Category Archives: Style

Capsule Closet Challenge – An Update

It’s now December and my personal challenge to avoid buying new clothing (excluding replacement garments) is still on.  How am I doing now that we’re smack dab in the middle of the holiday season?

Well, I’ve purged another two bags of clothing from my closet.  I don’t miss any of it.  There are a few more things I think I want to get rid of, but I just can’t bring myself to do it quite yet.

On Black Friday, I replaced the two pairs of pumps I wear to work.  They have been on life support since probably…September.  Taking advantage of the discounts and sales seemed like a great way to get what I needed while spending less than list price.

I bought a new pair of running/walking shoes (let’s be serious…they’re only walking shoes right now) because I had nearly worn through the soles of my current pair.  Also sourced on Black Friday.

And then I did add one thing – I bought another pair of yoga pants from Target.  I currently have two pairs in rotation right now and since every day they are getting baby cereal/spit-up/dog hair from the houses we are visiting all over them I am washing them CONSTANTLY.  I don’t need to do laundry every two days I think we can all agree.  Even though I was (obviously) hoping to go longer without buying ANYTHING, this is about as practical as you can get.

I will also note that with all of my online purchases I used Ebates!!!  Yes, that’s a referral link, but if you want to bypass it go to Ebates.com and sign yourself up.  I go to Ebates before I start shopping, select my store and then earn cash back on my purchases made through the referral link.  It’s incredible, really.

If you’re doing your own Capsule Closet Challenge, how is it going?

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Capsule Closet Challenge

Amongst a certain set, it seems to be very trendy to create a “capsule” wardrobe.  Usually this involves discarding all of the clothing that one hates, and then purchasing a smaller volume of things that are “high quality” or “classic” pieces.  The person in question then proceeds to cast aspersions on clothing from retailers like Target and somewhere between $250 – $1000 later they have at least part of a new wardrobe.

I’m gonna be honest, y’all.  This is ridiculous nonsense and I am not buying it.

Partially because I don’t understand how people wake-up and suddenly hate Every.Single.Thing.They.Own and partially because I have owned many garments from Target that have survived (and in good quality) for more than one year and some for more than five.

For the past few months, you have seen that I’ve made it a goal to avoid purchasing clothing unless it is “essential.”  To that end, I’ve obtained three new white camisoles, and a branded pullover from my employer that allows me a free pass to wear jeans on any day of the week.  But that’s it.

I’m sort of finding myself at the point where I want to see if I can possibly stretch this goal out for another 10 months and make it a year.

Like the experiment I did…three years ago (?) where I only wore skirts and dresses to work for a summer and then I just stopped wearing dress pants to work altogether because I realized that I hated them.  Though I still have one pair JUST IN CASE there is some sort of emergency where I absolutely cannot wear pants.

But back to the No Clothing thing.

The reason I think this is do-able is because (1) I already have a very full closet (2) I really own all of the clothing that I NEED (3) If I don’t wear it in the next year, I should for sure be getting rid of it (4) I am hoping to be pregnant at some point after Critter’s first birthday and I have a fully outfitted maternity wardrobe as well, so really I have two full wardrobes.

So it can be time for this thing.

When I decided that my current closet-turned capsule wardrobe was going to be A Thing, I will be honest, I was suddenly struck with the urge to go out and shop for EVERYTHING. But I didn’t. So there’s that. 

I only have one caveat.  I swear it’s not supposed to be a loophole, but it’s there because I’m not a glutton for punishment.  In the next 10 months I can replace items.  So, new work shoes, new running shoes, new yoga pants, underwear etc. if I wear them out.

If I epically fail at this, I know you’ll understand since the whole idea is one part crazy to begin with.  I think even if I bought 10% less clothing in a year, that would be a win!  That being said, if this challenge is something that you’re interested in (even if only just for a month, or to get through to the Spring!), please leave me a comment and share your progress. A couple of my girlfriends have already comitted (one for the full year, two for the next quarter) and I am excited to see what we learn!

