I hate my winter capsule wardrobe

Photo Credit: onesieworld via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: onesieworld via Compfight cc

Disclaimer: the photo above is not me.  I may not love her outfit, but you’ve got to admit – she is OWNING it.

I’ve been struggling to write this post for weeks.  I mean, we’re more than halfway through winter already — Hi Mr. Groundhog! —  shouldn’t I have this post done already?  Shouldn’t I have my winter wardrobe finalized? Shouldn’t I have finished the wardrobe doors?  Short of going on a shopping spree (which is exactly what I’m trying NOT to do with these limited seasonal wardrobes) I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that my winter clothes and I are just not getting along.

Putting together a winter capsule wardrobe was much more difficult than I expected.  I’ve been doing this capsule wardrobe thing since summer, but the winter wardrobe has been the hardest by far.  I’m not sure if it’s the wide range of temperatures we’ve experienced in the last two months (from 70 – 0 degrees!), just the fact that I don’t like being cold, or feeling perfectionistic about trying to find the perfect wardrobe that will all mix-and-match together, but it’s been a 6 weeks in the making and I’m still not happy with it.

Clothes selection process:  My theme for the winter wardrobe was “warm and cozy,” and I chose black and white as my main colors, with accents of purple and green. (This has more to do with what was already in my wardrobe than any intentional choice on my part, or trying to be in style.)  I work in a business casual office three days a week, work at home two days a week, and have very casual weekend days, dressing up for church about the same as I do for work.  My wardrobe needs to be about 50-50 professional and casual clothes, and I try to look for pieces that can crossover for both categories.

clothes venn diagram

This is a lot harder than it sounds like.  I have a few tops that fall into that green “just right” category, but not many, I’m trying to find more from the Deal Meisters clothing subscription.  I’m still in a stage of life where my casual clothes are likely to be used as a snot rag or be worn during a preschooler wrestling match or crawling around on the ground.

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things, but here are the staples of my capsule wardrobe, from most worn to least worn items.  (I was tempted to seriously geek out and make a spreadsheet for this, but instead I settled for various symbols to indicate my uses and issues with this wardrobe.)

  1. Black dress pants ! @ +
  2. Gray dress pants ! @ +
  3. Dark-wash skinny jeans ! ~ +
  4. White button-down shirt ! @
  5. Black jeans ! ~
  6. Gray half-zip cabled sweater ! @ ~ +
  7. Snowflake printed fleece jacket ! ~
  8. Purple turtleneck sweater ! @ ~
  9. Bright blue running Vessi waterproof shoes ! ~
  10. White beaded long-sleeve T-shirt ! @ ~ +
  11. Ratty old Mizzou Law long-sleeved t-shirt ! ~ +
  12. Tall flat black boots ! @ ~ +
  13. Brown short boots ! @
  14. Dark-wash boot-cut jeans ! % ~
  15. Black turtleneck * @
  16. Chambray button-down shirt % @ ~
  17. Purple button-down shirt @ +
  18. Another pair of black dress pants % @ +
  19. Black tuxedo suit jacket in a soft material @
  20. Light gray wool dress % @
  21. Gray tweed skirt with big bow @
  22. Teal polka-dotted cardigan % @
  23. Green and white striped long-sleeved T-shirt ~
  24. Long cream printed sweatshirt * ~
  25. Black short boots @
  26. Teal quilted flats % * @
  27. Tan dress pants ? % @ +
  28. Crazy patterned leggings * ? ~
  29. Gray oversized knitted vest % ? @ ~
  30. Black pencil skirt ? @
  31. Brown velvety jacket ? @ ~ +
  32. Little black dress ?? @
  33. Thick black leggings ?? ~
  34. Black short-sleeved T-shirt ?? ~ +
  35. Black cardigan * ?? @


* New purchase     + More than 3 years old    Hardly worn    ?? Not worn at all

! Worn a lot           % Don’t like how it fits      @ Work             ~ Casual

I think it’s really interesting that most of the items I wore the most had already been in my wardrobe for 3 years or more.  Even though I am not that happy with my winter capsule wardrobe, I know I learned from it.

Lessons Learned

  • No skirts or dresses in winter.  It’s just too cold.
  • No more leggings until I get some longer shirts!
  • I have too many things in my wardrobe that just don’t fit me well anymore.  (Having two kids will do that to you!)  Future clothes shopping needs to be focused on replacing things I know I like instead of chasing the latest fad.  (I think I wore those patterned leggings two times?  Maybe once?)
  • Overlapping work and play clothes doesn’t work very well for me, I just end up with stuff that’s too casual for work and too dressy for home.
  • I miss wearing bright colors.  I know it’s partially a seasonal thing, but a neutral palette is just boring to me.
  • I shouldn’t buy things just because I think they’ll be good “staples.”  I wear cardigans quite a bit for work, but I wear that polka-dotted teal one 10 times more than the plain black one.

The groundhog says 6 more weeks of winter, so I’m going to suck it up and live with these clothes that annoy me for a little while longer. And since I have no time or resources to prepare for my sun kissed look when this is over, these award winning tanning tablets are my best friend for now. But I am SOOOOO excited for spring!

I have to ask – does anyone out there actually like winter?  Are you sick of all your winter clothes like me?

