Your 2016 Style Year in Review

Your 2016 Style - FREE Workbook
 

I'm going to keep this post short because it's more about you taking action than reading lots of my words. 

2017 is right around the corner, so there's no better time than now to review your 2016 style! What did you love? What did you hate?

I've created a workbook that includes space to write down:

  • your favorite pieces and outfits using those pieces

  • the pieces that made you feel great when you wore them
  • the pieces that you didn't feel amazing wearing 
  • your favorite colors to wear in 2016
  • any noticeable holes in your wardrobe 

Take some time to fill out this workbook - it's the first step to figuring out your plan for 2017. I'll be sharing a 2017 planning workbook soon that delves into how to use this information for your most stylish year yet! 

How to Dress Better with the Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge

 

The Fall Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge is over, but read on for a great Spring challenge!

Looking for a Spring Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge?

I've got a great option for you! Unfortunately, I am unable to commit the time right now that it takes to run a really fantastic challenge, but my friend Alison Lumbatis from Get Your Pretty On and Style Challenges is hosting her GYPO Spring 2017 Style Challenge.  Alison is a smart, thoughtful and incredibly stylish lady and her challenges are amazing! 

Check out the GYPO Spring 2017 Style Challenge today!

Note: In addition to being a proud affiliate of this program, I have participated in it myself! I know you'll love it. 


Note: this post was written in anticipation of our very first Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge in Fall 2016. The challenge is now over but I will be updating this post ASAP to share how to create your own Minimalist Challenge. In the meantime, try out the sample 9x9 wardrobe below. Use these pieces as a guide and swap in your own clothes. It's a great way to test out a tiny wardrobe or pack for a trip! 


I'm very excited to announce the launch of the first Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge. This wardrobe challenge is centered around classic pieces you'll wear year after year to build a versatile wardrobe with plenty of mix and match outfit options. If you have wanted to try the "minimalist" look, this challenge is for you. If you love color but want to incorporate more neutrals, this challenge can also help you.

5 outfits you can make from the challenge pieces. Join the challenge to get 21 more outfits based on the Five Piece French Wardrobe.

5 outfits you can make from the challenge pieces. Join the challenge to get 21 more outfits based on the Five Piece French Wardrobe.

Wondering why you should join the challenge? 

  • It's an affordable way to have a personal stylist. In addition to a shopping list of timeless wardrobe staples, we'll use a stylist platform to incorporate five of your favorite pieces to create at least ten more outfits. You can even upload your whole closet if you like. 
  • This challenge will help you save time and money by knowing exactly what to buy. Everything in the challenge goes with other pieces and can be paired up multiple ways. Shop mindfully and with a purpose. No more "orphans" in your closet!
  • It's an easy way to learn how to "upgrade your look". Many of you have written that you'd like to upgrade your look. Even adding one or two of the right pieces can instantly update your style.
  • You'll learn how to create simple yet put-together outfits. It's so easy to get into a styling rut, always wearing the same pieces together without considering new combinations. The outfits in the challenge are essentially templates you can recreate with other items of clothing.
  • Wardrobes based on neutrals don't have to be boring. Simple styling suggestions encourage you to use the pieces in ways you might not have considered. Accessories are a great way to introduce your personality, as are your favorite pieces. You can even inject your own style into the challenge pieces.

+ Will I have to spend a lot of money on new pieces?

Nope! You'll find that you already have a lot of pieces that will work in your closet. It's up to you how much you spend on new items. You're free to shop the suggestions or find pieces at your favorite stores. I strongly advocate shopping your closet first! If you have a similar item in your wardrobe or a question about whether you can substitute a fitted cardigan for a blazer, you'll have access to me - we will make this challenge work for you!

+ I'm plus sized. Will this work for me?

Capsule wardrobes work whether you're a size 2 ... or a size 22. Many consultants working with capsule wardrobes don't focus much on plus sized capsules. I just want you to know if you are plus-sized, this challenge will work for you, too. In addition to the plus sized items on the shopping list, I'll help you find pieces that will work for you.