I have no idea how often I’ll check in on this one. Monthly?  Quarterly?  When something gets replaced?  If I conduct a closet purge?  We’ll see. 

New Clothes.

When I sent out my SOS for clothing, I got…nothing.  And then I was texting with Whitney and I decided to ride the summer out with the clothes I have now because basically they will be for wrangling Critter (perfectly serviceable) or going Up North.

Of course since no maternity leave is complete without borderline excessive internet shopping, I keyed my way over to J.Crew and the J.Crew outlet during naptime. 

We can basically subtitle this post Kat buys multiples of stuff she already owns. 

I grabbed the following Perfect Fit Long Sleeved T-Shirts from J.Crew.

Perfect Fit Long Sleeve T-Shirt (2)Perfect Fit Long Sleeve T-Shirt (3)Perfect Fit Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Basically, I bought the black one to replace the eight year old shirt I finally destroyed, the gray because I have another eight year old shirt that is knocking on death’s door, and the green because it is obviously a neutral and logical addition to my closet.  And it will look superb Up North this summer with 3/4 pairs of my colored shorts. 

And then the rest of this stuff form the J.Crew Factory.

Like the Factory Always Cardigan.

Factory Always CardiganFactory Always Cardigan (2)

I already own the Factory Always Cardigan in a mossy green. I’ve had it for probably three years (?) and I love it sick.  I was really pleased to see that they now make it in a striped arrangement.  I thought about buying just one color, but I really liked the gray AND the navy.

And the Factory Fitted Tank Top.

Factory Fitted Tank Top (2)Factory Fitted Tank Top

Again, I bought the black Factory Fitted Tank Top to replace the black one I destroyed last summer, and the navy version, because it’s a new color for my wardrobe.

Last but not least the only NEW piece, the Factory Striped Studio T-Shirt in navy stripe.

Factory Striped Studio T-Shirt

It’s not like I’m adding visionary color to my wardrobe, but please give a girl credit for at least trying to change it up a (little) bit!  And then please have a laugh about the fact that buying a striped t-shirt is what my most adventurous purchase was. 

The Maternity Clothes I Would Buy Again

Can y’all tell that I am in the middle of cleaning out my drafts-folder and there’s stuff I started that just never got finished?

Obviously I am not a maternity clothing expert, but in case anyone is looking to start building up their maternity wardrobe, I thought I would share what got the most wear in my closet.  I will also note that since I only wear dresses to work (I think I am celebrating three years of this in April), I can offer no assistance in the way of maternity slacks, blouses, etc.

A Pea in The Pod Skinny Maternity Leggings via Macy’s

You guys, these are not the nice leggings that you wore before you were pregnant, but they fit the entire time that I was pregnant (even after I had given up on the jeggings), so they win.  I had a love-hate relationship with the over-belly waistband, but in the end it just did not matter.

Camisoles by BeMaternity by Ingrid & Isabel for Target

Things that are true about maternity camisoles.  All of them are see-through, some of them are cheaper than others.  These ones were much cheaper than the SNUG ones and they managed to fit for my entire pregnancy.  I also felt that whatever synthetic fabric these were made of was much nicer than the SNUG ones.

Gilligan & O’Malley Bras

They’re $15 a bra.  So when you need to buy a new size, it’s really cost-effective.  Victoria’s Secret they are not, but they seem to hang together in the wash.

Merona Women’s Favorite V-Neck Tee

I am pretty sure that every woman who shops at Target owns at least one of these but probably more like…10.  They are wonder-shirts.  I wore mine through the entire pregnancy and they…fit.  If you don’t own any of these (pregnant or not) it’s time to treat yourself.

Seraphine Black Shift Maternity Dress

Dress 2

I will preface this by saying that everything I bought from Seraphine worked extremely well.  As I was sourcing pieces, I knew that relying on them for most of my work clothes would either end up being the best decision or the absolute worst.  It ended up being the best and I know that all of their dresses will survive another pregnancy without issue.

