My Fall 2013 MOTG Capsule (and why I still don't like capsules)

As I was saying in this thread, I really struggle with capsules. I just can't seem to limit myself to choosing from a small number of pieces and I'm not very good at remixing--I like to work on creating the perfect version of an outfit with just the right accessories and lots of matchy matchy details and themes. But I'm never one to turn down a challenge, especially when Angie nudges me. As she said in my thread, "No one said creating capsules was easy. It takes elbow grease. But worthwhile after you have developed the knack for it...At the end of the day, you have to think about how your wardrobe items relate to each other in order for your wardrobe to function. Wardrobe capsuling is one form of wardrobe discipline - and I believe in wardrobe discipline." So, I decided to take on the challenge and create a capsule out of my closet. I really wanted to make a true capsule where everything could be remixed. I chose to do a casual MOTG capsule, as a lot of my work pieces are dresses and dresses don't really work in remixing capsules. This was tough, because I wanted to keep my love of color and prints, which makes remixing very hard. I think I came up with a decent capsule, although now I realize it looks almost identical to Angie's Fall MOTG capsule (16)...I guess I should have saved myself the trouble! :)

Here are the pieces:
2 jackets--Spiegel draped black leather, Dorothy Perkins white moto
3 shirts--Bobeau jaguar tee, Jason Wu for Target yellow blouse, Banana Republic chambray shirt
3 bottoms--Gap camo Always Skinny, AG red snakeskin skinnies, and Vince Camuto grey lace midi tube skirt
3 sweaters--Trouve black corrugated sweater, Only Mine teal cashmere V neck sweater, and J Crew burgundy ribbed cashmere sweater
2 shoes--OTBT gold booties and Skechers grey wedge sneakers
2 necklaces--Alexis Bittar orange leopard pendant and Tasha silver chunky chain
2 bracelets--WHBM red snakeskin bracelet and Spring Street silver cuff
2 bags--Betsey Johnson burgundy hearts satchel and Michael Kors silver Astor studded satchel

My capsule wearing attempts:
2-3. I swapped out the shirt for this Gama Go Ninja Kitty T shirt because I was wearing it for the Autumn Harvest Moon festival and I wanted to wear the shirt with the moon on it.
4-13. Stuck with the capsule on this one--I brought the leather jacket, but it
was too hot to wear it. I had fun matching DS1 this time--we both wore camo pants! And DS1 and DS2 were in matching shirts. (DD would have had a matching shirt too, but it wouldn't fit over her cast). We were watching the America's Cup races. The US
has totally come from behind--it was 8-1 and New Zealand only needed
one more to win. The US won the next seven races and now it's tied 8-8
and tomorrow is the finish! Here's some pics he took of the boats and a
dolphin in the water.
DH has been going out to the races whenever he has a day off. Tomorrow
he has a day off and is going to watch the final, how exciting!
14. (Pics 13-14 by DS1). I swapped out the necklace because I thought the capsule one was too short for this sweater, and wore black booties instead of the wedge sneakers because my toes were sore.
15. Stuck with the capsule with this one--again too hot to wear the leather jacket.

So, what do you think? This was a lot tougher than I thought! It looks nice when you look at it all together like the first picture, but when I tried to start wearing it, I was immediately chafing at the limitations of the capsule! I found myself wanting to swap out shirts or accessories, and not wanting to wear some of the shirts like the chambray and yellow blouse. I've done four days worth from the capsule and I'm already getting bored! I think doing one of those Vivienne file capsules or 30 day challenges would make me absolutely stir crazy! So, I think it was a good mental exercise and proved that I could actually come up with a capsule, but I think I'll stick to my usual random mood-based methods of outfit selection/perfection and save capsule dressing for when I have to travel and am forced to pack light!

Thanks for your comments!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • abc replied 6 years ago

    I admire you for putting together a capsule.  I feel kind of like you, or maybe it's just that I am lazy - I like to go with what my mood is for the day when dressing.  Capsules are hard!  Maybe someday I will graduate to have one or two.  Until then I will continue to stand in front of the closet, at least since YLF I don't feel frustrated like before.

    Your pics, esp the kid ones, are great!  The family photo in 6 is sweet, and I love the littlest one's "roly boly" as my hubs and I call it (the chubby stomach).  7 and 8 are so cute, too.

    But back to the outfits...I think you did a great job remixing things.  I have a hard time doing this myself.  it's funny that you mentioned you didn't find yourself drawn to wear some of the tops and wished to swap out accessories. In real life (outside of capsule-dom) we have more choices which can be nice.

    BTW I love the booties!  I've been eyeing the metallic boots lately and of course these caught my eye...

  • TraceyLiz65 replied 6 years ago

    I did a "take one and pass it on " challenge wear I took one piece each day and carried it over to make an entirely different outfit. If I code a jacket from day one to remix on day 2 I couldn't pick the jacket for day 3. I loved the freedom this allowed . as a stay at home mother this worked because I didn't see the same people from day to day. no one to say, "you wore that jacket yesterday!"
    Wondering if you could do something similar on a weekly basis. It would encourage remixing without the normal restrictions.

  • kellygirl replied 6 years ago

    Hey, that's a pretty awesome accomplishment. I think everyone should try it once :) Your capsule looks great. You can check it off your list!  I would mood dress if I was better at it but I find that I work better with a little structure. Love the DP jacket on you. SO fab. Your family is so adorable. 

  • Deborah replied 6 years ago

    Natalie, I am so with you. I love your comment "I think I'll stick to my usual random mood-based methods of outfit selection/perfection and save capsule dressing for when I have to travel and am forced to pack light!"

    That is exactly how I choose my outfits. Random and moodbased with a consideration for what I am doing and where I am going that particular day.