+ I'm trying to move away from buying fast fashion. Are there options for me?

If you want to move towards a more sustainable wardrobe, this challenge is for you! I've even included some favorite clothing suggestions from companies focused on humane labor practices, sound environmental policies, and transparency.

+ I don't live in the US. Can I still participate?

Definitely! We already have an international group. If you need help finding pieces, point me to your favorite online stores and I'll help you out. Additionally, Facebook group members from around the world will share their finds.

+ I live in the Southern Hemisphere or a hot location. Will I be able to participate?

You are more than welcome to participate! For those who do experience cooler weather, you'll have lifetime access to the challenge so you'll be prepared when Fall rolls around. Although the outfits in the challenge will not be customized, we'll come up with a few warmer weather alternatives you can swap in. For example, a lightweight cotton cardigan instead of a cozy long cardigan, sandals for knee-high boots. Just make sure you send me an email after you've signed up.

+ What if a suggested piece doesn't work for me?

Once you have signed up, just send me an email and we'll come up with suitable substitutions. For example, if you can't wear heels or ballet flats, you can substitute oxfords, loafers, wedges, etc.

Once you have those pieces in place, you will receive a different outfit combo every day for 21 days created from pieces on your list. No more decision fatigue! But the best part of all is our private Facebook community where we share shopping tips and advice, post pics of our outfits and make real life friends! No Facebook? You can still participate in the challenge and chat with me as we go along.

Have more time for yourself and feel your best by joining the challenge! If you feel stuck in a rut, don't know how to combine outfits, or want to upgrade your outfits, this challenge is for you. 

The challenge even comes with a money back guarantee. What have you got to lose?

9 pieces x 9 outfits. Just a sampling of the hundreds of outfits you can make from the Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge capsule wardrobe!

9 pieces x 9 outfits. Just a sampling of the hundreds of outfits you can make from the Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge capsule wardrobe!

Still not sure?

I'm here to answer any and all questions you have about the challenge. For personal questions, please email me at rosie@thecapsuleproject.co. For general questions helpful to all, please ask in the comments. There are also more information in the FAQ section here.

Additional Outfits you can Create from the Challenge Pieces

5 Ways to Build a Conscious Closet

I'm so thankful for my wonderful and talented new friends from Factory45. In this world of fast fashion, many of us are wondering how we can make more ethical choices for our wardrobe. I'm so incredibly pleased to have Morgan of Two Fold Clothing educate all of us about five steps we can take to build a closet that holds true to our values. 

Want to shop more ethically? The 5 tips will help you build a more conscious closet.

One of today’s more popular topics is the fashion industry and the problems within it – including poor working conditions overseas, toxic chemicals and dyes used to grow and maintain fabrics, and the overwhelming waste issue. Consumers are becoming aware of these issues and are looking for alternatives. Consumers, millennials especially, are pushing back and demanding transparency from the brands they buy from.

New (and old) clothing brands are learning how to keep their businesses fair, sustainable and transparent as possible and it is easier than ever to cultivate a sustainable and conscious closet. Here are a few tips for those looking to make a change for the better and curate a better closet.

1. Value and take good care of the clothes you already own

Taking care of the clothes you own is the best and most basic thing you can do to build a more ethical and conscious closet. Repair what's broken, handwash what needs to be handwashed, fold heavy sweaters instead of hanging them, and so on. Remember the dry cleaners? Yeah, take those beautiful silks to the dry cleaners to keep them smooth and luxurious. Clothes that are well-taken care of last much longer than those that aren’t cared for properly. This helps with the life of the garment which means buying less, thereby reducing waste.

A great way to make the most of what you currently have in your closet is to organize and care for your keeper items. Purging is the first step in caring for the wardrobe you already have. Clearing the clutter helps to visually see what you love wearing and in turn, gives your closet a fresh feel. Creating a closet that flows and feels inspiring helps as you are getting dressed in the morning and can change your mindset from feeling like you have nothing to wear to one of excitement to get to wear your favorite sweater.