This dress only came to work for like the last two weeks of my pregnancy because I was down to the bottom of the barrel in terms of what would fit, but besides that I wore it to every other event ever.  Weddings, baby showers, fancy dinners/events out.  You really need to buy this one.

Seraphine – Black  Knot Front Maternity Dress

Seraphine 2

I also bought the short-sleeved version of this dress in turquoise.  Also comfortable, but I felt like after a certain point in my pregnancy where it was just showing everything.  Not the case with the black version!  Also since it was fall/winter in Minnesota for most of my pregnancy, the long sleeves were just more practical.

Maxi Dresses

Snap 13

This is me, very obviously not pregnant (let’s all pour one out for my pre-baby body!).  But this dress was from Old Navy and I am pretty sure I wore it into October so…month six-ish?  I can also say the same for the other two maxi dresses in my closet.  If I were having a baby in the summer, I would have purchased more of them, but I wasn’t so I didn’t.

Stuff I Did Not Have To Buy

As we all know, I have a fairly large waterfall cardigan collection and these got a TON of wear in third trimester.  They also got a ton of wear after Critter arrived because all I wore for the entirety of my maternity leave was cardigans and nursing tanks.  Unfortunately all of them are super-old so I couldn’t even tell you to go out and buy them if I wanted to.  Galina also blessed me with some of her maternity tops, so I didn’t have to go out and buy any additional tees or tanks.  I probably would have survived without, but it was really nice to have a few that were super-long.  Just go to Pea In The Pod/Motherhood and grab a couple with that super-cool ruching on the sides.

Cozy Clothes

I feel like my utility in terms of blogging about the clothing I’m buying is somewhat limited because it has pretty much all been maternity stuff, but I did source a some things over the past few weeks that we can all wear  (and they’re actually things I would like to wear after Critter has joined the group).

Blanket Scarves

I bought a blanket scarf for our trip to Italy in March.  The blanket scarf was great because it actually worked like a blanket on our flights/train rides.  The blanket scarf was also great because it was warm and like wearing a blanket on your body over other clothes.  The blanket scarf was not great because it was so much fabric that in the long run, I didn’t find it to be the most manageable garment.  Also, I felt like I was inhaling/eating little bits of lint from it all the time and that was weird.

I was quite surprised to see that Target was selling…a riff on blanket scarves when I was cruising the store a few weeks ago.  They’re by Merona and they’re actually calling them blanket scarves, but they’re really just extra-wide plaid scarves featuring a pretty coarse weave.

Black and White Scarf Navy and Green Scarf

I bought the black and white one before our Chicago trip, and ended up being such a fan of it that I went back to Target last weekend and grabbed the navy and green one because I suspect that both of these will get more use over the fall/winter/early spring than the aforementioned blanket scarf.

Ponchos

Ponchos are something that I generally admire from afar.  They usually look a bit nicer to me than bulky winter coats, but I think that’s also because they are usually being worn in states/climates that are not Minnesota in the winter where we actually need full-body insulation.

Jillian wore her poncho from Old Navy to dinner last week and suddenly I realized that (1) it was really cute and (2) I pretty much am never going to be able to zip a jacket up this winter anyway nor will I be outdoors for any period of time longer than it takes for me to get to/from my car into a building.  So I ordered one for myself!

Black and White Poncho

I am hopeful that this will work for the rest of pregnancy and will be sort of a flattering garment as my body gets back into post-baby shape. I feel like the worst case scenario is that this becomes a slightly more elegant Snuggie, right?

