Over the past few summers, I've been fretting my weekend wear. Not because it's hot -- we have very mild and pleasant summers -- but because I was struggling with wearing appropriately casual outfits. I'd previously been attributing it to feeling rushed while getting dressed, so last summer I pared waaaay down on my summer style and dressed much more simply (and quickly). While it did help a little, I was still struggling. Coincidentally, I was also on a shopping break during that time which helped/forced me to really hunker down and figure out exactly what was going on.
What I realized was that, like many people, I had a totally incorrect perception of how my time was spent. I found that my normal clothes (what I call my "work" clothes, even though they're rather casual) generally get me through only 3-4 days a week, not 4-6 as I'd been thinking. The other 2-3 are weekend casual days; some of the work stuff crosses over, getting dressed down with BF jeans and flats, which is what made me think I was getting more wear out of the work stuff. But much more of that time was spent in far more casual settings than I'd thought, particularly "in the summer" where I needed things I could go romp outside in which still looked presentable. I put that in quotes because when I actually looked at it, I was surprised to find that it's actually the time period from March through October! That is a ridiculously large amount of time to be missing clothing for!
Now, I'm specifically referring to extra casual activities that require casual-bordering-gear clothing, for our typical weekend activities such as: hiking, short 2-up motorcycle rides, dirt biking, various casual meals, visiting farms, day trips in the car or on the bike, impromptu visits with friends, picnics, beach strolls, camping, BBQs/fire pit hangouts, baseball games, hitting the driving range, city sightseeing, shopping, etc. We might do one of these things or several of these things, and often we haven't decided ahead of time what it is we're doing. This, you see, is my dilemma with these weekend outfits! And the motorcycle activities present extra challenges, particularly dirt biking, but I won't go into those here.
Day-to-day, my husband usually wears nice jeans, high quality leather boots, and a perfectly fitting button-up shirt (his are all bespoke). He could wear his formula to all of the above activities, along with work and even dressier activities, and be perfectly appropriate. I feel like there is no such single outfit that can achieve such a wide range of activities/dressiness levels for me as it does my husband, which is a whole other topic of discussion. But I thought perhaps I could manage my husband's approach for the weekend, because at the very least, on weekends the activity range is more limited. What I want most is for whatever I'm wearing to NOT hinder whatever it is we decide to do, while still feeling fab and me (tall order).
So I decided the first step was that I needed to allow/force myself to purchase these missing, less fashion-fun clothing items. Then to come to terms with actually, you know, dressing truly casually. I definitely bat for Team Dressy even in my casual clothing, but particularly in shoes. My style has almost no sportiness and I'm inherently drawn to pretty, refined footwear which makes shoes the toughest part for me. Plus I've never really liked sneakers, even when I used to actually do athletic things which required them. However, the more I looked at this capsule and the activities it needed to accommodate, the more it made sense that sneakers would be an integral part. It also made sense to seek out breathable fabrications because some of the activities would be somewhat athletic, and the motorcycle activities would require adding gear over the top. My basic outfit formula idea is to wear sneakers of some sort with weather-appropriate bottoms and a lightweight casual top with breathable fabrication.
With those ideas in mind, I came up with the following capsule:
- rubber boots (for farms, muddy stuff)
- short boho boots (for non-muddy rompin')
- lace-up sneaks/slip-on sneaks (for misc casual things)
- flats (for city stuff)
- flat waterproof sandals (for beachy stuff)
- several cotton breezy tees
- a few elbow/LS tees
- a few breezy tanks
- a couple summer sweaters (for cooler days)
- a couple button-up shirts
- boyfriend jeans/pants (for heavy duty stuff)
- faded skinny jeans (for city stuff)
- baggy shorts (for hot days, beachy stuff)
- long walk shorts/cropped pants (for warm days outside)
- breezy long skirt (beach ok)
- casual day dress
- denim jacket
- a couple long soft cardigans
- anorak/utility jacket
- leather jacket
- a few colorful/printed scarves (for extra polish)
- slouchy hats/pretty headbands (after bike outings)
- medium cross body bag
I was surprised to find that I actually did have a lot of the components already... and then less surprised to find that the shoes were primarily what was missing. Some missing pieces I've added in the past couple weeks, some existing less-than-fab pieces have been upgraded, and a few others I'm still working on finding. It may seem like a lot but as I said at the start, this capsule spans 8 months! I also made a supplemental list of "Good Alternates", items that fit the categories which are part of my dressier work wear, for days that are less than ultra-casual.
So now I've just got to start putting it into practice! I had a test run this past weekend which worked pretty well, and I'm feeling encouraged to continue moving forward with this. I may not stick to the capsule 100% (probably won't) but it was incredibly useful in figuring out exactly what the holes were. Of course, in practice the capsule elements are subject to change since this is all still speculation. Educated speculation, but speculation nonetheless. Also, it'll be interesting to see which things feel fab enough and which don't.
Whew! If you've made it all the way though, thanks for reading! As always I'd love to hear any of your thoughts or experiences :)