2. Buy vintage when possible

Another great, budget-friendly alternative to buying ethical brands is to repurpose pre-worn clothes, and save them from becoming just another thing in a landfill.

Giving goods a second life cuts into the supply chain by reusing an item that would have otherwise been sent to a landfill, and by reducing the energy needed to produce it. You're also not contributing to the cycle of mass production.

There are also many companies utilizing vintage fabrics, both by revamping used clothing and sourcing deadstock materials. Re/done has had tremendous success by modernizing vintage denim. Buying vintage almost ensures a unique wardrobe and you definitely won’t be matching your bestie. You can find some really incredible and insanely affordable treasures rummaging through your local thrift and vintage stores. And finally, it gives the clothes a new life and reduces the net waste of our industry!

3. Go for clothes that are high quality

No matter the brand, buying clothes that are well-made and consist of high-quality materials is more eco-friendly than buying lower-quality pieces, because they'll last longer and need to be replaced less often. And less closet turnover means what? Exactly, less shopping overall!

Cotton and leather industries are particularly problematic, due to the toxic chemicals used to spray crops or treat materials. The good news is, there are organic mills here in the U.S. that operate with sustainable practices. Organic certification of, say, cotton includes important labor protections along with strict guidelines for growing and processing the cotton.

Besides looking for organic cottons, customers can keep their eyes out for clothing composed of more sustainable materials. Make sure to read labels and stick to materials such as tencel, linen, alpaca wool, silk and recycled fibers when shopping for new clothes.

4. Shop less, choose better: only buy pieces you love 100%

The fast fashion industry may have gotten its name from the quick rate at which catwalk designs are delivered to the masses, but it just as accurately describes the quality of those pieces. When something is created/designed and manufactured in 3 weeks (the typical turn around for fast fashion brands), the attention to detail is slim to none and quality control is nearly impossible.

Because the fashion industry is turning around new looks in such short time frames, we, in turn, are shopping more frequently than ever. We pick up new pieces here and there, because it's all so cheap and won't break the bank. The result: A closet full of so-so stuff that we are not too crazy about. And so we keep on shopping to fill that void, to replace imperfect pieces with better alternatives and to finally feel like we have enough to wear... it's a never-ending cycle. [Note from Rosie: if you haven't read Into Mind, you must.]

So how can you break that cycle? Start choosing better and thinking slow. Slow fashion is a movement gaining momentum in response to fast fashion’s cheap, disposable clothes that come at the very high cost of the rampant human rights abuses and environmental degradation. It connects with other slow living movements that ask us to slow down and live mindfully.

5. Support ethical brands

A huge way to minimize a business's carbon footprint is to keep production local. Less travel means less fuel, and therefore less carbon dioxide emission. Many local manufacturers have much lower production minimums than factories overseas, which means less material will be wasted.  

Keeping manufacturing close (and domestic in general) also ensures ethical treatment of employees and fair working conditions, since — unlike many other countries where garments are produced — U.S. law demands it. While buying from brands that manufacture overseas can often be cheaper, it may come at the cost of utilizing child labor, or deadly factory fires due to unsafe conditions.

There are some amazing brands out there that are taking a stance against the demands of the fast fashion industry and thinking differently about our clothes. I am starting a brand, Two Fold, to do just that. If you are interested in in building a more ethical and conscious closet, take a moment to check out my new collection at www.twofoldclothing.com.

 

 

 

 

Morgan is an apparel designer with a love for great conversation, living intentionally, and inspiring design. Along with starting her own business, Two Fold Clothing, Morgan enjoys spending time outdoors, drinking pumpkin tea and playing with her sweet pup, Sadie. She lives in Charlotte, NC with 2 roommates and loves this simple, yet wild life she’s been given.

"Mum Slob": The Struggle is Real

I'm really excited to share with you a blog post by my friend and Factory45 "classmate", Whitney of SproutFit. Whitney works full-time, has a young child, and has a fledgling children's clothing company! Given this, she's the perfect person to address the wardrobe struggles of a busy mom!

