Hands down, one of the best ways I’ve learned about my actual style is by studying my favorite outfits. Even before I was a blogger, I used to take pictures of my outfits in a big mirror we had in our old house (which happened to be next to some great, natural light). I loved looking back on those pictures, which I took on my phone and organized in folders by season, and analyzing my outfits… mulling over what I loved and observing what didn’t work.
Now that I’ve been chronicling my outfits for more than a year, looking back is a lot more streamlined. At the end of each season, I study my favorite outfits and try to dissect what it is about them that makes me feel so good. Which brings me to…
Post Capsule Life: Strategy #3 – Invest time in learning what works and what doesn’t work by reflecting on past season’s outfits. Identify key workhorse items.
Ideally my closet:
Would only consist of pieces I love.
Would be ethically sourced, including lots of independent designers.
Would be cohesive and good for mixing and matching.
Would be well-utilized.
My Post-Capsule Wardrobe
I am enjoying the new challenge of integrating most of my wardrobe and seeing how it all works together. I am not nearly as mentally organized as my smart friend Paige, so I am employing her strategy of 80/20. She is planning for a closet built on about 80% ‘workhorse items’ and 20% ‘statement’ pieces.
Workhorse items are the things in your closet that work really well for you and are worn over and over again. The jeans you always reach for, the boots that never let you down, the staple shirts that you have in a few colors or styles – these lay the foundation for your outfits. Some of my workhorses are: dark skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans, u-neck t-shirts, a chambray button up, a black skirt, a denim jacket, a crew sweatshirt and a cashmere sweater. These items have been in nearly all of the seven capsules I’ve completed.
Statement items are the more unusual pieces, that take a little more consideration to style, but add a new dimension or depth to your look. They are the pieces that elevate your outfits and help define and shape your style. Statement pieces can end up being workhorses too! Some of my statement pieces are: a black jumpsuit, a patterned caftan, a striped square top, a black circle top and a kimono jacket.
How to Identify Your Workhorse Items:
What are your most worn items?
What has appeared in most or all of your capsules?
Which are your must-include items?
How to Shop for a Statement Item:
This type of item is usually pretty easy to identify in your closet, but it can be harder to choose when you’re out shopping. The best advice I can give on how to select these is to focus on how you ‘feel’ when you wear them. Do you feel amazing right away? Then it could be a yes. Do you have to talk yourself into it? Then it’s a no. Pay attention to what catches your eye, and what your ‘intuition’ is drawn to. What keeps turning your head? Watch for that little spark you get. Go with your gut. It might sound a little weird, but nurture your inner style voice and it will get clearer.
Reflect on Favorite Outfits
I’ve already shared on this topic, but it’s worth repeating: take the time to analyze your favorite outfits. Consider snapping mirror shots of your favorite looks this summer. Or all your looks if you’re up for it. Then, when we are nearing the end of the season, challenge yourself to pick your favorite five outfits, and spend a few minutes dissecting what you love about them. See if you can come up with a few adjectives that describe them. The last time I did this mine were COOL and SIMPLE. The words you land on can likely be applied to your entire wardrobe philosophy. Use them to help guide your future closet additions. You can also employ your words when getting dressed in the morning. Ask yourself, “Do I feel _____ and/or _____ in this outfit?” If the answer is yes, you’re more likely to be satisfied with your outfit later in the day. If the answer is no, consider switching something out until you get a yes.
Look for Repetition
As you’re studying what works and doesn’t work in your closet, keep an eye for repeats among your workhorses, and consider cutting as needed. For example, I have two chambray shirts, the styles vary just enough to make them ‘different’ but they mostly serve the same purpose. However, decision fatigue sets in when I am trying to decide which one to wear or pack, and I’m thinking of getting rid of one because it seems redundant. I recently did this with my denim jackets, I had two – a fitted, dark one and a baggy, light one – and I constantly hemmed and hawed over which one to wear with a given outfit. A few weeks ago I sold them both and got one denim jacket that was a little more versatile. (See it here, buy it here.) Now, it’s so effortless. I just grab it and go.
Redundancies in your closet might seem harmless, but they also might be causing you stress and wasted time.
Are you a student of style? Do you enjoy looking back on past outfits with an eye for learning? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Be sure to check out Paige’s take on the 80/20 closet as well.