Capsule Wardrobe Challenge June 2017, Week 1

There are no seasons where I live, so think about Manizales as perpetual Spring weather. Some days are hot, most days you need at least a cardigan or a jacket, but it never gets so cold that I need a thick scarf. Therefore, 75 pieces of clothing might seem like a lot, but that's my closet for the entire year so...maybe it's okay? 

The first step in this challenge was to clean my closet. Here's what I did: 

How to declutter your closet in one morning

  1. Take everything out! 
  2. Organize your clothes by "lifestyle". I put the party clothes in one pile, the business clothes in another, and the rest I sorted by pants, skirts, dresses, blazers, jackets, collar shirts and t-shirts.
  3. Another option is to organize your clothes by color, this is especially useful if you have never created a capsule wardrobe and you got a mishmash of colors in your closet. 
  4. Right away you might notice that there are things you definitely don't wear. Take those out. Be ruthless! 
  5. Next, have a look at the colors of your clothes. Do you have a cohesive palette? Mine is black and white as base, plus red and blue as accent colors. I had two oddball colors, burgundy and dark green, but in reality that constitutes 1 dress, 1 shirt and 1 cardigan. I won't get rid of those at the moment because they can be combined with the base pieces of my closet. The key is to have the basic pieces in neutral colors and that the accent colors combine with each other as well as the neutral colors. 
  6. Get rid of anything that looks beyond repair. BE RUTHLESS! 
  7. Get rid of anything that doesn't make you feel like a boss ass bitch. Today, I got rid of a skirt just because it constricted my ability to sit down. The fabric clings to my ass and every time I stand up I have to pull the skirt down. Enough of that!

I have done this exercise so many times (I have moved houses, cities and countries 5 times between 2013-2016) that whatever is left in my closet is mostly stuff that I know suits my lifestyle, skin color and body type. Today, I only got rid of 12 things...things that were pilling, things that I never wore, and things that didn't look good on me (a pair of pants that was a gift and I really tried to wear them but it made my ass look like a pancake, ew). 

Interesting realizations from today's closet cleanup: 

  • I may never be a cardigan girl. I got rid of two of them because I don't use them, ever. Perhaps it's because they were too tight, which made it uncomfortable to use as a layer on top of a sleeved shirt. I got those cardigans 2 springs ago, and back then I was convinced that I needed them to complement my closet! But I was wrong, if I need an extra layer I prefer to wear a sweater, a blazer or my bomber jacket. 

  • I have a lot of things I don't wear. I got skirts and business-type clothes that I could dress down for a casual look, but I am too lazy to do it.

  • I have too many white collar shirts. I love them, and all the shirts I have are designer quality that I have accumulated over the years...but I don't wear them as much as I should! 

  • Surprisingly, I do have a lot of prints. All this time I thought that my closet needed more prints and color, but I don't. 

Oh, and how do I know all of this with such accuracy?

I'm a geek, so I have excel sheets for everything. Here is the breakdown of my closet (read the pie chart clockwise): 

Organize your Closet!

Download the same document I am using for this Capsule Wardrobe Challenge!

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Some Kind of Marie Kondo Drawer

The End Result

Next comes the organization part. I organized my clothes by type, so now I have skirts, then jackets, followed by blazers, sweaters, print collar shirts, white collar shirts, dresses, business blazers, and party clothes. I put the pants and t-shirts in one drawer, along with the tank tops that I uses as base layers. 

That's it! My closet is now organized and ready for the "work your wardrobe" challenge. 

This challenge has one very simply rule:

Step out of my rut and be more creative with the mix and match possibilities of the clothes I already own

I also want to figure out how often do I wear each piece of 75 pieces too much? Are there things that I think I need but I don't? The only way to know is by making a record of it! 

You may have noticed already that this is not really a "capsule" wardrobe challenge because I am not restricting my outfits to a number of items. I want to do as much as I can with all that I have! The "stop being lazy and get creative with your closet challenge" did not have a catchy ring to it...

Capsule Wardrobe Challenge

Day 1 - I was motivated to iron this shirt 

I had not worn this shirt in a while because it needed ironing, I can't remember how long I have owned this shirt but I'd say it is close to the 10 year mark and it is in impeccable condition. 

The pants are new, I bought them online from Armed Angels. These are my first Tencel pants and I love them. The fabric is soft, comfortable and breathable! Instead of wearing the belt that came with the trousers, I switched it up and used a scarf as a belt...this scarf has also been in my closet for years, I remember buying it at an H&M when I was still living in Vancouver (so it could have been around 2010-2012). 

The earrings are also new, I got them from Love Justly and they are on sale right now! The bracelet is an eBay purchase...I remember it was winter, I was supposed to use the Christmas holidays to catch up on my research but then I got SICK AF and had nothing to do so I went on a shopping spree (remember GILT? I used to be addicted to that site!). 