More Maternity Clothes

At my 20 week appointment, I told my OB that honestly the biggest pregnancy concern I had was what to wear.  I am borderline afraid that I’m going to hex myself by saying that this pregnancy is easy and extremely uneventful, but for all of the women who are still waiting to become mothers, I want you to have hope!  Pregnancy is not the worst ever!  It is not all puking and acne!  The massive life changes you have to make are incremental!  Also, please know that I spend a not insignificant amount of time Thanking God for my current physical condition as well as Critter’s health because I know that for so many women it has been different.

Anyway, at my appointment last Friday I had gained a total of 11.6 pounds, which I promptly celebrated by eating a Salted Caramel Nut ice cream cone from Honey & Mackie’s.  This place has been open in Plymouth for maybe two years now and I had never been until Labor Day when Culver’s was closed.  I ate this ice cream and it ranked amongst the most perfect flavors of Earth.  Plymouth/nearby readers, you must taste and see.

But back to the weight gain!  Pregnancy!  So fun!  And lighthearted!  Until your clothes don’t fit!  11.6 pounds currently puts me on track for a 32-ish pound overall gain if I gain a pound a week from here on out.  Who actually knows if that will happen or if I will gain more, or if I will retain a ton of water, or if I will not.  We shall wait and see!

More weight =  more shopping.  We could also subtitle this: I wasn’t going to make it through the next five months with only four dresses.  Here’s the other stuff I’ve bought.

Maternity Camisoles

Not including snaps of these because it seems unnecessary.  However, I did buy two separate sets of camisoles.  They are essentially an identical product, but from different manufacturers: BeMaternity by Ingrid & Isabel for Target and SNUG.  The Target camis are half the price of the SNUG ones.  The Target ones are sized Small/Medium and the SNUG ones are one size fits 0-24.  I guess the big pro to the SNUG camis is that they come in like a million colors, however I am really a white cami only-type of person.  I’ll report back once I see how both of these wear to let you know which ones I would buy again.

Bras

I only just needed to deal with the issue of sourcing new bras – I know a lot of people have this issue during the first trimester.  I…did not.  That is all we will be saying about that.  When it was time to shop for something reasonable that wasn’t a nursing bra (because who knows what size I will need when Critter arrives), a friend suggested the Gilligan & O’Malley collection from Target.  It’s evil genius because the bras seem to be fairly well made and they’re $14.99/piece.  Since I really only need them to last five or so months, I’m not deeply concerned about longevity after that point – that made this a good route to go.

Motherhood Maternity Under-Belly Denim-Look Leggings via Macy’s

Shout-out to Britta for suggesting the underbelly style versus over. As I was not much of a low-rise wearer in my past life, I don’t know that I would have picked this one up otherwise.  I ordered these from Macy’s because maternity stores have weird return policies.  The actual jeggings are frighteningly comfortable.  As in, more comfortable than any other jeggings I have worn before in my life.  They are pants that feel like air.

A Pea in The Pod Skinny Maternity Leggings via Macy’s

These were buy one, get one 50% off, and once again, I bought them through Macy’s because I didn’t want to deal with maternity store return shenanigans if they did not work out.  Paula suggested going Old Navy for leggings, but after reading the reviews, I really couldn’t tell if their leggings were see through or not and the reviews for these leggings noted that they were decidedly not.

I did a bend test and the level of coverage is acceptable, though I wouldn’t wear these with a top that didn’t cover my butt.  These leggings are much thinner than my LOFT Ponte stalwarts, but like the jeggings made of air, I am guessing that as this pregnancy continues to progress, I will be thankful for this total lack of structure.  These do go over the belly, but apparently you can roll them down?  I don’t totally get this, but we’ll figure it out once I start wearing them on the regular.

BumpStart Maternity Scoop-Neck Tunic via Macy’s

Top

I probably wouldn’t have purchased two of these tops but they were buy one, get one 50% off (I think this made them $10 each) and I actually liked the pattern.  The other color scheme I sourced this in was blue/gray.

