Today’s a bit different. I don’t have any new finished objects to share with you, so I figured an exception was in order. I have a proclamation to share instead: My Capsule Wardrobe is done!
Well. Done enough. Done enough that I’m calling it. I can see how a capsule wardrobe could be one of those things that’s never truly ‘done’ – and the Wardrobe Architect has instilled in me a set of values (the most basic of which is ‘pick things that match things you already own’) that I’ll certainly continue to use for future projects. That said, I feel like my capsule wardrobe was an exercise in creating a viable set of ‘basics’ – a task I’ve definitely accomplished.
I didn’t really have an end goal set for my capsule wardrobe, but I was listening to the Truly Myrtle Podcast recently – the episode where she talks about the beginning of her own capsule wardrobe (a few weeks ago now, I’m a slow podcast listener) – and I realized how much I’d done already. She then mentions a ‘Capsule Sudoku’ (which I had to google) – it’s pretty much what it sounds like; sixteen pieces arranged into a variety of outfits the way you’d fill out a Sudoku. There was a Pattern Review contest a while back for them which is good inspiration if you’re curious. I drew my little grid, and was surprised to find that (aside from shoes – one day…) I had no problems filling it up with me-mades! Of course, there’s always room for more (future wool trousers, I’m looking at you) – and I chose to interpret ‘accessory’ as ‘warm thing’ because it was more relevant to me – but the fact that I had more I wanted to include on the chart sort of solidified the fact that I have accumulated a good selection of presentable outfits.
- Merino Tee, Silk/Cotton Floral Skirt, (Boots), Merino/Bamboo Henslowe Shawl
- Square Sleeve Cardi, (Madden Boots), Ginger Skinnies, Drapey Tee
- Circle Skirt, Cashmere/Cotton Tee, Malabrigo Thyone Cardi, (Clarks Sandals)
- (Heels), Silk/Merino Hitchhiker Shawl, Button Up Shirt, Ginger Flares
I was feeling pretty confident with my choices, but I think the final ‘nail’ as it were, in the coffin of my capsule wardrobe was Me Made May. Here’s a recap:
I think my ‘uniform’ is pretty apparent from these pictures, and also the fact that my wardrobe is pretty small. I don’t have infinite closet space so ‘more’ isn’t something that I’m after by requirement, but I do think I need to up the pants selection, make a few more cardis and warm layers, and then start really getting in to more colorful ‘statement’ pieces, as I seem to have amassed an army of neutrals.
I’m in a bit of a unique position, having restarted nearly my entire wardrobe a year and a half ago when I moved across the world. Instead of the typical ‘too many party dresses, not enough parties’ problem that a lot of sewists have, I seem to have ended up with all the basics and a lack of statement pieces.
As a reminder, my challenge was to wear no more than one RTW item per day, and to record those items to influence the direction of future makes. I broke the pledge on day 7, when we went hiking: Only one of my hiking items was me-made. I also broke the pledge on day 23, when I wore both my down jacket and a hiking base layer shirt, when I woke up at 5am to shoot footage in a muddy lettuce field for work. it was 1 degree outside, and I made up for it by also wearing every single handknit I could lay my paws on (including three scarves at once).
Here’s the list of items I wore that I didn’t make this month:
- Merino leggings (I have fabric for leggings, and intend to make my own soon)
- Jon’s robe (Yeah, it’s definitely time I made my own robe that actually fits)
- Down puffer jacket*
- Nude Bras (Worn frequently. These two bras are past their expiration dates.)
- Leather Motorcycle Jacket*
- Purple Merino Cardigan (to replace with a me-made when it dies, but no rush)
- Printed owl shirt
- Merino Baselayer long sleeved shirt (Technically hiking gear; from Jon’s work)
*I want to say some of these things ‘don’t count’ but that’s not quite right. I am moving towards a 100% me-made wardrobe, but I think I’m always going to have exceptions, and my challenge is about making this list to address inadequacies. Although the fact that I’ve not yet got a me-made nude bra to wear with things that need it is definitely an inadequacy, the fact that my mother found and bought me a perfectly fitting, beautifully made, buttery soft Michael Kors leather jacket for 65% off is not.
As far as the inadequacies are concerned, there are some things (like the nude bras) I knew about already. There were also a few items I consciously worked around in an effort to stick to my me-mades – the most obvious of which is that I own three pairs of American Eagle twill skinny trousers in three colors, and pre- Ginger Jeans they were my baseline for well-fitting pants. (Do you know how hard it is to find pants for someone 6′ tall with wide hips and no butt? I do.) They fall down like nobody’s business and they gape and wrinkle everywhere, but this month I definitely missed having the extra pops of pants color. My plan is to modify the Ginger Jeans to replace them as soon as I can find some good, firm stretch twill!
I’ve actually been keeping track of my outfits for Wardrobe Architect since the beginning of March using an app called Stylebook. Basically, it’s a closet app with a calendar that lets you track what you wear each day, calculates your ‘cost per wear’ and helps you curate a digital archive of your closet. It tells you your most and least worn items for the month, your best and worst cost per wear, and gives you a few other stats like the colors your wardrobe contains the most of, etc. It’s a paid ($3.99) app that’s definitely not for everyone: it has some shortcomings in its ability to be applied specifically to a handmade wardrobe, but I have enjoyed using it. My cost per wear’s were a bit thrown by thrifted and gifted items, and my best and worst value were all shoes… but here are some stats (starting mid-March) if we only include handmade items:
Most Worn: Thyone Cardigan (21 Days)
Least Worn: Jumpsuit (2 Days)
Best Cost per Wear: Ginger Skinnies ($9 to make /days worn=$.56 per wear)
Worst Cost per Wear: White collared shirt: ($18 to make /days worn =$6.00 per wear)
So. What does this put me? I guess it means I’m switching gears. In addition to a few holes that need filling, I’m starting in again on projects that can be described with adjectives like ‘fun’ and ‘adventurous’, rather than ‘versatile’ and ‘neutral’. My last goal is to slow down a bit: I’ve been working on a lot of projects lately that are finished in a few hours, and I’d like to offset them with things that take a little longer to construct. I’ve always been one to relish the small details, and it seems high time to jump back on that train!
What about you guys? What have you learned from Me Made May this year?