{Fall Capsule Planning}, Sewing

{Fall Capsule Planning} Part 1: Identifying your needs

Hello there strangers!  Even though I’ve been pretty quite on here over the summer, I’ve actually been quite productive in my sewing room.  In fact, last week I cut and sewed no fewer than 9 items (for me, the kids, and Albert) assembly line style!  But taking photos and getting posts written up has been my nemesis of late.

So instead, I’ve been doing a lot of planning 🙂

See, even though I’ve been sewing up a storm, it’s all fairly haphazard, as-the-wind-blows-me sort of unplanned sewing.

With a change of seasons approaching (sob, sob, summer don’t leave!), I’m trying to turn my attention to some fall wardrobe planning so that I can be a little more deliberate in my sewing and don’t end up dropping a big wad of cash at Gap and Ann Taylor like I did last winter.

As I was writing this post, I realized that the whole process I want to use to really assess my wardrobe is too long for a single post.  So instead I’m breaking it up into 3 parts.  Here you get part 1, where I’ll focus on identifying my wardrobe needs.

Step 1: Identify the Types of Clothes you Need

It’s important to spend some time really thinking about the role clothes play in your life, and how much you need of different types of clothing.  I am a firm believe that no one needs 100% of a particular type of clothing.  Even the most casual stay-at-home mom should have a dressier outfit in her wardrobe for church, date night, a funeral, wedding, etc.  And even the most business formal lawyer should have comfy jeans and a few t-shirts for running errands on the weekends.

(If you want to do a really deep dive into wardrobe planning and examine how your culture and psychology etc. play into your wardrobe choices, you might enjoy Colette’s Wardrobe Architect Series.  It is a great, in-depth exercise).

As a full-time attorney and mom of 3 active kids, I find that I need pretty much all sorts of clothes in my wardrobe.  Business casual office attire?  Definitely.  Casual run-around-town clothes?  Yep.  Athletic and leisure clothes for working out or a lazy day at home?  Need those too.

Step 2: Identify Your Color Palette

Another key thing to do early on is decide on a general color palette.  My friend Becca just did a great post on how she is approaching her color palette for fall.  Definitely check it out.  I’ve been buying fabric to a general palette of gray, blues, ivory, and shades of pink and maroon for years now so all the fabrics in my stash tend to “go” pretty well.

For this season, I’ve decided to focus on (1) Neutrals — gray, navy and ivory, (2) Basic colors — maroon and vibrant green, and (3) Fun “pops” — rust, plum and pale pink.  And then black and white are just a given that I really don’t even consider part of my color palette.  Black pants may change in shape or style but they will always have a place in my closet.  Same thing with white jeans — the shape may change but in my 38+ years, they have never not been in style.

Ultimately my palette looks like this:

Step 3: Identify the Number of Pieces you Need/Want

So how do incorporate all of my needs into a minimalist capsule wardrobe?  Well, my minimalist wardrobe may be a little larger than someone else’s.  One thing that has always stuck with me from the Unfancy Capsule Wardrobe Challenge is that a capsule wardrobe should be the size it needs to be to fit your life.

When I have been planning my wardrobe, I’ve tried to get as many multipurpose pieces as possible.  If a pair of pants, for example, can easily transition from work to weekend, my options for each are that much larger.

And in addition to the pieces that I need to be able to get dressed in the morning, I also want room for a few “just for fun” pieces.  You know, a jumpsuit that I made just because I want to and not because it fills a pressing need.

The Unfancy capsule wardrobe is 37 pieces.  That’s not enough for me, but I think that about 60ish well-chosen pieces (including shoes) could work.

Step 4: Identify the Specific Pieces you Need

And now to get down to specifics — identify the actual pieces you want in your wardrobe.

With 60 pieces, my planned fall capsule is too large for me to list out piece-by-piece in this post.  But I made a spreadsheet listing it all out that you can see here.

In all, my planned pieces fall into these categories:

  • 10 basic tops (think solid color and striped tees and basic woven blouses)
  • 9 basic bottoms
  • 4 basic dresses
  • 17 “expanders” — this is where you’ll find my fun prints and silhouettes that are a little more out-of-the-ordinary
  • 6 layers
  • 5 “just for fun pieces”
  • 8 pairs of shoes

That all adds up to 59 total pieces that should be able to cover all of my needs this fall.

How do you go about planning your wardrobe?



6 thoughts on “{Fall Capsule Planning} Part 1: Identifying your needs

    1. It’s just my note to myself that it’s something that’s worn out or isn’t exactly how I want it and I eventually want to replace that piece, either with a me-made or RTW 😊

  1. I really enjoyed reading your post, thank you! I am usually a sew-my-whim sort of girl as well…just making whatever I feel like making. But I’ve started working full-time again this year, so I need to be more deliberate in how I use my precious sewing time! Your post really got me thinking and I appreciate it.

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