Welcome to Week 3 in my capsule wardrobe series. In my introduction, I convinced you that a capsule is a way of life and not a ten-day challenge. In Week 1, I wrote about choosing neutrals for your capsule and sticking to them strictly. Week 2 was all about planning your capsule like you’re planning for a trip. This week, I’m going to let you in on the secret to my never feeling stressed about finding something to wear yet always having the perfect outfit.
I was an awkward kid and my mom hated shopping so I grew up never feeling like I had the right clothes in any situation. This definitely carries over to adulthood, as it’s really important to me to feel like I’m dressed appropriately. I used to shop so much to make sure my closet was stocked for every possibility and still found myself panicking at the mall the day before basically anything that wasn’t school or work.
Since committing to sew most of my clothes, I’ve realized this is not a sustainable strategy. We can’t sew zillions of unique outfits to fit all of the occasions in our lives. Nor can we wait until a few days before needing to wear something before we start making it. This is why I developed my “Levels of Formality” system.
I start planning my wardrobes pretty far in advance and definitely do not know all of the possible outings and activities I might be participating in over a six month period. What I’ve done is categorized all of the things I do into five Levels based on how formally I’m dressed and planned one outfit in each Level for the season. This way, I have a base of five outfits that have me prepared for literally any situation and I’m never stuck wracking my brain to come up with the perfect thing to wear.
I’ve outlined below how my levels work for me. You might have more or less levels of formality depending on your style and work. I’ve given examples of patterns I’ve made or have been on my radar to make.
Level 1: Chic Loungewear
Occasions: Lounging at home, greeting delivery people at the door, luxurious hotel stays, Skype dates on the weekend
Outfits: leggings, loose-fitting tops, slouchy cardigans, robes and wraps, cosy wool sock, slippers
Patterns: Ogden Cami, Briar Tee, Adventure Tank, Blackwood Cardigan, Linden Sweatshirt, Suki Robe, Avery Leggings, Hudson Pants
Level 2: Casual Outing
Occasions: running errands, play dates, picnics, neighbourhood walks, casual hangouts at a friend’s house, Casual Fridays
Outfits: jeans and knit tops with sneakers, easy knit dresses and flats
Patterns: Dawn Jeans, Ginger Jeans, Mandy Boat Tee, Knit Kalle Crop, Nikko Top or Dress, Knit River Dress, Pony Dress, Archer Button Up
Level 3: “Nice” outfits
Occasions: Every day at work, dinner with friends, family get-togethers
Outfits: Nice jeans or slacks, collared shirts, tunics and boots, blouses
Patterns: Sasha Trousers, Kalle Tunic or Dress, Mélilot Shirt, Woven River Top, Alder Shirtdress
Level 4: Extra “nice” outfits
Occasions: Important work meetings, parent-teacher interviews, meeting with clients, baby or wedding showers, date nights
Outfits: knee length dresses with heels or flats, slacks and blazers
Patterns: Woven River Dress, Orchid Dress, Fulton Sweater Blazer, Jasika Blazer
Level 5: Formal outfits
Occasions: weddings, graduations, galas, anything with a formal invitation
Outfits: Knee-length (or longer) dresses or jumpsuit and heels with a clutch
Patterns: Spring Sling, Halter River Dress Hack, Calvin Dress, Kielo Wrap Dress, Sirocco Jumpsuit, Kew Dress, Patsy Party Dress
4 thoughts on “Capsule Wardrobe Week 3: Levels of Formality (Have the Perfect Outfit for Every Occasion)”
[…] If you’ve started looking at my Canadian Capsule Planner, you’ve already had a sneak peek at this wardrobe. When I created my planner, I used this wardrobe as my exemplar. I thought some of you out there might want a peek at what this actually looks like. You’ll notice that I’ve rolled Levels 3 and 4 (Nice and Extra Nice) into one group this time around. In September, I make an extra effort to look nice and professional and “Extra Nice” is not saved for special events, but every day. Don’t worry, things get way more cas for me in October. You can review of my Levels of Formality here. […]
Sam! Thank you soooo much! I have spend days of my life trying to define a capsule wardrobe and to put discipline into my sewing. Your strategy makes perfect sense while allowing for plenty of creativity. I already feel calmer yet inspired. Sincerely, Lisa
[…] you’re interested in Level 1 Loungewear pattern suggestions, head over to my original post of the Levels of Formality […]
[…] One of our journey is all about reflection. In this week, we will go through our closets, choose a Level to focus on, and get real about aspirational outfits versus […]