Winter capsule chatter

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Into the depths we go.

My second winter here is already proving longer and less predictable. But my winter wardrobe? Quite the opposite.

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Since I went into my capsule & creative planning process at length for fall, I thought I’d keep it quick this time: I printed the worksheet, grabbed a pen, opened up my dresser and started shuffling things around and taking notes. Add the new Solange album and a cup of tea and it was a really excellent way to spend a chilly Saturday morning.

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My winter “top 8” includes:

  • Brown silk tee, secondhand
  • Black silk tunic, secondhand
  • Rise & Fall turtleneck, made by me
  • A-frame skirt, made by me
  • Clyde pants, by Elizabeth Suzann
  • Levi’s 501 jeans, secondhand
  • Ondawa sweater, made by me
  • Chunky ribbed v-neck sweater, secondhand

My full capsule includes:

  • 5 bottoms (2 jeans, 1 pair of pants, 1 skirt, 1 pair of leggings)
  • 4 dresses (1 dressier option, 3 casual)
  • 14 tops, tees, tunics, turtlenecks, and blouses
  • 6 sweaters
  • 2 pieces of outerwear (1 heavy coat, 1 wool wrap)
  • 3 pairs of shoes (including 1 heavy snow boot)

What I really find helpful about this seasonal wardrobe check-in is that, for me, it becomes very obvious very quickly what my needs and gaps are, which allows me to prioritize and be realistic about what to make and what to buy. This time, I ended up making a little quadrant on the “shopping list” section:

NEED / WANT / MEND / MOD

It serves as sort of a cross-sectional cheat-sheet of what to prioritize. For instance, most of my fall sewing plans got bumped into the want list, because what I need is a winter-weight pair of pj pants (I’ll use the Hudson pants pattern I own and love), and a big cozy cardigan  (I’m cruising along through Exeter in a beautiful local yarn in natural grey). I used the “pieces I own and never wear” section to reflect on a few items that are in low rotation — those went into the “mod” section — and making my full capsule list showed me exactly what needs mending (2 sweaters and 2 pairs of jeans).

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My budget is probably going to be a little tighter in 2017, so ending the worksheet on that note was helpful. The boots will be my big purchase (thanks to some holiday gift help!), and then I hope to finally repair a new-to-me vintage sewing machine, and later, rent a loom (at the local guild) to dust off my beginner weaving skills. I think by spreading those out over the next few months I can manage them all.

In terms of winter style, I’m loving all the layering possibilities and playing with proportion, inspired by some of my favorite designers and bloggers. To sum it up, I’d say: turtlenecks under everything; front-tuck a big cozy sweater; boxy mock-neck pullovers are winning; top it off with a beanie and booties.

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So far I’ve been working most of this inspiration into my daily outfits and am pretty pleased with how versatile my small closet is. I have my eye on a few new shapes to make from my stash, but they fall squarely in the want not need category, so I’m trying to balance lust with discipline. I’m also trying to avoid buying any more materials (the organic cotton terry for the winter Hudson pants was a small but necessarily slip-up in my de-stash efforts), but something inside me keeps whispering raw silk.

A little bit of thrift store browsing might be in order.

And how about you — are you seasonally planning, capsule creating, or just freewheeling these days?

I really enjoyed Karen’s wardrobe planning series on Fringe Association, which follows the same general framework as the capsule planner, I think. I’m also intrigued by the SewMyStyle capsule challenge that popped up on Instagram — from what I gather, it’s a guided process of sewing one pattern per month, which results in a little capsule wardrobe of its own. I’m not really interested in the patterns they selected, but I like the concept and I basically sew one thing per month anyway. I like how Sienna is modifying it to her own goals and existing stash of patterns, and am looking forward to seeing how it unfolds.

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Published by

Jess

making things & asking questions

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