Author Topic: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?  (Read 42347 times)

MissStache

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Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« on: January 21, 2014, 09:12:46 AM »
I'm in love with the idea of a capsule wardrobe, as the majority of complications in my daily life are related to clothes:  what should I wear, what do I need to wash, why are there clothes all over my floor?

I have a few things in my current wardrobe that can become part of it, but I tend to buy 95% of my clothes from Target and places like Ross or TJ Maxx.  They were cheap, but the aren't the highest quality and doubt they will stand up the the rigors of frequent wearing in a capsule wardrobe. 

Do you have any brands or stores that are reliably high quality?  I don't mind spending a lot, but I want things that will last and stand up to frequent laundering.  My biggest concern at the moment is pants, but I'd also like some good sources for button-up shirts and dresses. 

TacosForever

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2014, 10:12:33 AM »
What type of capsule wardrobe are you looking to put together? Business casual, business standard, weekend casual, SAHM, evening formal... all of these would have different brand and piece recommendations. And what are the critical pieces missing other than pants?

Allie, the woman who runs this site, does a LOT of work putting together various capsule wardrobes at reasonable price points (reasonable for retail, that is). If you're looking to spend less or do thrifting/secondhand, you could look here to get inspiration for colors and pieces you might want to add to your collection.

http://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/

Dee18

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2014, 10:45:54 AM »
My TJ Maxx carries high quality brands, while the one across town carries only mediocre brands, so you might check more than one.  As for which brand, try lots of clothes on and find what fits.  Brooks Brothers, Lands End and LL Bean are too boxy for me; Banana Republic has too little difference in waist and hips.  Calvin Klein, Jones New York, Ralph Lauren, and Liz Claiborne (alas, no longer available) fit.  I also buy tops on sale at Anthropologie.

snuggler

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2014, 11:07:44 AM »
For athletic and casual clothing, I really like Athleta. They are overpriced, but have an amazing return and exchange policy. You can return or exchange anything, anytime, for any reason. Plus, most of their products are very durable. And for the ones that aren't, you can just return or send in for a replacement under their policy.

MissStache

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2014, 11:36:46 AM »
Thank you for all the great responses so far!  These are really good places to start my search!  I love this forum :)

To be more specific, I am looking at a mostly business-casual wardrobe.  If I'm not at work, I'm wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and I have that covered!

1 potentially difficult item:  A fitted blazer.

I have a curvy figure, so things like this can be tricky for me to fit.  I tend to prefer a more vintage-y style, too.  Has anyone ever purchased anything from Trashy Diva?  Their stuff looks gorgeous, but it is so expensive...

Frugalista

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2014, 06:07:43 PM »
I really love Eddie Bauer. Their  jeans and slacks come in long, regular and petite as well as curvy and slightly curvy. I'm curvy too and they fit great. Very well made. It's nice to find slacks and jeans that don't gap at the waist!

smalllife

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2014, 06:12:48 PM »

I have a curvy figure, so things like this can be tricky for me to fit.  I tend to prefer a more vintage-y style, too.  Has anyone ever purchased anything from Trashy Diva?  Their stuff looks gorgeous, but it is so expensive...

Yep!  I'm actually a little more curvy than a few of their designs, but it's worth every penny to have a dress that you don't bust out of.  I haven't tried their blazers but I'm sure they would be the same.  The quality is very good, so I can definitely say that.

kkbmustang

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2014, 06:17:44 PM »
I've recently discovered an entrepreneur who focuses on sustainable fashion, made in the USA with dead stock fabric. Many pieces can be used in a variety of ways. For example the long wrapped cardigan can be a cardigan, wrap dress or draped dress. The Versalette can be 30 different things from a dress, tote bag, poncho, skirt and tunic, etc.

Check it out at Www.seamly.co

Emilyngh

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2014, 06:25:25 PM »
Ohhh, I don't have any advice, but I'm going to be stalking this thread for advice myself.

I have a ton of clothes.   I like most of what I have and really wear it, but it is cheap.   It's a lot of Target and Old Navy and actually a great deal of Ann Taylor, but even that does not seem to wear very well.   My plan for now is to stop buying and wear what I have (b/c I have plenty).  But, I know that I will eventually need to replace stuff and I hate buying shirts from even Ann Taylor only to find after 3 washes (on cold and hang drying) that they looked stretched and start fading.