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19 thoughts on “I hate my winter capsule wardrobe

  1. Say “yes” to winter dresses!! I heart sweater dresses. I probably wear more dresses in the winter because I can put leggings or tights under them and throw my boots on. I actually prefer my winter wardrobe. I have embraced the legging and long sweater look. Its so comfy to teach in and can look good if I go somewhere on the weekend–maybe changing out the leggings for skinny jeans. I am always sad when I can’t wear my winter clothes-I struggle with my spring wardrobe, because I am home all summer so I don’t like spending $ on work clothes I won’t wear much.

  2. Would love to move my life to a place where I never experienced winter again. No temps below 60. That being said, I think winter-weight leggings and boots under dresses or skirts are a warmer option. Boots really keep me warmer. I am in casual clothes 99% of my life and I love the boots over skinny jeans. I wear my son’s old soccer socks for extra warmth.
    Love, SMD’s Momma

  3. I prefer my winter wardrobe. I’m a cardigan queen and own a ton. I’ve worn them all so far so that means they can all stay. hahaha

    I hate feeling like I’m at odds with my wardrobe. That sucks. I feel most like that in the spring, so I took steps against that last year – lots of ankle length pants and 3/4 sleeves! I’m trying to correct the holes with pieces I like and will wear.

    I always want to wear dresses in the winter, but I rarely do. It’s just too cold a lot of the times. When I do wear them I tend to wear leggings underneath.
    SMD @ Life According to Steph recently posted…My Movie PalsMy Profile

  4. I’m all about leggings (solid only:) and long tops or dresses with a pair of boots on days I have to dress nice. The rest of the time it is either jeans and a sweater or yoga pants and fleece!
    Kim recently posted…Just DanceMy Profile

  5. Love your analysis and I totally would have made an Excel sheet :). I love that you could draw correlations between the stuff you wear the most and the stuff you’ve had the longest. Hope that when it comes time to go shopping, these revelations about yourself come in handy and you can replace items that you love. I have to say that the cheapest stuff in my wardrobe are the ones I wear the most and I have a black cardi that I’ve worn to death for the last 10 years (has it been that long, OMG!). I like what you’re doing here. I’d like to do the same because then when I do actually go shopping, I can go with a mission. Anywho, I don’t mind winter because I wear the same stuff all year round (cardis, shells, same pants). Also, I do have separate work and weekend clothes because then I don’t have to fear getting them dirty.
    lisacng @ expandng.com recently posted…5 random thingsMy Profile

  6. I’m sick of all my clothes, regardless of season. I genuinely hate them all. I went through my closet early last month and got rid of everything I absolutely detest and will never put on again and kept some things so I’m not, you know, naked. I need to go shopping this spring (on a budget, of course) and buy some tops and bottoms that don’t make me cry.

    Winter is a terrible season. Terrible.
    Jana @ Jana Says recently posted…It’s Tuesday. It’s okay.My Profile

  7. I like winter. But I do find as I get older that I’m not as tolerant of cold weather as I used to be. I don’t do a capsule wardrobe though I follow Unfancy & love her posts. I might as well though b/c I wear the same few things over & over. And I have so many work clothes that I need to donate b/c I work from home now. I need to dress up a little more while home b/c I live in yoga pants, sweats, etc now. And on the weekends, its just jeans and seasonal appropriate tops.
    Danielle recently posted…A Paper Craft With Eeny – Picture Frame CardMy Profile

  8. I like winter because I enjoy experiencing all four seasons, it’s just hard to adapt to the cold icy wind in my face. Lol. I love boots though so those are fun to wear 🙂 Makes getting dressed easy since I wear just about the same things in rotation. I do love my dresses, even in the winter but love wearing my thigh high thick knit socks, they keep me warm! 🙂 Have a great one Sarah! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted…28 on the 28th: Today is My BirthdayMy Profile

  9. I am so there with you!!! I started doing a modified capsule wardrobe in the fall and loved it. This winter, my clothes are depressing me. Too cold, too grey- way too grey and way too cold. I need to seriously re-think my winter wardrobe for next year. When will it be spring!?
    Stacey recently posted…What I’m…My Profile

  10. I don’t like winter, but I do love winter clothes. Sweaters, jeans and boots are my staples. I like bright colors, too – I’m drawn to any sweater that isn’t black or gray. I have a few in various shades of red and bright pink that always make me feel happy on a cold day. Of course, I throw my black fleece over it because I’m always freezing!
    Dana recently posted…Playing favoritesMy Profile

  11. Oh what a bummer. I keep saying that I need to make a capsule wardrobe, but I just can’t find the time/effort . However I do keep eliminating any clothes that don’t fit from my closet so there is that (leaving me with something like 6 tops, 2 pairs of pants, 3 pairs of leggings, 3 cardigans and two dresses – it just isn’t particularly coordinated, lol). Have you ever looked at Wardrobe Oxygen? She mentioned having a work capsule and a weekend capsule – that might be a solution for you…

  12. Dresses/leggings is my favorite thing in the whole world to wear in the winter. With boots it’s so comfy & cozy! I do get tired of my winter wardrobe every year. For one, with the layering I have to do here in the Midwest, I just feel like I need so MANY things. Also, I have less time to shop in the winter so my winter stuff is always less modern. Summer wear is just so much easier!
    jan recently posted…6 MilesMy Profile

  13. love your honesty and your “lessons learned.” i think it would be so hard to have to mix in work and casual and am impressed that you’ve made it work in other seasons. (i have the luxury of being a mostly sahm and i get to wear scrubs to work when i do work.) isn’t it funny how there are always a few things that you wear A LOT? i’m the same way.
    brooke recently posted…CHANGE OF PLANSMy Profile

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