Let’s Talk Clothes, Part 2: Optimizing

You can check out Part 1: Minimizing of my “Let’s Talk Clothes” series here. In this post I’ll share the process I’ve been through to optimize my wardrobe.

I’ve minimized… now what!?

I wish I made a note of how many pieces of clothing I donated/sold… I think I’d surprise myself! After getting rid of the clothing that was no longer serving its purpose, I didn’t have much left. My body (and life) has changed so much postpartum that many of my clothes didn’t fit well or didn’t suit my new lifestyle. I was left with around 30 pieces of clothing in my closet that fit well and that I love.

I took them all out of my closet and spread them out on my bed in categories (dresses, pants, tops, etc.) I set aside any items that I wouldn’t need for the spring/summer season. I tried everything else on in “oufits” to see which items went well with one another. Throughout this process I made a list of clothing items that I would need to compliment what I already had, or fill in any gaps of particular items I needed.

I was VERY specific. This was the list I came up with:

  • white/brown/beige tank top x2
  • brown button-up cropped sweater
  • long beige/neutral tee x2
  • lounge pants
  • dress with sleeves
  • brown oxford-style shoes

I was intentional in choosing items and colours that would fit with what I already had and be used to make multiple outfits. They’re also items of clothing that can be layered and dressed up/down, so they will work for many occasions and seasons.

The Search

Anytime I need something, I always check for secondhand options first: thrift shops, Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, etc. Why? Because it’s better to buy something that has already been produced than to buy something newβ€”better for your wallet AND the planet. (Read more about the benefits of buying secondhand here)

I was able to find two items secondhand: a brown button-up cropped sweater and a dress with sleeves. That left me in need of a few staple pieces that I was having a hard time finding secondhand.

This is where my major dilemma came in, and I am going to be 100% honest with you…

I am ALL FOR supporting sustainable, ethical brands. We vote with our dollars, and I want mine to support great companies! However, I am a stay-at-home mom and we are scraping by on one income. We have a very small amount of disposable income. I had been saving up for a few more expensive items: a swimsuit from Jessica Rey, shoes from Adelisa & Co., and a dress from Not Perfect Linen. I searched for all of the items I needed from ethical brands, but because I needed quite a few items to create a functional wardrobe, I simply could not afford to spend double or triple. Do I feel good about it? Absolutely not. I felt so guilty purchasing some items from fast fashion companies, but I also couldn’t justify credit card debt that I wouldn’t be able to pay off in the near future in order to purchase similar items.

Now that I have a basic capsule wardrobe that I can add items to seasonally, my goal is to plan for specific items I’ll need, so I have time to save money to purchase higher quality items from more sustainable and ethical fashion brands, and also more time to search for specific items secondhand.

Summer Capsule Wardrobe

Here is my summer capsule wardrobe:

  1. Linen Mama dress in small checks (sleeves)
  2. White/black patterned cotton dress (sleeveless)
  3. Cream cotton ruffle dress (sleeves)
  4. Grey/pale lavender cotton button-up dress (sleeveless)
  5. Linen sleeveless jumpsuit
  6. Sage cotton maxi skirt
  7. Grey tights
  8. Black leggings
  9. Brown skinny stretch pants
  10. Rust wide-leg linen pants
  11. Beige tapered-leg linen pants
  12. Long taupe hoodie
  13. Beige linen shorts
  14. Brown cropped button-up sweater
  15. White ribbed sweater
  16. Beige/Brown sweater
  17. Long Rust button-up sweater
  18. Oversized beige/taupe tee
  19. Ribbed beige tee
  20. Wine tank top
  21. Rust tank top
  22. Beige knit tank top
  23. White/Taupe tank top with buttons
  24. Brown sol shoes
  25. Brown sandals
  26. Brown flats
  27. Brown boots
  28. Black flip-flops
  29. Grey rain jacket
  30. Dark green cotton jacket
  31. Bracelet/Watch (gifted)
  32. NPL Sydney dress in amber yellow (birthday gift that is still on its way, but I’m counting it)
  33. NPL volume dress in creamy brown (birthday gift that is still on its way, but I’m counting it)

Excluded from the list: pajamas & loungewear, bathing suit, clothes used exclusively for workouts/hikes.

Of my 33 items, 19 were already in my wardrobe before I minimized it.

I’m interested to see how I fare with this wardrobe from June-August. I know there will be SO many occasions where I am tempted to buy new clothes, but I will try to stay strong and keep to my capsule (let’s hope I’ve selected it well…)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic of clothes, so feel free to leave a comment below, or chat with me over on Instagram, where I’ll be sharing my outfits, thoughts, etc.

I’ve also started a group chat for anyone who wants to participate in the Project 333 challenge with us! Anyone is welcome, whether you are planning to try it, are giving it a try, or have already had some experience with it and/or capsule wardrobes.

Thanks for reading!

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