When I started this blog, I’d already been doing the capsule wardrobe thing for about a year. I basically happened upon the concept when I was browsing Pinterest for spring wardrobe essentials or something like that, and I knew right away it was the thing for me. I recognize that it’s not for everyone, but I really enjoy getting dressed in a formulaic way. At chaotic times in my life, order in my wardrobe has been a successful way to self-soothe.
I don’t have a lot of photos from my earliest days of capsule wardrobing since I wasn’t a blogger or an instagrammer at the time, but I have a few, and I wanted to show them to you because I think its an important reminder that we all have to start somewhere (and in my case, that somewhere was a closet full of haphazard fast-fashion). Despite the fact that I write about clothes every day, personal style does not come naturally to me and it never has. I’ve had to work hard to make my closet into what it is today, and I’m really proud to have gone from someone who used to literally cry in frustration in front of my closet every morning to someone who genuinely loves getting dressed and gets to write about fashion as a modest side hustle.
But please know that that process took years. It also took a lot of money, research, and no small amount of hustle. If you think you’re not doing a good job because your wardrobe isn’t exactly where you want it to be, just remember that this kind of thing takes time.
Here’s what my very first capsule wardrobe looked like on Day 1 (literally):
All these pictures are awful because they were taken in my crappy old apartment – it’s hard to imagine something worse than the office bathroom, but it exists!
My first capsule wardrobe was basically made up of all the things I already owned that I didn’t actively hate. The capsule wardrobe pictured in this post is from January 2017 – I didn’t buy anything new for it and I still have many of these items. I just retired the sweater and skirt above (like, two weeks ago) after deciding that neither is quite my style anymore.
A lot of what I’m wearing in these pictures has since been demoted to loungewear. That long gray cardigan and the gray tee, for instance, are still things I wear regularly at home when I’m relaxing, but are too casual for my regular wardrobe.
I really miss those little tan suede booties but sadly I wrecked them pretty quickly in the rain and snow. I was trying to make a solid, functional capsule wardrobe, but I wasn’t taking great care of my clothing. I never go out in the rain in inappropriate footwear anymore, and when I’m wearing shoes that I really care a lot about (like my Nisolo Mariella Mules or my Everlane Day Boots) I actually keep a dust bag and an extra pair of shoes in my purse.
I remember the day I bought the little black jersey dress in the photos above. I was in H&M with my husband because I wanted to go shopping (RED FLAG). I scanned every inch of the store looking for something I liked that I could afford, and in the end, I panicked and bought this dress. I mean, I was filled with dread walking around that store with the desperate need to buy something. The dress turned out to be an okay purchase in the end – I wore it for about a year before the hem started to do that bacon thing – but I don’t shop that way anymore, and I’ll never go back to it.
That chambray shirt in the photo was purchased at a consignment shop in Northampton, MA when I was in college, and I actually just pulled it out of my loungewear basket and hung it back up with my capsule wardrobe clothes, thinking that I might like it again for regular wear now that my hair is blonde. I’ll keep you posted on that one.
I am really lol-ing at my face in all these photos. I never thought they’d be shown to the public, so please excuse my deer-in-the-headlights expression!
Two years later, I don’t think I’d recreate any of these outfits any time soon. I’ve had the time to hone in on what I like in my wardrobe and to curate it, and now I don’t need to put together outfits that are just good-enough from clothes that were purchased in moments of severe anxiety. I hope that looking back on these not-so-great photos of me gives you a little motivation for your own wardrobe journey, especially if you’re just starting out.
That’s all for today, friends. Thanks for reading, as always.
p.s. thank you to everyone who has ever left a comment on any of my blog posts! I am really terrible at responding to comments, but please know that I read them all, and every single one warms my heart and encourages me to keep writing. You guys are the best.