Seraphine Long Sleeve Twist Front Maternity Dress via A Pea in The PodDress 1

I bought this dress because Galina sent me a 20% coupon and I need more dresses.  My biggest critique of this dress is that you must wear it with heels or else it looks frumpy.  I don’t really wear dresses without heels, but still, it would be nice to not have that as a specific concern.

Seraphine Black Shift Maternity Dress

Dress 2

When I did my first Seraphine order, this dress was out of stock in my color/size.  I’m glad I kept checking back for a re-stock because it is so flattering and I think it is made from the tears of angels because it is almost unbearably soft.  I am seriously considering purchasing this dress in another color just because it is so basic, yet so appropriate looking.  I wore it to a bachelorette party one night and a wedding the next day.  I probably would have chosen to wear something completely different from the above vision to both were I not pregnant, but this was a good fix since those other dresses in my closet just are not an option right now.

If you’re looking for something a little more reasonable, Target has a similar dress by Liz Lange.  I almost bought it, but the Seraphine dress has more of a boatneck and the Liz Lange dress has a straight crewneck.  Basically I think that it would depend on if that matters to you.  For me it did, for you it might not (and you’ll probably save $30).

 

 

Maternity Dresses (I know).

Oh, friends.  Two weeks ago I was buying more maxi skirts because my rotation of maxi dresses was getting tired.  Last week I confronted the reality that I am getting bigger and there is no way that I will be getting smaller for the forseeable future.

This is now the point in the show where I would like us all to light a candle at the altar of Our Patron Saint HRH The Duchess Of Cambridge Who Guides Us In All Things.

I feel like it’s no secret that I am a massive fan of hers, and that I am especially a fan of her style.  It’s classic, but more importantly, if I had to pick a practical word to describe Kate’s wardrobe, it is Appropriate.   I can’t wear what Kim Kardashian wears, nor would I want to for a host of reasons.  I love what Taylor Swift wears, but her style wouldn’t really suit me.  Kate’s style = wearable and suitable.

As I flipped through the maternity sections of GAP, Old Navy, Target, and LOFT, I found the experience to be…distressing.  I didn’t love any of the styles, and they’re not things that I felt I would wear were I Not Pregnant.  I am not terrifically concerned about what to wear casually, but being well-dressed for work is important to me, and I have also needed to confront the issue of What To Wear For The High Holidays.

So while I already knew about Kate’s love of Seraphine, after Googling “Kate Middleton Maternity Dress,” I found another frock she had worn from Asos and I was completely sold.

Frankly, all of the dresses I ordered cost more than any other dress I would consider ordering were I not pregnant.  There is a tiny part of me that cares about that (AKA the budget-minded side of me that is sort of dying inside).  But there is a bigger part of me that realizes that I will probably be wearing a number of these post-partum because you don’t magically lose all of the weight after you have the baby and that they will definitely be wheeled out for when Little Critter gets a sibling.  All of which is to say, that I’d rather buy some things that I really love once instead of a bunch of mediocre stuff that I’m not terrifically jazzed about.

Asos – Maternity Nursing Kate Wrap Skater Dress in Spot Print with 3/4 Sleeve

Asos

Seraphine – Polka Dot Mock Wrap Maternity Dress

Seraphine 1

Seraphine – Green Knot Front Maternity Dress

Seraphine 3

Kate wore this one in fuchsia and also in a floral print.  I still have some feelings about the floral print and might end up sourcing it later, but I decided that the green would be a more practical color for what’s all in my wardrobe at the current moment.

Seraphine – Black  Knot Front Maternity Dress

Seraphine 2

Kate didn’t wear this one, but I felt like getting a longer-sleeved version of the dress (and in black!) would be a smart buy.

Unfortunately, now that Princess Charlotte has been born, I will be left to fend for myself.  Thankfully it will be fall sooner than later, which means that at least when I’m NOT at work, I can start to wheel out the leggings and cardigans.

Mama friends, what were/are your favorite maternity brands?  I’m guessing I’m going to need more than four dresses to get me through this thing.