This is a lonnnnnng post so settle in, grab a glass of wine and prepare to be entertained and amused, possibly amazed. If this gives you even a drop of hope to change the rut you are in, both emotionally and clothing-wise, I will be estactic. So, here we go.
Life is about change. School, jobs, marriage, moving, birth, death, it is a constant flux. One day, you wake up in the morning, put on your favorite tailored White House Black Market suit, silk blouse, oh so sexy, Italian black stiletto heels, get dolled up with makeup and hair, and off to work you go.
You now wake up in breastmilk-stained, spit-up covered pajamas and are exhausted from feeding the baby every 2 hours. It literally takes you a good solid minute to figure out the last time you took a shower. After that first kiddo, the mommy uniform (if you actually have the gumption to get out of pjs ) becomes yoga pants and a Tshirt with or without puke stain………usually with. Let’s face it, there is some sort of bodily fluid on your person at any given moment. After the second kiddo comes along, it’s really over.
That sexy, stylish woman of yesteryear zipping around from client meetings, to meeting the girls at Keeneland for the spring meets, to happy hour at Oscars, to clubbing til 4am is utterly and completely gone.
WHY have we done this to ourselves? Because life changes. And mostly because we put EVERYONE else first. The days of popping into a boutique and splurging on a new outfit for a night on the town are over. Forget about buying that super cute $50 Micheal Kors top because baby poop will never come out of that material. So why even bother? We relegate ourselves to the clearance rack and cram ourselves into cheap, ill fitting, crappy clothes from the base exchange. I’m certain the buyers for the BX must be 70 year old retirees from Boca who love polyester and weird floral prints.
Even after said baby, isn’t a baby anymore and projectile vomiting has ceased, we don the uniform of our sleep deprived sisters- yoga pants and a Tshirt. It’s the standard mom attire when heading to the commissary. It’s a comfort to see your mommy compadres with no make up, dark circles, hair in a ponytail, rockin the yogas just like you, pushing the kiddos around the grocery store hoping yogurt is back in stock.
But then there SHE is. You all know her. THAT MOM. Looks like she stepped out of a page of US Weekly style section. Trendy hair cut, makeup, pants that do not have elastic, hell, she even has accessories!!!! That twinge of envy slowly rises, you try not to make eye contact hanging your head lower, hoping the shirt you have on doesn’t have remnants of your toddler’s lunch on the front. But she sees you and you smile, say hello and chat about the 75 boxed cakes you have to make for American Day. As you walk off, you mentally berate yourself for not at least putting on lip gloss and mascara.
How can she look that amazing? Why can’t you get your crap together and dress like that? Even if we wanted to, the time involved digging through the sea of crappy clothing to find something that even remotely fits into this new, misshapened body is next to impossible. Our closets are crammed full of clothes and we still have nothing to wear.
So after all that, let me explain what I’m doing to change this hot mess that I’ve become. And as all good stories go, it starts like this…..
Soooooo, I saw this post on Facebook…….
It’s called a Wardrobe Capsule and here is the lowdown. You basically chuck all of your clothes and start over. You buy a seasonal wardrobe consisting of 37 quality pieces including shoes, that fit, that all work together, and all mix and match that would get you through 3 months or 1 full season.
The capsule does not include true workout gear (let’s be honest we knew we weren’t going to yoga when we bought those pants) pajamas, undies, swimwear etc. Your capsule is based on your Life situation. A woman who works in an office has way different requirements than a stay at home mom or a student. Obviously, where you live matters as well. Someone in Arizona won’t be needin rain boots for the rainy season or silk thermals for the 3 ft of snow that needs to be shoveled before 8am.
At the end of the season, you go through your capsule and reevaluate. You either get rid of the item, keep the item storing it for next years season or keep it and put it in the next seasons rotation. Easy Peasy Japanesey.
I loved, loved, loved the idea. And boy did I want to drink that Kool Aid! Then reality set in and here are the reasons why this WOULD NOT work for me and many other women I know.
- Misawa Japan. We live in a remote area in northern Japan. If you are anything over a size 8 in clothes or a size 7 in shoes, you might as well forget about finding clothes or shoes. I truly feel for overweight Japanese women, because they literally have two stores to shop in that have no more than 2 racks of plus size items.