I wore this with loafers as I like mixing masculine and feminine in my outfits. Besides, I hate heels. 

People Tree top and skirt with denim jacket

Day 2 - The White Skirt I keep in my closet because it was a good deal

I can't even remember when I got this skirt, but I remember I bought it at a discount at some shop in Panama and the only reason I keep hanging on to it is because it is a BCBG skirt...I cannot recall the last time I wore it, but I keep telling myself this skirt is a keeper, after all white is one of my base colors and I should have a white skirt, right? 

This whole time I have thought of the skirt as business appropriate..but I don't work in an office! Today's challenge was to style it for a casual Friday lunch. 

I first styled this skirt with this top from People Tree (yay ethical brand!) and a leather wraparound belt...but I hated it. I think the belt didn't work with the shoes, so I ditched the belt and decided not to tuck the shirt in because it felt too...prissy. The denim jacket was a birthday gift from this year. 

The sandals are from Fortress of Inca (another ethical brand!), and they are my favorite sandals. I love them because they are comfortable and beautiful and they also remind me why I created The Conscious Fashionista in the first place (I think that deserves its own blog post, so you'll have to wait to learn why). 

Oh, you can see my wedding ring in this photo. It's from Bario Neal, and it is made of recycled silver. <3 

Armed Angels top with skirt

Day 3 - Yet another skirt I don't wear for no particular reason

June 3rd was a Saturday, which means that I spent the entire day in my pijamas until it was time to go out...we had tickets for a Pink Floyd/Radiohead cover band and instead of wearing my black pants I decided to wear this leather skirt instead. 

Why have I neglected this skirt? Ugh, simply put, the skirt is black and my drawers are dark so it just got lost in the mess. I am now keeping the skirt in the closet instead of the drawer, perhaps I will see it and remember to wear it. 

I wore this striped top from Armed Angels (yay ethical brand!) and my boots from Mamahuhu (I visited their workshop, read more in this blog post and for other outfit ideas check out this blog post).  

Sunday was not a fashion day. I went on a hike so I wore my hiking boots and sports clothes...and took photos of nature instead of my practical outfit :) 


Michael Kors dress

Day 5 - The dress of shame/Still showing off my legs because I shaved

It was the Christmas of 2015, and I was living in Switzerland. I went to Spain to spend the holidays with my aunt, and it turns out that she had a 500 Euro credit at Michael Kors that was about to she gave it to my and my sister to use, because MK is not really her thing. 

SO I SOLD MY SOUL TO THE DEVIL AND DID A SHOPPING SPREE AT MICHAEL KORS. I was already balls deep in my thesis, fully aware of the impacts of fast fashion and yet...I COULD NOT RESIST THE FREE MONEY. I drank champagne at the store to wash away the guilt, and walked away with 2 dresses, 3 pairs of shoes and 1 purse. One of the shoes was a pair of pleather sneakers which did not make it past the Spring (the pleather peeled everywhere). 

This is one of the dresses...I will have to start wearing it with a tank top underneath because my boobs don't fit (see the button holding on for dear life?) I have had this blazer for a while, it's another one of those mega-shopping deals that only my mom knows how to find. I think she paid less than 20 bucks for this Anne Klein blazer. I thought this would be a different outfit combination, my default would have been to wear my black leather jacket! 

The boots are from 2014, I got them in LA (you will have noticed by now that I like to do shopping when I travel). The purse I bought in Medellin and it was another one of those dirty purchases because I got it last year and I have no idea if it's an ethical brand or not. 

This was a day of running errands, going to the salon to get my nails and hair done, and later that night we went to a free heavy metal concert! 

Airport outfit

Day 6 - My airport outfit

I like to be comfortable when I travel, and lately my travel uniform is a black long sleeve paired with a leather jacket and jeans. Since I am going to Orlando I ditched the leather jacket and wore my bomber jacket instead. I got it last fall (another "dirty" purchase, I really don't know if this brand is ethical or not). The jeans are at least five years old, and the collar shirt is from 2014 if I remember correctly...

Remember the story from Day 5? Well, this is one of the three pairs of shoes I got in that shopping spree...the purse is from luxury brand Loewe and it is second hand. This is my "business" bag and I wear it when I am at professional events and any time I need to look like an adult. I couldn't find any information on their website about their manufacturing and sustainability (though they are very committed to the arts...). 

I have two laptop bags, this one I got in Spain when I started my MBA and it's from the Italian brand Piquadro. This company is a mix of traditional craftsmanship and technology, I could not find much about their ethics or sustainability so I cannot say more. 

Interesting realization: this whole week I have worn the same earrings from Starfish Project!