closet in my office (son’s old room) for off season clothes so I only have current season clothes in my half of the bedroom closet. I love to play with everything in this closet. If I really need something, like new bootcuts for work, I tend to buy a good pair retail. But more often than not, I add something fun from a second hand market. Yet, if something’s not earning its space, I donate it. So I find that when I’m home, I’m more interested in trying to wear all my (current season) clothes in novel combinations than restricting myself to a limited subset of items.

    That said, I guess I can see the appeal of capsule challenges because I suppose they are another way to play in your closet. And I imagine that for people living in areas where the temperature stays consistently hot throughout the summer, they might be more feasible than they would be for me. We’ve been having highs of 20 to 22°C (68-72°F) lately but it could start getting warmer in another week. Sometimes in summer, we get some days of tropical weather (30-35°C, 86-95°F). So I just prefer to choose from my whole summer wardrobe because it gives me the flexibility to cope with all the temperature changes.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I mostly like to do hypothetical capsule challenges these days, Sue, because I also like to be able to wear everything I have. But when I do something like putting together a “four-by-four” or a Project 333, that helps me to see how functional my wardrobe is or isn’t. It also helps me to be more prepared for travel, as I always get anxious about packing. From your recent sharing about traveling for a conference, it seems like your wardrobe is in very good shape and serves your needs well. I’m very impressed that you can travel with just a small lightweight backpack. Maybe I will get there if I keep doing these types of posts 🙂 I

      It sounds like you get a lot of temperature variations where you live. That happens here, too, but probably to a lesser degree. I like to keep all of my clothes in my closet because there can be unseasonably warm and cooler days on a regular basis. Part of why I get so nervous about packing is that it’s much harder to be prepared for weather changes when I can only pack a small number of pieces. The capsule I presented in this post would work well for most summer travels, as well as the “shoulder seasons” in some locales, but I often go to visit my family in the mountains where things can change rapidly. If I go there soon, this capsule will work, but I may have to throw in a few extra items “just in case.”

  3. Jenn says:

    This is an interesting concept. I’ve never tried a Four by Four capsule. I have tried Project 333 and want to try it again. This post may help me with that. I tend to wear neutral bottoms and more colorful tops, so we will see how it goes!

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Good to see you comment here, Jenn. I hope you’re doing well! I tend to wear neutral bottoms and more colorful tops, too, and sometimes I wear all neutrals. I’m probably going to do a later post expanding this wardrobe for Project 333, so stay tuned. I’ve done that challenge a few times and found it to be a good learning experience. Check out The Vivienne Files for posts on how she used the four-by-four to create Project 333 capsules. This is a good post using navy and gray (which I think you said you wear):

  4. Gail says:

    Hi, Debbie! I am trying to answer what I can. Youknow myentire wardrobe is a capsule, but I have a dressy subcapsule and a not dressy one. I use black, navy, grey, whites/whitishes and blues all year–black for dressy, blue for not. I live in a hot and humid place, but I run quite cold, esp. in my 70s. So long sleeves work, with the potential of rolling up sleeves outside.
    I have only 4 pairs of shoes in toto, so when I go away, I take 2 or 3. Everything basically matches everything else.
    For the record, I love my capsule!
    Glad my first attempt at replying did not go through and that it wasn’t because you thought I was rude.
    Again, it is so much fun to read of the wardrobe styles. I hope mine is not a dreadful bore.

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Sorry your first attempt at commenting didn’t work out, Gail, but I’m glad you tried again. I like hearing about how people manage their wardrobes, especially those who get by with very small ones. Interesting that you still have two sub-capsules within your small wardrobe, but it makes good sense that you would, as most of us have SOME dressy (or somewhat dressy) occasions. I would imagine that the success of a small capsule relies on most things coordinating well with most other things. I have too many “exceptions” in my wardrobe (i.e., tops that work with pants but not skirts – or only certain types of pants). That’s okay with a larger wardrobe, but when I travel, I have to compile a capsule that’s more like yours (which is what this blog post was about).

  5. Gail says:

    You who have bigger wardrobes seem to have more tolerance and patience than I do. Years ago when I did my blitz decluttering, inc. that of my clothes, I felt I HAD to to feel well. I am hypersensitive (medical doctor confirmed) and anxious (husband confirmed), and this has made a huge difference. I am envious of those of you who can just accept and chip awa, but for me it didn’t work that way.
    Thank you for your grace and acceptance of all kinds of readers’ comments. 😉

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      Some of us may have more patience, Gail, but I know that I’ve done both fast and slow decluttering at various time in my life. It was quite cathartic to do more of a “blitz decluttering” like you described, but that was back when I had a lot of clothes that I didn’t like and wasn’t wearing. Now I declutter as I go and also do a bigger go-through at the change of seasons. I’m hypersensitive and anxious, too, and it has helped me to do various types of decluttering and downsizing over the years. I definitely feel calmer with less stuff around. I used to accumulate too much of SO many types of items, but now it’s just clothes. Clothes are my last area in which I have a lot of items. Of course, “a little” and “a lot” are very subjective descriptors. What’s most important is that we each find our own comfort zones, and I’m glad you have found yours.

  6. Vildy says:

    I’m just not a fan of restriction and restraint. There’s so many rules in life you have to follow – covid added more. I am a fan of insight, though, and can appreciate how you use this exercise for that. It’s much harder for me to know what I do prefer against what I don’t. Part of that is growing up in an era where we wore long leg panty girdles and stockings to school, straight skirts with no stretch. Nothing had any stretch except a sweater or knit top. Couldn’t wait to get home to strip all of that off. On the other hand, you got used to being uncomfortable all day. It clouds your judgment.