    Capsules are excellent for me for holidays and weekends away.

    At any rate, I think you did a great job. Love your capsule and you should be proud of the effort you put in.

  • Suz replied 6 years ago

    It's a great looking capsule, Natalie -- but you are right -- it is tough to stick to limitations like this -- especially if, like you, a person has a terrific wardrobe of options waiting for her! I don't blame you for swapping for that autumn moon shirt, by the way. It is ALMOST but not quite as adorable as your kids! :-) 

    If it will make you feel any better, although I enjoy the process of capsule creation (and need to be reasonably good at it because of frequent travel) I have also been a total failure with my recent fall capsule. I'll report on that pretty soon, but basically, I got bored really fast and kept choosing other stuff from my closet. 

    Having said that, is it a failure? After all, our entire wardrobe is one big capsule in a manner of speaking! 

  • Diana replied 6 years ago

    I totally know how you feel.  It's really hard to stick to a limited number of things when you have your whole closet to play with!  That's why I reserve my capsule creation for when I am traveling and have to fit everything into a carry-on.  

    That said, I think you did a great job putting together this capsule.  Everything looks like it could pull its weight and be remixed.  I could easily see this working for a weeklong trip (or two weeks even, if you had laundry).

  • Beth Ann replied 6 years ago

    What if you decided to take one item and wear it once a week for 4 weeks --- pairing it with different items each time?  I did this with a simple black shift, and again with my white pants, this Summer, and with a black jacket last Winter.  My purpose was to get beyond the...."find the best way to wear this garments and wear it only that way forever" trap that I was constantly falling into.  I learned to see more possibilities, and I think it has improved my shopping skills and outfit creation.

    I, too, only use true capsules for traveling, but no one said you couldn't cheat on your capsules! 

    The only rule?  Have fun with fashion!

  • Susie replied 6 years ago

    A travel capsule makes sense. If you can only pack 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 pairs of shoes, etc of course you want to be able to make numerous outfits from those. 

    But why limit ourselves to choosing from 2 toppers when we have 20 hanging in the closet? I do get that maybe I should look beyond this one pair of black pants to wear with that one red top because I might find an equally good or even better pairing. But if it looks fab with the black pants and just eh with gray, I'm going to go with the black every time. And then I will choose two or three totally different pieces for the next day, and for the day after that. 

    Anyway, enough about me! I think you did a good job and created some great outfits but I understand your frustration with capsules in general. 

  • Sara L. replied 6 years ago

    I think you did a good job with your capsule but I can totally understand getting bored fast when you lots of options to play with.

    I've been working on a post-partum casual capsule just because I want a very specific type of item and I don't want to fall back on my usual ratty t-shirts and sweats.  I'll probably post pics of the capsule but I can't actually wear any of it yet, so I'm not sure if it will end up mixing and matching the way I want.

  • JAileen replied 6 years ago

    I love your moon shirt!

    I saw the first America's Cup race in July (actually Louis Vuitton race at that point). We were escaping extreme heat and I really really enjoyed the cool crisp air in SF. We had nice views of the boats from the Exploratorium and from Greens. They are super fast!

    When I travel for a couple of days I guess I'm making a capsule, putting together a very small wardrobe where everything goes with everything else, trying to minimize extraneous pieces. I took a smallish duffle bag, but my son thought the amount of clothes I brought was ridiculous - he took a small book bag. But I can't bring one pair of pants, for example, because I will inevitably spill something on them the first day!

  • rae replied 6 years ago

    I like to work on creating the perfect version of an outfit with just the right accessories and lots of matchy matchy details and themes.

    I think you have proven that you can create a capsule if you want to - but I don't see any reason why you have to dress in capsules when you clearly have more fun detailing perfectly matched outfits. No breaking the first rule, which is to have fun with fashion!

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    I echo Rae 100%. 

  • K. Period. replied 6 years ago

    Love this post!  I did capsules last year and found them very helpful. But I haven't been able to really do capsules yet this season. I've been trying to figure out why.  I think part of it is that putting together a capsule is work, serious work, and it does inherently create limits, just like you said! I chafe under those limitations, just like you.  And I miss the lushness of the extra layers and bits too.  But thinking about it a bit, I wonder if those extra layers and bits aren't kinda the expansion pack of the capsule?

    I think part of the reason I am still committed to a capsule for the fall, notwithstanding my issues with them, is that they actually work well for me.  As soon as I stop thinking of capsules as my required wearing and start thinking of them as the backbone or the quick, no-brainer fast-fallback option, I feel the love.  That's where the capsule really helps me out. It is almost like a pre-made Pinterest inspiration board with my own stuff.  On the days when I don't have time to think about what I'm wearing or I am feeling totally uninspired, the capsule inevitably saves the day.  

    You've really made me think this through! 

    For what it is worth, I love your capsule. Fun and fab for MOTG. :) 

  • shedev replied 6 years ago

    I love the burgundy sweater and camo pants outfit. Would you have tried that without the capsule exercise.

  • Lisa replied 6 years ago

    Great capsule here and also smart move to try it out.  I'm a fan of trying things once just so you at least know if it's for you or not.  And you have a stellar wardrobe of lots of fun things, so why not remix often and based on moods.  Everyone has a different level of "outfit repetition tolerance" in my book. 

  • dakotacheryl replied 6 years ago

    Love the capsule, love your outfits, and the photos of the children...priceless !!

  • rachylou replied 6 years ago

    Omg, the pics of the regatta are awesome. Thank you so much! Those are the ONLY visuals I've gotten of the Cup. Go USA!

    The capsule is great. You've matched Angie's example pretty good, I might add. Interesting how much it changes your vibe... You know, even tho I think it's great, I feel like I want it to be dressier. I feel the need for... a silky blouse.

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