Lately, my friend Rosie and I have been brainstorming about mommy wardrobe struggles. As the founder of The Capsule Project, she problem-solves on behalf of her readers’ clothing hang-ups -- sorry, Rosie I had to :) and she mentions this one is common!

In fact, one of her readers perfectly describes an issue I’d previously faced: finding a realistic balance between “looking like a mum slob” and having beautiful pieces (but hardly ever wearing them). 

As a brand new mom on maternity leave, I congratulated myself on brushing my teeth and remembering coconut oil for my cracked nipples – I mean, functional fashion was NOT on my radar at that particular time. But, now that I’m back at work and in swing of parenting a toddler, it’s been important for me to create a wardrobe that can transition easily from the 8-5 workday, to stay-at-home-parenting workdays, to weekends, evenings and events.

With the right foundational pieces, it’s possible to dress for almost ANY occasion. Think of these as the jump-off point, the palette to whatever direction you choose! 

Below is an example of my typical work-friendly wardrobe (9 basic items) that can be taken down a notch for everyday-mommin’, or up a notch for post-work/weekend shenanigans:

Monday: Marled grey top + maroon tank + black leggings + cream trench

Tuesday: Black top + black leggings

Wednesday: Dark grey shift dress + cream trench

Thursday: Marled grey top + black leggings

Friday: Black top + skinny jeans + black puffer vest

Saturday: Black top + vintage wash berry leggings + black puffer vest

Simple 9 Piece Mom Capsule Wardrobe

As a mom, I love pairings that have the ability to transform depending on the accessory.

Take Wednesday’s outfit for example: dark grey shift dress and cream trench.  For work, I added black pumps, bold lipstick and vintage, brooch-like crystal earrings.  After work (heading into mom-mode), I removed my earrings and replaced my heels with flats, then headed to the park to play with my son before dinner! Easy-as-pie.

On Tuesday, I worked from home for half of the day, so I paired my black-on-black ensemble with comfy brown riding boots, then switched to my nude, patent pumps and gold jewelry before heading into the office.

The same approach applies with interesting, artistic pieces. If you own pieces that seem too bold for everyday use, make sure you are making this item the statement and simplifying/muting the other elements of your outfit.

At the end of the day (or long week!), when faced with a wardrobe decision, I typically ask myself a few simple questions:

  • Is it comfortable?
  • Is it transitional?
  • Will it hide “things”? (mom tip: cream hides snot, but black hides e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g else, and is slimming to boot!)

All the best to you in the mommy wardrobe journey, and remember we’re all in it together!

Whitney

 

 

shop whitney's closet

  1. Express - Black, ponte knit leggings (similar)
  2. Sotela - Dark grey shift dress (100% tencel, made-in-the-USA) - I love Sotela! - Rosie
  3. Gap cream trench coat (similar)
  4. Skinny navy blue belt (secondhand)
  5. Rag and Bone Mid-rise, skinny jeans (made-in-the-USA)
  6. Azules Black, long sleeve cowl neck top (made-in-the-USA, rayon)
  7. Express Marled grey short sleeve, hi/lo top
  8. Patagonia - Black puffer vest (made-in-the-USA, 100% r-PET shell and liner)
  9. Vintage wash berry leggings (secondhand)
  10. Motherhood Maternity Long, maroon tank (similar)

I'm Whitney, the mama behind SproutFit, and I'm so happy that you've taken a moment to learn more about our journey!  SproutFit was born from "mom-guilt", but quickly grew into a passion for designing childrenswear that solved problems (instead of creating more). Our upcoming baby collection is thoughtfully designed with growth spurts in mind, featuring adjustable design and simplified sizing that fits up to a year. Responsibly cut-and-sewn in the USA and sweatshop-free, we refuse to exploit children while making childrenswear! This is a non-negotiable.

 

Are you a mom? Share your wardrobe struggles!

The Major Way a Capsule Wardrobe Benefits your Health

I've yet to formally announce it, but I'm working on a sustainable, Made in the USA plus-size clothing brand, ROSEGOLD Clothiers, launching in 2017. I'm part of an amazing sustainable apparel incubator, Factory45. Over the coming months, I'll be sharing the wisdom and stories of my wonderful colleagues, who are all working on launching sustainable, ethical brands. 

