The 2 Best Things I Got from Capsule Wardrobes – and Why I’m Breaking up with Them

Breaking Up (3)


Well, “breaking up” is a rather overdramatic way to put it.

But last week I caught up on Caroline’s post at Un-Fancy on moving away from capsules and it put into words some frustrations with the capsule wardrobe concept that had been swimming in my head for awhile but that I hadn’t been able to articulate. Continue reading “The 2 Best Things I Got from Capsule Wardrobes – and Why I’m Breaking up with Them”

Friday ReBlog: Capsule Closet Tumblr

Lo at Capsule Closet on Tumblr has created a visual diary of her capsule clothing experiments using clean, well-laid-out graphics that will give the visual thinkers among us great capsule wardrobe inspiration.  Her style is self-described “minimalist tomboy” but, as with many capsule blogs, the conceptual thinking behind how she combines pieces to create outfits and build a wardrobe is applicable across any style genre.

Other great features?  She assembles regular Weekend Links to help you get to know new ethical brands and find your next style blog crush.

And – this is so cool – she’ll take a retail item that’s hot in style blogs right now (e.g. Madewell flare jeans) and compile half a dozen or more ethical alternatives at different price points.  Great place to start an ethical clothes journey, one piece at a time.




Why You Shouldn’t Duplicate What Works (and a sneak peek at my winter wardrobe restyling)

As I’ve been retooling my off-season wardrobe, I’ve been tempted to double down on the one sweater I kept from this past winter’s wardrobe – my snow leopard print beauty:

A photo posted by LeahLW (@thriftshopchic) on


Here is some photo evidence of my apparent obsession (and/or sartorial laziness) regarding animal print: Continue reading “Why You Shouldn’t Duplicate What Works (and a sneak peek at my winter wardrobe restyling)”

Friday ReBlog – “One Piece at a Time” Wardrobe in Action

Sarah at Becoming Gezellig used The Vivienne File’s “One Piece at a Time” method to build her capsule wardrobe and lucky us, she shared the process!  This is a great post if you want to see an all-at-once graphic of someone’s capsule wardrobe and/or if you’re curious about building a wardrobe by adding one piece at a time, not just buying ALL THE THINGS at once and hoping they work out.  She gives great pros/cons and thoughts about how the process will shape her future capsules.

In an ideal world, actually living into this process slowly makes a lot of sense to me: start with one outfit you love, then slowly add a piece here and a piece there that complement and expand your starter outfit.  Sticking to this patient pace would help you discover where your holes are (“hmm, it’s getting chillier and I only have one thin cardigan…I’ll select a sweater as my next add-on”) and how pieces play together (“I love this luscious blouse…what if I mixed it with the cardigan I already have and tried it with the skirt I own in addition to pants?”).

It’s how I live into a capsule during the season I’m wearing it – for example this summer I’ve been looking for the “perfect” blue sheath dress to go with my 2 pairs of summer work shoes and the white denim jacket I love and already wear – since I own one in white know it would be my style and would go with oodles of accessories.  I don’t need to go out and buy 5 different dresses or blouse/skirt combos to scratch that itch.  I can take it slow.

On the other hand, when you’re restyling a section of your off-season wardrobe to escape the urgency of “it’s freezing out, I need a sweater NOW,” this gets harder.  You aren’t wearing the clothing day to day, so you don’t get to “know” it – how it lays, whether it’s warm or cool or itchy on its own, if those snug pants are going to feel like sausage casing by the end of the day – and you don’t know how it’s all going to play together.  You have to make educated guesses based on what you *think* you want and how things look in your mirror at home (as you try not to sweat while layering on sweaters and corduroy in Atlanta June heat).

I’ll give you a peek next week on how that non-one-piece-at-a-time winter restyle is going – I think for now, other than tailoring some of the pants, I’m going to hold off on adding anything else until the weather is actually cool and I can see how the whole coalesces (or doesn’t! yeeps).


What do you all think of “One Piece at a Time”?  Helpful concept or are you too impatient/in need of clothing stat?  Scroll down to comment, and happy weekend Thrifters!


Friday ReBlog: Spring Capsule Wardrobe Additions via ThredUp

Erin at Reading My Tea Leaves showcased some spring capsule wardrobe additions in March (just seeing it now, whoops!) but I think her advice works for any season.

She used ThredUp to find these pieces, which is a great tool for anyone who a) hates shopping in person or b) doesn’t have the time to scour the thrift racks for that perfect piece.  I just bought my first piece on ThredUp and I’ll be sharing why I did it and how it went it arrives.