- Shopping on base. Remember the Bubkees in Bocca who are the buyers at the BX? Anything name brand and super cute on base is size 14 and under. The second it hits the sales floor it is gone. The plus sized clothing is from 1987and the Sugarbakers are calling and want their polyester floral pastels back. (You have my love and admiration if you get the reference)
- Online shopping. Not an option. It takes at least 2 weeks to get an order sent here. A wardrobe has to be tried on and most everything would need to be sent back because it doesn’t fit or just isn’t right. Then wait weeks for them to get the return and credit my account. Way too frustrating.
- Seasons? We have them but sometimes all 4 in a week. Misawa weather is schizophrenic. It will be sunny shorts weather and an hour later you need a coat and snow boots.
- Sizes. I am DETERMINED to not be this size anymore, so I’m not about to buy a new wardrobe in my current over-voluptuous situation.
- I’m cheap. Ok, let’s be nice and call myself “thrifty”. I was not about to spend hard earned cash on clothes. After all, I just sold my soul to the devil for a new heat pump for our rental in KY. Not an option.
So, I made a plan. I went shopping for a new wardrobe IN MY OWN CLOSET.
We all wear 20% of the clothes we own and rest just hangs there unused and unloved. So here is what I did. Friday, I sucked it up and for 2 hours folded 10 loads of clean laundry and put it alllll away (it’s not all mine by the way). Saturday afternoon I used every negotiating trick I knew to get hubby to watch the kids. I was not to be disturbed until I came out of the bedroom with an organized capsule wardrobe in my closet.
Before Then I went to work. I turned on Spotify to the Have A Great Day station and opened all the mini blinds, roman shades and curtains (Yes, all on one window. The sun comes up here at 4:00am). Then I did what had to be done. I stripped to my undies and my best bra (The one that holds up the girls like they used to look 15 years ago). I started on the left side of the closet and pulled out each and every item in my closet and made a decision. If I liked it enough to keep it, I tried it on.
Here are the guidelines I used for selecting my clothes.
- Do I love it?
- Does it make me happy?
- Does it fit?
- Is it easy to care for? If I have to hand wash, let’s face it, not gonna happen!
- If it doesn’t fit, would I still want to wear it if it did?
- If it is ripped stained or unfixable, it goes in the trash.
Because I have 3 sizes of clothes in my closet, I made piles.
- Current season size 18
- Current season size 16 that doesn’t fit
- Winter season 18 & 16
- All seasons, size 14 and below. I’m still holding onto the prefect little black dress size 8. Gotta have a goal.
- Needs to go! (More about the clothes I got rid of Iater.)
I was brutal and ruthless in my decisions. If I didn’t love it, it went. If I loved it, I tried it on. Or at least tried to try it on. Who knew my ass got that big over the winter?! I went through the whole 12 ft hanging closet that was packed full including the huge tub of shorts and sweaters.
It took 4 hours.
Yes that is correct, I said 4 hours. In my Chonies for 4 hours! Not only did I try everything on, I hung, folded and organized the closet as well. I bucked up and did this in one day. But it could easily happen in sessions of 15 minute at a time.
Here’s a tip to start now. Hang a donation bag next to your closet and as you find items that need to go, get rid of them. Especially, when you are getting dressed and put something on and hate it, don’t put it back in the closet. Just throw it in your bag.
Spring/Summer Wardrobe Capsules:
- 2 dresses
- 1 skirt
- 3 pants
- 4 capris
- 4 shorts
- 3 sweaters
- 2 jackets
- 24 tops
- Total of 43 items. Not counting shoes
Also included are my small purses, belts, summer scarves, and 5 cami/tanks for layering/modesty.
- 16 tops
- 8 pants/capris
- 1 skirt
- 1 dress
Winter Storage Size 16/18:
- 21 tops
- 7 pants
- 1 dress
- 9 sweaters
- 2 jackets
Storage Size 14:
- 6 pants
- 1 leather jacket
- 1 dress
- 1 skirt
- 6 pants
- 5 tops
- 2 jackets
If in 6 months I’m not in the 14/16s they are gone.
- 4 sweaters
- 26 tops
- 14 pants
- 12 shorts
Instead of donating the clothes, shoes and purses, I’m organizing a clothing swap for the plus sized ladies on base. More on that in my next blog.
Hey, it’s a start.
Here are some more links to get you started on your own wardrobe capsule. Thank you for reading and please feel to comment and ask questions.