Capsule Wardrobes and Traveling Style

I started off this summer by spending five days in Washington D. C. and five days in New York City. Naturally, I wanted to dress as extra as possible while being there. However, I was encouraged to only bring a carry-on and wanted to leave plenty of room for souvenirs as well. I decided to try packing a small capsule wardrobe, and this outfit is just one of many outfits I was able to form with just a few pieces.

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A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing in which all of the pieces can be worn together interchangeably. Some people do this for their entire wardrobe as a way of consuming less. If that’s your thing, awesome! However, for those of us who consider fashion a hobby, it is a little less feasible to do this on a daily basis. My capsule wardrobe was composed of a smaller selection of the clothes that I already owned that would fit easily into a carry-on.

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Here is the break down of my capsule wardrobe: two skirts, three tops, two dresses, and one pair of shorts. It was important for me to choose light weight items and items that all fit into the same color scheme. These items make a combined total of eleven outfits. Capsule wardrobes don’t have to be boring and neutral. Accessories, like this vintage scarf from my grandma, take up almost no space. I brought lots of scarves, necklaces, and hair-clips which put a new spin on an old outfit if I decided to wear it again.


After packing all of these items, I still had an entire half of my bag empty, which I promptly filled full of vintage and thrifted items from New York. If not for your everyday wardrobe, I recommend capsule wardrobes for traveling. Less time picking out an outfit means more time for ice cream in Chinatown.

Let me know if anyone is interested in a post about my vintage shopping experience in NYC!

Thrifting 101

Thrifting isn’t new. In fact, it is pretty trendy right now. Even so, many people are struck with an overwhelming fear upon entering a stuffed-to-the-brim thrift shop, unable to tell the hidden gems from the smelly and trashy garments. If you feel this shrinking, suffocating fear, as though you might be consumed and overcome by the thrift shop, and then spit back out with nothing to show for it, read on, dear friend. Upon request, I decided to type up my personal strategy to help you slay the beast.

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1. Know What You’re Into

The best way to overcome the initial thrifters’ shock is to go in knowing your favorite colors, patterns, and textures. I don’t always have time to go through and look at every single item on a rack. Shopping that way can be draining and make one want to give up before ever finding anything. Instead of this, I skim the racks by running my hand over them and looking for colors in my color scheme. For me, this means looking for polka dots, pastels, and unique patterns. I only pull items that I know might already fit into my wardrobe, cutting down on time and making the whole experience much less overwhelming and much quicker.

2. Ditch the Name Brands

Hear me out. Most of the trendy styles you are into are not as new as you think. You can find older items that fit into current trends with the only difference being that it is some random brand no one has ever heard of instead of Forever 21. Trends like corduroy, crushed velvet, and flannels have been around since the 90s and earlier. If you keep an open mind, you will be able to find some killer unique pieces which are right on trend that no one else will be able to replicate.

3. But If You Can’t….

The best shops for name brands are chains such as Goodwill and Salvation Army. More people are apt to donate there since they are the most well-known, so they are more likely to carry big name items. Another thing to keep in mind is the area demographics. Sometimes driving into the snooty area of town and shopping in their thrift shops can pay off. This is basically the same concept as having your parents drive you to the neighborhoods that you knew would give out full-sized candy bars on Halloween as a kid. Thankfully, thrift store prices tend to stay the same no matter what area you are in, but the people in these areas will donate high-scale items.

4. Try that Bad Boy on!

There have been so many times an item looked iffy on the hanger but became one of my new favorites once I tried it on. Thrift shops are full of ugly-cute type of items. The type of thing that is interesting to you and that you are kind of into, but it is a little too out of your comfort zone. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. The best part about thrift shops is finding an item you never knew existed. So just try it on.

5. Check the Pockets

Okay, I know this one is weird, but this one is absolutely from personal error. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have subconsciously reached my hand into a newly-thrifted jacket pocket only to violently retreat it back out in sheer terror. You never know what is lurking in the pockets, so take a look before you put it through the wash for the first time. I have found old candy, receipts, crumbs, and who knows what else. Just trust me.

6. Don’t Confine Yourself

Full disclosure, I don’t only shop in the women’s section. Sometimes the men’s section has much better sweaters. I am pretty small, so I’ll even check the little girl’s XL section sometimes. Not everyone can shop so freely, due to size restrictions, but don’t be afraid to break out of your designated section and check out the others.

 

Thrift shopping is great for the environment and for you wallet, not to mention your unique style. If you’ve been on the fence about it, I hope you’ll give it a try and let me know if this list helped you out. Now go forth and find the perfect Christmas outfit.

One Dress, Three Looks – Fall Fashion

I got a little carried away while planning an outfit this week and couldn’t pick just one. So this week I bring to you, not one, but three unique outfits that I styled starting with one simple black and white dress. It is easier than you’d think to layer your way into a diverse wardrobe without buying tons of different pieces.

Outfit # 1

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This first look is the most out of the box and it is definitely my favorite of the three. Wearing a turtleneck underneath a collared dress may sound a little goofy in theory, but it looks a lot more put together than one might imagine. I love the quirky combination of my second-hand Who What Wear brand dress and my favorite cozy turtleneck. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

Outfit #2

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For this look, rather than wearing the sweater underneath, I pulled one over the top. This allows the collar to peak out from over the sweater in cutesy way. It also creates an allusion that one is wearing a skirt and shirt, rather than a dress, which causes the outfit to be even more versatile. Any sweater or long sleeved shirt could be worn over a dress like this, but I love the playful vibe this ruffled sweater gives this look. If you’re feeling a little more risky, you could venture beyond solid colors and wear a sweatshirt with a graphic or lettering to create something more fun and casual.

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I’m not huge on accessories – I like to let the main pieces of the outfit do the talking. However, I am big-time into socks. This one pair of socks worked well with all three of my looks, creating a color blocking effect. (Also, I majorly dig the Wes Anderson vibes from this backdrop.)

Outfit # 3

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Last but not least, the simplest of the three outfits. By just throwing on my favorite cardigan, I let the dress itself be the main focus of this outfit. When it comes to choosing cardigans, the length makes all of the difference. Because this dress is a loose-fit, a longer cardigan was more appropriate. A shorter sweater would have hit in an unflattering place on my body. If you are not sure, try on a couple of them.

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Whether you are thinking about starting a capsule wardrobe, participating in Dressember,  or just trying to save space in a suitcase this holiday season, it is possible to create several unique looks with just one staple piece. Wear your sweaters over, under, or open – the possibilities are endless. I hope this post was helpful to anyone in a style rut this season.

Stay kind!