My favorite part of Erin’s take on the process:

“Here’s my best advice: Don’t try to build a [seasonal] capsule wardrobe from scratch. Make slow, careful decisions in every season about what additions make sense for your closet, and search until you find just the right thing. Right, mostly, because you love it.”

It can be hard to wait while you slowly, carefully build your wardrobe (and I’ve definitely succumbed to the temptation to just get it all over with NOW).

But what I love most about taking my time with building a capsule is that I can feel out what works and what doesn’t, growing into it instead of impatiently buying 10 things I *think* I’ll love and that I *think* will all go together only to find out that I only love 2 things – or, horror of horrors, none of it really flows, it’s all one big hot mess, and I have to start over.

And it’s always a good reminder that the “right” clothes for us aren’t the ones anyone else tells us to wear or what we think we *should* wear – they’re just the ones we love, pure and simple.


Do you like to just get it all done at once or do you savor finding “just the right thing”?

And what do you think of Erin’s additions?  Scroll down to comment!


Friday ReBlog: Monochrome Capsule

Alyssa over at Modern French Blog posted on her spring/summer capsule wardrobe and it is just a treat, visually speaking. We all know I am allergic to black, but there are many out there who love and rock it, so take a look at how she does it: chic basics mixed with versatile neutrals. Nothing boring about black in her wardrobe!

Do you wear black—and if so, a lot or a little?  What do you think of Alyssa’s take on it?

Happy weekend, Thrifters!

Friday ReBlog: Zero Waste Wardrobes

I mentioned Ariana at Paris-to-Go in my spring wardrobe cleanout post last week, offering up her pared down wardrobe as a beautiful example of sartorial simplicity.  Her style grows so organically out of her values that it doesn’t feel like some minimalist imposition: “You should own __ number of garments!”

Instead, her commitment to simplicity, sustainability, and generating zero waste, combined with her love of well-made clothes and her superb sense of style, has produced a lovingly curated closet stocked with gorgeous secondhand finds (we’re talking Céline, Dior, Louis Vuitton et al) and handknit items made by local artisans.  Check out posts on her wardrobe to discover the contents for yourself—click “older posts” several times on the lower right to find the good stuff.

I have to say, even though her pants-light, dressily feminine style is quite different from my own, looking at Ariana’s pared down wardrobe makes me happy.  You can tell that she LOVES the items she has; there’s a sense of calm and contentment that comes from a limited number of beautiful possessions and the space freed up by owning less.

She certainly has more…concise…taste than I do—I think owning so little in the way of clothing would be a stretch for me in terms of variety.  But maybe I just haven’t found pieces I love enough to wear significantly fewer clothes more often!


Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home is another zero waste blogger—arguably the one who really put zero waste on the map, and did it with a husband and two boys in tow.  (She’s one of Ariana’s sources of inspiration and she’s definitely gotten me thinking about ways to reduce my waste footprint.)

Her blog is a goldmine of zero waste ideas and it’s easy to spend hours digging through it in alternating states of awe and intimidation.  (My advice for the overwhelmed: pick one thing to try and see how it goes!  Then choose another. Repeat at your own speed.)

She, too, has an entirely secondhand wardrobe and keeps her clothes very pared down.  Check out her wardrobe posts for some ideas on a very different style wavelength. Think “French girl” (since she is French, after all): monochrome, stripes, a few bold patterns/pops of color, and very few embellishments.  This post in particular talks about translating her love of fashion into responsible consumption while still providing variety.


What are your thoughts on zero waste wardrobes? (We might call these specific examples “super minimalist”!)  Do you find freedom in very few garments and a very focused wardrobe, or do you need a little more room to play?  And isn’t it fascinating to see people populate entire wardrobes of such a variety of styles using non-retail alternatives?


Happy weekend, Thrifters—and for those of you who celebrate, Holy Week and Easter blessings.


Giving up Shopping as a Spiritual Discipline

What?  You thought I would cease thrift shopping as a spiritual discipline for Lent?  Nahhhhh.

Oh, sorry, that’s probably a misleading title.   But it IS the topic of this post!

The Christian season of Lent starts tomorrow (on Ash Wednesday).  It’s a 40-day period of introspection, prayer, and penitence leading up to Easter and commemorating Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness before the start of his ministry.  (Wikipedia can tell you more.)

A variety of Christians observe it in a variety of ways, but a very common practice is to give up something you love to eat/drink/do for the whole 40 days as a way to identify with Jesus’ sacrifice & temptation in the desert and to strip away distractions from your relationship with God.  Common Lenten disciplines include not eating meat; not drinking alcohol; not swearing; no candy; no gossip, etc.  (Not usually all in the same Lent, though!)