I'm so thrilled to have Kendall of Vesta write the first guest post from my cohort. I read this article and practically begged her to share it with you, dear readers, because it is one of the best reasons to start a capsule wardrobe. Once you've read this, make sure you check out Kendall's other fantastic articles on her blog

The Major Way a Capsule Wardrobe Benefits your Health

A few months ago, I listened to an episode on decision fatigue over on Tim Ferriss’ podcast and it deeply resonated with me. Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by a person, after making a long series of them. So, in other words, what happens to you and me. Every single day.

Tim takes it one step further highlighting that making so many decisions in our daily lives not only makes us tired, but it saps our store of willpower. The more choices we make, the crappier they get. These days, when something as simple as picking out peanut butter requires a 12-step decision process, its no wonder that by the end of the day we find ourselves with no willpower to do anything other than binge watch old episodes of the X-Files on the couch (Oh, just me?). But really, ever been shopping for an hour or so and end up exhausted and somehow buying an armful of stuff you don’t need?? Decision fatigue. 

Tim cited a study where the individuals in one group were asked to make a long series of decisions, then that group and another group (who weren’t asked to make any decisions) were given a simple willpower test of holding a hand in a bucket of ice water. The group that hadn’t had to make any decisions was able to hold a hand in the ice water twice as long as the group that had. I’m not sure I ever realized decision-making and willpower were connected. But it makes sense, right? 

This got me thinking about what decisions I can personally eliminate to not only make my day easier and more productive, but to end up with more energy and willpower (for good decision-making) left at the end of the day. First of all, I’ve been planning my entire day the night before (especially my free time in the mornings when I tend to go “okay, what do I need to get done this morning?” *opens Instagram*), AND I’ve been reducing my wardrobe so I have less decisions to make about what I wear. 

This is where it comes in handy to a capsule wardrobe. That is, a small, thoughtfully-curated wardrobe that includes a items that can be mixed and matched easily, creating a sort of basic uniform. Tim mentioned that Steve Jobs didn’t wear jeans and a black turtleneck every day just because the guy loved turtlenecks (who doesn't tho?), but because Jobs recognized that not having to make decisions about things like his outfit for the day quite literally saves precious mental energy. Genius. And so simple. 

SO If you keep a simple, pared-down wardrobe with lots of versatile pieces, it cuts that much more time and energy out of the whole ordeal. I used to be a person with MANY “onesies”--those one weird random pieces that maybe I liked, but they didn’t go with anything else I owned, or they weren't really "me" so I never actually wore them out of the house. Get rid of those. Get rid of the things that don’t quite fit. You will forget that they don’t fit and put them on and have wasted time and effort. Get rid of the stuff that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, and for God’s sake, get rid of the stuff you just honestly don’t like! And then the key is to be very strategic about anything new you add to your wardrobe in the future.

I've recently reduced my wardrobe by about 75% and I already feel more way calm when I go into my closet, and less stressed about getting dressed and shopping for new stuff. (But sadly, it has not stopped me from watching X-Files re-runs.) 

I've got more capsule wardrobe tips to share coming up. And of course, the first Vesta collection is designed to be as versatile and functional as possible so the pieces can be a true asset to your wardrobe. Stay tuned! In the meantime I'd recommend the Into-Mind blog and reading Zero Waste Home and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up as great places to start your adventure towards a smaller, more thoughtful wardrobe. 

To your mental health!

xoxo Kendall 

Has your capsule wardrobe helped you stress less? Tell us in the comments!

Kendall is the founder of Vesta, a capsule collection of sustainable womenswear essentials made ethically in the USA from innovative eco-friendly, vegan fabrics that will launch in early 2017. She is a fashion design graduate of Parsons in New York City and has worked for such sustainable companies as Titania Inglis and Vaute, the world’s first vegan fashion label. Kendall currently lives in the sunny Bay Area of California.