 Actually, I started this summer a one year trial to not buy any clothes for myself that are not either second hand or fair trade (other than bras, shoes, underwear).   And so far so good.   So, I would love suggestions it if anyone can add any brands in that not only wear well but are fair trade?    I've checked out American Apparel's website because I heard they were fair trade, but articles look kind of trashy to me-are they well made?  I'm looking for mostly casual and work casual stuff.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2014, 06:39:47 PM by Emilyngh »

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2014, 12:43:03 PM »
I have found Express, The Limited, and Banana Republic all quite nice looking and durable. After about 6 years of constant (weekly/every other week) wear, some of the pants are just starting to wear out. I also found that many pants that say "Dry Clean Only" can be washed with regular laundry every once in awhile and they turn out fine. If you sign up to receive emails you will find that there is almost some sort of sale going on.

windawake

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2014, 01:01:25 PM »
I've been very interested in this topic as well. My advice is, do not go buy too many new things. You probably have items that will work already, that you already know you love.

I'd focus on paring down extraneous clothing so you can focus on what you really want to wear. Purge the clothes you don't wear; I mean really purge. I recently did this and it felt great, I even want to do more even though I only have 50ish items in my wardrobe. Then spend some time pairing the clothes you decided to keep together into new outfits. I like to drink some wine, listen to music, and do this. It gives you more ideas for when you're getting dressed in the morning.

After this exercise you may notice that you have many different base colors (brown, navy blue, black). Decide one base color and use it for all future purchasing decisions. My base is black which means my black leggings are used for yoga/biking/pajamas/and under skirts/dresses. All items become more versatile if they can be used for different purposes. I also don't have much separation between casual and business casual. My dresses/scarves/sweaters all work for both, I just pair tops with black cords instead of black jeans for work.

Then after you've gotten through everything, make a list of several items in the order in which you think they'd be beneficial to your wardrobe. Maybe you have too many patterns and need a good, solid cardigan to pull it all together, or maybe you really want a basic gray dress (a somewhat recent purchase of mine). Then buy one at a time, continuously evaluating how you're liking everything as a whole.

You could also check out Project 333 for a lot more tips/guidelines: http://theproject333.com/

SunshineGirl

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2014, 01:04:30 PM »
J. Jill has some good stuff. They have a "wearever" collection that lasts forever and looks great! If you go to their website and search by wearever, you can sort by price from high to low.

jfer_rose

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2014, 01:09:23 PM »
I'm really just posting here so I'll see new responses as they come in. I've been doing Project 333 for over a year and I'm at the point where I need to replace a few items that haven't aged well. I'm really struggling with finding replacement items that seem like they will last (I'm really hoping to find items that will last for years.) Hopefully I'll find ideas in this thread!

I read a really good book a few years back, "Overdressed: the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion." One takeaway from the book is that paying a lot does not guarantee that a particular garment is well made. It's a great book if you are interested in this sort of thing.

MissStache

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2014, 01:28:15 PM »
On thing I've thought about is having some items custom made for me by a tailor or dressmaker, but I don't really know where to start on that!  It is such an unusual profession these days and I don't think I know a single person in my life who has used one.  Has anyone ever gone that route? 

jfer_rose

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2014, 01:46:33 PM »
On thing I've thought about is having some items custom made for me by a tailor or dressmaker, but I don't really know where to start on that!  It is such an unusual profession these days and I don't think I know a single person in my life who has used one.  Has anyone ever gone that route?

I did this when I was in China with mixed results. I had them make a blazer and dress pants. I really like the blazer but don't really like the pants. My sister was living in China for two years and she had the tailor copy clothes she loved. She had a much greater success rate going that route-- I'm pretty sure she ended up liking all the items she had made that way.

I have a friend (male) who has a hard time getting dress shirts that fit, so he gets all his dress shirts custom made by a tailor here in the DC. He is always really well dressed. You may already know this but I just learned it recently-- the word "bespoke" describes this and it might be helpful to use that word if you are searching for a tailor.

zinnie

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2014, 01:50:11 PM »
This is a hard question--quality of clothing across the board has declined dramatically in the past 5+ years. I guess consumers now are fine throwing things away and replacing every few years? For example, I have a pair of Banana Republic work slacks that I got 12 years ago, and they are still in great shape. I wear them all the time. Similar pairs bought 2-3 years ago are already in dire shape. I follow a blogger who has compared the same item at a few major retailers 3-5 years ago and now, and the differences in quality are shocking.

Finding nice quality at thrift stores and having them altered to be your size is a good solution, sometimes. I have gotten an item that was 5 sizes too big and the tailor still made it look great. Otherwise, I mostly stick to BR or Ann Taylor. The quality isn't as great as it was but you can still find some nice items there. J. Crew still has decent quality, but the prices have gone up. Places like Brooks Brothers and Eddie Bauer still seem to have pretty good quality,  but the sizing/ and style doesn't work too well for me.

On thing I've thought about is having some items custom made for me by a tailor or dressmaker, but I don't really know where to start on that!  It is such an unusual profession these days and I don't think I know a single person in my life who has used one.  Has anyone ever gone that route? 

I have only done this for special occasion items, and it is very pricey! A similar option that has worked for me is finding something secondhand in just about any size that isn't  more than 4-5 sizes away what I would need, and getting it altered to fit. I have used a tailor for a number of things, though I am learning to do more things on my own.

jfer_rose

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2014, 02:13:19 PM »
I follow a blogger who has compared the same item at a few major retailers 3-5 years ago and now, and the differences in quality are shocking.

Would you mind sharing the blog name for this one? I would like to look it up.

Finding nice quality at thrift stores and having them altered to be your size is a good solution, sometimes. I have gotten an item that was 5 sizes too big and the tailor still made it look great.

I really like this idea. And it also serves as another reminder that I would love to get my refashioning hobby started.

Emilyngh

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2014, 02:25:13 PM »
Check out Express for women's business slacks. They flatter most body types up to a size 12, are super durable, and look crisp.

I like the Editor line. My last pair has stood up to 4 years of frequent washes/wear and look nearly new. They run about $80 but there are sales a few times per year.

Yes!  I agree with this.   They do seem to be very high quality and well tailored/fit, and if you wait until they're running a sale and sign-up for their store cc for the discount (and then they'll send percent off coupons to use in the future), you can usually get them for more like $40-$50 a pair.   Now, if only they were fair trade....

frompa

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2014, 03:05:17 PM »
This is a totally wet blanket response to your question, and really smarmy of me, but I can't resist telling you that my first, strongest, and only response to your question is this quote from Thoreau:  "I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes."

pbkmaine

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2014, 04:58:30 PM »
I am older than most of you, so you may need to edit my advice. But here goes. I am a consultant who travels all over the US. I buy St. John Knit jackets on Ebay for approx. $100. They are a wool blend you can crumple in a ball and practically never have to dry clean. I try on the shapes in Nordstrom's (they retail for more than $1,000), and buy the shapes I like on Ebay. Ebay has measurements, typically, for St. John Knits. Rely on those. St. John Knits run big. I buy skirts from Ebay as well. I know A-lines look good on me. I rely on sellers with at least a 99% positive rating and I look for the right waist measurement and the right length. I never spend more than $20 shipped. With the skirts I wear L'Eggs tights. They wear like iron and will dry overnight when I travel. Under the jackets I wear T-shirts with necklaces I make myself. Sounds hippie, but it's not. I get lots of compliments. Shoes are boots or low heels I buy on sale at outlets. I am constantly running through airports and never wear high heels.

If you like suits and are curvy, I recommend Brooks Brothers, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and J. Crew outlets when they have sales. Those brands are pricy even at outlets, but at sale times (and right now is one of them) you can get decent prices. The best first suit to buy is a grey. The color goes with everything and you can wear it all year. Buy a solid grey suit and a couple of skirts and you are set for a week of work.

Avoid like the plague anything that is too tight, too short, too trendy or too low cut. It may get you a date but will not get you a promotion.

For tote bags I like the Coach outlet. They have a lot of 50% off sales and you can get a leather bag for less than $150. Take care of it and it will last for years. Buy a shoe polish in the bag's color and polish it when it gets scratched. It will acquire a patina and look even better as it ages. 

zinnie

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2014, 05:36:27 PM »
I follow a blogger who has compared the same item at a few major retailers 3-5 years ago and now, and the differences in quality are shocking.

Would you mind sharing the blog name for this one? I would like to look it up.

Finding nice quality at thrift stores and having them altered to be your size is a good solution, sometimes. I have gotten an item that was 5 sizes too big and the tailor still made it look great.

 
I really like this idea. And it also serves as another reminder that I would love to get my refashioning hobby started.


I can't find the exact post I was thinking of, but here is one example: http://www.extrapetite.com/2012/01/jcrew-lady-day-coat-2011-vs-2010-sizing.html. There are a bunch more on that blog comparing the same item at different years, and generally talking about store quality over time. It is a great blog for petites trying to figure out where to get high-quality clothes in the right sizes. She buys way too many new clothing items (and is quite unmustachian in that respect), though... :)

lizzzi

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2014, 08:28:21 PM »
Try asking at your local fabric store if they know anyone who can make clothes for you. (Perhaps whoever sews the sample garments that are on their mannikins?) If you have any connections to local little theater groups, or to the folks who get involved with high school plays, find out who helps with the costuming--it may be that you can find a seamstress that way. 

marblejane

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2014, 08:47:35 PM »
I'd really strongly encourage you to pick a minimalist wardrobe from what you already own, and try it for a month or two before buying more clothes. I've been doing a Project 333 style capsule wardrobe since September, and I feel like I've learned so much about how my wardrobe works together and what flatters me over the past few months. I purchased two shirts a couple months into this and it was so much easier to figure out exactly what kind of shirt I needed.

Also, look into doing a seasonal color analysis (online, for free, on your own) to figure out what colors suit you- it's easy to wear multiple neutrals and colors if they are all part of the same palette.

rocklebock

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2014, 08:58:59 PM »
YMMV, but my experience with the capsule wardrobe was that I spent a whole lot of time trying to find the "perfect" pants, bag, skirt, etc., and that was more stressful and annoying than being confused about what to wear in the morning. I also thought I might sew these things myself, and I soon realized I don't really want to use my time on my sewing hobby making boring black office pants.

windawake and marblejane had some great suggestions about how and why not to go out and buy a new wardrobe from scratch. This fall I pulled together a small selection of 20 or so items that I already owned, and got it all organized in the bedroom closet. The rest of my clothes are in another room, so they basically don't exist to me when I'm getting dressed for work. Like a lot of American women I have a ridiculously huge wardrobe, so I'm planning to rotate other stuff into the bedroom closet as the seasons change, or things get worn out. Next fall I might finally have to go out and buy some tops and trousers.

ichangedmyname

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2014, 10:05:43 PM »
What type of capsule wardrobe are you looking to put together? Business casual, business standard, weekend casual, SAHM, evening formal... all of these would have different brand and piece recommendations. And what are the critical pieces missing other than pants?

Allie, the woman who runs this site, does a LOT of work putting together various capsule wardrobes at reasonable price points (reasonable for retail, that is). If you're looking to spend less or do thrifting/secondhand, you could look here to get inspiration for colors and pieces you might want to add to your collection.

http://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/

That just became my new favorite site.

OP thanks for starting this thread. I have been contemplating starting one. Thanks for the replies everyone!

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2014, 07:05:32 AM »
If you want comfortable and professional, great quality and made in the USA, check out texture clothing. They are in Bellingham, WA. I have asked for gift certificates from family members, and once you know your size, I have had luck ordering through their "seconds" clothing on Etsy. Teresa is the owner and she is really nice. Their clothes are all mix and match. My entire wardrobe is now texture because it is so comfortable and easy to wear.

Oh and their main goal is to dress "women with curves."

jrhampt

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2014, 08:22:57 AM »
Part of the key to making clothes last longer is to wash only as often as they need it (for business casual clothing, this means NOT washing automatically every time you wear it) and to hang dry.  Since you are looking for vintage-y blazers, I really like Elevenses, which is a brand that Anthropologie sells.  I wait for sales or look for them on eBay.

ace1224

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2014, 08:38:23 AM »
I really like the Three Dots brand for plain casual t shirts. 

greaper007

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #28 on: January 23, 2014, 08:56:54 AM »
What's a capsule wardrobe?   My wife and I are slightly androgynous, and I used to model so I tend to advice her on clothing purchases.  I'm always looking for ways to reduce costs.

yogagirl95

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #29 on: January 23, 2014, 11:00:29 AM »
Check out Express for women's business slacks. They flatter most body types up to a size 12, are super durable, and look crisp.

I like the Editor line. My last pair has stood up to 4 years of frequent washes/wear and look nearly new. They run about $80 but there are sales a few times per year.

For some reason I can always find these at my thrift store ( goodwill or salvation army). I know my size there, and I can get them for $5. I have bought new in store the editors on clearance for $20 too.

lizzzi

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2014, 11:02:07 AM »
For advice on capsule wardrobes (classic simple basics in colors and styles that all go together; in limited quantities) take a look at Project 333, and the vivienne files. Also refer to the many, many sites that detail practical travel wardrobes for one-bag traveling. They usually follow the capsule wardrobe ideas. I personally find that for day-to-day life in the trenches (at home, lol) I need a few more pieces in case of spills, rips, messes made by little children, or just wanting a fresh outfit later in the day for some reason. I do better with forty or so…33 is not quite enough. But the basic idea is eminently sensible.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2014, 11:21:09 AM »
following this thread... :)

Elaine

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2014, 11:25:45 AM »
I buy clothes based on fabric as much as brand. That being said:
J.Crew- Good for work stuff, I feel like everything I have from them lasts a very long time.
Dankso, Frye, Carolina, Dr. Marten- Long lasting shoes/boots


yyc-phil

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2014, 11:35:37 AM »
I am obviously not a lady, but my wife owns a consignment store in Calgary and I often help her with intake.

The quality and selection you will find in a consignment store has nothing to do whatsoever with the offerings in thrift stores. Everything she has is mid- to high end brands, in new or like new condition. Brands range from affordable Banana Republic, Talula, Guess and the likes, to high end couture like Costume National, Vivienne Westwood, Prada and Gucci, all at about 20-30% of retail. She just sold a quasi-new beautiful, classy and timeless Costume National lady's 2-piece suit retailing over $3000, for a few hundred bucks. I got myself a Prada suit for $300 and a bunch of Etro shirt for under $50 a piece. Yes, you can get a cheap suit and a white shirt at Target for nothing, but if you've try on a high end label, you know and feel the difference, especially if you bought it from consignment.

historienne

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #34 on: January 23, 2014, 01:49:13 PM »
I have a capsule wardrobe (well, a few of them, because I live in a place with Seasons).  I buy a lot of Patagonia (new and used) and Boden and Lands End (used - I only buy ethically produced clothing new).  Also some Everlane, and a few smaller brands - Pact for tees and undies, and Marine Layer for button downs.  Jeans are Levis or Good Society.  I have a fair amount of older J Crew stuff, but their quality has nose-dived in the past few years, so I don't buy it anymore unless I see it in a thrift store and can check the quality (I buy most of my used stuff on ebay).

TheRedHead

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #35 on: January 23, 2014, 03:09:16 PM »
Oh my goodness I did the exact same thing at the end of last year. I was VERY tired of buying clothes and then feeling like I had nothing to wear or, even worse, donating them very quickly.

The answer to my problem was a Nordstrom personal shopper. Seriously. You don't pay them (though they get commission on your purchases). I described my lifestyle (sahm but I want to look classy) and what I was looking for to her and she then helped me create a wardrobe that I am thrilled with. A simple, capsule wardrobe with a few, high quality pieces that will last and that aren't trendy. There was no pressure sales and she was incredibly helpful. She's sent me a few emails since then asking how things are and making some suggestions as she finds pieces for me. SO super helpful.

There is no way I could have done this without her and I'm thrilled with the results. It was very freeing.

MissPeach

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #36 on: January 24, 2014, 11:55:31 AM »
I would recommend learning something things about sewing - even if you want to take it up as a hobby. I checked out some great books at the library about putting together pieces, what seams need to be reinforced and why, fabrics and how they wear, etc. It has helped me figure out what might be a well-made purchase, whether the fabric will pill, etc. I have noticed a lot of brands I used to be able to rely on for quality (i.e., Theory, Vince) have been getting shoddy and a lot of items it looks like you're paying for the name. They still make some good pieces but you don't always get what you pay for with the high end clothing. It helps to understand what is worth paying for and what isn't.

Some people here have already mentioned project 33 because many of us have enough clothing. I also want to recommend this site. It's great to see with a few pieces how you can make many outfit combinations that actually look good and different.
http://www.puttingmetogether.com/

For blazers I really like the ones at Anthropologie. I need ones that curve in a lot of otherwise I look huge on top. I have found more that work there any anywhere else I have tried. They usually have some cool details too. The thing with Anythro, like most stores in the mall, is that a lot of the quality has declined so you have to look at what you are buying and look at the sewing and fabric to see if it's a good deal. They do tend to put most things on sale fairly quickly so that helps too.

crumbcatcher

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #37 on: January 24, 2014, 05:48:41 PM »
Wow. I'd never heard of a "capsule wardrobe," but I think my wardrobe is pretty close. Although I have a bunch of things hanging around that I rarely wear (time to clean it out), I find that I have a pretty small set of things that I wear regularly at work:

4 long-sleeved tees in different colors
4 cardigan sweaters in black/neutral colors
4 scarves
3 pairs of jeans
2 pairs of flats
1 pair of boots
2 belts

I don't deviate from these items very often. At home it's a pair of non-work jeans (I only have one) with one of the inumerable t-shirts that I seem to have aquired over the years, and my Chuck Taylors. During the summer it's a pair of khaki cargo shorts and sandals.

More items than I've seen in the capsule wardrobes on http://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/ (which I discovered on this thread - awesome!), but still pretty small compared to some other women I know. Most of my wardrobe was found in thrift stores, BTW.

MrsPete

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #38 on: January 24, 2014, 10:14:33 PM »
I had to look up "capsule wardrobe".  Sounds like it's just a catch-phrase for basic, minimalist, perhaps classic. 

My suggestions:

- Set aside a day to try on your own clothes.  Put on every piece, look in the mirror, and be critical of whether this item really fits, is something that suits your lifestyle, and so forth.  Everything that doesn't work, give away.  Yes, even if it was expensive, even if you wish it worked for you.  You're overwhelmed.  Get rid of some stuff. 

- Wash everything.  Arrange it in your closet so you can find what you need. 

- Make a list of things you currently own but cannot wear because you're missing a key component of the outfit.  For example, if you have a pair of great red pants . . . but nothing to wear with them, write that down.  If you have a dress that you neve wear because the neckline looks too "empty", find a necklace or scarf that'd "finish" the dress.  As you shop, make it a priority to find things to "fill out" those needs.  This is less expensive than buying whole outfits. 

- Do you have an excess of any one item?  I think typical "excess" items tend to be black pants or shoes, or white blouses.  Because these are so basic, many women tend to pick up more, more, more.  But a person only needs so many.  If you have too much of one thing, donate the excess. 

- Quite buying clothes at Target.  Their stuff doesn't launder well and doesn't last; thus, in the long run, it's more expensive than purchasing a quality item that will last you for years and years. 

- Watch "What Not to Wear".  It's no longer on TV, but I bet you could find episodes online.  Or check out similar books from your library -- I've found several, and they've been enlightening.  It took me a long time to figure out that what looks great on a tall, willowy model doesn't suit me.  I know now that V-necks suit me, blazers and button-down shirts don't, etc.  I know that I like to wear bright colors, small prints, and red shoes . . . but I can't wear spaghetti-strap tops, skirts with a detail at the hem, or anything in yellow.  When you're wearing something that you know "works", pay close attention to WHY it works.  Then buy more of that detail.

- Quit buying items just because they're cheap /on clearance.  I used to be soooo bad about this.  My new rule -- well, I say "new", but it's been my rule for 20 something years now:  Never buy something that you don't like enough that you would buy it, if it were full price.  When you pick up random stuff because it's cheap, you end up with a mis-match of stuff -- a shirt that kind-of works, but you have no pants to match it; a great evening clutch, but you never really use such things; a dress that will be perfect once you get it hemmed and buy some brown shoes.  Instead, buy outfits.  If you like the shirt, either be SURE it'll go with the pants you already own, or buy a pair of pants NOW to match it.

- Years ago I read something in a newspaper article that shocked me -- it was about packing for travel, but it works here too:  The author said, Never buy anything that you don't expect to keep for the next 10 years.  I was in my 20s when I read this, and I thought that was crazy!  10 years?  But as I thought about it, I realized that MANY of the things I wear over and over and over were rather old -- a denim skirt, my great knee boots, a jacket, a classic dress.  Those things kept on "working" for me because they were quality, classic items that I could pair with other things.  In contrast, the trendy things I bought tended to be worn a couple times, then they'd sit around for two years 'til in a cleaning frenzy I gave them away.  Now I ask myself, "Can I see myself wearing this when I turn 50?"  I assume that jeans, tennis shoes, and under garments will wear out in less than 10 years, but I often give a potential purchase the "longevity test".  In my job I wear mostly casual, knit dresses with cardigans OR slacks with sweaters.  I buy most of my dresses from Lands End (they go on great sales); their stuff is classic, and the dresses easily last 10 years. 

- If you want something trendy, make it an accessory.  It's fine to buy a scarf or a chunky bracelet in the hottest color at Target.  It isn't going to wear out. 

- Buy something every season.  I had to learn this one the hard way.  When I was young, I bought, bought, bought . . . but then after I had my first child, I stopped buying clothes.  I rationalized that I had "enough" and that we didn't have money to spare, and I told myself I didn't want to buy anything new until I was back to my pre-baby weight.  Then I had another baby, and I was back in my maternity clothes.  After the second baby, I prepared to go back to school in the fall, and I realized I had bought LITERALLY NOTHING for my wardrobe for something like 4-5 years . . . and every single thing in my closet was a complete rag.  I didn't look professional.  I'm not advocating that a woman should go to work every day looking like a fashion model, but my clothes were not acceptable:  They were threadbare, faded and out of date.  So I found myself forced to go buy a lot of stuff all at once, which is not the way you get the best prices.  After that, I developed a system.  Now I buy 1-2 outfits every spring and every fall, and at the same time I discard something old and worn.  This means I always have something new in my closet, something I could wear to a nice outing.  Similarly, I buy my husband two LL Bean shirts every year -- never any other brand because they really, really last.

- Buy quality under garments (especially bras), even though they're expensive.  And get a great haircut; that makes all the difference in the world.



JanMN

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #39 on: January 25, 2014, 07:53:58 AM »
Great list, MrsPete!

SunshineGirl

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #40 on: January 25, 2014, 08:05:02 AM »
MrsPete, yes! Thank you! Such great advice.

I am inspired.

I've decided that a goal for February is going to be a "no jeans" month. I'm going to set them all aside and wear my way through the rest of my closet. If there's something I don't want to wear or that doesn't fit, I'm going to put it in a donation pile. With what's left, I'm going to do exactly as you suggest - note what's missing (if anything) from an outfit, and go on a hunt for that.

Kristin

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #41 on: January 25, 2014, 08:14:45 AM »
I like to think that I have a capsule wardrobe in place.  I do require business/business casual for work during the week, and I rely on the same items paired with jeans on the weekends.
I primarily buy from J.Crew for button up shirts, dress pants, sweaters and jeans.  I also buy from Eddie Bauer for more casual shirts  and things like flannel lined chinos and outwear for this super cold winter.  I have tried similar items from Gap and Banana Republic, but they just don't hold up to frequent wear and washing like J.Crew and Eddie Bauer in my opinion.

For example, I have a wool pea coat from J.Crew that I have had for the last 6 years, heavily worn, and still looks great.  I also have only two pairs of jeans, both from J.Crew that I alternate several times a week, and they have lasted for almost 2 years now.  I do not recommend the J.Crew outlet clothes, because I have found that they fall apart quickly.

Hope this helps!

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #42 on: January 26, 2014, 09:21:14 AM »
Really like Mrs.Pete's suggestions and advice. I also recommend both Project 333 and thevivienefiles.com for inspiration. I'm discovering since I retired that I really don't need many clothes at all. Following P333 for now and finding that 33 is enough for my very casual lifestyle.

Emilyngh

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #43 on: January 26, 2014, 05:39:12 PM »
So, I was inspired by this thread to check out project 333 and today I emptied out my wardrobe to only leave the following 33 items. I'm a college professor, so it's all on the casual side, but hopefully still items that I can look put-together in.   Also, there may seem like a lot of different colors (in addition to the navy/grey/black), but they are all jewel tones and IMO, go together very well.    I put brands in case you were curious about quality; as you can see, it's a mix.

pants (6):
-two pairs of dark wash jeans (J. Crew and Mossimo)
-one pair of khakis,one pair of navy, and one pair of grey (all Express Editor pants)
-one pair of black leggings (brand?)

skirts/dresses (1)
-bright blue knee length corduroy skirt (Old Navy)

warm sweaters (4)
-black front zip sweater (Ann Taylor)
-grey coat sweater (Ann Taylor)
-coral merino wool sweater (Ann Taylor)
-navy sweater (Ann Taylor)

light sweaters/jackets (3)
-black sweater (Ann Taylor)
-lemon yellow cardigan (Old Navy)
-crayon green corduroy jacket (J Crew)

long sleeve tees (6)
-white, black, mint green with polka dots, pink, turquoise, and white/navy stripes (all Ann Taylor, Old Navy or Target)

accessories (6)
-dark purple pashmina
-light blue soft scarf
-long gold necklace (Ann Taylor)
-medium mulit-colored chunky necklace (Old NavY0
-short pink large beads necklace (Old Navy)
-dark purple quilted tote bag

shoes (all crocs, 5)
-black tall boots
-pink flats
-brown flats
-black loafers
-blue clogs

plus one winter coat and black gloves (2)

These are my best quality/favorite items, so we'll see how it works out just wearing and rewearing them.   My closet's so empty, though.   I love it!
« Last Edit: January 26, 2014, 05:53:22 PM by Emilyngh »

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #44 on: January 26, 2014, 06:40:22 PM »
I remember reading somewhere that we wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. That made me want to pare back and only own the 20%...

I find limiting colours, as many have said, helps considerably. I'm currently going through the process of learning which colours and shapes suit me. If you have a trusted friend to help with that process, invite them over and go through your closet together with a glass of wine.

I take someone more stylish than I am when I shop, that helps a lot as they will guide me towards clothes that suit me better. Also, unlike mrspete I find that buying my clothes in big batches all at once is much easier for me, probably because you can create a cohesive 'look' when you buy five or more outfits at once.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #45 on: January 27, 2014, 03:46:55 PM »
What everyone else said, plus

"Before you shop" thoughts -

How business-like is your office?  There are degrees of business dress.  You may want to wait a few weeks before you do serious shopping, to absorb the nuances.

Colour groups - do you find your colour choices suit you?  My clothes never looked right until I had my Colours done - my Mom is a Winter, my sister is a Summer, so both look good in cooler colours.  I am a Spring, I need warmer colours, and when I was a kid nothing my Mom picked out for me looked good (and my high school uniform was white blouse, grey skirt, navy blazer - I looked horrible all the time).  Springs are the most likely to have problems finding colours that suit them, and least likely to realize that they don't like their clothes because the colours are not quite right, so this may not be useful to you.  It has saved me masses of time in stores, if there is nothing in a colour that will look OK on me, I leave.  Even in business clothes, subtle changes in colour matter.  I don't worry about capsules, within my colour family things work well together.

Even inexpensive stores can have good finds.  I have sweaters from Zeller's that look pricey.  Can you comparison shop?  John T. Molloy's book "The New Woman's Dress for Success book" is good - but not the original one, it is too dated and there were issues.  He gives great advice on how to pay less for a "richer" look.   I know a lot of people put his books down, but they really do have a lot of good information.  I also found "Put Your Best Foot Forward: Make a Great Impression by Taking Control of How Others See You" was useful.

Get a sewing machine and reinforce seams.  Before you wear the item.  Hand-stitch hems - nothing worse than a hem loosing its stitching at work.  And use delicate/gentle cycle in the wash and gentle dryer (or drying on a rack) will really prolong the life of your clothes, even if the label says you don't have to.  Especially anything with elastic/lycra/spandex etc.

Ignore size labels and get what fits, women's sizing is all over the place.  Too tight looks unprofessional, too loose just looks bad.

Shoes, boots and purses - real leather, and look after it.  Fake leather start to go fast, and looks horrible once the cracks start in the strap, etc.  Shoe repair shops can do wonders for shoes that need new heels, soles, etc - get new heel lifts put on before the wear goes into the main part of the heel.

Your clothing really does type you.  Years ago a bunch of us (teachers and professional support staff in my College) had taken a course and went out for dinner (Crescent Street, for those who know Montreal, very trendy) and our waiter pegged us.  We asked him how.  He said our clothes were too conservative for secretaries, and not business-like (no suits) enough for business people or professionals (i.e. lawyers), so there we were.

Good luck!

Winter's Tale

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #46 on: January 28, 2014, 06:34:28 AM »
Check out the book "Zero Waste Home" from the library.  Great book overall, and the author has some very good ideas about a minimalist wardrobe.  She has a blog as well, but I found the book to be organized in a more straightforward way.

I recall that the book "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin also has a section on how the author reduced the size of her wardrobe with great results.  Good luck!

The one tip I will contribute is to donate/get rid of any clothing item you have that is wearable but that you just don't feel good in.  I used to have a sweater that had a nice design and went with lots of things I owned.  But the sleeves were just a little too short and the material was very thin.  It "made sense" to keep it, but I HATED wearing it and cursed it all day long whenever I did.  Getting rid of stuff like that means that your wardrobe is made up of things that you like and actually want to wear!

MissStache

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #47 on: January 28, 2014, 06:46:13 AM »
This is the best thread ever!  Thank you for all your wonderful suggestions and tips, especially MrsPete for that awesome guide!  That should be required reading for every woman.

First of all, I feel like I should say I haven't bought ANYTHING yet!  I have a ton of clothing so my first steps are to weed out what I like and what I don't.  (Does anyone else have backup clothes that you hate, but you wear because nothing else is clean?  WTF?  Why do I do that?)  This weekend I started to process of washing all of my clothes and started pulling out the stuff that I don't like right off the bat.  I also took out anything that is faded or saggy or otherwise looks too worn to be work appropriate.

Step #2 is going to be to try everything on and be really critical about how it looks.  If it isn't flattering, out it goes!

Then, finally, I will re-asses the wardrobe and see what I really need to add to make it flexible. 

It's amazing- I haven't spent a penny and I already feel like I've got a new wardrobe!  Yay!

madgeylou

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #48 on: January 28, 2014, 07:09:36 AM »
This is a great thread! My biggest piece of advice is to start any shopping expedition at the thrift store. Chances are the items have been washed already so you can see how well they hold up, and there's a lot more variety than at regular stores.

You may not find anything some days, but sometimes you can hit the motherlode and end up getting a half of a capsule wardrobe for like $50. This happened for me twice in 2013 -- I had two trips where I just kept finding perfect gray ponte pants and super cute tops that fit me well, including a graphic black and white Michael Kors top that goes with everything and wears like iron. I even found my all-time favorite pair of jeans at the thrift! And I'm a plus sized lady with a not that easy to fit body type! For me the variety is the key -- different stores seem to design for different shapes, and it's nice to be able to experiment with lots of brands in one go.

A few items ended up not working out, so I just re-donated them next time. No big deal as the average cost of each item was still below $5.

Of course this option doesn't work that well when you need something NOW, unless you get lucky. So I usually check out the thrift maybe 6 times a year, and 2-3 times I buy something.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 09:13:10 AM by madgeylou »

cynthia1848

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Re: Starting a capsule wardrobe. Ladies, what brands should I buy?
« Reply #49 on: January 28, 2014, 08:54:33 AM »
If you are curvy, I would look for blazers at Brooks Brothers first.  You can also buy blazers that fit at the shoulder/sleeve and get the waists taken in.  BR, Jcrew, Theory all tend to run more straight up and down, and I find the cuts at LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, Lands End, and Talbots to be too frumpy/matronly.