Other folks pick something up for Lent, spending daily time in meditation, prayer, kind acts, etc. as a sacrifice of time and a way to grow closer to God.

Hey Leah, this is a style blog! you say.  Why are you nattering on about Lent?

Don’t worry, I’m getting there!

When I’ve given up something for Lent, I’ve tried to make it something that was standing in between God and me.  (For example, in grad school one year I gave up because my increasing procrastination on the site when I should have been studying theology/doing homework put my focus on superficial, sensationalized content instead of more profound stuff.)

Thrift shopping has, at times, been that kryptonite for me.  One summer in grad school (I see a common thread here—grad school is hard and tempts you with inappropriate coping mechanisms), I went on thrifting benders to deal with the lack of direction/meaning in my life outside of school.  (Therapy helped solve that one!  I highly recommend.) (Also, thrifting benders?  I’m just imagining what you’re imagining right now: Leah tripping down the aisles of Last Chance, clothes up to her eyeballs in one hand, mimosa in the other….just kidding, it was much less salacious than that.)


Right now, despite the fact that I have a blog all about thrifting, thrift shopping doesn’t consume an inordinate amount of time or energy (or money!) in my life.  Two reasons for this:

  1. I have meaning in lots of other areas of my life and have healthy ways to deal with stress that don’t involve unplugging by SHOPPPPPPPING.
  2. I have found ways to frequent thrift stores (which is truly relaxing and fun for me) without buying a bunch of stuff (which always gives me a high followed by a pretty empty crash.  Wanh wannnnh).  These include thriftstagramming as described here, and capsule wardrobes that help me realize that I already have enough.


All in all, giving up thrifting at this time in my life would be a pretty “easy” Lenten fast/discipline without a lot to point me toward God.  So I’ve got between now and tomorrow morning to figure out something more useful/challenging/spiritual-growth-inducing. (Suggestions welcome!)


YOU, however, may find giving up thrift shopping or shopping in general to be the perfect Lenten discipline this year.  If so, I say, congrats and good luck!  For inspiration, check out the comments on The Vivienne Files’ post re: her decision to cease shopping for a YEAR (although she did allow herself to buy secondhand…so maybe it’s not the perfect inspiration for readers of a thrifting blog).

Miss Minimalist’s Real Life Minimalists series also has lots of great profiles where folks gave up shopping-as-hobby for a period of time (or forever) and found ample rewards in spirituality, time, happiness, bank account levels, etc.


What about you?  Has thrifting ever been something that’s gotten in the way of what’s important in your life, or become an unhealthy go-to in times of stress?  Scroll down to share!  And no shame—after all, I just admitted on a public blog that I used to be addicted to  :)

And to those who observe it: may Lent draw you closer to your Creator and help you grow in all sorts of good ways.


See ya Thursday!




Friday ReBlog: The Spirituality of Capsule Wardrobes

If you know me in real life, you know I have a fascination with mom bloggers from more conservative strains of religion. I’ve always been interested in how people live their faith out in daily life, and for better or worse, conservative voices tend to be more public about their spiritual lives. (Something to do with evangelism, methinks.)

Mormons, Orthodox Jews, devout Catholics of a conservative bent…if they’re well written I love their blogs, even when I disagree (sometimes strongly) with their theology.

For one, I get to read spiritual takes on things like capsule wardrobes—ain’t nobody with a secular style blog going to write about paring down their pants collection as an exercise in religious devotion.  (Okay I guess *I* could do that.  Since I’m a pastor and all.  Note to self.)

After last week’s epiphany that I need to let a mentality of abundance, not scarcity, rule my closet, I came across a 2014 post by Kendra of Catholic All Year on her fall capsule wardrobe (should be timely for you Southern Hemisphere residents!).  The colors and photos are gorgeous, and after acknowledging first world problems and that “we live under the yoke of luxury,” she nails it in the last big paragraph. (I’d paste it here but I don’t know what her policy is re: cuttin’ and pastin’.)


Have a thriftalicious weekend, Thrifters!

Scroll down to let me know if you would like to see a progressive Christian take on thrifting or if you’re just here for the clothes.  And bad puns.



Radical Wardrobe Love

Ya might be sick of my wardrobe capsule shenanigans by now (original here; updates here, here, and here).

But if you’re not…

Since it was my first capsule wardrobe, it’s not surprising it took some tweaking to get it right (see those 3 updates above!).  When all was said and done I decided to just keep what I thrill to put on. Which was sort of the point in the first place.

At least I got there in the end!

So here is the aforementioned experiment in radical wardrobe love in which I get rid of every winter item I don’t THRILL to put on. Continue reading “Radical Wardrobe Love”