Thursday, 26 July 2012

My capsule wardrobe

I had to come up with a capsule-esque wardrobe for the period of time the stuff we are moving to Finland is in transit. As I was trying to figure out my essentials for the coming six-to-twelve weeks, it hit me that not only was I tackling an uncertain time period (as if six weeks wasn't challenging enough, it could be up to three months), I was also having to take into consideration the change in climate. While I am still in upstate New York, the weather will be hot and humid, but by the time I get to Finland, it will be much, much cooler. And if our stuff takes three months to get to Finland, I'd be looking at the end of October before I'd have access to the rest of my clothes. I started with shoes.

Eight pairs looks like a fair bit, but the summer shoes are easy to pack and take up hardly any room. I decided to go with my beloved blue Fluevog loafers, a pair of black, dressy lace-up shoes, Fluevog lace-up boots, one pair of Converse, one pair of sandals, Tod's loafers, and two pairs of summer-y lace-up shoes. Noteworthy: no heels. 

Next, handbags. I decided to hold onto these two messenger bags. They are easy and sort of neutral, and pretty much go with everything.

One pair of dressy shorts, two pairs of linen trousers and one hat. I was going to take only one pair of linen pants, but I found the other pair in the laundry after the movers had already left. (That actually happened a lot. Damn you, laundry!)

Next up, summer tops. There are three more silk tops in the laundry at the moment - those are not pictured here. I figured that the amount of tops like this didn't really matter - they take up so little space in my suitcase that I could easily keep them around. Also pictured here: my blue silk bow. A girl's got to accessorize, right?

Dresses. This was a tough one. I kept the types around that I could maybe convert to fall clothing in Finland: a long-sleeved Vuokko shirt dress, and two casual, easy-going cotton tank dresses. There are four more dresses that are not pictured: one is a black sleeveless silk dress for hot days, one is a light-as-air tank dress that I can transform into a maxi skirt, one is an embroidered army green summer dress that Rosie gave me last week after the movers had left, and one is a dressy flower-print dress that I needed to keep around for a wedding reception last weekend.

Skirts and trousers. I intended to keep these two skirts: one print skirt, the other plain, but two other skirts sneaked up on me from the laundry room: a orang-y red full skirt and blue linen knit skirt. I kept one pair of navy chinos, a pair of black skinny jeans and a pair of dark denim flared jeans.

Long-sleeved tops: pictured here, two linen knit sweaters and one cardigan. I also kept another cardigan, a light cotton knit sweater and a long linen knit tunic.

Long-sleeved tees, all four by Marimekko.

A light wool blazer and a white shirt.

There are a few things that are not pictured, including two more shirts, working-around-the-house clothes and such. In total, my current wardrobe consists of:

2 pairs of jeans (black skinnies, dark denim flares)
2 pairs of linen trousers
2 pairs of shorts (one dressy, one cargo)
1 pair of navy chinos
1 jumpsuit
4 skirts
6 dresses 
2 blazers
3 shirts
7 summer tops
4 long-sleeved t-shirts
2 cardigans
3 sweaters
1 hat
1 hoodie
1 pair of pajama pants
selection of t-shirts and tank tops
underwear and socks

8 pairs of shoes
2 handbags

Sounds like a lot, right? Well, it is a lot more than I intended to have around, but the whole summer-turning-into-fall thing really screwed me over, plus the clothes-hiding-in-the-laundry aspect certainly added to the mess. I wouldn't have kept as many summer clothes around if I had been more vigilant about the laundry before the movers came: I'm looking at you, two extra skirts and too many dresses. Oh well, there's not much I can do about it now.

A handful of thoughts about this smaller-scale wardrobe: overall, a wardrobe like this doesn't actually feel much smaller than the huge selection of clothes I normally have access to. Everything I have at my disposal  feels practical. I feel like I can understand people who are happy to have this type of amount of clothes around at all times. In some ways, I feel more organized about my clothes than usual, but no, I'm still not a minimalist. I'm already actively missing some of my clothes. For now though, I feel like I have a lot to play around with. As to how on earth am I going to pack all of this stuff in one suitcase... well, there is a chance I might have to pay for extra baggage...


Carolyn said...

An excellent capsule wardrobe! Thankyou for publishing this, I love seeing how other women pack for travel, or a short term limited wardrobe. I think you have a great selection for the changing weather here, and it is a good idea to pack a little bit more than you think you might need since you don't want to get bored with a very small range of choice. I like the soft tone on tone colour scheme, with a few punches of colour for fun.

Shey said...

I really liked this post, I love seeing what people have in their closet/ purse/ luggage. I don't think these are a lot of clothes considering that you will wear them for weeks. When I travel I like to also pack very light and try to keep my luggage to a minimum so I usually take my basics, the good thing is that I have no trouble at all finding something to wear, and after a few days the importance of what I should wear becomes minimal, sometimes I worry or think too much about liking my outfit but that loses interest when I have less options and I'm away from home so I can't think about shopping either. =) Hope you too stay safe and have a safe travel!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you'll discover that this smaller wardrobe is plenty...and carry on with it once you are settled again.

Franca said...

that's about the amount of clothes I had with me in brussels, and I agree it's workable. I'm getting very bored though!

Hippocampe said...

I don't qualify as a minimalist either. Building a functional wardrobe isn't my goal. My life is so routinely functional already, I'd feel like a robot if I were to view my fashion hobby with eyes too analytical.
On the other hand, I'm not one to enjoy shelves of architectural stilettos for art's sake. I don't want to shop and collect pretty clothes, I don't enjoy the clothes I can't wear.
So I have to be practical and take climate, social convention and body proportions into account when I choose clothes. And I've found that the guidelines of the well-organized and rational minimalists have really helped me to be more practical.