    So, I read here mostly for insight – I never see the obvious. Otherwise, I have no interest in any wardrobe reduction strategies. So long as I have room to hang things up and put them away. I do purge a lot over time, mainly because what I want to wear evolves continually. Since almost everything is thrifted and at very low cost, it isn’t a major expense. I went to a semi-annual bag sale at a church thrift recently and figured out I paid 18 cents per garment. When I’m done with things, I pass them along to a friend and she takes whatever she wants or what she knows others
    in her circle would like and then donates the rest.

    I did do one wardrobe challenge some years back. Wearing your six favorite garments for a brief period. When I was done, I realized I had grown to hate my favorite skirt and got rid of it. Go figure. I guess over-familiarity breeds contempt. If I hadn’t over-focused on it, it would’ve continued to be just fine to wear and enjoy.

    I haven’t travelled in a long while but I usually manage to travel very light because I’m aware I will or may have to tote my own piece of luggage and including up and down stairs. I also may well enjoy buying clothes while travelling. Otherwise, I have no problem with wearing things on repeat. I’m not judgmental about what others wera, therefore I have no worries over their judgment of my own appearance. I conclude most people will have opinions and that’s just fine. I’m only ever careful of my wardrobe when I have to accompany a family member to hospital, say, and I want to look educated, earnest and genteel – that I just might have great access to lawyers or even be a lawyer. 😀

    1. 18 cents per garment?! Wow, that’s terrific. I also love to thrift, and I think those of us who do tend to have larger wardrobes than those who shop only retail (or sew their own clothing). Both the low price point and the fact that you’re not supporting the creation of new clothing when you thrift makes it a very sustainable option, even for those of us with a lot of items. Your comment about getting sick of your favorite skirt after wearing it so much resonated with me. It’s funny, I can eat the same lunch all the week (and the same breakfast for literally years) but I do need more variety in my outfits to avoid burning out on the pieces.

      1. Vildy says:

        Yes, I’m the same way. They say that people have a lot in common between their eating and dressing habits and I don’t at all. I’m the only person I know who’s not a foodie. 😀 I want extreme familiarity in my daily food – but not picky, if I was starved I’d eat whatever. On the other hand, I can never do those wardrobe exercises that begin with you picking your GoTo garments and analyzing them.

        1. Debbie Roes says:

          I’m not a foody, either, Vildy, and I often eat the same things over and over again, especially when my husband isn’t around. I get tired of clothing much more quickly than I get tired of food. I do like to try new foods from time to time, but I like a lot more variety in terms of what I wear vs. what I eat. Interesting to think about this…

    2. Debbie Roes says:

      I don’t like a lot of restriction and restraint, either, Vildy. I actually have a tendency to rebel against too many rules, which is why I no longer do “shopping fasts” or adhere to restrictive wardrobe challenges. I do like to do them hypothetically, though, for the learning, and I also want to do better at packing when I travel, as it’s always a mad dash and a struggle for me to prepare for a trip.

      Like Sally, I’m impressed with your 18 cents per garment average at the church thrift event! I’m sure you find some amazing things, as you seem to have a very keen eye for fashion based on your comments here. I’m sure your friend enjoys the pieces that you pass on to her. I wish I could do more thrifting, but my chemical sensitivity to detergents and sprays like Febreze makes it really hard 😦 I used to be able to shop resale, but I got more sensitive over the years.

      What you mentioned about hating your favorite skirt after a wardrobe challenge resonates with me. That happened to me when I did Project 333, as I wore pieces FAR more often than I usually did. That didn’t happen with everything, but it definitely happened. Very interesting what you wrote about accompanying a family member to the hospital. I’ve noticed that I am treated differently in certain situations based upon how I’m dressed, and it’s important to be mindful of this in certain critical situations.

  7. I’m a closet maximalist type myself, but I do love reading about and creating my own capsules for the reasons that Debbie stated. My wardrobe is more complete and easier to use ever since I started thinking about wardrobe capsules. I wear a lot of outfits that are either color blocked (top, bottom, and top layer in 3 different colors) or print + 2 colors, but I love to have the option of wearing a column of color or “twin set.” Making capsules from my closet has helped me identify where I’m covered with those matching/coordinating pieces and where the possible gaps are. I am now much more picky about adding a solid “orphan” piece in a shade that doesn’t match/blend to any other pieces…like that one pink cardigan that is an “off” color that doesn’t work with any pink bottoms or tops. Of course there are ways to wear that “off” piece but I now know that I want to be vigilant about adding any more of them. It has also made me more comfortable with tolerating colors that coordinate without matching as I attempt to create the columns/twinsets in my (theoretical) capsules. So while capsule thinking can lead to/support minimalism if you want it to, it can also also be a way to think more strategically about your wardrobe and to exercise creativity and experimentation that helps you get more out of your existing wardrobe (whatever size that may be).

    1. Debbie Roes says:

      I’ve enjoyed reading your capsule posts, too, Sally. You have a lot more color in your wardrobe than I do, and your outfits look more “fun” and interesting than mine do on average. I usually only have one color in my ensembles, along with one or two neutrals, but I enjoy seeing colorful outfits on others. I agree that thinking in capsules can help us to avoid orphans. I never want to buy something that’s going to be a “project” (having to buy MORE things in order to make it work). Thanks for stating so well the benefits of theoretical capsules. I actually think it’s a lot of fun to put them together, even if I’m still going to wear other pieces in my closet (other than for travel).

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: