Thrifting a Capsule Wardrobe: the rules of my style challenge

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 0 No tags

My 12-month style challenge: thrifting my way to a perfect capsule wardrobe. Click to read my rules!

So, I mentioned that I was in need of a change here on Jeneric Generation. And I briefly explained what my new direction would be–a year-long creative challenge: thrifting my way to a perfect capsule wardrobe.

What this means for JG:

It means posts on how I build my capsule wardrobe, outfit posts featuring my thrift shop finds (yikes!), and discussions on sources of inspiration and developing a strong sense of personal style. For an entire year.*

Yay! I’m excited.

The capsule wardrobe thing isn’t anything new in my life, and I have always enjoyed a good thrift store treasure hunt. But actually, I have never been fond of clothes shopping at thrift stores. If I feel so inclined, I’ll give a small section or two a quick browse, but I rarely used to purchase thrifted clothing. Instead, I stuck to the housewares and books sections of the store.

Thrift stores are rarely organized, and you have to dig through a ton of stuff before you find a gem. And after the long search, it’s hard to decipher whether or not what you have found is something you actually love, or just…the least gross thing you have found.

So, why a thrifted wardrobe?

Over the past few years, I have gotten tired of feeling like everything looks the same in stores, on the mannequins, and on style bloggers. Sure, it’s all cute and stylish, but a lot of it lacks creativity and individuality.

I thought about my fear of thrift store clothing aisles, and I wondered if maybe giving them a second chance would force me to use different eyes. I wondered if it would force me to learn to shop based on what flatters my body and by what colors and patterns make me smile (whether or not they are “in” our “out”).

Suddenly, I viewed thrifting in a whole new light.

Since giving birth almost eight months ago, I have been able to wear most of my old clothes again (darn you, Stubborn Last Five Pounds), but because not everything fits the same way, I am looking at this time in my life as a chance to hit reset in my closet.

My current wardrobe is less than capsule, if you can believe it. I have some work to do in building it up, and I’m taking this opportunity to get rid of what doesn’t work any more, and make space for only things I love.

How do you thrift a capsule wardrobe?? Click to read the rules. Jeneric Generation.

My challenge over the next 12 months is to build a capsule wardrobe each season from only thrifted clothing, and what I already own that I love (which isn’t a lot).

But, because that statement begs for a little clarification, I am going to make a few rules for myself to follow. And I have to stick to them, because I have you guys to keep me accountable. I promise to always be completely honest with you!

The Rules:

For the next 12 months (through November, 2016)…

  • I will be buying all my clothes and shoes from thrift stores or consignment shops
  • online consignment shopping is allowed
  • I will NOT be purchasing the following from thrift/consignment shops: underwear, socks, bras, tights, and pajamas
  • Accessories like jewelry, scarves, and hats, can be purchased at flea markets or if they are handmade, in addition to thrift stores, but absolutely nothing from the mall, Target, etc.
  • I can take anything to my tailor (that I have yet to find…)
  • I will get five “saves” total for the 12-month period

What the heck are saves??

I’m glad you asked, because I just made them up:

“Saves” are exceptions to all rules. I am allowing myself five saves for the 12-month period (that’s fewer than 1 save every two months). They will be reserved for, hypothetically, a heavy winter coat, a decent pair of shoes, or a last-minute fancy event that doesn’t give me time to scour a dozen thrift stores for the appropriate thing.

I don’t hope to use all my saves. In fact, it would be great if I could do without any of them! They are just there as a fallback in case time is not on my side, or if I can’t find an essential clothing item at a thrift/consignment store.

Is this challenge scaring me a little bit?

It is! For one thing, it means I’ll have to start taking a few outfit photos. Outfit photos are not my greatest love, by a long shot. But I’ve resigned myself to the fact that they will be a necessary evil.

The good thing is, I believe scary is good. Good things come from doing things we are afraid of, I have finally learned. No, I’m not doing anything noble or truly praiseworthy by discovering my personal style. I’m simply challenging myself in the name of daily creativity.

This wouldn’t be a challenge if it felt completely doable. And like I’ve said, I am itching for a challenge!

The end goal in all of this:

The goal of this challenge is to build a wardrobe I love, where every article of clothing makes me feel great, without the influence of the latest trends or really awesome sales.

I want to teach my brain to shop in a different way: to re-define what I love and what speaks to me, and to think more creatively.

My goal is NOT to limit myself through thrifting. In fact, it is the opposite. My hope is that I will feel anything but limited, and that my closet will grow organically into a style that accurately represents who I am to the world.

Our clothes say things to others whether we like it or not. We might as well let them speak truthfully.

Let’s go build a fantastic wardrobe!

What do you think? Does this speak to you? Tell me your thoughts!


*Disclaimer…I can’t imagine a world in which I have a blog and don’t occasionally share what I’m reading. So I am reserving the right to discuss books every once in a while. :)

Pssst: If you like the idea of a thrifted capsule wardrobe, don’t forget to scroll your mouse over these photos and click “pin it!” I would be much obliged.

And speaking of pinterest…here is my fall/winter style inspiration board if you are interested.

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